Category Archives: Science

Where Can I Get Alginate?

Recent studies have found that a substance that is found in seaweed, called alginate, can have inhibiting effects on the absorption of fat into the body. Here we look into where you can get alginate.

In 2014 research at Newcastle University found that alginate can stop the body absorbing fat. Alginate is found naturally in seaweed and this has also been used in Japan as a weight loss supplement for a few years now.

If the body does not absorb the fat, then the person does not put on the extra weight that would be caused by the fat. Instead the fat is passed straight through the body.

Research is still going on to see if this can be made into a bonafide weight loss supplement but in the meantime people like Jamie Oliver have put down their weight loss to eating seaweed.

So the best way to get hold of alginate is by eating seaweed itself. But obviously this may not be an option for many people so they may be looking for an alginate supplement that can be taken with food.

There are a couple of options at present that contain alginate but are not sold as specifically weight loss supplements. Care should be taken with any kind of supplement and you may wish to consult your doctor before taking them.

In particular seaweed supplements are used to support thyroid function so if you have any issues with your thyroid you should certainly seek advice.

So you can get hold of seaweed (or kelp) supplements online and below are a couple of options (in either tablet or powder form)  which purport to contain alginate so could be options to consider:
 

Another possibility is food grade sodium alginate powder. This is actually used in molecular gastronomy to form things like pseudo caviar.

Obviously this kind of product has not been tested in terms of its possible weight loss properties so there is no guarantee that this will have any kind of effect and it would be interesting to test how you could use it in an every day context!

So as discussed there is a long way to go with more testing and research required to see if alginate can be used as a weight loss supplement. In any case a balanced and varied diet, together with regular exercise is generally the best way to lose weight.

Great Supermoon Lunar Eclipse Photos

So last night/this morning was the much awaited ‘blood moon’ lunar eclipse where the moon essentially passed into the shadow of the Earth and turned a lovely red colour. This happened at about 3am in the UK and we can share with you some great photos that were taken in London by Tim Fleischman. (All photos are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced). The photos were taken with a Canon 5DSR with a Celestron NexStar SE4 computerised telescope.

The blood red moon was seen by many in the UK as the skies were clear in many areas.
The blood red moon was seen by many in the UK as the skies were clear in many areas.

Other parts of the world had different phenomena – in the US there was a total lunar eclipse but nothing much to see in Australia which just had a normal full moon.

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Plenty of people waited up or got up in the night to see the lunar eclipse and there were lots of pictures posted on social media showing the view from around the UK and indeed the world.

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This type of supermoon lunar eclipse last occurred in 1982 and isn’t due to happen again until 2033 so it is a reasonably rare phenomenon.

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The moon starts to enter the shadow of the Earth

Math – Prime Numbers

I have a fondness for prime numbers and I am not sure why. I guess they are kind of special in a way and even when you get to numbers of larger sizes you can still find prime numbers.

So prime numbers are numbers that can only be divided by themselves and 1. So for example 23 can only be divided by 23 and 1 and nothing else.  With smaller numbers it is relatively easy to tell if a number is prime or not by firstly making sure that it is and odd number and secondly dividing it by other numbers that are less than the square root of that number. However, it gets a bit more tricky once the prime number is higher than 100 or so, if you are trying to do the math in your head.

You can create some algorithms that will sieve out the non-prime numbers and that is the standard way to generate high prime numbers. You can create some basic coding that will generate some prime numbers or you could create a very basic excel spreadsheet.

Interestingly there is no current formula that will provide you with all of the prime numbers, many have tried but none have yet succeeded. prime numbers are fascinating to study and at the moment the largest prime number that has been found has about 13 million digits!

So, a list of all of the prime numbers under 100 follows:

2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, 53, 59, 61, 67, 71, 73, 79, 83, 89, 97