Bladderwrack

Related Terms

  • Black Tang
  • Cut Weed
  • Rockweed
  • Rockwrack
  • Seawrack

Uses

Principal Proposed Uses

  • None

Other Proposed Uses

Bladderwrack is a type of seaweed found on the coasts of the North Sea, the western Baltic Sea, and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. A common food in Japan, it is used as an additive and flavoring in various food products in Europe. Bladderwrack is commonly found as a component of kelp tablets or powders used as nutritional supplements. It is sometimes loosely called kelp, but that term technically refers to a different seaweed.

What Is Bladderwrack Used for Today?

Bladderwrack contains high concentrations of iodine , and for this reason it has been recommended as a treatment for hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland). 1 However, iodine will only help for the type of hypothyroidism caused by iodine deficiency, which is a relatively rare condition in the developed world. If your iodine levels are not low, taking extra amounts of iodine can cause your thyroid gland to become either over- or underactive, causinghyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, respectively. Furthermore, the amount of iodine supplied by bladderwrack is unpredictable. A component of bladderwrack called alginic acid swells upon contact with water. When taken orally, it forms a type of seal at the top of the stomach, and for this reason is used in over-the-counter preparations for heartburn . The same constituent gives bladderwrack laxative properties, as well. 2 Other proposed uses of bladderwrack include treating atherosclerosis and strengthening immunity , but there is no meaningful evidence at present that it works for these purposes. 3,4

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