Seaweedblend is a food addivtive based on various kinds of kelp, designed to be a complement to our normal diet adding such components as are often below our daily request.
It is an experience, often met, that consumers of Seaweedblend feel better, strongly better, almost immediately. Reasonably the closest explanation is that these people have been suffering from a deficieny, which has been neutralized. It is not necessary to know in each particular case if this component is iodine, selenium or any other mineral or trace element. What we know is that during the last decades our staple food has become more and more poor in various elements. This is blamed among others to the acid rain which dissolves from the soils elements which were earlier available in sufficient amonts in cereals and vegetables. The harvests of the sea on the other hand grow in a medium where all elements ar abundantly available.
Another practical experience from the marketing of Seaweedblend is that a big group of devoted and constant buyers are athletics and body-builders with a hard and sweat-causing training program. They explan that they feel less faint after hard training. Again it is evident that Seaweedblend restores salt balance of the body after the small losses which are inevitable in cases of strong perspiration.
Two other reasons for Seaweedblend consumption are founded on much more specialized actions, and in these cases on long-time effect.
It has been shown that kelp and kelp products has a capacity to lower high blood pressure. The presssure-lowering effect as about as strong as that of beta-blockers and is attained without any side effect as beta-blockers have. This effect appears in patients with salt-sensitive kinds of high blood pressure, which is the common type. For very severe cases there is also an effect, but not so strong. Doctors, who are aware of these recent findings, often administer a combinations of a seaweed product and a beta-blocker at least during a transition period. Any use as a remedy for high blood pressure should be made under medical control.
The most unique effect of kelp products like Seaweedblend, or of alginates which are the main components, is its capacity to bind heavy metals. The difference between cellulose in land plants and alginic acid as corresponding cell wall material of the biggast sea plants is that an acid group is added to the sugar-like units which form the giant molecules. This gives them a capacity to bind certain ions in their surrounding. In other words they serve as an ion exchanger. Ions would be caught in the order of the ionotropic series: Lead > copper > cadmium > barium > strontium > calcium > cobalt > nickel > zinc > manganese. Most research has been made on strontium, as its radioactive isotope makes it easy to quantify how much is deposited in the sceleton and how much is released. At the time this was found out it was still considered more important to find a remedy for cancerogene atomic decay products than for pollution poisoning of lead from traffic and food, mercury from amalgam and of cadmium and arsenic from industrial pollution.
The cemistry of alginates contains much information which explains their capacity to bind heavy metals and the functioning of this binding under different conditions.
”Alginic acid is a polymer in the brown seaweeds, which consists of two acid carbohydrate monomers, i.e. D-mannuronic and L-guluronic acid, stereo-chemical isomers differing only in the configuration of the carboxyl group. These two sugars (uronic acids) are bound chemically to form a long chain. The proportions of these uronic acids differs widely ………. In general, guluronic acid-rich alginates were found to be more effective (metal-binders) than mannuronic acid-rich alginates.” (Tanaka 1970) The guluronic acid content and thus the biological potency can be increased by partiel hydrolysis.
How much can be bound? The affinity for heavy metals of sodium alginate was investigated by Takahashi and Isuji 1981. They found a maxium value of metal/uronic acid residue about 2. On the other hand, the ratio for single ion by precipitation experiments was about 0,5.
Fucoidan is another brown alga polymer which could be considered for its high capacity to bind lead. As a result of in vitro studies of divalent cation binding Paskins-Hulburt et al. (1978) found the following series of fucoidan affinity to metal ions:
Pb > Ba > Cd > Sr > Cu > Fe > Co > Zn > Mg > Mn > Cr > Ni > Hg > Ca
The biological function of alginate is based in this context on the fact that it cannot be digested in the human intestines. Starch and in part cellulose are decomposed into sugar which passes into the blood. Alginate is not. By definition, therefore, it is dietary fibre.
Thus, if alginate is administered – or, in plain language – if seaweed in one form or another is eaten – with contaminated food, we can preview that the main part of the heavy metals will be cought by the alginate molecules and will never pass through the gut walls into our body.
It would be a false conclusions to think that as alginates cannot enter into the body, it cannot influence metal ions which have already been deposited in the body tissues . It can.
We know this from research on animals which have been given radioactive strontium. This is absorbed by the blood and deposited into the skeleton, where it normally remains and bombards surrounding cells with cancerogen radiations. Each day, however som per cent or a fraction of a per cent will leave its place, enter into the blood and finally settle again at some other place in the skeleton.
Here we must not forget an important circumstance: all the fluid or salive, gastric juice, bile, pancreatic juice and intestinal juice is delivered by the blood. Together they form big quantities: each day an average of 8,2 liters is delivered to the intestinte tract carrying its normal load of salt and trace elements but also its burden of undesirable heavy metals. From the guts 8 litres are reabsorbed. This means that all our blood fluid passes our intestine tract at least three times a day. As the reabsorption mechanism works, the returning fluid will carry chooped nutrient molecules and a lot of desirable ions, but also most of the heavy metals present in the gut content – unless during the meantime we have eaten a seaweed product. If we have, the heavy metals are cleared away.
Animal experiments confirm what could be expected, that the effect is stronges when the alginate is given at the same time as the strontium.
In man an important problem is to save foetus and newborn from poisoning by lead. It is interesting therefore to read about experiments with cats and strontium. When the mother was fed with a constant dose of radiostrontium the foetus received a chronic label of the nucleide which increased about ten times during the nursing period.
”A cat was given 85Sr for 1100 days and then was placed on a diet containing 10% sodium alginate while the daily oral isotope administration was continued ……….. Her body burden was reduced by almost 60% as a result of the alginate supplement during the course of 110 days before and during the gestation period. The placental uptake of the radioisotope was 85% less in the controls …..” (Stara and Waldron-Edward 1967)
”Sodium alginate give to to six-month-old-cats for three days did not change the stable strontium to calcium ratio. Weaning kittens fed 70 days showed a reduction of 25% in the long bones and 10% in the teeth; kittens fed alginate continously for 3000 days showed the greatest effect. Stable strontium to calcium values in both femurs and teeth of the latter group were lower by almost 50%.