Seaweed, kelp, bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus)

background

Seaweeds are brown or green algae that live on or near the sea floor. Fucusvesiculosus, also called bladderwrack, is a brown seaweed that belongs to the Fucaceae family. The name sometimes refers to Ascophyllum nodosum, another brown seaweed. These species often make up kelp mixtures, along with other types of seaweed.
Bladderwrack has been used to treat thyroid gland problems and has been used in weight loss formulas. Some studies have shown that bladderwrack may thin the blood and lower blood sugar levels.
Information on the active ingredients of bladderwrack is lacking. Most of the effects of bladderwrack are shared by brown seaweed species as a whole. Overall, there is not enough evidence on the safety and effectiveness of seaweed in humans.

Related Terms

Acinetosporaceae (family), Acrochaetiaceae (family), agar, Akkesiphycaceae (family), alanine, Alariaceae (family), algas marinas (Spanish), algin, alginates, alginic acid, Aquamin®, arginine, Arthrocladiaceae (family), Ascophyllum nodosum, Ascoseriaceae (family), Asparagopsis armata (Harv.), aspartic acid, astaxanthin, beta-carotene, beta-glucans, Bifurcariopsidaceae (family), black-tang, bladder, bladder fucus, bladderwrack, Blasen-tang (German), Bonnemasoniaceae (family), brown algae, brown seaweed, brown seaweed extract, brown tropical seaweed, calcium, carrageenans, Carraguard®, Caulacanthaceae (family), Caulerpa lentillifera, Caulerpaceae (family), Cermiaceae (family), Champiaceae (family), chlorophyta, Chordaceae (family), Chordariaceae (family), Chordariopsidaceae (family), Choristocarpaceae (family), cobalamin, Codiaceae (family), Colaconemataceae (family), common seawrack, Corallinaceae (family), Costariaceae (family), Cruoriaceae (family), cut weed, Cutleriaceae (family), Cystocloniaceae (family), Cystophyllum fusiforme, Cystoseiraceae (family), Dasyaceae (family), Delesseriaceae (family), Delisea pulchra (Greville) Montagne, Desmarestiaceae (family), Dictyotaceae (family), dried nori, Dumontiaceae (family), Durvilleaeceae, Dyers fucus, (E)-9-oxooctadec-10-enoic acid (S6C), (E)-10-oxooctadec-8-enoic acid (S5C), Ecklonia cava, Ecklonia cava Kjellman, Ecklonia kurome, Ecklonia stolinifera, Ectocarpaceae (family), edible seaweed, Eisenia arborea, Eisenia bicyclis, Eucheuma cottonii, fatty acids, fermented tangle weed, fiber, Fucaceae (family), fucaxanthin, fuco negro (Spanish), fucoidans, fucophorethols, fucose, fucoxanthin, Fucus, Fucus distichus, Fucus evanescens, Fucus Plus®, Fucus vesiculosus, furanones, Furcellariaceae (family), galactose, Galaxauraceae (family), Gelidiaceae (family), GFS, Gigartinaceae (family), glucose, gluatmic acid, Gracilaria verrucosa, Gracilariaceae (family), green algae, green seaweed, glycine, Hai-ts'ao, Halymeniaceae (family), Heterochordariaceae (family), heterofucans, Himanthaliaceae (family), Hormosiraceae (family), iodine, iron, Ishigeaceae (family), Japanese kelp, Kappaphycus alvarezii, kelp, kelpware, knotted wrack, kombu, Laminaria cloustoni, Laminaria digitata, Laminaria japonica, Laminaria longicruris, Laminaria saccharina, Laminariaceae (family), lectins, Lessoniaceae (family), Liagoraceae (family), Lomentariaceae (family), Macrocystis pyrifera, magnesium, marine algae, marine brown algae, marine carotenoids, marine green algae, marine macroalgae, marine red algae, mekabu fucoidan, Meereiche (German), minerals, mucopolysaccharides, Nemastomataceae (family), Neoralfsiaceae (family), nori, ogonori, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, Padina gymnospora, Palmaria palmata, Palmariaceae (family), Petalonia bingamiae, Peyssonneliaceae (family), Phaeophyceae, phaeophyta, phenolics, phloroglucinol, phlorotannins, phosphonyl glycosyl ester diglycerides, phosphorus, Phyllophoraceae (family), Plocamiaceae (family), polyphenols, polysaccharides, popping wrack, Porphyra yezoensis, potassium, proline, protein, Pseudochordaceae (family), Pylaiellaceae (family), Quercus marina, Ralfsiaceae (family), raw nori, red alga, red algae, red fucus, red marine seaweed, red seaweed, Rhodomelaceae (family), Rhodophysemataceae (family), rhodophyta, Rhodymeniaceae (family), rockrack, rockweed, Sarcomeniaceae (family), Sargassaceae (family), Sargassum polycystum, Schweintang (German), Scytosiphonaceae (family), Scytothamnaceae (family), sea alga, sea algae, sea cabbage, sea kelp, sea lettuce, sea oak, sea wrack, seaware, seaweed, seaweed extract, seaweed soup, seeds of tangles, Seetang (German), sodium alginate, Solieriaceae (family), Spatoglossum schröederi, Sphacelariaceae (family), Sphaerococcaceae (family), Splachnidiaceae (family), Sporochnacaeae, Stylonemataceae (family), Stypocaulaceae (family), sulfate, sulfated polysaccharides, sulfonyl ester diglycerides, sulfuryl ester diglycerides, swine tang, tang, tangle weed, tannins, Tasmanian tororokombu, trace metals, tropical marine algae, Ulva lactuca, ulvans, Undaria pinnatifida, uronic acids, varech vésiculeux (French), ventol, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, vraic, wakaame, wrack, xylose.
Select combination products: Xanthigen®-600 (300 milligrams of brown seaweed extract containing 2.4 milligrams of fucoxanthin and 300 milligrams of pomegranate seed oil).
Note: Overall, there is some disagreement over what is thought to be a seaweed over other types of algae. This bottom line focuses on the most common types of seaweed and does not include blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria), agar, or discussion of laminaria tents.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
 
Acne (Grade: C)
Early research suggests that a product containing seaweed compounds and zinc may help improve mild acne. More research is needed.
AIDS/HIV (Grade: C)
A study found that a Chinese herbal formula containing seaweed lacked effects on HIV symptoms. More research on seaweed alone is needed.
Antibacterial/antifungal (Grade: C)
Early studies suggest that seaweed may block the growth of bacteria and fungi. However, results are conflicting. There is a lack of human evidence.
Antioxidant (Grade: C)
Early research suggests that compounds of bladderwrack may have antioxidant effects. Antioxidant effects were found in some extracts of brown seaweed species such as
Blood thinner (Grade: C)
Although it has not been well studied in humans, early research suggests that brown seaweeds may have blood-thinning effects. Human evidence is limited. The effects of seaweed itself are not clear, and more research is needed.
Breast disease (Grade: C)
A drug made with compounds from brown sea algae, omega-3 fatty acids, iodine, and chlorophyll may reduce symptoms of breast pain, premenstrual syndrome, and painful menstrual periods in people who have benign breast tumors. More research is needed.
Burns (Grade: C)
The use of dressings containing algae has been studied for burns. However, the effects of seaweed on burns are still unclear. More research is needed.
Cancer (Grade: C)
Although it has not been well studied in humans, some research suggests that brown algae may block the growth of cancer cells. Human evidence is lacking, although one study in women after menopause found that eating seaweed raised the risk of thyroid cancer. More research is needed.
Diabetes (Grade: C)
Although it has not been well studied in humans, some research suggests that seaweed extract may lower blood sugar levels. Human evidence is limited, though some studies found that eating a seaweed compound may lower blood sugar levels after meals. However, the results are conflicting, as other studies reported that bread enriched with seaweed lacked effects on blood sugar.
Goiter (thyroid disease) (Grade: C)
Bladderwrack contains iodine and has been used to treat goiter (enlarged thyroid). However, the effects of bladderwrack on this condition are not yet well understood. Bladderwrack may be a good source of iodine for people who do not have enough in their diets. Information on dosing, safety, and effectiveness are not available. There is not enough evidence to strongly support the use of bladderwrack.
Gum disease (Grade: C)
Early research suggests that a mouthwash containing seaweed extract may help reduce bacteria and symptoms of gum disease. However, the effect of seaweed alone is unclear. More research is needed.
Heart disease (Grade: C)
Eating jam that contains seaweed may help people who have heart disease in which there is a low supply of blood to the heart. More research is needed before conclusions can be made.
Herpes (Grade: C)
Early studies suggest that seaweed extract may block herpes viruses and that it may also promote healing and prevent symptoms in infected people. More research is needed.
High blood pressure (Grade: C)
Evidence on the effects of seaweed on blood pressure is lacking. More research is needed before conclusions can be made.
Human T-cell lymphocytic virus (Grade: C)
Early research found that seaweed may help people who have human T-lymphotropic virus, which is associated with leukemia. However, the effect of seaweed is still unclear, and more research is needed before conclusions can be made.
Kidney disease (Grade: C)
Diet therapy using a seaweed compound has been studied for use in people with kidney disease. However, further data are lacking, and more research is needed.
Leg ulcers (Grade: C)
Seaweed has been studied as a potential treatment for some types of leg ulcers. However, information is limited, and more research is needed.
Metabolic syndrome (Grade: C)
Early research found that brown seaweed may reduce the size of the waist in people who have metabolic syndrome. More research is needed before conclusions can be made.
Osteoarthritis (Grade: C)
Limited research suggests that a natural mineral supplement made from seaweed (Aquamin™) may help people who have osteoarthritis (stiff and painful joints). However, the effects of seaweed alone are still unclear.
Performance enhancement (Grade: C)
Early studies found that a seaweed compound may help improve endurance in college students. More research on seaweed alone is needed before conclusions can be made.
Sexually transmitted disease (Grade: C)
Limited research suggests that a seaweed-based gel (Carraguard®) may lack benefits for preventing sexually transmitted disease. More research is needed before conclusions can be made.
Skin conditions (Grade: C)
Some studies report that seaweed-based dressings and better blood sugar control may speed the healing of some skin diseases. The effects of different dressings and agents applied to the skin have been studied in people with skin grafts, and algae-based dressings have been studied for pressure ulcers. Further information is lacking, and the effect of seaweed alone is unclear.
Skin irritation (Grade: C)
Early research found that a fabric containing seaweed may help people who have atopic dermatitis (scaly and itchy rashes). However, the effect of seaweed alone is unclear, and more research is needed.
Weight loss (Grade: C)
Bladderwrack and other seaweed products have been marketed for weight loss. Seaweed has been studied for this use in reviews and studies on fat burners and weight loss products. Further human research is needed to determine the safety and effectiveness of seaweed or seaweed extract alone.