- What other names is Agar known by?
- What is Agar?
- How does Agar work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Are there any interactions with medications?
- Dosing considerations for Agar.
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.
Possibly Effective for...
- Obesity. Taking a product containing agar gel (Slim Kanten) by mouth daily while following a traditional Japanese diet for 12 weeks appears to reduce body weight and body mass index in obese people with type 2 diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance more effectively than following a traditional Japanese diet alone.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Diabetes. Taking a product containing agar gel (Slim Kanten) by mouth daily while following a traditional Japanese diet for 12 weeks does not improve pre-meal blood sugar levels or insulin resistance in obese people with type 2 diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance more effectively than following a traditional Japanese diet alone. However, agar seems to help lower body weight and body mass index in these individuals.
- High levels of a chemical called bilirubin in the blood of newborns (infant jaundice). Most early research suggests that giving agar by mouth for 5 days does not reduce bilirubin levels in infants with newborn jaundice. However, when given by mouth along with light therapy, agar seems to increase the bilirubin-lowering effects of light therapy and reduce the length of time that light therapy is needed.
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
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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.
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:Children: Agar is POSSIBLY SAFE when given by mouth to infants for a short period of time.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking agar if you are pregnant or 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.
Colon cancer: There is some concern that eating a certain type of dietary fiber, such agar, might increase the risk of developing colon tumors. Get medical advice before taking agar if you have a history of or are at risk for colon cancer.
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.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.