Thyroid dysfunction affects millions of Americans, many of whom are never diagnosed. Besides medical intervention, adding bladderwrack seaweed to your diet may have some surprising benefits for the thyroid and overall health.
Bladderwrack, also known by the scientific name Fucus vesiculosus, is the most common type of seaweed found in the ocean. For centuries, it has been widely regarded in many cultures as an herbal remedy and culinary ingredient, says Organic Facts
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According to nutrition expert Dr. Nan Fuchs, writing at Healthy.net, one reason for underactive thyroid
(hypothyroidism) is a lack of iodine in the diet. The thyroid gland needs iodine to produce its two main hormones, T3 and T4, that regulate the body’s metabolism and other bodily functions. Eating seaweed and other sea vegetables can supply iodine when there is a deficiency. Bladderwrack seaweed is considered a brown seaweed, and these are known to have the highest levels of iodine of all the seaweeds.
Bladderwrack seaweed, because of its high iodine levels, can help stimulate an underactive thyroid, which in turn helps to speed up the metabolism, says Herbal Wisdom
One of the symptoms of hypothyroidism is weight gain, so adding seaweed to the diet could help maintain a healthy weight and reduce overall inflammation.
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Fuchs advises patients to buy bladderwrack seaweed from reliable sources such as trusted health food stores. It can be incorporated into foods like soups, grains, and salads, or toasted in the oven to enjoy as a snack. Toasting does not affect the iodine levels and it may make the seaweed more palatable to some. If eating seaweed is not appealing, it also can be found in powdered form in capsules.
Bladderwrack seaweed can be helpful in treating hypothyroidism, but for those with hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid, taking in excess iodine can actually cause harm, advises Organic Facts. They also caution against taking seaweed if you are preparing to have surgery since it can prevent the blood from clotting properly.
As with any herbal supplement, thyroid patients should discuss it with their physicians to determine if seaweed should be a part of an overall treatment plan.
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