Seaweed is a type of macroalgae that grows in the water bodies, including oceans, rivers, and lakes. These are a form of marine plants that is edible and considered as vegetables. From red, green, brown to black; seaweeds come in a diverse array of colors and shades.
Seaweed is grown along the rocky shores around the world. It is widely consumed in Asian countries such as China, Japan, and Korea. Seaweed not only serves as a source of food for aquatic species, but they also have significant tremendous nutritional value for us. It is a very resourceful algae used in many cuisines and servings like soups, stews, sushi rolls, salads, and seaweed supplements.
This article will discuss the assortment of benefits that consuming seaweed supplements have on our health.
Health Benefits of Seaweed
Research has shown that seaweed is optimally packed with distinctive bioactive elements, which are generally not found in earthly food sources. These include diverse proteins (peptides, amino acids, lectins, phycobiliproteins), polysaccharides, and polyphenols.
There is growing evidence that seaweeds offer a wide range of health benefits as a novel edible source. It has the potential to be used as a concoction for various health applications. Potential benefits include anticancer, antiviral, anticoagulant properties alongside the capability to amend gut health, maintain weight, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
Here is a list of health benefits that seaweed supplements offer. 
1. Iodine and Tyrosine Provide Thyroid Function Support
The thyroid gland’s main function is to release hormones that help control several functions, including energy production, growth, reproduction, and cell repair in the body [2, 3].
Iodine deficiency can manifest as chronic fatigue and exhaustion. | Source: Freepik.com
The thyroid gland is dependent on iodine for the production of hormones. If there is an iodine deficiency in your body, symptoms like fatigue, weight issues, and swelling might occur over time. The recommended dietary intake (RDI) of iodine is 150 mcg/day.
Seaweed has an excellent capability of absorbing incredible amounts of iodine from the water bodies.  The iodine content of seaweeds differs according to its type, location, and processing technique. The RDI of a dried sheet of seaweed can range from 11–1,989%.
The breakdown of iodine values in three different types of dried seaweeds :
- Kombu: 2523 mcg per gram, [1,682% RDI]
- Wakame: 139 mcg per gram, [93% RDI
- Nori: 37 mcg per gram, [25% RDI]
Kelp is one of the types of seaweed that is the best source of iodine. 3.5 grams (one teaspoon) of dried kelp consists of approximately 59 times the RDI.
Tyrosine is one of the amino acids in seaweed, along with iodine, which is employed in making the primary hormones to maintain the thyroid gland’s functioning. 
2. Act as An Excellent Source of Minerals and Vitamins
All types of seaweed are distinct in their range of nutrients. Alongside adding taste and texture to your food, dried seaweeds serve as an excellent source of enhancing your body’s vitamin and mineral levels.
The nutritional value of 7 grams (1 tablespoon) of dried spirulina consists of 20 calories, 4 grams proteins, 1.7 grams carbohydrates, 0.3 grams fat, and 0.5 grams fat. Its riboflavin content forms 15% of the RDI, thiamin, and iron – 11% of the RDI, manganese forms 7%, and copper forms 21% of the RDI.
Seaweed is a marine plant that comprises trace amounts of vitamins A, C, E & K, folic acid, sodium, zinc, magnesium, and calcium. Used as seasoning and sprinkling, the optimally sourced seaweeds can also act as an easy way to top up your body’s nutrient levels even if consumed once or twice a week.
What’s more? Some seaweeds, such as chlorella and spirulina, are loaded with all the essential amino acids. Thus, seaweed supplements, e.g., Chlorella 500, serve as a remarkable resource providing the full range of amino acids. 
One of the most significant ingredients for flawless skin, Omega-3 fatty acids, is not only found in cod liver oil but also in seaweeds.
Moreover, the dried green and purple seaweeds are considered to possess an ample amount of vitamin B12. A study showed 4 grams of Nori seaweed to contain 2.4 mcg or 100% of the RDI of vitamin B12. At present, however, there is a continuing discussion on the body’s ability to absorb the vitamin B12 that comes from seaweed 
3. Provides Cell Protection Through Various Antioxidants
Antioxidants play a protective role in your body by combating the harmful free radicals. A rise in free radicals’ production due to various cellular metabolic reactions may possibly end up causing a variety of health complications like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Some vitamins present in seaweed like vitamins A, C, and E act as potent antioxidants. In addition to these, seaweed is a rich source of several benevolent antioxidant plant compounds, carotenoids, and flavonoids. These compounds have demonstrated adequate free-radical neutralizing properties, protecting your body from the harmful effects of free radicals by making them less reactive and potent. This way goes a long way to help sustain the normal function of body cells.
Although there is a variety of antioxidant variety in seaweeds, studies focus on a specific carotenoid referred to as fucoxanthin. One of the major carotenoids present in brown algae, like wakame, is fucoxanthin. It consists of 13.5 times higher antioxidant potential as compared to vitamin E. 
Fucoxanthin has shown to possess a much better potential for cell membrane protection as compared to vitamin A. Even though the human body might not absorb fucoxanthin very well, its absorption can be enhanced by taking fat along with it. Similarly, among our products, Detox Complex is the complete toxin removal, weight reducing, and energy solution for you.
4. Maintain Gut Health by Supplying Fiber and Polysaccharides
Researchers estimate that healthy gut bacteria outnumber your body cells. These bacteria play a significant role in sustaining gut health. When the balance of these good and bad gut bacteria is disturbed, the risk of infection, illness, and disease development rise exponentially. 
Seaweed enhances gut health due to its characteristic fiber content that plays a key role in gut health improvement. The fiber content in seaweed is higher than that found in most veggies and fruits, comprising 25 to 75% of seaweed’s dry weight.
Fiber is used as a food for microorganisms present in the large intestine and plays an integral role in gut motility and digestion. Furthermore, specific seaweed sugars known as sulfated polysaccharides are considered to favor the growth of good bacteria in the gut. These polysaccharides sustain and nourish the cells that make up your gut lining by enhancing short-chain fatty acid production (SCFA). 
5. Reduces Apatite and Helps Reduce Weight
Seaweeds are rich in fiber, which does not have caloric content.
Seaweed’s fiber content also reduces the gut motility, slowing down the stomach emptying and making you feel fuller for longer.
The carotenoid fucoxanthin in seaweed is also considered to have anti-obesity effects. Various studies on animals show that fucoxanthin mobilizes weight by reducing body fat. One study reported that rats that ate fucoxanthin demonstrated weight-reduction while those that didn’t have fucoxanthin in the control diet had no effect on their body weight. It was concluded that this phenomenon occurred by an increase in the expression of a protein that enhances fat metabolism in rats.
Accompanying the seaweed supplement Golden Saffron Extract in your weight loss regime can be a remarkable combination for excellent outcomes. 
Other studies complemented these results. For example, it was found that fucoxanthin significantly decreased blood sugar levels in rats, facilitating weight reduction. The findings of the animal studies are promising; however, it’s essential that human studies be carried out for their verification.
6. Maintains Adequate Heart Function
One of the leading causes of death throughout the world is cardiovascular disease. Factors that elevate the risk of heart disease include:
- Being overweight or physically inactive
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Excessive blood clotting
Amusingly, seaweeds also facilitate the reduction of cholesterol levels in the blood. A study done on rats fed them with a diet high in cholesterol and fat and were simultaneously given 10% freeze-dried seaweed over 8 weeks. The findings showed that rats reduced to 40% lower total cholesterol, 31% lower triglyceride, and 36% lower LDL cholesterol levels at the end of the study period.
Seaweed also consists of fucans, which are carbohydrates that might help avert the blood clotting mechanism. This was supported by a study that showed that fucans that come from seaweed are as effective in preventing blood clotting as an anti-clotting drug. 
7. Can Improve Blood Sugar Control, Reducing the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Studies show that seaweed can help diabetic patients. Source: Freepik.com
The disturbance of optimal balance in the blood sugar content over time leads to diabetes, which is a major health crisis. According to a source, 642 million people worldwide are expected to have type 1 or type 2 diabetes by 2040. 
Seaweed has now earned the center of research focus for novel ways to support people at risk of developing diabetes. A study conducted in 60 Japanese human subjects over 8 weeks reported that fucoxanthin, found in brown seaweed, may aid in improving control of blood sugar levels.
Seaweed oil containing 0 mg, 1 mg, or 2 mg fucoxanthin was given to participants, and it was revealed that the serum sugar level of subjects who received 2 mg fucoxanthin was improved as compared to the control group, receiving 0 mg fucoxanthin. 
It was also found that people who have a genetic tendency of insulin resistance, mostly found in type 2 diabetes, also showed considerable improvements in blood sugar levels. Besides, a compound in seaweed known as alginate, prohibited spikes in blood sugar levels in animals after a high-sugar dietary intake. It is considered that alginate works by decreasing the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, thereby preventing an increase in the serum sugar levels.
Can I Eat Seaweed Every Day?
Whether it is topped as a seasoning, added to a salad, or cooked in food, seaweeds can be consumed in optimal quantity every day. Ole G. Mouritsen, a biophysics researcher at the University of Southern Denmark, states that although it is not entirely understood how much seaweed an individual should consume for unlocking its full benefits, an estimated 5-10 grams per day is the average. 
Seaweeds can provide benevolent effects on your health. Experts opine that adding seaweed supplements to food can add flavor to food while also making it healthier. However, distinguishing between healthy and unhealthy seaweed might be difficult for everyone.
Thus, the question arises that are seaweed supplements safe?
Some seaweed categories consist of higher amounts of components like iodine, while others, like hijiki, contain arsenic. Thus, there are a few points to consider when consuming them:
- Use seaweeds from a reliable source such as an authentic store or supplier, and never eat seaweeds off the shore.
- Don’t go overboard when using seaweeds. A small amount (1-2 teaspoon) per day can be enough to achieve the desired health benefits.
- When buying processed or packaged seaweeds, check for any additives. Opt for the product which is free of additives and 100% pure.
Physicians have also reported severe cases in which consuming too much unregulated seaweed leads to excess iodine levels and heavy metal toxicity. Therefore, if you want to reap the most out of the seaweed diet, it is recommended to follow the aforementioned guidelines and enjoy it safely.
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