Bladderwrack, also called rockweed, black tang, red fucus, and various other names, is an edible brown seaweed that grows along the coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the North and Baltic seas. Like many other sea vegetables such as kelp, nori, and kombu, bladderwrack is beloved – especially in East Asia – for its medicinal properties. Indeed, it was the original source of iodine in Europe, and was used in the early nineteenth century to treat goiter, a swelling of the thyroid gland caused by an iodine deficiency. Let’s take a closer look at the health benefits of bladderwrack and see what it can do for us.
List of Health Benefits
Rich in iodine – Since bladderwrack was Europe’s original source of iodine, it makes sense to start by pointing out this seaweed’s incredible iodine content. Indeed, 50 grams of bladderwrack contain more than 100 percent of our recommended daily intake of this essential, thyroid-regulating mineral. Moreover, the organic iodine present in bladderwrack is more easily absorbed than the inorganic form found in iodized salt and other iodine-enriched products.
Protection from radioactive iodine – Due to its iodine content, bladderwrack is able to protect the thyroid from absorbing cancer-causing radioactive iodine in the event of a nuclear disaster, such as the one that befell Fukushima in 2011. This is because the organic iodine found in the seaweed binds with, and fills, the thyroid gland’s receptors, thereby preventing radioactive iodine from doing the same. This should be viewed as a short-term solution, however, since excessive iodine consumption can lead to thyroid dysfunction.
Fiber content and weight loss properties – All sea vegetables are a great source of soluble fiber, and bladderwrack is no exception. Comprised of between 20 and 40 percent fiber (mostly in the form of alginic acid, mucilage, and fucoidan), bladderwrack is a great choice for people suffering from constipation, as well as a good weight loss food since its high fiber content (which helps you feel fuller for longer) is coupled with no fat and few calories.