Updated: Jul 6, 2021
Bladderwrack or F. Vesiculosus, is a brown seaweed that grows in the European Baltic sea and the Cantabrian sea. It has numerous proposed benefits as an edible sea vegetable and has been used to treat conditions such as obesity, thyroid disorders, digestive issues, and atherosclerosis. We will delve into the scientific evidence and merit behind these health claims, and also that of a terrestrial plant called burdock root (Arctium lappa ), which is native to Asia and Europe, and has been naturalized in North America from European settlers.
Bladderwrack contains iodine which may be of assistance to those with hypothyroidism that can cause diffuse symptoms such as low metabolic rate and weight gain, fatigue, low body temperature and suppressed appetite. There is insufficient evidence to definitively recommend it for this purpose, however, especially without guidance from a doctor. Iodine deficiency is a relatively rare deficiency in the developed world due to the iodization of salt (2020) & (Bladderwrack. 2020).
Bladderwrack has numerous micronutrients including potassium, sodium, calcium, iron, zinc, manganese, B vitamins, vitamin A, C, D3, E and K (Catarino, Silva, & Cardoso, 2018).
Fiber and polysaccharides
Bladderwrack contains insoluble and soluble fibers as well as polysaccharides called fucoidan and alginic acid. These functional complex carbohydrates may have implications in terms of improving gastrointestinal health and regulating bowel movements, lowering cholesterol and blood sugar, and thus the incidence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A high fiber diet also has an inverse relationship with obesity (Diaz-Rubio, Jimenez, & Calixto, 2009).
Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
Bladderwrack contains antioxidants such as polyphenols as well as fucoidans, which act to neutralize free radicals and reduce inflammation. Animal studies suggest it has potential to ameliorate the inflammation seen in colitis-induced rats. A human in vivo study showed that a daily administration of 300mg for 12 weeks resulted in reduced knee pain for osteoarthritis suffers.
Additionally, these fucoidans exhibit anti-tumerogenic potential as well as anti-coagulative/blood thinning properties (Diaz-Rubio, Jimenez, & Calixto, 2009) & (Catarino, Silva, & Cardoso, 2018).
Bladderwrack should be avoided by pregnant or breastfeeding women or those who wish to become pregnant. It should also not be used by those afflicted by hyperthyroidism or those on medications to treat hypothyroidism. Bladderwrack contains significant quantities of iodine that if used chronically, could precipitate issues such as goiter or thyroid malignancies. Bladderwrack can also slow blood clotting mechanisms, and if used in high quantities could increase bleeding time and bruising. It may also interact with medications such as blood thinners and anticoagulants, as well as thyroid medications (2019) & (2020).
There is a compound in the burdock root that inhibits intestinal glucose processing enzymes in the small intestine that slows its absorption and therefore, the serum glucose response. It also contains a compound called lignin that seems to play a role in combating diabetes by regulating blood sugar (Chan et al., 2011) & (Ahangarpour et al., 2017).
Inflammation and infection
Burdock root possess the ability to counteract and inhibit proinflammatory mediators which could have positive implications for chronic diseases such as mitigating cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases. It has also been used for centuries to help cure various infectious ailments such as sore throat, boils, acne, biofilm related urinary tract infections and several bacterial species (Chan et al., 2011).
Burdock root contains polyphenols such as tannins and flavonoids which scavenge free radicals that can oxidize and damage tissues, and thus promoting inflammation and carcinogenesis. The plant also contains a compound called arctiginin, that kills or is cytotoxic to cancer cells that are nutritionally deprived of glucose, and therefore, preventing tumorigenesis (Chan et al., 2011).
Like all herbal treatments, burdock root does not come without it’s potential for side effects and interactions. Burdock is likely safe in amounts consumed as part of a meal, but likely not safe as a topical preparation for a duration over 4 weeks. It may cause an allergic reaction for those who are also allergic to marigolds, daisies, or ragweed, so be mindful of any signs such as skin rashes. There is not enough safety information regarding pregnancy or breastfeeding, and so it is best to avoid during those life stages. Burdock may slow clotting and can increase bleeding time and interact with anticoagulants and blood thinners. Burdock may also lower blood sugar, and so those prone to hypoglycemia or who are on antidiabetic or insulin medications should avoid it or speak to a physician (WebMD. 2020) & (Villines, 2017).
These natural remedial plants are contained within our superior supplement formulation along with the nutrient packed sea moss seaweed. Our enhanced health support supplement is called “Viu Nutrition”.
Fucus Vesiculosus: MedlinePlus Supplements. (2019). Retrieved July 05, 2020, from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/726.html
Bladderwrack: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning. (2020). Retrieved July 05, 2020, from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-726/bladderwrack
N. (2020). SUMMARY OF DATA FOR CHEMICAL SELECTION Bladderwrack (pp. 1-11, Rep. No. N02-CB-07007 (10/00)). Technical Resources International.
Diaz-Rubio, M. E., Jimenez, J. P., & Calixto, F. S. (2009). Dietary fiber and antioxidant capacity in Fucus vesiculosus products. Retrieved July 05, 2020, from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09637480802189643?needAccess=true
Catarino, M., Silva, A., & Cardoso, S. (2018, July 27). Phycochemical Constituents and Biological Activities of Fucus spp. Retrieved July 05, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6117670/
Burdock: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning. (2020). Retrieved July 05, 2020, from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-111/burdock
Ahangarpour, A., Heidari, H., Oroojan, A., Mirzavandi, F., Nasr Esfehani, K., & Dehghan Mohammadi, Z. (2017). Antidiabetic, hypolipidemic and hepatoprotective effects of Arctium lappa root's hydro-alcoholic extract on nicotinamide-streptozotocin induced type 2 model of diabetes in male mice. Retrieved July 05, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5355822/
Villines, Z. (2017). Burdock root: Benefits, side effects, and uses. Retrieved July 05, 2020, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320035
Chan, Y. S., Cheng, L. N., Wu, J. H., Chan, E., Kwan, W. Y., Yuen-Lee, S. M., . . . Chan, S. W. (2011). A Review of the Pharmacological Effects of Arctium Lappa (Burdock). 1-11. doi:10.1007/s10787-010-0062-4.