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Biol Pharm Bull. 2013;36(3):485-91. Epub 2013 Jan 15.

Alginate enhances excretion and reduces absorption of strontium and cesium in rats.

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  • 1Faculty of Pharmacy, Takasaki University of Health and Welfare, 60 Nakaorui-machi, Takasaki, Gunma 370–0033, Japan.


Alginate (ALA), which is an intercellular polysaccharide associated with brown algae, is used as a food additive, a health food and a medicine. Here, we first examined the adsorption of strontium (Sr) and cesium (Cs) by ALA in vitro, and then evaluated the effects of ALA on absorption and excretion of Sr and Cs in rats, in order to evaluate its potential usefulness for minimizing radiation damage from materials released after a nuclear accident. Both Sr and Cs were concentration-dependently adsorbed by sodium alginate (ALA-Na) in vitro. In rats given diet containing either ALA-Na or calcium alginate (ALA-Ca) for two weeks, the plasma concentration of Sr gradually decreased compared with the controls (normal diet); however, in the case of Cs, the plasma concentration was decreased only in the ALA-Ca group, but not the ALA-Na group. Moreover, we examined the effect of preadministration of diet containing either ALA-Na or ALA-Ca on absorption of Sr and Cs administered orally as the chloride salts to rats. Absorption of both Sr and Cs was reduced in the ALA-Ca group, while absorption of only Sr was reduced in the ALA-Na group. Safety assessments indicated that ALA-Ca is safer than ALA-Na. These results indicate that ALA-Ca reduces absorption and promotes excretion of both Sr and Cs, while ALA-Na does so only for Sr.

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