Fucus vesiculosus or bladderwrack,(Brown Seaweed) is a salty sea vegetable that’s popular in many cuisines. Limited evidence supports many of the claims of its medicinal benefits, but some studies suggest it may have health perks.
Brown seaweed (Laminaria japonica, or kombu) is rich in organic iodine, fucoidan, alginates, fucoxanthin, laminarin and other mineral values. It also contains all of the 72 different trace minerals, which are often lacking in people living in the Western hemisphere, particularly the U.S.
What are the nutritional benefits of brown seaweed?
Brown seaweed is packed with nutrients. It’s an excellent source of iodine, an essential mineral for healthy thyroid function. It also provides:
- vitamin B-2, or riboflavin
- vitamin B-9, which is also known as folate or folic acid
- vitamin B-12
Eating a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods, such as brown seaweed, can help you get the vitamins and minerals that your body needs. The fiber in brown seaweed can also promote digestive health while warding off constipation.
What medical claims are made about brown seaweed?
Some people have claimed brown seaweed is a cure for many conditions. One of the claims is that it can detoxify your body of radiation. Some people also suggest it can cause cancerous tumors to self-destruct. No scientific evidence supports either of these claims.
Brown seaweed does contain some substances that may help treat certain conditions, including certain types of cancer and obesity.
Brown seaweed contains an element called fucoidan, which researchers have isolated and tested for its effect on cancer. According to research published in Marine Drugs, fucoidan has shown promise in eradicating or slowing the spread of colorectal and breast cancers.
Brown seaweed also contains fucoxanthin, which is a pigment that’s responsible for its color. A study reported in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism suggests that a combination of fucoxanthin and pomegranate seed oil may help promote weight loss and reduce liver fat in obese women. It’s important to note that the research participants took supplements containing higher doses of fucoxanthin than you’d get from eating the seaweed straight.