10 Surprising Side Effects of Sodium Alginate

Chances are, the foods you eat have sodium alginate in them and you lack information about its potential side effects.

If you are curious about them, worry no more. This article will help you understand the side effects of sodium alginate. Also, it will provide additional information regarding the safety of the compound.

Without wasting time, let us get started.

Sodium Alginate Overview

Sodium Alginate is a member of the hydrogel group, meaning, it is a polymer that occurs when one or more monomers swell when mixed with water. It is also known as Kelco, Lamitex, and Keltex among others. It has hydrophilic properties allowing it to absorb water and swell.

It occurs naturally as an anionic polymer in brown seaweed. Amazingly, it contains guluronic and mannuronic acids which are vital to the body. Likewise, they are vital to the food industry as they help in thickening, emulsifying, stabilizing, and gelling foods.

Sodium Alginate is vital in the pharmaceutical industry as it can be added to tablets to make them disintegrate faster.

Sodium Alginate Applications

Sodium Alginate is a vital ingredient in the food industry. It is for this reason that foods like ice cream, acid milk drinks, instant noodles, and jelly use it.

It is used on such foods to thicken, gel, stabilize, and improve the texture of such foods.

Is Sodium Alginate Vegan?

Since sodium Alginate is present in most foods, especially dairy products, you could be curious to know if it is vegan. The answer to this question is yes.

It comes from brown already, proving that it is, In fact, vegan. Therefore, if you are the type of person that only rely on vegan products you will be safe taking Sodium Alginate.

What are some Sodium Alginate side effects?

Sodium Alginate has a range of effects – some positive while others are negative. Important to note is that it does not have devastating effects on your health as most of its side effects are temporary and often go away after some time.

Below are some of its positive side effects:

1.      It controls the postprandial blood sugar

Often, postprandial blood sugar will occur when you take meals with a lot of carbohydrate-rich foods like potatoes, pasta, and white bread. Consuming sodium alginate can reverse this effect by limiting your intake of such foods.

2.      It can limit energy intake

Studies by Pubmed indicate that sodium alginate can act like fiber in the body. For this reason, it can reduce your intake of nutrients like carbohydrates, thereby, limiting your energy intake.

3.      It helps in treating heartburn

Studies indicate that sodium alginate, in its liquid form, can prevent heartburn. When consumed, it forms a raft that will prevent your esophageal content from leaking.

As a result, it will limit your chances of suffering heartburn due to foods leaking up your food pipe.

4.      It can regulate your weight

Among the crucial functions of sodium alginate is regulating your body weight. Studies conducted by Pubmed regarding how alginates regulate body weight ties it to its gelling fibers.

Those studies claim that the gelling fibers of sodium alginate may prevent you from taking some foods, thereby helping you regulate your weight.

5.      It lessens the effects of gastric acid

Sodium alginate competes with regular antacids in reversing the effects of gastric acid exposure and relieving reflux symptoms. In actuality, sodium alginate performs better than those antacids in performing this function.

6.      It may treat dyspepsia

According to this study from NCBI, sodium alginate may be considered to treat dyspepsia thanks to its superiority over antacids.

Negative side effects

Below are some negative sodium Alginate side effects. Note that this list is not exhaustive of the potentially harmful effects of this substance.

7.      It can induce bloating

In an experiment carried out by NCBI, Sodium alginate, along with other alginates tend to cause abdominal bloating when used as medication. On the positive side, the effect will not last for long.

8.      It causes diarrhea

Studies probing into the side effects of sodium alginate indicate that they tend to be gastrointestinal in nature. Meaning, you could experience diarrhea from using sodium alginate.

9.      It might cause you to vomit

Another common sodium alginate side effect is vomiting after using it. Note that this is likely to worsen if you combine it with calcium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate.

10.  It has the potential to suppress your hunger

In addition to the mentioned sodium alginate side effects, it can also suppress your hunger. Its fibers may slow down a gastric clearance, which consequently, moderates your appetite. It is, for this reason, medics use it as an appetite moderator during acute feeding.

Medical interactions

Sodium Alginate does not go well with antacid medications. Therefore, if you are on medications like dioxin, iron supplements, levothyroxine, certain osteoporosis, and some antibiotics, it would be wise to avoid sodium alginate.

However, if you have to take Sodium Alginate while on these medications, plan your medical schedule such that the gap between the administration of those medicines be 6 hours apart.

Potential contraindications

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, Sodium Alginate is regarded as safe. However, this is dependent on the amount you consume.

If you consume larger amounts of it, especially in doses that are 26 times higher than normal, you will stand at a higher risk of increasing your maternal mortality.

For this reason, pregnant mothers should avoid sodium alginate. Also, HealthyCanada.com advises that you avoid this polymer if you have an inflamed esophagus.

Blood pressure considerations

Without a doubt, Sodium Alginate has a high sodium concentration, meaning a dose could have more than a gram of the element.

This could be threatening to people that are on low-sodium diets. Likewise, it could threaten people with high blood pressure. Therefore, if you belong to this category, it would be wise to reduce your intake of Sodium alginate.

Also, if you must take Sodium Alginate, then minimize your intake of foods that are rich in Sodium, as combining two sodium sources would elevate its level in the body.

Moreover, if you are at risk of high blood pressure, stick to the recommended dosage of 1.5 grams of Sodium per day. Conversely, if you have regular blood pressure, stick to 2.3 grams of the element per day.

Sodium Alginate Storage

Sodium Alginate reacts with various substances. For instance, it can react with calcium. Therefore, if you are using a Sodium alginate bath, do not dispose of it via your sink because it might cause backlogs and plumbing issues.

Likewise, do not use it with impure water because it can cause spherification issues. Therefore, it is advisable to use distilled water in this application.


You may meet sodium alginate in most of the foods you take. While it can expose you to some of the adverse effects mentioned in this article, it has a lot of positive effects. Do not be scared of it because those negative effects tend to be temporary.

Besides, some of its negative effects may benefit you, especially if you are on a weight loss journey.



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