Agar-Agar – Usage, Efficacy, Side Effects and Drug Interactions
AGAR Featured in “The GNC Gourmet: The Fun of Multipurpose Ingredients“
The 4 Hour Chef – “The Scientist”
|Consumer Information and Education|
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database
|What is it?|
|Agar is a plant. People use it to make medicine.People take agar to lose weight, especially in Japan. In Japan agar is called “kanten,” and it is the main ingredient in “the kanten plan” or “the kanten diet.”|
Agar is also used to treat diabetes and constipation.
In dentistry, agar is used to make dental impressions.
In manufacturing processes, agar is used as an ingredient in emulsions, suspensions, gels, and certain suppositories.
|Is it Effective?|
|Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.The effectiveness ratings for AGAR are as follows:|
|Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for…|
- Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of agar for these uses.
|How does it work?|
|Agar contains a gel-like substance that bulks up in the gut. This stimulates the intestines and creates a bowel movement. That’s why agar is commonly used as a laxative.Agar’s bulking effect also explains its use for weight loss. Agar tends to make people feel full, so they might stop eating earlier than they otherwise would. Some people think this reaction will lead to weight loss. But so far, there is no reliable scientific evidence that supports this weight loss theory.|
|Are there safety concerns?|
|Agar seems safe for most adults when taken with at least one 8-ounce glass of water. If it is not taken with enough water, agar can swell and block the esophagus or bowel. Immediate medical attention is necessary if chest pain, vomiting, or difficulty swallowing or breathing occurs after taking agar. In some people, agar may also raise cholesterol.|
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of agar during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Bowel blockage (obstruction): Agar might make bowel obstruction worse, especially if it isn’t taken with enough water or other liquid. Get medical advice before taking agar if you have a bowel obstruction.
Trouble swallowing: Agar might swell up and block the eating tube (esophagus) if it isn’t taken with enough water or other liquid. This can be especially dangerous for someone who has trouble swallowing. Get medical advice before taking agar if you have a swallowing problem.
|Are there any interactions with medications?|
Medications taken by mouth (Oral drugs)
Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.
Agar is a thick gel. Agar might stick to some medications in the stomach and intestines. Taking agar at the same time as medications that you take by mouth might decrease how much medication your body absorbs, and possibly decrease the effectiveness of your medication. To prevent this interaction, take agar at least one hour after medications you take by mouth.
|Are there any interactions with Herbs and Supplements?|
|There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.|
|Are there interactions with Foods?|
|There are no known interactions with foods.|
|What dose is used?|
|The appropriate dose of agar depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for agar. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.|
|What other names is the product known by?|
|Agar-Agar, Agarose, Agarose Gel, Agaropectin, Agarweed, Algue de Java, Chinese Gelatin, Colle du Japon, Garacilaria confervoides, Gélatine de Chine, Gelidiella acerosa, Gelidium amanasii, Gelidium cartilagineum, Gelidium crinale, Gelidium divaricatum, Gelidium pacificum, Gelidium vagum, Gelosa, Gelosae, Gélose, Japanese Isinglas, Kanten Diet, Kanten Jelly, Kanten Plan, Layor Carang, Mousse de Ceylan, Mousse de Jaffna, Qion Zhi, Seaweed Gelatin, Vegetable Gelatin, Vegetarian Gelatin.|
(from red algae)