Fucus vesiculosus L. [Fam. Fucaceae]
Dried and powdered brown algae; aqueous extract of brown algae
- Blood Purifier
- Bone and Joint Problems
- Cellular Regeneration
- Digestive Disorders
- Gastrointestinal Disorders
- Iodine Deficiency
- Mineral Deficiencies
- Vascular Deficiencies
- Vitamin Deficiencies
- Weight loss
- Wound Healing
The brown alga known as bladderwrack, Fucus vesiculosus L. [Fam. Fucaceae] is a widely distributed edible brown seaweed rich in vitamins and minerals that grows along the rocky coastlines of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The mucilaginous complex polysaccharides in brown algae, including alginic acid, fucoidan and laminarin, have a soothing and cleansing effect on the digestive tract. Seaweed alginates are called hydrasorbent laxatives because they swell to 20 times their original volume by absorbing water and they treat habitual constipation and gastric bloating effectively because they swell in intestinal juices rather than water or gastric juices and are non-irritating. Alginates are also known to prevent the absorption of toxic metals like mercury, cadmium, plutonium and cesium. Studies have shown that alginate supplements can reduce strontium-90 absorption from the intestinal tract by as much as 83%. The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission advocates 2 tablespoons of alginate supplement per day to prevent strontium-90 absorption and related diseases. Bladderwrack mucilage is also useful for treating irritated mucus membranes. While polysaccharides from several medicinal plants show only moderate bioadhesion to epithelial tissues in the throat and pharynx region of the body, strong adhesive processes are observed with polysaccharides from Fucus vesiculosus. Bladderwrack is also an excellent source of iodine, a major component of the human hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine that affect weight gain and cellular metabolic rates. One to two milligrams of iodine weekly are required to prevent goiter. Based on epidemiological studies, thyroid disease is practically unknown in people who regularly eat edible seaweed. Based on human studies, 4mg of iodine daily completely resolves cyclical breast lumps and cysts, usually within only two months. Fucus vesiculosus hot water extracts also contain powerful anti-HIV polysaccharides and polyphenols. Fucoidan also has potent anticoagulant properties with only minor platelet activating effects and stimulates wound healing.
Polysaccharides: alginic acid (algin) as the major component; fucoidan ([-->3)-alpha-L-Fuc(2SO3-)-(1-->4)-alpha-L-Fuc(2,3diSO3-)-(1]n and laminarin (sulphated polysaccharide esters). Minerals: iodine; calcium; potassium; magnesium; phosphorus; iron and silicon. Total iodine varies between 0.1 to 0.8%, based on dry weight. Vitamin C ranges between 0.013-0.077% of fresh material.
The dosage of bladderwrack is 5-10 grams of dried thallus or equivalent in infusion, taken three times daily. Tinctures (1:1 in 25% alcohol) are recommended at the dosage of 4-8ml, three times daily. Standardized iodine extracts of bladderwrack or other seaweeds should be taken according to the dosage of iodine required and only under the supervision of a physician.
The iodine content in bladderwrack may cause hyper- or hypothyroidism, if taken in excessive amounts, and may interfere with existing treatment for abnormal thyroid function.
The iodine content in bladderwrack may cause hyper- or hypothyroidism, if taken in excessive amounts, and may interfere with existing treatment for abnormal thyroid function. In view of this, ingestion of bladderwrack preparations, other than foods eaten in traditional amounts, is inadvisable for children. The iodine content in bladderwrack has been associated with acne eruptions and may aggravate pre-existing acne. Seaweed used as a food and/or for a medicinal product should not exceed arsenic levels above 3.0 ppm and lead levels above 10.0 ppm based on the internationally recognized Food Chemicals Codex. Prolonged ingestion of alginates in large quantities may reduce gastrointestinal iron absorption and affect absorption of sodium and potassium and cause diarrhea.
Hyperthyroidism has been associated with the excessive ingestion of seaweed and is attributable to the iodine content in the plants. Typical symptoms of hyperthyroidism include: weight loss, sweating, fatigue, heart palpitations and frequent soft stools. The iodine content in seaweed has been associated with acne eruptions and may aggravate pre-existing acne. Seaweed used as a food and/or for a medicinal product should not exceed arsenic levels above 3.0 ppm and lead levels above 10.0 ppm based on the internationally recognized Food Chemicals Codex. Prolonged ingestion of seaweed in large quantities may also reduce gastrointestinal iron absorption and affect absorption of sodium and potassium and cause diarrhea.
Beress A, Wassermann O, Tahhan S, Bruhn T, Beress L, Kraiselburd EN, Gonzalez LV, de Motta GE, Chavez PI. 1996. A new procedure for the isolation of anti-HIV compounds (polysaccharides and polyphenols) from the marine alga Fucus vesiculosus. J Nat Prod 1996 May; 59(5): 552.
Chevolot L, Mulloy B, Ratiskol J, Foucault A, Colliec-Jouault S. 2001. A disaccharide repeat unit is the major structure in fucoidans from two species of brown algae. Carbohydr Res 2001 Feb 28; 330(4): 529-35.
Gong YF, Huang ZJ, Qiang MY, Lan FX, Bai GA, Mao YX, Ma XP, and Zhang FG. 1991. Suppression of radioactive strontium absorption by sodium alginate in animals and human subjects. Biomed Environ Sci 4 (3): 273-282.
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Schmidgall J, Schnetz E, Hensel A. 2000. Evidence for bioadhesive effects of polysaccharides and polysaccharide-containing herbs in an ex vivo bioadhesion assay on buccal membranes. Planta Med 2000 Feb; 66(1): 48-53.