Fucus vesiculosus, a type of seaweed, is a common food in Japan but is it unclear if it's completely safe to eat. Seaweeds are known to have high levels of iodine, which can be both a good and bad thing. Learn about the possible benefits and risks of adding Fucus vesiculosus to your diet.
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Fucus vesiculosus, commonly called bladder wrack, is seaweed found in the northern Pacific and Atlantic oceans, as well as in the North and Baltic Seas. Fucus vesiculosus has been used for hundreds of years as a medical miracle cure for a plethora of ailments, but gained its mark in history with the discovery of iodine in 1811.
You can buy Focus vesiculosus in capsule form at most herbal supplement stores from online herbal outlets like Nutriherb. If you don't like pills, it is available at Gaia Herbs in drop form, and added to water or other beverages. Dried bladder wrack (Focus vesiculosus) can be used to make tea, a recipe common in Canada.
Research at BioMed suggests that Fucus vesiculosus may alter hormone levels decreasing cancer risk for women at high risk for oestrogen dependent cancers. There is a lowered rate of hormone dependent cancers in Japanese women where Fucus vesiculosus is commonly consumed.
Thyroid conditions are very prevalent and Fucus vesiculosus can be used to make up for low levels of iodine. Fucus vesiculosus has also been used for lowering cholesterol. While research has yet to prove its effectiveness, Fucus vesiculosus is used in the treatment of obesity, as a laxative, hair loss, diabetes, psoriasis, arthritis, immune system strengthening, antioxidant and cancers.
Edible Fucus Vesiculosus
In European and Asian countries, Fucus vesiculosus and other seaweed is commonly eaten and used as a food additive. Seaweeds are often fried and eaten as a meal, and are also used in sushi. You might be surprised to find Fucus vesiculosus in your organic salad or wrap. An increasing number of health-minded people are adding Fucus vesiculosus to their diets in soups and sandwiches.
Fucus vesiculosus is also known by many other names: bladderwrack, bladder wrack, kelp, seaweed, brown algae, green algae, red algae, fucus, red focus, sea kelp, sea wrack, popping seaweed, popping wrack, meereiche, black tang, sea oak, swine tang and vesiculeux.
Bearing that Fucus vesiculosus is how iodine was discovered; the iodine levels in food containing this seaweed could have unsafe levels of iodine. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, too much iodine can lead to hypothyroidism and autoimmune thyroiditis. These conditions either cause the thyroid to overfunction or to stop functioning adequately. MedlinePlus also mentions possible severe side effects of acne-like lesions, dangerous changes in glucose levels, bleeding disorders and allergic reactions. Fucus vesiculosus also may contain unpredictable amounts of vitamins, minerals and dangerous contaminants from water, including arsenic.
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