As is the case with many of the Earth’s herbs, bladderwrack has been used in alternative and folk medicine for centuries.
Now, this nutrient-dense seaweed is gaining popularity in the natural health space as a nutritional supplement.
Seaweeds are known for their key nutrients and health-promoting compounds, and bladderwrack is no different. In fact, it’s one of the most common sea weeds, and has very high nutritional value due to its iodine content.
Just like kelp supplements and sea moss ones can be used to reverse nutrient deficiencies and promote overall health.
What Is Bladderwrack?
Bladderwrack seaweed is a type of brown algae with the scientific name Fucus vesiculosus. According to the species in different regions, it’s named by other names, including red fucus, rockweed, black tang, Atlantic kelp, bladder fucus and cutweed.
Bladderwrack has a high content of dietary fiber and minerals. It’s known for its exceptional combination of macro- and micronutrients that help explain why it’s been harvested as food in some parts East Asia and in Western Europe.
Today, it’s gaining recognition in the U.S. due to its ability to improve thyroid health and possibly aid weight loss.
With the presence of many bioactive compounds, seaweeds can provide a wealth of health benefits.
Research published in Marine Drugs mentions that Fucus has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-obesity, anti-coagulant and anti-diabetes properties that have been shown to have potential for staving off certain diseases.
1. Provides Iodine
Iodine, a vital nutrient for thyroid health and many other body functions, helps protect against some cancers and support brain function.
It’s also critical in healthy growth and development. One way to boost your iodine levels is by consuming seaweeds like bladderwrack, which are rich in this crucial nutrient. Iodine deficiency can lead to thyroid disorders which cause symptoms such as weight, mood and metabolic fluctuations.
2. Rich in Antioxidants
There are antioxidant-rich ingredients in Bladderwrack that support the health of your eye and help fight disease, such as protecting retinal cells.
These antioxidants are also found in veggies like kale, which is a great source of nutrients. Bladderwrack is said to promote healthy aging and boost skin health as well.
3. Reduces Inflammation
Bladderwrack seaweed is a genus of brown algae that contains special nutrients, including fucoidans, a type of sulfated polysaccharide.
These compounds have been studied for their antioxidant and immune-modulatory effects. Researchers suggest that fucoidan works to alleviate inflammatory conditions by significantly reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines.
4. Aids Digestion
Seaweeds are a significant source of nutritional content, which means they can help people take care of themselves. Brown algae acts as a mucilage when ingested, meaning it creates a gel-like substance that relieves constipation, bloat and cramping.
Beyond constipation, bladderwrack is also used to cleanse the body or promote detoxification.Because of its fiber content, it may also help you feel full faster, leading to weight loss.
5. May Promote Weight Loss
Bladderwrack is a type of seaweed that contains L-fucose compounds. It’s believed to have anti-obesity effects, and one animal study found that it decreased weight gain, fat accumulation and triglyceride elevation when fed to mice on a high-fat diet. Scientists concluded that the compound may be a novel strategy to treat obesity and fatty liver disorders caused by a high-fat diet.
6. Supports Heart Health
Bladderwrack is known for its cardiovascular health benefits, and here’s why: One study published in Oxford Academic found that fucoidans in bladderwrack displayed strong antithrombin and anticoagulant activity in platelet tests. Additionally, research shows that bladderwrack can increase good HDL cholesterol levels.
7. May Reduce Risk of Cancer
Researchers have found a way to reverse the effects of estrogen-related cancers in women, in part by using certain seaweed. They found anti-estrogenic and progestagenic effects following kelp administration, which led them to conclude that dietary bladderwrack may prolong the length of the menstrual cycle for premenopausal women and may also exert anti-estrogenic effects on its own. Although this research is exciting and important, it’s still a case report rather than a well-controlled clinical trial. It’s the first step in understanding how seaweed might help control estrogen-related diseases such as breast cancer.
How to Use/Dosage
Bladderwrack is considered a superfood. It contains iodine, which helps bone health and thyroid function, meaning it’s beneficial for women over 50 and anyone whose adrenals are struggling to keep up.
It comes in powder, capsule or tea form that can be taken as a supplement. There’s no recommended dose, but before you go overboard with supplements, talk to your doctor about proper dosing and what amount of iodine you need for your particular situation — and what conditions might benefit from it.
Risks and Side Effects
If you experience stomach pain, cramping, an extreme tightness in the chest, swelling or a rash after consuming bladderwrack, stop taking the seaweed and seek medical attention right away. Some people are allergic to iodine, which can have adverse or even dangerous side effects when ingested. If you’re hyperthyroidism, be sure to let your doctor know before drinking too much of this natural potion from the sea.
Before incorporating bladderwrack powder, it’s important to familiarize yourself with all the interactions.
People on thyroid medications, like levothyroxine, should consult their doctors before using bladderwrack supplements or powders. Anyone with kidney or thyroid issues should not use the brown algae supplements without first discussing it with a doctor beforehand.
Bladderwrack is a common brown algae with a wide range of uses. It’s used to help reverse iodine deficiency, aid digestion, boost weight loss, promote healthy aging and support heart health. As an amazing nutrient-rich food that boasts a collection of potent antioxidants, it’s can also be enjoyed raw in salads.