Drugs A - Z

Algina (Ascophyllum nodosum)

a GI agent -

Generic Name: alginic acid

Brand Names: Sodium Alginate

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Alginates, alginic acid, Ascophyllum nodosum, Fermion gas, Laminaria digitata, Lessoniaceae (family), Macrocystis pyrifera, sodium alginate.

Background

Algin is a polysaccharide (a type of carbohydrate) derived from brown seaweed (from the genera Ascophyllum, Macrocystis and Laminaria) currently found in the North Atlantic basin. Seaweed has been used as food for humans and animals for thousands of years. Its derivatives have wide application in the food industry, the cosmetic industry, and in medicine and dentistry. In Asia, seaweed is relied on as a vegetable and fiber source, while the Western world has developed a tablet form to get the nutrients.

In folk medicine, algin is taken by mouth to prevent and treat high blood pressure. It is also used in foods such as candy, gelatins, puddings, condiments, relish, processed vegetables, fish products, and imitation products. In manufacturing, algin is used as a binding and disintegrating agent in tablets, as a binding and demulcent in lozenges, and as a film in peel-off facial masks.

Algin is often used to normalize bowel function. It has also been studied in combination with dietary fibers. Additional study is needed before any firm recommendations can be made about the safety or effectiveness of algin.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Abortion, bowel function improvement, cervical dilation, diabetes, gastric ulcers, healing of colonic anastomoses, hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), hypertension (high blood pressure), ocular fillings, reducing absorption of strontium/barium/tin/cadmium/manganese/zinc/mercury, tissue replacement, wound healing, wound infection.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

Safety, efficacy, and dosing have not been systematically studied in adults.

Children (younger than 18 years)

Safety, efficacy, and dosing have not been systematically studied in children.

Safety

DISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.

Allergies

Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to algin and/or its derivatives.

Side Effects and Warnings

Currently, there is a lack of available scientific evidence regarding algin's safety and potential side effects. Algin is likely safe when taken by mouth in amounts typically found in foods. However, it is possibly unsafe when used in pregnant women. Laminaria digitata, a species which algin can be derived from, has been used as an aid in cervical dilation.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Algin is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to lack of available scientific evidence. Algin may cause abortion or dilate the cervix.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

The fiber in algin may impair the body's ability to absorb oral drugs. Patients taking any medications should consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, before taking algin.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

The fiber in algin may impair the body's ability to absorb oral herbs and supplements. Patients taking any herbs or supplements should consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, before taking algin.

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