Recent studies have been revealing that seaweed for gut health could help to manipulate our gut bacteria after positive results in mice.
Why do we need bacteria for our gut health?
Acknowledging the need to improve gut health is gaining traction, with more studies on how the digestive system works and increasing numbers of consumer products to shape your microbiome. Probiotics (such as the yoghurt drinks you can buy in store) contain live, ‘good’ bacteria which have a positive impact when inhabiting your digestive system. Prebiotics on the other hand, act as food for these bacteria, enabling them to thrive and do their job. If your gut bacteria don’t get enough food, (high fibre, non-digestible) they feed on the mucus lining of the gut which can lead to irritable bowl.
The bacteria help to digest and absorb foods such as indigestible carbohydrates and sugars in dairy products. People with a reduced diversity of gut bacteria often suffer intolerances to such things as dairy. By producing lactic acid they aid in the increased absorption of minerals such as calcium, copper, magnesium, and iron. Maintaining healthy gut flora also helps eliminate gas problems and reduce bad breath.
Seaweed for gut health: Can seaweed improve my gut health?
“The biggest influence you can have on the state of your gut lining, and a healthy microbiome, is your diet – which you control” says Jeannette Hyde, a leading nutritional therapist and regular BBC commentator.
Seaweed is high in fibre – it can make up about 25–75% of seaweed’s dry weight. This is higher than the fibre content of most fruits and vegetables. Additionally, particular sugars found in seaweed called sulphated polysaccharides have been shown to increase the growth of ‘good’ gut bacteria. These polysaccharides can also increase the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), which provide support and nourishment to the cells lining your gut.
A recent study, led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine, reports that consumption of seaweed could help to establish a specific strain of Bacteriodes in our gut able to digest porphyrin (found in seaweeds). Without the seaweed for gut health in the mouse model diet, this specific bacteria wasn’t able to gain a ‘foothold’ in the intestines. Many beneficial bacteria simply pass through us, but now researchers think we can use our diet to change this.
“Porphyrin-digesting genes (from the bacteria) and a diet rich in seaweed is the first pair, but there could potentially be hundreds more. We’d like to expand this simple paradigm into an array of dietary components and microbes” says Justin Sonnenburg, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology and immunology.
Seaweed & Co. are currently undertaking leading research with Newcastle University on the digestive system and the effects of seaweed. Despite research still being in the early stages, the reasons to include seaweed into your diet are numerous. Our PureSeaTM organic Hebridean seaweed has these EU approved health claims:
- Normal Thyroid Function
- Normal Cognitive function
- Energy Yielding Metabolism
- Maintenance of Normal Skin
- Normal Growth of Children
- Normal Functioning Nervous System
And we are always looking at innovative, easy and tasty ways to get seaweed into your diet, and which may include seaweed for gut health!
Why not take a look at Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful Organic Scottish Seaweed Capsules for an extremely easy daily seaweed source.
Want seaweed in your life? Contact us for more information