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Allergen Free Seaweed Supplied by Seaweed & Co.

It may seem odd that seaweed (clearly from the sea!) could be considered allergen free seaweed.  However, Seaweed & Co. can offer allergen free seaweed within the parameters stated, and which we explain more about here. By its very nature, seaweed comes from the sea, and so the presence of fish and crustaceans in the same water as our seaweed is something that we cannot avoid.  However, we do offer allergen free seaweed by virtue of the way we harvest, process and undertake extensive analysis. Furthermore, our allergen free seaweed goes further to ensure allergens are not handled on site, and operating procedures are in place to cover this. Harvesting for Allergen Free Seaweed The core species of seaweed we harvest, Ascophyllum nodosum, is cut by specialist vessels, and not by hand.  This is a key part of reducing the likelihood of allergens such as fish, crustaceans and molluscs.  The seaweed is cut around high tide, when it is floating up towards the water surface.  Since only the top foot or two of the seaweed is harvested, then there is far less likelihood of encountering other organisms.  When seaweed is hand harvested, it is done at low-tide which is when the seaweed is on the rocks out of the water.  At this stage, other organisms are active in and around the seaweed.  This makes the likelihood of potential allergens being incorporated in harvested seaweed much higher. An interesting fact about Ascophyllum seaweed is that it needs to reduce its drag in the water due to the often high energy environments that the it inhabits.   Higher drag increase the...

Seaweed During Pregnancy – the Number One Craving!!

We’re deighted to report that seaweed during pregnancy is apparently the number one craving!! This may not be as odd as you think, especially when we explore the sceince and importance of seaweed nutrition during pregnancy and beyond. During pregnancy there are often some pretty bizzare cravings, including mud and coal (apparently!). According to the motherhood website, Emma’s Diary, who ran the survey, seaweed snacks were number one (followed by jam and then chicken chow mein): The UK’s top 10 pregnancy cravings! 1. Seaweed 2. Jam 3. Chicken chow mein 4. Chicken and strawberry sandwich 5. Hot dogs 6. Lemon slices and blocks of cheese 7. Yorkshire puddings 8. Ice 9. Chicken tikka 10. Olives Experts state that if you are eating a balanced diet, then cravings are less likely.  Some cravings indicate a deficiency though, and cravings such as eating ice may be because it soothes an irritated tongue often seen in iron deficient people. An urge to eat non-nutritive substances, a condition called pica, can occur in pregnant women with an iron deficiency. Seaweed During Pregnancy A serious aspect of seaweed during pregancy is the source of iodine that seaweed can supply. We add here an advisory note, and a lesson to many out there, that there are around 10,000 different types of seaweeds globally. This reflects a diversity of iodine levels too – some low, some very high.  However, the risks of iodine excess are not high if you ensure you use a reputable source and brand of seaweed, from a good source and supply.  Get in touch if you want to learn more. Iodine is...

Industry First from Seaweed & Co.’s Supply – DNA Authentication!

Increasingly industry is requiring better traceability, transparency and authentication of the foods and ingredients being used. At Seaweed & Co., and with the input of Dr Craig Rose, our expert panel and key collaborators, a highly innovative and proprietary process has been developed to extract and analyse the DNA of our seaweed.  Our experts therefore offer a 100% validation system which ensures our seaweed is exactly what we claim. DNA identification is well known in crime thrillers, and now its use for food and nutraceutical products is increasing as, when the product is suitable (e.g. a wholefood that has its DNA in tact), the test is extremely valuable as DNA does not lie. Where DNA is damaged or extracted from a product, then clearly this is not the technique to use for seaweed supply or other product validation.  Initial testing also shows that our seaweed supply retains its DNA integrity, whereas others; due to heavier and more aggressive milling; appear to have significant cell and DNA damage, as well as poorer nutritional measures of key parameters. DNA analysis is particularly useful when working with natural and wild harvested ingredients such as seaweeds where contamination could be possible from other species, but which should be avoided.  Primarily though is the need to ensure that poorer quality seaweed supplies are not used or blended with our premium material by unscrupulous manufacturers. Seaweed & Co.’s DNA authentication is part of our wider traceability system, which includes logging and reporting the details of harvesting sites, full range of chemical and nutritional analyses, iodine standardisation, and even down to the name of the harvesters....

Seaweed Nutrition Could Tackle National Iodine Deficiency

The rapid emergence of seaweed-based food products could benefit serious issues of iodine insufficiency in the UK, with quality seaweed supply and good labelling being a must, says recent study from Glasgow University In the UK, 76% of girls and 66% of adult women have insufficient levels of iodine. These are levels worse than South Sudan! A diet deficient in iodine can cause serious health concerns from babies to old age. Read our previous blog on the importance of iodine during pregnancy The significant growth in seaweed food products on our supermarket shelves is a great thing to provide highly nutritious and sustainable foods, and in particular the supply of iodine that is naturally rich in many nutritious seaweed products. It is important to note that globally there are around 10,000 different species of seaweed, and in the UK alone, around 650 species of seaweed. This vast diversity is reflected in seaweeds’ nutritional properties, flavours and other positive attributes. The Glasgow University seaweed study found that of the 224 seaweed products available, just 22 had stated iodine levels on packs. Whilst this does not mean there are necessarily issues with the other products, the labelling does not give specific details and there are some species of seaweed that can be very high in iodine, which may cause issue (especially ‘kelps’). To some degree, this remains a controversial point however; with anecdotal evidence from Japan showing high iodine intakes from seaweed (compared to Western standards) do not cause significant issue, and have multiple health benefits. However, quality, safety and traceability of seaweed supply are paramount. Knowing the iodine levels, which...

Could Seaweed be a Cure for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

A new study suggests that fucoidans, that can be found in edible brown seaweed, may become a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a chronic illness, often associated with a gut infection. As reported by NHS statistics, there are approximately 146,000 people who are affected with ulcerative colitis, a type of IBD. Until recently there was no real hope to cure ulcerative colitis and doctors could only relief symptoms. However, Professor Nuri Gueven from the University of Tasmania, working together with Australian biotechnology company Marinova, found that the existing on the market seaweed extracts fucoidans may potentially become the solution for those who suffer from IBD. Not only do these seaweed nutrient extracts help to reduce cumulative histological disease (it was cut by 36.3%), but the seaweed nutrient extracts made a significant impact on one of the side effects, as weight loss was reduced by more then 50%. Dr Fitton, senior scientist at Marinova, believes that this success may increase the popularity of fucoidans from seaweed when it comes to gut health. Further research is still on-going, as a mechanism of operation of seaweed extract needs to be identified, and there is no other single source like seaweeds that can demonstrate this potential, and address the trends essential for our future impact. Doctor Seaweed is never surprised when seaweeds shows such promise for the treatment of conditions such as IBS and other health concerns. By providing so many benefits, seaweed is often called THE food of Future. For this reason, Seaweed & Co. actively participates in various research projects. Our seaweeds, which do contain funcodians,...

84% of Women are Unaware of the Importance of Iodine During Pregnancy

Iodine insufficiency is a huge, and under-reported problem in the UK, and many parts of Europe. Seaweed can offer a solution to this, with multiple other benefits also. Pregnant women are not eating enough foods rich in iodine, which includes fish, milk, eggs and…seaweed of course. This iodine insufficient diet can cause issue to the cognitive development of their babies, damaging IQ levels and with wider developmental conditions also. This was reported in a recent study from Glasgow University Iodine is required for the production of thyroid hormones, crucial for the baby’s brain and nervous system development in the womb and in early childhood. A deficiency has been linked to developmental impairments such as poor intelligence and reading in later childhood. Dr Emilie Combet, who led the research at the University of Glasgow, said: “Women aren’t receiving the message about the importance of iodine in pregnancy, meaning they cannot make informed choices to ensure they get the amount they require.” Iodine deficiency affects 1.9 billion people globally and is the most preventable cause of intellectual disability. The UK is ranked 8th in a list of iodine-deficient countries in the world – and in a recent report had levels worse than South Sudan. The main sources of iodine-rich foods are seafood and dairy products, and in some countries iodine-fortified salt or bread. Seaweed is not as well known in the West, but is naturally rich in iodine – although with large variation depending on the species. In the UK, the Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) for adults is 140ug per day, with no proposed increment for pregnant and lactating women. Unborn...