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Most people are aware that regularly adding dietary fiber is essential for good health. The food industry usually sources dietary fiber from terrestrial sources, however, a red seaweed known as dulse (Palmaria palmata) is also a rich source of complex dietary fiber and this complexity sets dulse apart as a potent prebiotic.

Dulse contains the polysaccharide xylan as its main cell wall constituent, with proteins and minerals integrated within a complex matrix. This complex structure allows xylan to pass through the upper digestive tract, arriving in the lower gut intact where it acts as nutrition and substrate for our gut microbiota.

Xylan functions as a prebiotic, supporting a diverse and healthy probiotic microbial community within the gut. Xylan contributes to your overall gut health by increasing short chain fatty acid production by probiotic bacteria within the GI tract. The production of short chain fatty acids from probiotic microbes is enhanced by the presence of dulse in the diet, and this results in many health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective activities.

A recent study with mice indicated that the diversity of probiotic bacteria was increased within their GI tracts. Beneficial probiotic Lactobacillus, Proteobacteria, and Bactriodia communities were enhanced when fed with a water extract of dulse. Enhancing the diversity and health of probiotic gut microbiota led to increased production of short chain fatty acids and these in turn influenced the gut brain axis.

The gut brain axis refers to the bidirectional communication between the central nervous system and the gut linking emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with intestinal functions. This interesting study suggests that with the consumption of prebiotic xylan found in dulse, both gut and brain health may be enhanced.  

Consumers are increasingly looking to purchase sustainable sources of food and dietary fiber. Dulse has recently been domesticated by Acadian Seaplants Limited and is now being farmed in an land-based seaweed cultivation system that does not adversely affect the natural environment and is highly productive and traceable. Also, sustainable wild harvesting of dulse has been done for centuries around the North Atlantic where it is found in abundance. So, if you are looking for a new source of dietary fiber, dulse is a highly sought after marine algae that adds complex prebiotic dietary fiber to your diet, enhances gut health and positively influences the gut brain axis.

Ready to provide your customers with the benefits of prebiotic fiber foods? Contact us for more information on our cultivated Palmaria palmata.


Want to include the power of dulse in your products? Let’s talk.


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