Bladderwrack For Weight Loss


Bladderwrack has become a hot topic in the weight loss world due to its ability to burn fat even when asleep. Bladderwrack is derived from wakame kelp which is a highly nutritious green seaweed that hails from the Northern Atlantic Ocean. It contains naturally occurring iodine and is currently used as both a traditional food and medicine in Japan and China.


Bladderwrack, a form of seaweed, is used medicinally for thyroid concerns, arthritis and joint pain, obesity, iodine deficiency, constipation and a number of other conditions. It is also used topically for the skin to treat insect bites, aging, burns and skin diseases. However, there is not enough evidence to support the use of bladderwrack for any medicinal use. MedlinePlus claims that seaweed hasn’t been effective in helping people lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.


Bladderwrack has been used for obesity because it is believed to stimulate your thyroid gland to regulate weight. It was discovered for this purpose in 1862 by Dr. Duchesne-Duparc, who noticed the weight loss when he was attempting to treat chronic psoriasis with bladderwrack. The weight loss resulted from the thyroid gland being stimulated.

Bladderwrack nutrition

For centuries, many cultures have consumed seaweed as part of their regular diet due to its impressive nutrient profile.

Bladderwrack is a type of seaweed that’s rich in vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, iodine, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc, and vitamins A and C

It’s also high in phytochemicals. These health-promoting plant compounds, which include phlorotannins and fucoxanthin, may help lower oxidative stress — an imbalance between free radical and antioxidant levels in your body

Bladderwrack is high in fiber, which can support a healthy gut. In particular, it’s high in alginic acid and fucoidans, which have both been shown to have health-promoting properties 


Bladderwrack is high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and health-promoting plant compounds known as phytochemicals.

Bladderwrack Benefits

Let’s take a closer look at some of the health benefits of bladderwrack.

Potent Source of Iodine

Bladderwrack was the source of iodine back in the 19th century. Iodine is an important modulator of our thyroid gland and can ensure that our hormonal and metabolic activities are under control. Therefore, as a powerful source of iodine, bladderwrack has become associated with treating many types of thyroid disorders, including goiter. However, studies have shown that the therapeutic use of iodine requires medical supervision as too much or too little can cause further disruption in the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. Researchers found that bladderwrack when combined with herbs like guggul and blue flag root, can have beneficial effects in the treatment of thyroid dysfunction. They also found that bladderwrack could cause iodine sensitivity. 

May Aid In Weight Loss

In many cultures, bladderwrack is thought to heighten metabolism, which makes it easier to lose weight. Many weight loss supplements do contain bladderwrack in combination with other herbs, because of its effect on the workings of the thyroid gland. There is no clinical evidence to suggest that these drugs help in weight loss or metabolism management. However, a 2016 committee report by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) stated that the effectiveness of bladderwrack medicines is plausible even though there is no conclusive study and that there is evidence that they have been safely used for weight management for at least 30 years. 

Reduced Inflammation

One of the other popular uses of bladderwrack over the years has been as an anti-inflammatory substance due to its active constituents – fucoidans and fucoxanthin. Whether you are suffering from gout, arthritis, hemorrhoids, or skin irritation, bladderwrack may successfully neutralize the irritation, reduce swelling, and even relieve pain. The internal and external (topical) uses of bladderwrack may both be useful approaches and are even better in conjunction, such as for sore muscles and joints. One 12-week study showed that isolated fucoidans from brown marine algae including bladderwrack helped reduce arthritis stiffness and pain. However, better human clinical trials are needed to support this use. 

Improved Digestion

There are several different types of fiber found in bladderwrack, but one particularly important one is alginic acid. Alginic acid relieves constipation and adds bulk to stool, promoting a smooth digestive process that is efficient in terms of nutrient uptake. Bladderwrack steeped in hot water with ginger, or bladderwrack tea, is often used to relieve excess flatulence, bloating, cramping, and more serious conditions like gastric ulcers.

May Boost Heart Health

Research studies have linked bladderwrack with higher levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), which may contribute to helping you prevent atherosclerosis, lowering blood pressure, reducing your risk of strokes and heart attacks, and generally lessen the strain on your cardiovascular system. 

Anti-aging Properties

There are many valuable minerals found in bladderwrack that can help to make the skin beautiful, but there are also powerful organic chemicals that can slow down the aging process. These antioxidants in bladderwrack keep the skin looking healthy and young, reduce age spots and blemishes, and lessen the appearance of wrinkles. Antioxidants can also boost skin elasticity, keeping your skin looking tight and toned well into your old age. 

Menstrual Cycle Regularity in Premenopausal Women

Dietary bladderwrack may help increase the duration of the menstrual cycle in premenopausal women and may also help reduce the risk of diseases related to estrogen. A preliminary clinical trial looked at the effect of the seaweed on three premenopausal women with irregular menstrual cycle patterns. They found that it helped prolong the menstrual cycle and exerted an anti-estrogenic effect on the women, which may help reduce the risk of estrogen-related complications. However, a study with a larger sample size may help understand this therapeutic benefit better. 

Other Benefits

Certain active compounds present in bladderwrack are being studied for their possible health benefits. Fucoidan is being studied as a potential therapy against age-related macular degeneration. Calcium alginate in alginic acid may assist in wound healing. Alginic acid has also shown to have an inhibitory effect on the HIV virus in a test tube study. 

Bladderwrack is one of the most common types of seaweed found in the ocean

Health claims

Despite many bladderwrack-related health claims, limited evidence supports the use of bladderwrack for weight loss, arthritis, joint pain, fertility, and urinary tract infections.

Most bladderwrack research involves its effects on thyroid and skin health, as well as its anti-inflammatory properties.

Thyroid function

Bladderwrack contains high levels of iodine, a trace element that supports thyroid health by producing the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones help regulate your metabolism and support proper growth and neurological development 

Iodine deficiency can lead to low T3 and T4 levels and may ultimately cause health complications, such as a goiter and hypothyroidism — a condition characterized by symptoms like weight gain, fatigue, dry skin, and increased sensitivity to the cold 

Though it’s common in developing countries, hypothyroidism from iodine deficiency is rare in the United States and other industrialized nations. Rather, hypothyroidism is mostly related to an autoimmune disease known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis 

Despite being a good dietary source of iodine — a mineral that can support thyroid health — taking bladderwrack supplements or eating large amounts of it may provide excessive amounts of iodine 

Most healthy individuals can safely tolerate excess iodine. However, those with thyroid disorders, such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, should exert caution, as it can lead to worsened symptoms, especially if iodine deficiency was not the root cause of the disorder

To be safe, it’s best to speak with your healthcare provider before taking bladderwrack supplements.

Anti-inflammatory effects

Bladderwrack is rich in antioxidants, such as phlorotannins, fucoxanthin, alginic acid, fucoidans, and vitamins A and C

In particular, phlorotannins and fucoxanthin are known for their high antioxidant activity and ability to scavenge free radicals. Free radicals are harmful compounds that can damage cells and lead to chronic disease and premature aging

Some test-tube and rat studies have shown that brown algae like bladderwrack offer promising anti-inflammatory and may help reduce tumor growth, blood sugar levels, and the risk of heart disease 

Additionally, one large study in 40,707 men and 45,406 women found a 12% decreased risk of heart disease with the daily consumption of seaweed, which contains compounds that are similar to those in bladderwrack 

Beyond this study and another one showing minor improvements in blood sugar control, few human trials exist. Though, in theory, bladderwrack may provide anti-inflammatory benefits, more research is needed 

Skin health

Bladderwrack has been used as a topical treatment for skin issues, such as cellulite, skin aging, and burns.

Early research has shown that the antioxidants in bladderwrack, namely fucoidan, promote collagen synthesis in the skin, which may help improve the look of cellulite, increase skin healing, and delay premature skin aging.

In the first phase of a two-phase study, applying bladderwrack extract to skin samples led to a 228% increase in collagen production, compared with no improvements in the control group

In the second phase, a mixture of bladderwrack extract and other algae extracts was tested on human upper leg skin for 12 weeks. Compared with the placebo product, the algae mixture led to a significant decrease in cellulite appearance and fat thickness

Other older studies using topical gels containing 1% bladderwrack extract were associated with an increase in collagen production

Also, bladderwrack’s high antioxidant content has been linked to less collagen and elastin breakdown when applied to human skin samples. Preventing the breakdown of collagen and elastin is important for the appearance of youthful skin

Despite these results, long-term human studies are lacking. What’s more, no research supports consuming bladderwrack as a food or supplement to promote skin health.


Bladderwrack contains high levels of iodine, which may harm your thyroid health. However, its high antioxidant content may support your body’s ability to fight oxidative stress and promote your skin’s natural collagen production.

Precautions and side effects

Though generally recognized as safe, bladderwrack may have some unwanted side effects.

Applying bladderwrack to the skin is likely safe. However, avoid applying it to open wounds and cuts, and discontinue use if you experience any adverse reactions, such as a skin rash.

Like other edible seaweeds, bladderwrack is safe to eat when consumed in small amounts. However, it contains high levels of iodine, salt, and heavy metals, which can pose health risks, especially when taken in supplement form

In one case, a 60-year-old man experienced hyperthyroidism after taking bladderwrack supplements along with lithium, a medication to treat bipolar disorder. After discontinuing bladderwrack, his thyroid levels returned to normal 

Along with those with thyroid disorders, bladderwrack may be unsafe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Until further research is available, avoid taking bladderwrack supplements and consult your healthcare provider before eating or drinking it.

Moreover, bladderwrack may interfere with other medications and herbal products, such as blood thinners (e.g., heparin, warfarin), antiarrhythmic medications (e.g., amiodarone), thyroid medications, St. John’s Wort, ginkgo biloba, and valerian root 

Be sure to consult your healthcare provider before taking bladderwrack.


Due to the high levels of iodine, salt, and heavy metals, bladderwrack may not be safe for people with thyroid disorders, those taking certain medications, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Always consult your healthcare professional first.

Forms and dosage

Bladderwrack is available in many forms.

You can purchase dried, powdered, or encapsulated bladderwrack online or at some health food stores. It’s also available as a tea.

Due to limited research, there are no standard dosage recommendations for bladderwrack. However, most bladderwrack supplements come in 500-mg doses.

To make bladderwrack tea, steep one tea bag for 4–5 minutes in 8 ounces (236 mL) of hot water. Alternatively, add 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of dried bladderwrack to boiling water and allow it to simmer for 10–15 minutes.

Until more safety research is available, it’s best to limit your intake to no more than 2 cups (500 mL) per day to avoid consuming too much iodine and other active ingredients in bladderwrack.


Bladderwrack can be purchased dried, powdered, as a dietary supplement, or in the form of tea. More research is needed before a recommended dosage can be made.

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