Bladderwrack: What Is It and What Are the Benefits?

It might be puzzling to you why sea moss, in all its glory as a known superfood, is often combined with bladderwrack and burdock root extract in organic sea moss supplements. The short answer is the combined extracts enhance the nutritional benefits, extending the already impressive effects of sea moss on the immune system, digestion, thyroid health, and many other areas of wellness. 

But let’s have a closer look at one of these complementary plant extracts and see what makes bladderwrack a compatible nutritional powerhouse to sea moss. 

What Is Bladderwrack? 

Bladderwrack is a kind of brown algae or seaweed. It grows on the northern Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the US as well as on the North and Baltic Seas in Europe and various Canadian waters. Its main stem, called the thallus, is the main medicinal source among the parts of the plant. 

Here are some interesting facts about bladderwrack:

  • Bladderwrack may often be called kelp, but take note the name isn’t exclusive to this species and is therefore best avoided in referring to it. 
  • If you’re wondering why it’s named as such, bladderwrack’s thallus contains tough and air-filled pods (bladders) that help the algae stay afloat. 
  • It can grow up to 35 inches tall.
  • Scientifically known as Fucus vesiculosus, bladderwrack is also known by different names including rockweed, dyers fucus, red fucus, black tang, and bladder fucus. 
  • In traditional cultures, seaweed has an important role as part of the regular diet due to its outstanding nutrient profile. 

Bladderwrack’s Nutrient Profile

In a nutshell, bladderwrack is abundant in fiber, vitamins and minerals, and wellness-promoting compounds called phytochemicals. These compounds, such as phlorotannins and fucoxanthin, may help reduce oxidative stress in the body. 

Like sea moss, bladderwrack offers benefits for thyroid function. It contains high levels of iodine, which then supports thyroid health through the production of T3 and T4 hormones. These regulate metabolism, support growth and neurological development, and govern other important processes in the body. As an iodine deficiency can push T3 and T4 levels down and result in health consequences, having optimum levels is crucial. 

Not unlike in sea moss supplementation, though, take note that you can have too much iodine in the body, leading to new thyroid issues. Watch the other iodine sources in your diet if you’re already supplementing. 

Bladderwrack is also known to be rich in antioxidants. These include vitamins A and C, alginic acid, and fucoidans, all known for high antioxidant action and the ability to scavenge disease-causing free radicals in the body. 

Its anti-inflammatory benefits may even go a step ahead, with studies showing improvements in blood sugar control, metabolic syndrome, and other conditions that merit further research. 

This high antioxidant content, which helps the body fight oxidative stress, can also promote the skin’s natural collagen production. The antioxidant fucoidan is particularly worthy of mention, shown in research to promote collagen synthesis and thus assist in the improved look of cellulite, skin healing, and delaying premature skin aging. 

Final Notes

Bladderwrack has been cited in helping resolve or improve a range of conditions, such as:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gastritis
  • GERD
  • Wound healing
  • Hypothyroidism 
  • Heartburn and indigestion

Because of its ability to stimulate the thyroid, bladderwrack has also been used traditionally to fight obesity, although further clinical research is needed. 

Bladderwrack is generally deemed safe. What one might find challenging, however, are potential issues of acne, thyroid dysfunction (due to excess iodine), and heavy metal contamination. This makes it critical to know where your sea moss, bladderwrack and burdock root supplement is sourced from, as well as the manufacturing process that it went through before going to market.