The potential health benefits of seaweed and seaweed extracts

I. A. Brownlee*, A. C. Fairclough, A. C. Hall, J. R. Paxman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Edible seaweeds have historically been consumed by coastal populations across the globe. Today, seaweed is still part of the habitual diet in many Asian countries. Seaweed consumption also appears to be growing in popularity in Western cultures, due both to the influx of Asian cuisine as well as notional health benefits associated with consumption. Isolates of seaweeds (particularly viscous polysaccharides) are used in an increasing number of food applications in order to improve product acceptability and extend shelf-life. Epidemiological evidence suggests regular seaweed consumption may protect against a range of diseases of modernity. The addition of seaweed and seaweed isolates to foods has already shown potential to enhance satiety and reduce the postprandial absorption rates of glucose and lipids in acute human feeding studies, highlighting their potential use in the development of anti-obesity foods. As seaweeds and seaweed isolates have the potential to both benefit health and improve food acceptability, seaweeds and seaweed isolates offer exciting potential as ingredients in the development of new food products. This review will outline the evidence from human and experimental studies that suggests consumption of seaweeds and seaweed isolates may impact on health (both positively and negatively). Finally, this review will highlight current gaps in knowledge in this area and what future strategies should be adopted for maximising seaweed's potential food uses.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSeaweed
Subtitle of host publicationEcology, Nutrient Composition and Medicinal Uses
EditorsVitor H. Pomin
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781614708780, 1614709203
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


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