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  • Alginates are hydrocolloids, water soluble biopolymers extracted from brown seaweed.
  • Alginates occurs naturally in seaweed mainly in the form of calcium, magnesium and sodium salts. The chemical composition of alginate varies according to seaweed species and structure.
  • The chemical compound sodium alginate is the sodium salt of alginic acid. Its form as a gum, when extracted from the cell walls of brown algae, is used by the foods industry to increase viscosity and as an emulsifier. It is also used in indigestion tablets.
  • Sodium alginate has no discernable flavor. Its empirical chemical formula is NaC6H7O6.Sodium alginate may have hypocholesterolemic and glycemic-regulatory activities. It may also have detoxification activity.
  • Sodium alginate is a good chelator for pulling radioactive toxins from the body which have taken that place of the non-radioactive counterparts examples like Iodine 131 and Strontium 90.
  • Sodium alginate has been found to lower cholesterol in animal studies. It is speculated that this may be due to alginate-stimulated increase of fecal bile acid excretion. Sodium alginate binds tightly to such substances as strontium, cadmium, radium and barium. It also binds to lead, but not as well. Sodium alginate's binding to these substances reduces their absorption.
  • There is little on the pharmacokinetics of sodium alginate in humans. It appears to be resistant to digestion by the digestive enzymes and is probably fermented, in part, by colonic bacteria to the short-chain fatty acids acetate, propionate and butyrate.
  • Sodium alginate may decrease the absorption of the carotenoids beta-carotene, lycopene and lutein if used concomitantly. It may also decrease the absorption of such minerals as calcium, zinc, manganese, chromium and magnesium if used concomitantly. Sodium alginates is used in printing and textile industry, food industry, medical industry.
  • Depending on excellent equipment and advanced technology, a company in china now can produce 800t sodium alginate, 250t mannite and 150t fine iodine and has passed ISO9002 certificate.
  • Many countries supply seaweed as a raw material to the alginate industry. These include USA, Mexico, Chile, Scotland, Ireland, France, Norway, Iceland, Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Australia and South Africa.
  • The Western Isles have supplied seaweed to the alginate industry over a number of years now although the amount of seaweed currently harvested for this purpose is substantially less than at its peak in the 1970s when the operation of three primary processing plants in the Western Isles (Keose, Sponish and Orosay) provided an estimated 550,000 per year to the local economy.

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