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What is Alginate Therapy?

If you’re someone who deals with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR), you're familiar with the physical distress (and food-related anxiety) they can come with. Fortunately, one of the better and safer solutions to painful reflux is right under our noses, already in many of our products and occurring in our natural environment--in the form of something called alginates.

What Is Alginate?

Alginate is a plant carbohydrate that’s extracted from brown algae, a type of seaweed that is one of the most common forms of algae and grows in salt water all over the world.

Alginates have been used as gastric aids for decades to treat heartburn and other digestive issues[1]. Because of their natural gelling properties, they're also used as food and drink thickeners (for example, in some ice creams), and thickening agents in everyday products like toothpaste and cosmetics.

How Does Alginate Therapy Work?

When you ingest alginates, your body doesn’t break them down the way it might break down sugar or other starches [2]; and when calcium is added to alginates in the presence of water, it forms a jellylike substance called a hydrogel. Hydrogel can float above food and stomach acid like a raft on water, forming a protective barrier that can help keep acid from rising into the esophagus and causing discomfort.

Alginate Therapy & GERD

GERD is a condition in which stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing heartburn and other uncomfortable symptoms. Sodium alginate works by forming a gel-like barrier in the esophagus when it comes into contact with stomach acid, helping block its upward flow into the esophagus. Additionally, the alginate raft can help to neutralize nearby stomach acid through the natural minerals contained within including calcium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate [2]. It is important to note that while sodium alginate is often used to treat GERD-related symptoms, it should not be used as a substitute for other doctor-prescribed treatments.

Is Alginate Safe?

Alginate is generally considered to be non-toxic[3], and safe for use in food, cosmetics, and medical applications; but you should still consult with a healthcare professional before introducing a medicinal substance to your regimen, and always follow usage instructions.

Side Effects Of Alginate Therapy?

Alginate therapy is generally well-tolerated, with very few side effects [3][4]. The most common side effects of alginate therapy include:

Constipation / Bloating

Particularly if you're dehydrated (see above), alginate therapy can lead to constipation; this is because alginates are fiber-based. RefluxRaft is formulated with organic glycerin to reduce any side-effects of constipation. Consuming 6-8 glasses of water a day can also help avoid constipation, as well as generally assisting the proper function of your digestive tract; it will also help with the mild bloating that all alginates can occasionally cause. Keep in mind: dehydration is, by far, the most common cause of constipation.

Interference with nutrient absorption

If you take alginates at the same time as nutrient supplements (such as iron or calcium), it can slow their absorption into your system [5]. If you take any nutrient supplements, take them at least 30 minutes before ingesting alginates for optimal absorption.

Allergic reactions

In rare instances, alginates may cause allergic reactions. This is especially true for people who have known seaweed allergies. Check with your doctor, or a healthcare professional, before beginning alginate therapy.

Experiencing Side Effects From Alginate Therapy?

If you experience any side effects while using alginates, stop using them and speak with your doctor or a healthcare professional. They can help you determine whether these side effects are directly related to alginates or another cause--such as an underlying condition--and help you determine the best course of action.

When Should I Not Use Alginate Therapy?

You should think twice about alginate therapy if you have a known allergy to seaweed, or if you experience any adverse side effects upon first usage. You also should also avoid using it when dehydrated.

Conclusion

Alginate therapy is a nature-based treatment for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR), safe for use by most people and effective at lessening acid-related discomfort. You should consult a medical professional before using, and as with all supplements, use in moderation and follow usage instructions.

Want To Try Alginate Therapy. Where Can I Get It?

If you’re interested in trying Enhanced Alginate Therapy, try RefluxRaft. RefluxRaft is a nature-based, science-driven, proprietary blend of alginate and other natural ingredients designed to relieve symptoms of GERD and LPR.

Sources

  1. Leiman DA, Riff BP, Morgan S, Metz DC, Falk GW, French B, Umscheid CA, Lewis JD. Alginate therapy is effective treatment for GERD symptoms: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
    Dis Esophagus. 2017 May 1;30(5):1-9. doi: 10.1093/dote/dow020. PMID: 28375448; PMCID: PMC6036656.
  2. Brownlee IA, Allen A, Pearson JP, Dettmar PW, Havler ME, Atherton MR, Onsøyen E. Alginate as a source of dietary fiber.
    Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2005;45(6):497-510. doi: 10.1080/10408390500285673. PMID: 16183570.
  3. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21
    https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm?fr=184.1724
  4. Efficacy and safety of alginate formulations in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
    Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2020; 24 (22): 11845-11857
  5. Wawer AA, Harvey LJ, Dainty JR, Perez-Moral N, Sharp P, Fairweather-Tait SJ. Alginate inhibits iron absorption from ferrous gluconate in a randomized controlled trial and reduces iron uptake into Caco-2 cells.
    PLoS One. 2014 Nov 12;9(11):e112144. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112144. PMID: 25391138; PMCID: PMC4229116.