The hypoglycemic effects of carrageenan, a seaweed extract composed of galactan polysaccharides, are well-documented but its effects on blood lipid and cholesterol levels are not known. In this study, carrageenan was incorporated into four food items, namely: pandesal, maja blanca, fishball and arrozcaldo, then fed to 20 human volunteers to determine its effects on blood lipid and cholesterol levels. The study followed a randomized crossover design, wherein each subject served as his/her own control. Each phase of the study--control and experimental--lasted for eight weeks separated by a 2-week washout. During the control phase, the subjects consumed their usual food intake; during the experimental phase, they were given experimental foods substituting similar items in their usual diet. The subjects' weights were monitored and their diets evaluated using a 24-hour food recall. Results of the study showed that the mean serum cholesterol was significantly lower (p=0.0014) after the experimental phase at 140.97 mg/dL compared with the mean level after the control phase, 210.84 mg/dL. Similarly, the mean triglyceride level after the experimental phase, 77.16 mg/dL, was significantly lower (p=0.0006) in comparison to the level after the control phase, 113.70 rng/dL. The mean HDL cholesterol level, on the other hand, significantly increased (p=0.0071) after 8 weeks at the experimental phase, at 64.14 mg/dL, compared to the mean value after the control phase, 48.55 mg/dL. No significant difference was observed between the LDL cholesterol levels after the experimental and the control phases.
The objectives of the project are:1. To formulate food products with seaweed extracts such as agar-agar and alginates;2. To evaluate the sensory and acceptability qualities of formulated food products;3. To conduct proximate and microbial analysis of formulated food products;4. To determine the metabolic effect of foods incorporated with seaweed extracts on blood glucose level on normal and diabetic subjects;5. To educate the public in the use and health benefits of seaweed extracts.