Bladderwrack

Plant Part Used

Thallus

Introduction

Bladderwrack is a type of marine algae that is dried and then made into a dietary supplement. Bladderwrack and other marine algae have been used for centuries in the medical traditions of Europe and Asia. The low incidence of goiter in maritime populations has been attributed to the iodine content in bladderwrack. Bladderwrack, also contains potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, and other minerals.

Interactions and Depletions

Interactions

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

300 - 600mg, 1-3 times a day.

Extract: 4 to 8 ml, 3 times daily. (1)

Most Common Dosage

600mg, 2 times a day.

Extract: 4 ml, 3 times daily.

Standardization

[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]

The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to no more than 150mcg of iodine daily.

It is important that levels of iodine be listed on the product label to ensure safety. (2) , (3)

Reported Uses

In addition to providing a dietary source of iodine, bladderwrack may enhance weight loss. (4) It is believed that this potential effect is linked to iodine’s stimulation of the thyroid gland, which in turn plays a role in metabolism. Additionally, bladderwrack may lower cholesterol levels. (5) , (6)

Studies suggest that some of the active compounds in bladderwrack may inhibit the HIV virus. (7) Other studies suggest that it may lower blood sugar levels while potentially operating as a laxative. (8) , (9) Fucoidan, one of the active compounds in bladderwrack, has demonstrated blood thinning properties in laboratory studies (10) , (11) and a rat study has shown improvement of blood flow in the kidneys. (12)

Toxicities & Precautions

Introduction

[span class=alert]Be sure to tell your pharmacist, doctor, or other health care providers about any dietary supplements you are taking. There may be a potential for interactions or side effects.[/span]

General

This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines. However, it has been reported that marine based plants can contain various levels of iodine as well as traces of heavy metals such as arsenic. (13) It is important that the levels of iodine are listed on the product label to ensure safety.

If you are planning to have any type of surgery or dental work, stop using this dietary supplement for at least 14 days prior to the procedure.

Allergy

Some individuals experience an allergic reaction when taking this dietary supplement. This dietary supplement may cause contact dermatitis in sensitive individuals. (14) Call your doctor or seek medical attention if you have fast or irregular breathing, skin rash, hives or itching.

Health Conditions

If you are sensitive to iodine, do not use this dietary supplement. If you have a thyroid condition or a bleeding disorder talk to your doctor before taking this dietary supplement.

If you have a bleeding disorder, talk to your doctor before taking this dietary supplement.

Side Effects

Side effects are possible with any dietary supplement. Excessive use of this dietary supplement may lead to symptoms associated with iodine overdose including hyperthyroidism, tremor, increased pulse rate and hypertension. (15) Tell your doctor if these side effects become severe or do not go away.

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

This dietary supplement should not be used if you are pregnant or breast-feeding an infant. (16)

Age Limitations

This dietary supplement should not be used in children unless recommended by a physician. (17)

References

  1. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:107.
  2. View Abstract: Phaneuf D, Cote I, Dumas P, et al. Evaluation of the Contamination of Marine Algae (Seaweed) from the St. Lawrence River and Likely to be Consumed by Humans. Environ Res. Feb1999;80(2 Pt 2):S175-S182.
  3. View Abstract: Norman JA, Pickford CJ, Sanders TW, Waller M. Human intake of arsenic and iodine from seaweed-based food supplements and health foods available in the UK. Food Addit Contam. Jan1987;5(1):103–109.
  4. Curro F, et al. Fucus vesiculosis L. nel Trattamento Medico Dell’Obesita e delle Alterazioni Metaboliche Connesse. Arch Med Interna. 1976;28:19-32.
  5. View Abstract: Tang ZL, et al. A study of Laminaria digitata powder on experimental hyperlipoproteinemia and its hemorrheology. Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih. Apr1989;9(4):223-5,198.
  6. View Abstract: Wang C, et al. Comparison of effects of two kinds of soluble algae polysaccharide on blood lipid, liver lipid, platelet aggregation and growth in rats. Chung Hua Yu Fang I Hsueh Tsa Chih. Nov1997;31(6):342-5.
  7. View Abstract: Beress A, et al. A new procedure for the isolation of anti-HIV compounds (polysaccharides and polyphenols) from the marine alga Fucus vesiculosus. J Nat Prod. Apr1993;56(4):478-88.
  8. View Abstract: Lamela M, et al. Hypoglycemic activity of several seaweed extracts. J Ethnopharmacol. Nov1989; 27(1-2):35-43.
  9. Newall CA, et al. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press;1996:124-126.
  10. View Abstract: Haroun-Bouhedja F, Ellouali M, Sinquin C, Boisson-Vidal C. Relationship between sulfate groups and biological activities of fucans. Thromb Res. Dec2000;100(5):453-9.
  11. View Abstract: Chevolot L, Mulloy B, Ratiskol J, Foucault A, Colliec-Jouault S. A disaccharide repeat unit is the major structure in fucoidans from two species of brown algae. Carbohydr Res. Feb2001;330(4):529-35.
  12. View Abstract: Bojakowski K, Abramczyk P, Bojakowska M, Zwolinska A, Przybylski J, Gaciong Z. Fucoidan improves the renal blood flow in the early stage of renal ischemia/reperfusion injury in the rat. J Physiol Pharmacol. Mar2001;52(1):137-43.
  13. View Abstract: Norman JA, Pickford CJ, Sanders TW, Waller M. Human intake of arsenic and iodine from seaweed-based food supplements and health foods available in the UK. Food Addit Contam. Jan1987;5(1):103–109.
  14. Harrell BL, et al. Kelp diet: A Cause of acneiform eruption. Arch Derm. 1976;112:560.
  15. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:107.
  16. View Abstract: Norman JA, Pickford CJ, Sanders TW, Waller M. Human intake of arsenic and iodine from seaweed-based food supplements and health foods available in the UK. Food Addit Contam. Jan1987;5(1):103–109.
  17. View Abstract: Norman JA, Pickford CJ, Sanders TW, Waller M. Human intake of arsenic and iodine from seaweed-based food supplements and health foods available in the UK. Food Addit Contam. Jan1987;5(1):103–109.