The ocean provides us many benefits, such as food, exercise, and entertainment. However, deep within these big blue waves comes a lesser-known benefit -- bladderwrack.
Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) is a brown seaweed that grows along the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Baltic Sea, and North Sea coastlines.
This aquatic plant is high in antioxidants, iodine, and other minerals that provide the body with many unique benefits. Here are five reasons why you should consider adding bladderwrack to your wellness routine.
Detoxifies the Body
One of the main compounds found in bladderwrack is alginic acid. Alginic acid is a gelatinous-like substance. Many cosmetic companies use it as a natural emulsifier. However, alginic acid also binds to a variety of heavy metals found in our intestines.
When alginic acid binds to these potentially hazardous compounds, it renders them useless. Instead of entering our bloodstream from the intestine, they will exit with the waste.
With bladderwrack, your body is less likely to absorb heavy metals, which can prolong issues related to their accumulation.
Bladderwrack has dietary fibers that our bodies can’t break down. These fibers serve as nutrition for our healthy gut bacteria in the intestines. Having a snack like roasted bladderwrack can help feed probiotic bacteria that will improve your digestive system. This benefit will help you detoxify even more!
Joint and Bone Support
Furthermore, bladderwrack has an abundance of calcium. Our bones store calcium for future use. Over time, the calcium calcifies (or hardens), giving us strong bones.
Plus, bladderwrack is rich in magnesium. This essential mineral is responsible for over 300 physiological functions. Our bones use magnesium to create more cells to keep them healthy and strong.
Lastly, this algae contains sugars known as mucopolysaccharides. These energy sources live within the fluids of our joints. They help keep our body lubricated so that we can move efficiently and pain-free.
For more bone and joint support, get outside! The sun is our most significant source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D and calcium work in unison to keep your bones strong. Using bladderwrack helps fill in any missing pieces in daily bone and joint maintenance.
Boosts Immune System
Bladderwrack is an excellent source of antioxidants. These beneficial compounds help fight off free radicals that can cause inflammation. In turn, your body can become more susceptible to illnesses.
Phlorotannins are a unique group of antioxidants found in bladderwrack. They're what give these algae its reddish-brown hue.
A meta-analysis of these beneficial compounds noted, "Phlorotannins show promising biological activities such as antioxidant, anti-HIV, antiproliferative, radio protective, antidiabetic, skin protection, and antiallergic activities due to their structural properties."
Phlorotannins are a variety of antioxidants known as tannins. Other types of immune-boosting tannins can be found in teas and wine. While tannins will provide food for probiotic bacteria, too many of these antioxidants might cause gas and digestive discomfort.
Improved Kidney and Urinary Tract Function
Detoxifying the body is a lot of work on the system. Organs that make it happen, such as our kidneys and genitals, and going to need some support. Not only does bladderwrack kickstart the detox process, but it also helps protect vitals cogs in this machine.
Bladderwrack is an excellent source of mannitol. This carbohydrate is a diuretic. It helps drive urine out of the system, especially for those with acute kidney failure.
This alga is also useful in preventing a possible Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). It has shown in studies have strong antifungal properties. Research suggests these unique benefits of bladderwrack are thanks to its abundance of mucopolysaccharides.
The best way to maintain adequate kidney and urinary function is through diet and exercise. Bladderwrack is a significant source of potassium. Potassium helps alleviate cramping and muscle contractions that make working out unbearable. Not only will bladderwrack support your joints when you hit the pavement running, but it will help with recovery afterward, too!
Bladderwrack is a significant (and natural) source of iodine. No, this isn't the same as table salt. Table salt is bleached and stripped of any true nutritional value. All that's left is a flavoring agent that can cause spikes in blood pressure.
Iodine found in bladderwrack is an essential mineral. It's a catalyst for so many physiological functions. Most importantly, it's a crystalized currency for our thyroid gland.
Thyroid cells are the only ones capable of absorbing iodine. They use iodine and tyrosine to create thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
These hormones regulate our metabolism. Metabolism covers more than just weight storage. It's also responsible for hormone production, skin health, and nutrient absorption, just to name a few!
Our bodies rely on the thyroid to keep everything running smoothly. Unfortunately, many of us are prone to developing an overactive or underactive thyroid. When this happens, it causes an immense amount of stress on the body. In turn, we produce the stress hormone cortisol.
Cortisol inhibits thyroid hormone production. Naturally, we will develop physical and mental chronic stress. As you can see, a thyroid imbalance can become a slippery slope if left unsupported.