Alginic acid – This substance is from the class of high molecular polysaccharides. Contained preferably in cells of brown algae. It is used in food, textile, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, used to create welding electrodes and animal feed.
Laminaria (sea kale) has many beneficial properties for humans. And not least due to the presence of alginic acid in its composition. Another name for the acid is algal, because it was found in marine plants of green, brown and red color. And what is interesting, almost a quarter of kelp consists of this substance. This gel substance provides jelly bodies and flexibility for algae.
Alginic acid has many unique properties. One of them is extremely high water absorption. Only 1 g of the substance is able to draw in about 300 ml of liquid. On the other hand, almost 14 times the adhesive capacity of starch. And gum arabic in this regard is 37 times worse than alginates. Acid does not dissolve in water or other organic liquids. It is a heteropolymer substance created from the remains of polyuronic substances.
In 1883, a British researcher and pharmacist E. Stanford discovered this substance, exploring kelp. The scientist concluded that the unique structure of the acid is formed in algae in the process of biosynthesis. And it is worth noting that in different countries and in different parts of the oceans, the composition of alginic acid in plants may differ slightly. This is due to the natural effects and proportions of D-mannuric and L-hyaluric acids that make up alginates.
Alginates (acid salts), falling into the human body, are not broken down and are excreted from it in undigested form. This property resembles the function of fiber. But the effectiveness of alginates is higher. Due to its ability to draw in liquid, algal salts remove radionuclides and heavy metals from the body. The experiment showed that algal acid can bind and excrete approximately 90 percent of cesium and strontium. Therefore, drugs that contain acid or its salts are considered the best anti-radiation agents.
The raw materials for alginates are usually brown algae, which are extremely common in the oceans and can grow to several centimeters daily. For the removal of alginic acid, the algae are first dried and crushed, then washed and left to swell in an acidic medium. The next stage is the extraction of alginates from swollen algae. To do this, add caustic soda to the substance. After clarification and purification from fiber, laboratory technicians receive an aqueous solution of sodium alginate. As a result of subsequent manipulations, scientists achieve the so-called “acid precipitation” and get pure algal acid.
Alginic acid is an effective antioxidant and agent that cleanses the body of toxins and heavy metals.
Also indispensable for intoxication.
For the cardiovascular system, the benefit of acid is to lower blood pressure and the level of bad cholesterol. With antimicrobial and antiviral properties, it protects the body from harmful microflora, fungi and bacilli. In addition, alginates reduce pain during cramping, reduce the risk of allergies.
Why is man needed
Alginic acid-containing preparations are used to treat a wide variety of disorders and disorders. The most common reasons for intensive consumption of algae:
- slagging of the body;
- weak immunity;
- skin diseases;
- increased pigmentation;
- cardiac diseases;
But although algal acid is very useful for humans, there are cases when it is better not to abuse this substance. Among the most compelling reasons to refuse nori, kelp or red caviar:
- avitaminosis (there is an opinion that prevents the absorption of certain vitamins);
- liver disease;
- thyroid dysfunction;
- frequent digestive disorders;
- malignant tumors.
Lack or excess: how to understand
Since the body is not able to independently produce alginic acid, the substance enters the human body only from the outside: with food, dietary supplements, and medicines. Recently, preparations based on kelp, spirulina, and other acid-rich plants have gained particular popularity. Weakened immunity, a high tendency to allergies, poisoning – these are exactly the signs by which it can be understood that the body asks for “feeding” in the form of algae products.
Natural remedies rarely cause side effects or overdose. But if nausea appeared on the background of alginic acid consumption, the digestive system was disturbed, the skin turned red and began to itch, it is better to refuse the drug and consult a doctor.
Use in the food industry
Alginic acid and its salts (alginates) in the food industry are not new ingredients. At a minimum, the 5 E-NIS on food labels denotes it. Actually the acid was registered in the list of ingredients as Е400. Its salts are located under the “names” Е401, Е402 and Е404. Food supplement agar-agar, created from algae, is denoted by 406 number.
In the products of “algal” additives play the role of thickeners, as well as used to create a false red caviar. But when baking bread, the use of Е400 prevents the rapid blanking of the finished product.
Application in medicine
Due to the property to draw water into itself, algal acid is an important component of medicinal gels and some other medical preparations, in particular capsulars. Almost one fifth of all modern medicines contain an alginic substance. And in the field of dentistry, alginates help create tooth casts.
Medicinal properties of algal acid salts allow their use as an anti-burn agent. Studies have proven the effectiveness of the substance in the process of skin regeneration at the site of burn wounds.
Alginates are actively used for allergies and to improve immunity. Acid salts are prescribed to patients with cardiovascular diseases, and also as an antispasmodic drug. The research results show the effectiveness of alginates in the treatment of ischemic heart disease, arrhythmias, myocardial dystrophy.
But the use of alginates in health care is not limited to this. These substances are used for such purposes:
- for the production of medical preparations of various forms;
- as a component of dietary supplements;
- to create napkins, gauze, cotton wool and other means to stop the blood.
Benefits for the digestive system
Most often, the ability of alginic acid to draw in liquid is used by doctors to stop internal bleeding, including in ulcerative diseases. In addition, alginates reduce the aggressiveness of the gastric juice, accelerate the healing of wounds on the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract. Once in the digestive organs, the salts of algal acid acquire a jelly-like consistency and create additional protective cover.
Having a sorbing effect, alginates remove from the gastrointestinal tract the decomposition products of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, radionuclides and other harmful substances, neutralize the elements that prevent the development of the correct intestinal microflora.
Researchers claim that alginic acid can expel Candida, staphylococcus and other pathogenic fungi and viruses from the body. Even in small doses, alginates act on the body as an antimicrobial agent.
The popularity of the use of algal acid salts is due to their properties. They are non-toxic and quickly leave the body (up to 48 hours), do not violate the salt balance of the body, and also do not affect the hydrogen sulfide contained in the intestine for normal peristalsis.
In the beauty industry
Alginate masks have a beneficial effect on the skin of any type. Regular use of such cosmetics allows restoring the structure of the epidermis, smoothing fine wrinkles. Creams and masks with kelp are an effective remedy against cellulite. Alginic acid-rich substances are also used for wraps against the orange peel.
Based on the name of the acid, it becomes clear that the highest concentration of the natural substance is represented in algae. In particular, wishing to pamper your body, it is important first of all to pay attention to sea kale, nori seaweed, spirulina, and also red caviar.
But not only seafood contain alginic acid. Sweet tooths can provide themselves with a substance from marmalade, marshmallow, ice cream, jelly candies, “bird milk”, yogurt. Also this substance is in children’s milk mixtures, souffles, dishes of molecular cuisine.
The fact that algae is an excellent source of iodine and potassium is known to many. And not so many people know about the presence of alginic acid in this useful product. Meanwhile, algal acid and its salts are no less beneficial to humans. However, you already know about this. Now you have another good reason to think about seaweed and cook for dinner, for example, a salad from it. Both tasty and healthy.