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What Is Bladderwrack Used for Today?
Bladderwrack contains high concentrations of iodine , and for this reason it has been recommended as a treatment for hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland). 1 However, iodine will only help for the type of hypothyroidism caused by iodine deficiency, which is a relatively rare condition in the developed world. If your iodine levels are not low, taking extra amounts of iodine can cause your thyroid gland to become either over- or underactive, causinghyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, respectively. Furthermore, the amount of iodine supplied by bladderwrack is unpredictable.
A component of bladderwrack called alginic acid swells upon contact with water. When taken orally, it forms a type of seal at the top of the stomach, and for this reason is used in over-the-counter preparations for heartburn . The same constituent gives bladderwrack laxative properties, as well. 2 Other proposed uses of bladderwrack include treating atherosclerosis and strengthening immunity , but there is no meaningful evidence at present that it works for these purposes. 3
- Newall C, Anderson, LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines : A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London, England: Pharmaceutical Press; 1996.
- Newall C, Anderson, LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London, England: Pharmaceutical Press; 1996.
- Criado MT, Ferreiros CM. Immunomodulatory effect produced in mice by a complex-carbohydrate specific lectin-like mucopolysaccharide from Fucus vesiculosus. IRCS J Med Sci. 1983;11:286–287.