SEAWEEDS AS MEDICINE
SEAWEEDS AS MEDICINE
Seaweeds as the Best Dietary Sources of Essential Minerals
All essential minerals are provided by dietary seaweeds. No land plant even remotely approaches seaweeds as sources of metabolically-required minerals(See Bergner1997). Seaweeds can provide minerals often absent from freshwater and food crops grown on mineral-depleted soils. In addition to eating seaweeds regularly, those gardening for food can use copious amounts of seaweeds for mulch and fertilizer(Traditional Irish fertilizer, see: Man of Aran, and The Field), add seaweeds abundantly to compost, and even make seaweed tea sprayed directly onto leaves for foliar feeding through the stomates , as ways to therapeutically get trace elements into patients a trifle covertly.
Leon Uris in his novel, Trinity, delightfully describes the social scene accompanying “kelping” by the Irish.
Seaweeds are 20-50% dry weight mineral(Kazutosi, 2002). This figure is obtained by burning off seaweed’s organic material and weighing the remaining ash. The elements abundant in seaweeds include: potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, chloride, sulfur, phosphorous, vanadium, cobalt, manganese, selenium, bromine, iodine, arsenic, iron, and fluorine.
The large Brown seaweeds (Laminaria species ( known collectively as Kombu), various kelps(Icelandic kelp, Norwegian kelp, Bullwhip kelp,Sugar kelp,Giant Pacific kelp, and Hijiki), Bladderwrack, Rockweed, Sargassum, Wakame, and Sea Palm, tend to contain more minerals per unit weight than the Red seaweeds (Nori, Irish Moss, Dulse, Grapestone, and Euchemia).
Many human body substances require particular mineral elements as part(s) of their respective structure. Examples are iron for hemoglobin and iodine for thyroxine.
For our bodies to function, we use proteins called enzymes. Most enzymes require one or more coenzymatic factors; these coenzymatic factors are usually one or more metals. cations. Chronic dietary shortages or disease-related mineral depletions can produce both specific and general disease conditions: Iodine shortage results in varying degrees of thyroid dysfunction; poor absorption of dietary calcium can result in osteoporosis. Adequate residential body mineral supplies are critical for optimal body system functioning. My personal observations support the notion that non-specific disease categories such as Chronic Fatigue, lack of energy, subclinical depression and depressed immunity are probably due to inadequate minerals either in the diet and /or in the body. Many times I have seen chronically exhausted patients exhibit complete symptom resolution after several weeks of adding 5-10 grams of seaweeds to their daily diets.
In the hydrated seaweeds, raw or cooked, minerals are mostly in aqueous solution and readily available for intestinal absorption in humans. These accumulated minerals can be loosely considered primary metabolites. Even though they are not manufactured by the seaweeds, they are concentrated against the osmotic gradient to cause a much higher concentration of each mineral inside seaweed cells and intercellular spaces than in the surrounding seawater. This enables seaweeds to use water equilibrium mechanics to move materials in and out of their cells. It is no accident that seaweeds concentrate metal cations and other elements many times their respective concentrations in seawater. They have almost unlimited access to mineral resources unavailable to most land plants and animals.
CAUTION: Celtic Sea Salt and other designer so-called natural or raw, evaporated seawater sea salt products are not good sources of some trace elements, particularly iodine, iron, copper, and selenium. This is unfortunate since just plain sea salt is basically healthier than the modified commercial table salts.
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