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Bladderwrack

Also indexed as:Fucus vesiculosus
Bladderwrack: Main Image © Martin Wall
Botanical names:
Fucus vesiculosus

Parts Used & Where Grown

Bladderwrack is a type of brown algae (seaweed) that grows on the northern Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States and on the northern Atlantic coast and Baltic coast of Europe. The main stem of bladderwrack, known as the thallus, is used medicinally. The thallus has tough, air-filled pods or bladders to help the algae float—thus the name bladderwrack. Although bladderwrack is sometimes called kelp, that name is not specific to this species and should be avoided.

  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for AmountWhy
Constipation
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Alginic acid, one of the major constituents in bladderwrack, is a type of dietary fiber that may be used to relieve constipation.
Diarrhea
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Alginic acid, a constituent in bladderwrack, is a type of dietary fiber and as a result may help relieve diarrhea.
Gastritis
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Bladderwrack is high in mucilage, which may be advantageous for people with gastritis because its slippery nature soothes irritated mucus membranes of the digestive tract.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Bladderwrack is a soothing herb traditionally used to treat reflux and heartburn.
Hypothyroidism
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Bladderwrack is a type of brown seaweed that contains iodine. Hypothyroidism due to insufficient iodine intake may improve with bladderwrack supplementation.
Indigestion, Heartburn, and Low Stomach Acidity
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Bladderwrack is a demulcent herb, meaning it seems to work by decreasing inflammation and forming a barrier against irritants such as stomach acid.
Iodine Deficiency
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
In people with insufficient iodine in their diet, bladderwrack may serve as a supplemental source of iodine. As products are not always standardized, anyone considering taking bladderwrack should first consult a physician.
Wound Healing
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Alginic acid is one of the main constituents in bladderwrack. Calcium alginate has shown promise as an agent to speed wound healing.

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Bladderwrack’s mucilaginous thallus has long been used to soothe irritated and inflamed tissues in the body.1 It was also historically used as a bulk-forming laxative.2 People living near oceans or seas have a historically low rate of hypothyroidism, due, in part, to ingestion of iodine-rich food, such as seafood and seaweeds like bladderwrack. It has also been used to counter obesity, possibly due to its reputation for stimulating the thyroid gland. Clinical research in this area has failed to confirm that seaweeds like bladderwrack help with weight loss,3 though more specific research is warranted.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.


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