We all know you are what you eat, but what about what you don’t eat? Deficiencies in key nutrients, mineral or bioactive compounds can result in undesirable health outcomes as well. The good news is consumers recognize the need to make up any shortcomings of their diets, hench the projected 8.9% growth rate of the dietary supplement market between 2022 and 2030.
As consumers explore their dietary options, more and more are learning that a health remedy used for hundreds, if not thousands of years by coastal communities, can make waves for their nutrition in the 21st century. Kelp dietary supplements or those made from seaweed extracts are increasingly stocked in people’s cabinets and pantries.
We’ve talked about the benefits of brown seaweed, but what are the health benefit of dulse (or Palmaria palmata)? Though there’s an ocean of potential for this red seaweed, here are four key advantages that adding this supplement to your diet can achieve.
1.) Building Strong Bones
Healthy bone growth requires a combination of nutrients and minerals that the Western diet doesn’t always offer. In addition to calcium and vitamin D, shortages in folate can result in bones that are prone to fracture. Also, animal studies have demonstrated that dietary restrictions in iron significantly decreased bone mineral content and bone mass density of femurs.
In addition to making the right dietary choices, people can supplement any of these bone-building nutrients with seaweed supplements to prevent deficiencies that can drastically impact their quality of life. In fact, dulse is a great source of iron, and can help people as they attempt to address their mineral deficiencies. We’ve found in our own research that cultivated sources of dulse can more than double the amount of iron available.
2.) Improving Healthy Metabolism
A good metabolism is the cornerstone of healthy life. Without it, people struggle to maintain the chemical processes which convert food and drink into energy. One major piece of this natural process is iodine, a trace mineral which helps the body to achieve and maintain peak metabolic performance. People with iodine deficiencies often struggle with unexpected weight gain, weakness, and fatigue.
In general, seaweed is a rich source of iodine. While growing in coastal waters, they absorb some of the trace mineral which is abundant in seawater. Dulse is in the middle of the pack when it comes to iodine content among seaweed species. It contains about 100 to 350 ppm, which means a little bit of this type of seaweed goes a long way – especially for anyone who is suffering from iodine deficiency.
3.) Boost Immune Response
One key defensive mechanism of any healthy immune response is a robust population of beneficial gut microbes. A microbiota filled with benevolent microorganisms makes it harder for pathogens to gain access to growing space within the digestive tract as well as potentially training neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, to detect the presence of pathogens.
For a robust microbiota to thrive, they need an abundance of dietary fiber, also known as prebiotics, to feed and multiply. Dulse, like many seaweed species, offers gut microbes with a bounty of the prebiotics they need to thrive. When it comes to cultivated dulse, we’ve seen dietary fiber content reach 32%, which gives beneficial microorganisms plenty to eat.
4.) Enhancing Digestion
Once our bodies have extracted energy from our food and drink, we need to eliminate the remaining waste in an efficient manner. It’s not a pretty process, but we need the right biomolecules to do it.
Fiber delivers results in two ways. Soluble fiber pulls water into the GI tract, which softens stool and increases bowel regularity. Insoluble fiber, which does not dissolve water, helps with the passage of that waste through the digestive track. Additionally, when some of that fiber is fermented by the colon microbiota, it produces short chain fatty acids, which provide the colon with a major source of energy and better digestive performance.
Overall, seaweed is rich in soluble and insoluble polysaccharides which can help to maximize digestion and improve colon health..
Just Scratching the Surface
Nutritionists and researchers are discovering new advantages as they dig deeper into the chemical composition and nutritional value of this marine resource. That’s why we see great potential from dulse as a nutritional supplement.
In fact, the density of specific nutrients and organic compounds within this red seaweed means that consumers can make up for their deficiencies with small dosages of the supplement. That way, people can get the added nutrients they need—all without needing to make drastic changes to their diets.
Want to learn more about the health benefits of dulse seaweed? You can learn about the various uses of Palmaria palmata here.