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Health-promoting effects in the gut and influence on lipid metabolism of Himanthalia elongata and Gigartina pistillata in hypercholesterolaemic Wistar rats


The intake of Himanthalia elongata and Gigartina pistillata from the Spanish Atlantic coasts was evaluated in Wistar rats. Both seaweed diets showed higher (p < 0.001) faecal excretion. Colonic fermentation increased (p < 0.001) total short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in Himanthalia-fed rats due to the higher (p < 0.001) levels of acetic, propionic and butyric acids. The intake of Gigartina increased (p < 0.001) propionic acid and decreased (p < 0.001) butyric acid. The apparent absorption and true retention of calcium and magnesium enhanced (p < 0.05) with Himanthalia diet, while Gigartina produced no significant effect. The serum concentration of HDL-C increased (p < 0.01), triglycerides (TGL) decreased (p < 0.001) and bile acids diminished (p < 0.001) in faeces of Himanthalia-fed rats. The Gigartina diet produced a decrease (p < 0.001) in TGL, total cholesterol (p < 0.01) and LDL-C (p < 0.05) in serum and reduced TGL in liver (p < 0.001). Thus, both seaweeds improved the lipid profile, and Himanthalia increased SCFA production and the absorption and retention of Ca and Mg as a result of the gut fermentation.

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This research work was supported by the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, through Project AGL2008-00998 ALI. Thanks are given to the algal supplier Porto-Muiños (Coruña, Spain).

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Correspondence to Inmaculada Mateos-Aparicio.

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Villanueva, MJ., Morcillo, M., Tenorio, MD. et al. Health-promoting effects in the gut and influence on lipid metabolism of Himanthalia elongata and Gigartina pistillata in hypercholesterolaemic Wistar rats. Eur Food Res Technol 238, 409–416 (2014).

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  • Edible seaweeds
  • Dietary fibre
  • Prebiotic
  • Mineral balance
  • Cholesterol
  • Lipid profile