Seaweed for digestive health and nutrition

Posted by in Healthcare Industry Trends on March 11, 2014 . .

As our new organic Sea & Soil supplement has now arrived, we thought we would run a series of blog posts on some of the incredible ingredients. First, we will take a look at the food approved seaweeds - Ascophyllum nodosum and Fucus vesiculosus.

Potential health benefits

Seaweeds, or ‘kelps’ as the wild brown algae are sometimes referred to, are known to:

Seaweed for colon health

For the purposes of this blog post, we will look in a little more detail at precisely why seaweeds are recommended for natural digestive healing and optimal nutrition.

For one thing, clinical nutritionists point to the ability of these ‘brown’ seaweeds to bind to and eliminate toxic metals, as well as regulate fatty acid metabolism and electrolyte balance. What's more, certain varieties of these brown seaweeds offer a virtually complete balance of all the nutrients in one convenient package - which also helps to explain these claims for such a remarkably broad efficacy.

In the average Western diet, a wide variety of natural whole foods is required on a daily basis for homeostasis and to perform literally thousands of complex functions in the body, starting with digestion - the entry point into our bodies for both nutrients and toxins.

In his book, "Colon Health Handbook", Dr Robert Gray refers to an alkalising diet of vegetables, fruits, sprouts, honey, millet and other non-mucoid forming foods as a sound foundation for colon health and nutrition “with seaweed and zinc as supplements”.

Similarly, in the scientifically proven macrobiotic approach to a balanced diet - rooted in oriental culinary traditions - a small volume of sea vegetables, about 2%, is taken daily, eaten as a condiment, in soup, cooked with grains, beans and vegetables as a seasoning to supply minerals, and as a small side dish about twice a week. According to the most recently available statistics, this 2% equates to 4.6g - a heaped teaspoon of dried ground wild wrack seaweed.

The balance of micronutrients

Unfortunately, it is now very difficult to obtain a truly comprehensive spectrum of nutrients from landgrown, manufactured and processed foods - the effects of soil deficiencies and nutrient imbalances are well documented. And this is exacerbated in the case of special diets (such as those of coeliacs), where certain foods are restricted due to illness and therapy, allergy and intolerance, pregnancy, metabolic disorders and weight management, and where there is poor colon health or inefficient digestion.

The nature of land foods is that each species has a distinct, but partial, profile - high in some nutrients, low in others and all with some nutrients missing. Hence the need to ‘graze’ in the wild, or produce a wide variety of land foods. Even then, the mineral content will depend on the growing medium - from soil-less growing under 24/7 lighting to rich composted soil on a biodynamic farm.

Sea vs soil

In contrast to the land, the ocean is a rich and consistent growing medium where abundant seaweeds feed a multitude of species. Brown seaweed is a complete, primordial food which, having no roots, is able to directly absorb and convert nutrients from this great resource which covers 70% of the planet - the final repository of all the Earth’s minerals which Nature has few ways of returning to the soil.

Seaweed nutrition

The seaweed, which is also rich in plant protein, is able to transform these nutrients into a unique whole food with not only all of the trace elements (like selenium and zinc), but also the entire B-group of vitamins and other rare vitamins (including absorbable B12, D, H and K). In addition to chlorophyll (a powerful phyto-chemical), there are other rare pigments and potent antioxidants present, like astaxanthin and violaxanthin.

A range of indigestible polysaccharides in seaweed have been shown to protect the gut wall against harmful bacteria and to bind with pollutants and toxic metals (like lead and mercury) for elimination through the bowel. This is of particular note in terms of the treatment of obesity, since fat stores toxins which are then released into the system during the process of fat reduction.

Like green tea (which we have also included in our organic Sea & Soil capsules), there are valuable tannins and polyphenols in seaweed. Compared against the most nutrient-dense species of land fruits and vegetables, half a teaspoon of dried wrack seaweed has the same amount of vitamin B2 as 100g of blackberries or broccoli!

All of this is vital for the endocrine system (so often involved in colon disorders), which depends on the dietary balance and daily intake of macro- and micro-nutrients to trigger digestive acids, hormones and enzymes.

Of all the brown seaweeds, the wild wrack species (of which Ascophyllum and Fucus are two) has the broadest balance of nutrients and are the most suitable human food ingredients.

In summary:

  • it protects and heals the gut endothelial lining
  • its macro- and micro-nutrient profile balances and fills any gaps in the diet
  • it binds to and excretes through the bowel any pollutants and toxins (including heavy metals)
  • it has a natural prebiotic effect, as a result of the special seaweed polysaccharides (approx. 25% of the seaweed)
  • it has natural anti-bacterial properties (e.g. anti-Candida and prevents adhesion of pylori bacteria)
  • it improves metabolism and circulation to the epidermis.

Seagreens® food approved seaweed

The Seagreens® food approved seaweed used in Sea & Soil is harvested and produced to consistent food quality standards. Its certified organic production in the remote islands of the Scottish Outer Hebrides won a Crown Estate Business Award in 2010.

We have deliberately designed an all-in-one formula in our new Sea & Soil alkalising, nourishing, cleanse and detox supplement, which is for use in the everyday Western diet, as well as in macrobiotics. It is convenient, easy to take and safe (including non-allergenic).

This product is available for re-sale under your own label (or our label) and can be dropshipped by us.

Register as a trade customer for FREE today, to access full information about this wholesale supplement (including wholesale prices and discount structure).

We look forward to working with you, and don't forget to connect to us on LinkedIn and for regular trade updates.