Bladderwrack … Briefly

Every now and then, we love to introduce you to what’s in our formula. This time, we take a brief look at Bladderwrack.

We admit it, the name of this sea plant is kind of funny, and its official name, Fucus vesiculosus, is a tongue twister, but no matter what it’s called, this variety of kelp has several health-promoting compounds. Bladderwrack is a sea plant that is hardy and commonly found in the eastern US coast as well as United Kingdom and northern European waters. It is so named because of the “bumps” on top of the leaf that resemble little bladders.

Bladderwrack contains high amounts of fucoidan, alginic acid and the mineral iodine, and also has mucilage, potassium and the carotenoids zeaxanthin and beta-carotene. It has been consumed traditionally to manage or lose weight by promoting more youthful metabolism, nourish the skin, and support healthy circulation throughout the body.

Iodine is necessary for healthy thyroid function. According to the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS), The RDA amount of iodine is needed to sustain normal thyroid function in adults; children don’t need as much. Thus, in people with insufficient iodine in their diet, bladderwrack may serve as a supplemental source of iodine, which may help restore more normalized thyroid function.

Bladderwrack is also an excellent herb for digestive health support. Alginic acid is a type of dietary fiber that may help alleviate occasional constipation. And interestingly, it may also combat diarrhea, so therefore, alginic acid found in bladderwrack can help balance lower GI function. Mucilage, meanwhile, helps lower GI function in that it can soothe irritation of the digestive tract mucus membranes. In addition, Bladderwrack’s alginic acid is part of a pharmaceutical, Gaviscon, which is prescribed for GERD or “heartburn.”

The UMHS suggests that for short-term use (a few days) to relieve constipation, take one teaspoon of powdered bladderwrack with an 8 -oz. glass of water for three times a day. If you have occasional reflux or gastritis, or feel your thyroid needs support, take 5 to 10 grams of dried bladderwrack in capsules three times per day.

As with numerous traditional herbs and foods (bladderwrack is an edible sea plant), bladderwrack may be consumed as food or made into a tea using 1 teaspoon per cup of hot water and steep for 10 minutes. Note: it is not recommended to consume more than 150 mcg of iodine per day.

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