If you’re looking for the best bladderwrack supplements to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our Bladderwrack Supplements Guide.
Top 10 Bladderwrack Supplements
|#1||Nature’s Way Bladderwrack||More Info|
|#2||Oregon’s Wild Harvest Bladderwrack Organic||More Info|
|#3||Solaray Bladderwrack||More Info|
|#4||Nature’s Answer Bladderwrack||More Info|
|#5||Starwest Botanicals Organic Bladderwrack Powder||More Info|
|#6||Herb Pharm Bladderwrack Extract||More Info|
|#7||Swanson Bladderwrack Leaves||More Info|
|#8||Nature’s Answer Bladderwrack Thallus||More Info|
|#9||Teatox Life Bladderwrack powder Kelp||More Info|
|#10||Naturetition Supplements Ultimate Greens Max||More Info|
Bladderwrack is one type of seaweed. Its scientific name is Fucus vesiculosis. The name “bladderwrack” comes from the air-filled sacs, or bladders, that help the plant float so it can collect the sunlight it needs.
The raw plant is not safe to eat, but dietary supplements can be made from extracts of the plant. As with other seaweed supplements, bladderwrack is most commonly used as a complementary treatment for thyroid conditions. It grows naturally in the Pacific Ocean near the Northwestern United States and in the northern Atlantic Ocean.
A similar-sounding supplement name is bladderwort. The two plants are not related and should not be confused for each other.
What is a Bladderwrack Supplement?
Bladderwrack as an ingredient in dietary supplement is also known as Atlantic kelp, black tang, bladder fucus, brown algae, cutweed, kelp, knotted wrack, marine oak, Norwegian seaweed, and rockweed. Even though “Atlantic kelp” is one of the plant’s common names, it is not actually related to kelp.
In complementary and alternative medicine traditions, bladderwrack supplements are used to treat thyroid conditions that include goiter (a condition in which the thyroid gland swells), iodine deficiency, and underactive thyroid.
Other traditional uses for bladderwrack supplements are to treat:
- Arteriosclerosis (“hardening of the arteries”)
- Digestive disorders
- Hair loss
- High blood pressure
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Joint pain
- Urinary tract infections
It is also used for more general health conditions, such as “blood cleansing,” increasing energy, and boosting the immune system. Compounds containing bladderwrack extracts can also be applied topically, and some of the topical uses for bladderwrack have included treating insect bites, treating burns, treating skin diseases, preventing dry skin, and helping to make skin appear younger-looking.
Many of these complementary and alternative medicine uses of bladderwrack supplements have not been supported by rigorous scientific testing and/or need much more study before they can be scientifically validated. Although bladderwrack supplements are known to have an effect on the thyroid gland and stimulation of this gland has been linked to weight loss, most studies have not shown evidence that bladderwrack supplements can help with weight loss.
Benefits of Bladderwrack Supplements
Bladderwrack supplements, like many other sea vegetable products, contain iodine, which is useful in helping to prevent goiter and treating other thyroid conditions. Algin, another substance found in bladderwrack supplements, has a laxative effect. This substance is sometimes called alginic acid. Algin or alginic acid contains natural fiber, which is why bladderwrack is sometimes used as a natural remedy for constipation.
The angiotensin-I-converting enzyme, which affects high blood pressure, is inhibited in people who take bladderwrack supplements. In this way, these seaweed supplements may help lower blood pressure.
Bladderwrack and other brown seaweeds are rich in the B vitamins and antioxidants, both of which are linked to nutritional benefits and positive health effects. The plant may also have antibacterial and anti-hypertensive effects according to some sources, although further scientific investigation is needed in this area. Its antibacterial properties are thought to be related to the presence of polyphenols, which are strong antioxidants.
As an ingredient in cosmetics, bladderwrack extracts have been shown to decrease the thickness of skin and improve its elasticity. Decreased elasticity and increased thickness are two signs of skin aging. In this way, topical use of bladderwrack extracts may help skin look younger. These studies used cosmetics with a concentration of at least 1% bladderwrack extract. Calcium alginate, another chemical present in bladderwrack supplements, has also been shown in some studies to be effective in promoting wound healing.
Some evidence suggests the relatively low rate of some estrogen-related cancers among Southeast Asian woman could be related to consumption of seaweed. Animal studies have suggested that bladderwrack supplements may help suppress the growth of cancer cells. Further research is needed to help determine if the correlation can be attributed to cause and effect.
Additionally, some evidence suggests bladderwrack may be useful for treating some of the signs of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as headaches, mood swings, water retention, and weight gain, as well as reducing menstrual cramps. These anti-estrogenic effects (that is, it reduces the level of estrogen in the body) of bladderwrack supplements may also include lengthening the menstrual cycle, which can be helpful to some women with irregular periods.
Are There any Side Effects?
Side effects of taking bladderwrack supplements are generally mild for most people. One common side effect is stomach irritation, which may be accompanied by increased salivation and a “brassy” aftertaste. In a rare case, a woman who took a supplement for weight loss that contained bladderwrack along with about 20 other herbal substances presented with hemorrhagic cystitis, a type of urinary tract infection that causes blood in the urine. Her symptoms went away after she stopped taking the weight loss supplement.
Taking excessive amounts of iodine can actually cause thyroid problems, including goiter, rather than help treat or prevent them. Excessive iodine consumption has also been linked to thyroid cancer. People with allergies to iodine should not take any supplements containing bladderwrack. High iodine consumption can also worsen acne.
Bladderwrack supplements have been known to slow blood clotting. Those who have blood clotting disorders should avoid taking any supplements that contain bladderwrack. Supplements containing bladderwrack should also be stopped two weeks prior to any scheduled surgeries, since they can cause bleeding problems during surgery. People who’ve had certain hormone-sensitive cancers, such as breast and ovarian cancer, should consult with a health care provider before using bladderwrack supplements.
Blood sugar levels can also be affected by bladderwrack supplements. Those who are taking medications for hypoglycemia or diabetes will need to consult with a health care provider before taking bladderwrack supplements. A health care provider may suggest monitoring blood glucose levels while using the supplement.
Possible Drug Interactions
Those who take medications for thyroid-related conditions or for blood clotting should talk to their health care provider about possible drug interactions before using any supplements with bladderwrack as an ingredient. Antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs are some of the blood-thinning medications that could possibly interact with bladderwrack supplements.
Other drugs that may interact with bladderwrack supplements may include aspirin, over the counter pain reliever drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen, birth control pills, lithium, heparin, and warfarin (Coumadin).
Pregnancy and Breast Feeding
In addition, bladderwrack supplements have been linked to higher rates of female infertility. Women who are trying to get pregnant should not take them. People who are pregnant or breast feeding should not use bladderwrack supplements until it can be conclusively established that they are safe. Bladderwrack supplements should also be avoided by children.
How to Take Bladderwrack Supplements
Bladderwrack supplements may be taken in the form of a tablet or capsule. Health food stores may sell bladderwrack supplements in the form of powder, which can be mixed in with other ingredients to make a beverage. The powder is also useful for topical skin care use. It can be added to bath water for all-over skin treatment, or added as an ingredient in making soaps, lotions, facial scrubs, and other skin care products.
For liquid extracts of bladderwrack, the U.S. National Institutes of Health recommends a dosage of 4-8 mg per day. When taking tablets or capsules, users of bladderwrack supplements should not exceed the dosage recommended by the manufacturer.
What to Look for in a Good Bladderwrack Supplement
A good bladderwrack supplement should contain a standardized amount of iodine, since inconsistent amounts of iodine may not be useful for treating thyroid-related conditions and too much iodine is dangerous.
Sea vegetables including bladderwrack can also contain high levels of heavy metals, including arsenic, cadmium, and mercury. Any supplements containing bladderwrack should be tested by the manufacturer to ensure they contain safe levels of heavy metals. Heavy metal toxicity can cause abnormal bleeding, reduced platelet cell count, and kidney and liver damage.