Humans and Seaweed: A Voyage Through Time and Teeth

Humans and Seaweed: A Voyage Through Time and Teeth

A lot of people ask us about the the inclusion of seaweed in a human diet, as if it is something new and unatural. This is simply the sad perception of people in the modern food world; how remote we are to the diversity of the foods that we always ate and evolved with.

Prepare to realise that nothing is new under the sun, on a journey through the ages, where the bounty of our shores have collided with human civilisations through millenia. New science unfolds the story of our connections to seaweed like chapters in a grand saga.

New science and asking the right questions

Did you know that the humble plaque on your teeth holds the secrets of your dietary choices, acting as a time capsule for the foods you've consumed? It is actually a fossil record of our lives before we are even fosslised, and holds up to 5 times more DNA and molecular signatures than teeth or bone tissue. Indeed, it is now thought to be one of the richest biomolecular records of human diet and health.

Recent scientific endeavors have unveiled this fascinating time capsule of our teeth, as chemistry techniques have been employed to trace the origins of molecules found in fossilised dental plaque, or calculus, across ancient Europe.

One recent study looked at 33 dental plaques from the mesolithic era, and 26 of these, or 55%, showed molecular evidence for using seaweed in their diets, from Spain, to the British Isles, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia.

Yes, that is indeed the Stone Age. Imagine, the remnants of seaweed feasts enjoyed by our ancestors, preserved in the very fabric of our dental history!

Expanding and overwhelming evidence across all cultures, to keep up a bit of seaweed in our diets

The Maori Battalion, valiant warriors of World War II, fortified themselves with the nourishing power of karengo seaweed as they braved the frontlines? Their astute reliance on this marine delicacy stands as a testament to the enduring wisdom of incorporating seaweed into our diets for strength and vitality.

Venturing further back in time, we encounter the seafaring Vikings, whose legendary voyages across tumultuous seas were sustained, in part, by the bounty of the ocean, including nutrient-rich seaweed. The Celts, too, revered seaweed as a sacred source of sustenance, harnessing its myriad benefits to nourish both body and spirit.

And let us not forget the ancient Asian civilizations, where the culinary arts flourished in harmony with the bounty of the sea. From the delicate flavors of Japanese nori to the savory depths of Korean miyeok, seaweed held a cherished place at the table, elevating dishes to unparalleled heights of gastronomic delight.

Even the enigmatic Neanderthals relied heavily on coastal zone diets rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and essential micronutrients sourced from seaweed? The coastal bounty sustained their journey through the eons, shaping the very fabric of human evolution.

Keeping up the seaweed to cover all bases

At PhycoHealth, we stand with peers at the forefront of nutritional innovation for the modern world, recognising that we are indeed reinventing the wheel here. But because the industrialised food system forgot that the role of seaweed throughout the ages has helped to support the diverse micronutrient, microbiome, and metabolic health of humans, we need to reinvent this wheel. Indeed, our ancestors survived millenia without supplements - because what are supplements to us today, came naturally as seaweed for many of the human civilisations.

Critical gaps can be filled with just a bit of seaweed everyday

This means that there is an extraordinary potential for seaweed to address modern dietary challenges, and this is what we focus on at PhycoHealth. Filling in the modern food gaps by increasing our food diversity and nutritional density.

All seaweeds have a role to play, and kelps and nori are widely consumed once more. But just as the diversity of plants in your diet is important, a diversity of seaweeds will deliver a diversity of dietary needs. At PhycoHealth we focus primarily on green seaweeds and a sea lettuce-related species, that boasts a veritable treasure trove of nutrients that cover major nutritional gaps for many people, including iron, B12, diverse micronutrients such as boron and selenium, and soluble dietary fiber. Unlike kelps, our seaweed offers these benefits without the risk of iodine overdosing, and also has unique effects of your gut microbiome as demosntrated in our clinical research on gut health. This is in addition to the sustainability credentials of our seaweed protein with all of the essential amino acids.

Stack your plaque with the right foods for your dental records!

As the modern world has to renavigate the diversity of food sources, I look forward to the day when our dental plaque holds residues of seaweed above that of Krispy Cremes. 

Remember, as science unlocks the secrets held within ancient dental plaque, it might one day reveal whether you were a savvy seaweed eater or not. So, why take the risk? Dive into the nutritious world of seaweed with PhycoHealth before history has its say!

Bon appétit, and may your generational voyage be as bountiful as the ocean itself!