Food or Supplements – how do I know?

Food or Supplements – how do I know?

The importance of dose and balance cannot be overstated when it comes to micronutrients. Amidst the countless supplements flooding the market telling you what you need, it can becomes dangerously confusing. The primary focus should truly be on food as our foremost medicine. Supplementation should only come into play when nutrient-depleted soils or the limitations of modern supermarket offerings fail us. There are really not that many micronutrients that we are deficient in, but the handful that we are can be easily addressed, especially with seaweed in the mix.

An Excess of Goodness

Ongoing research expands our comprehension of individual nutrient roles by dissecting them and tracking their pathways, highlighting their individual significance. However, the virtue of a nutrient doesn't automatically translate to "more is better." If our diverse diet is already adequately providing, supplementation may not only prove unnecessary but potentially harmful, especially in excessive amounts. High-dose supplementation should be approached with caution, ideally under medical supervision. Opting for food is the safest route to meet most of our needs.

Global Shortcomings in Nutrients

That being said, the selection of nutrient-rich, comprehensive foods is crucial. Yet, there are persisting deficiencies that demand extra attention. Some nutrients are dwindling in our soils or omitted from industrialized food production. This is where legitimate worldwide micronutrient deficits emerge, sometimes region-specific.


The World Health Organization underscores that "deficiencies in vitamin and mineral status, particularly of folate, iron, vitamin A, and zinc, affect 50% of all preschool-aged children and 67% of all women of reproductive age worldwide. Micronutrient deficiencies can have serious consequences...”, these include impairing brain development in children, preventing fertility health, reducing strength, making us vulnerable to infection or even certain diseases as we age."




Food Choices for Micronutrient Coverage

In the provided chart, the richness of nutrients in quality Durum semolina pasta becomes evident. By selecting pasta infused with 10% green seaweed, you can efficiently address several deficiencies. Complementing your choice with Mediterranean-style sauces and salads brings you remarkably close to fulfilling your micronutrient needs.

The addition of our green seaweed to a traditional semolina boosts deficient nutrients like iodine 100 x. And adds significant amounts of potassium, folate, Vitamin C, iron, magnesium and copper - all regarded as deficient nutrients. Iron and B12 also cover off all micronutrient concerns regarding plant-based diets.

Micronutrient Queries from Customers

Recent inquiries from customers have delved into potential nutrient redundancy from excessive supplement intake, or conversely, concerns over inadequate nutrient ingestion due to limited dietary diversity. The crux here lies in embracing whole, varied foods, predominantly plant-based, imbued with colour and supplemented by seaweed, which collectively meets most requirements. A handful of questions and answers spotlight this:

Barbara's Concern: "My B6 levels are high; could nerve damage result from B6 supplements along with Magnesium?"

Excessive B6 intake through supplements has led to documented nerve function impairment. Opt for B6 from food sources, like hummus made from chickpeas, and include Magnesium-rich seaweed-infused pasta. Magnesium deficits are widespread, but seaweed elevates its levels by threefold to 37% of you daily requirement by choosing seaweed pasta. Supplementing here is generally not needed if you focus on magnesium intake through food, but check with your GP if you think you might not be getting enough in your diet.

Sally's Inquiry:

"My zinc levels are high due to Zinc supplements; does seaweed worsen the situation?"

Zinc inadequacy is global, crucial for immunity and more. A serving of quality durum semolina pasta can offer 31% of daily zinc requirements. Green seaweed preserves this zinc level in pasta and if needed, occasional zinc supplementation is acceptable and relatively safe. Nuts and seed in a PhycoMuesli breakfast will get you up to speed on Zinc for the day. That said, there was a reason that Cassanova was said to eat an oyster for breakfast. Supplement or oyster? – your choice and might not need to be daily. Only when you feel like you didn’t cover it off during the day.

John's Query:

"I'm on a plant-based diet; can seaweed address potential micronutrient gaps?"

Plant-based diets may lack B12 and iron. Seaweed bridges this gap, bolstering nutrient intake compared to non-plant-based diets. Hopefully on a plant-based diet you are not just eating doughnuts, and you are getting more than enough coloured plants and leafy greens with some seaweed too. Therefore you would have a better intake of many of the essential micronutrients compared to people that more commonly don’t get enough plants in their diet. Seaweed suffices for most needs, yet Omega-3 from algae supplements might warrant consideration on a plant-based diet.

Megan's Question:

"As a pregnant woman, is seaweed beneficial or excessive?"

For any woman in her fertility zone, there are some key micronutrients that still cause havoc for health in pregnancy both for the baby and mother. These are primarily iron and iodine. Iron deficiency is still a leading cause of health issues for the mother in pregnancy, and iodine deficiency is a leading cause of preventable brain damage in children. Our green seaweed type was used in clinical studies to overcome deficiencies in fertile age women and is a safer way than supplementing concentrated pure doses. Not a micronutrient, but Omega-3 is so important for the brain development of your child while you are pregnant – so keep that up.

Food First

At PhycoHealth, the mantra is "food is thy medicine." Seaweed within meals can often cover your micronutrient demands. Yet, gaps persist, prompting the provision of three supplements in our range:

FOR ALLERGIES: Lactose intolerance prompts consideration of calcium, available in SeaFibre-Cal.

FODMAPS DIET or CEALIAC DEFICIENCIES: Specific sensitivities in your diet like this require assessing micronutrient sources. SeaFibre supplements accommodate slow-fermenting soluble fibres or gels to cover off an essential functional macronutrient, as well as a host of micronutrients, alongside further nutrients in our FODMAPS friendly range or PRODUCTS MADE WITHOUT GLUTEN.

When to supplement

Except for calcium, Seafibre supplements don't have added micronutrients; because we believe that you can get most of these by just adding green seaweed to food. SeaFibre supplements have naturally occurring levels of magnesium, boron, selenium, safe iodine levels and a number of other trace elements. SeaFibre products focus on inadequate fibre intake which is a different thing to micronutrients and is a big problem in the industrialised world, as is inadequate Omega-3.

At PhycoHealth we focus our supplementation where it is needed, and nowhere else. But make a note that we are all unique and you should consult your GP or dietician for any specific needs for you.