Pia has studied the sustainability story of seaweed for 20 years, but after about 10 years, she realised that there were secrets for better health hidden in seaweed. Seaweeds that were forgotten for centuries and sitting on our shores were rich in some of the most poorly lacking nutrients in the western modern lifestyle, like marine Omega-3 and the abundant marine minerals. But there are also some hidden secrets for health from the connective tissue of special seaweeds.
Addressing nutrient deficiencies:
SeaGlycans: the new connective tissue source:
The most exciting secret of seaweed was that not only were they the king of soluble dietary fibres, but that some species have very special molecular structures in their connective tissue that mimicked connective tissue in humans. These are the seaweeds that PhycoHealth is unlocking for the world and it means we don't need to turn to animal sources for these special types of molecules. These are like a vegetarian bone broth; the type of molecules that we know are used to help people with joint and gut health. This is why PhycoHealth has used the evidence from two clincial studies to develop food and food supplements that can deliver concentrated sources of these molecules to address gut dysbiosis where these important dietary components are lacking, and that may shift gut flora or the gut immune system that can improve a number of inflammatory conditions.
You can read more about this area of health from seaweed in our SeaGlycan and gut health blog posts.
Most people understand that trace elements and micronutrients, such as iron, iodine, magnesium, manganese, selenium and boron, are essential nutrients to keep our body system functioning properly; not least of all our bone, immune and hormonal systems. The important things to remember about trace elements and micronutrients however is the Goldilocks principle; that you need not too much, not too little but JUST RIGHT amounts. The consequences of getting too much or too little can be devastating health consequences, while getting them just right can mean the difference between life and death, or simply increased physical performance and quality of life.
We will expand on the research and health information behind all of the trace elements in seaweed through our newsletters and blog site.
The richest source of long chain Omega-3 like ALA, SDA, EPA and DHA is the ocean. And the creators of these essential fatty acids for brain and cardiovascular health are the algae and seaweeds that get eaten and travel up the food chain. Not only is it important the you eat the Omega-3 rich sources from the sea, but that the other food you buy, like fish or chicken, are also getting a healthy and Omega-3 rich diet. Some aquaculture companies are now supporting the growth of algae production to supply the most sustainable form of Omega-3 for our health.
Exciting marine pigments:
Pigments in seaweed are used not only for photosynthesis, but in some of them there are pigments like lutein, zeaxanthin and violxanthin that are used to protect seaweed from oxidative damage caused by the environment and in particular blue light. These same molecules are used in the human eye to protect against blue light oxidation and macula degeneration. There are also some exciting unique molecules like siphonoxanthin in our seaweeds, whose anti-oxidant function we are exploring. All of these can be accessed in our range of food products.
1. Can't I just eat the real thing, why do I need seaweed capsules?
If you get the right amount of fibre in your diet, up to 30g per day, as well as a huge diversity of fibre, that's all you need. However most people are only getting about half of that! Eating twice as much food is not the way to solve it, but changing your diet radically, will. If you are up for that challenge, then this is what we recommend first, and seaweed in your food regime by adding to soups, salads or adding products like Phettuccine or Phukka to your diet will help you get there, as seaweed is the king of diverse dietary fibre.
The reality is that most people will find it hard to make an adequate change to their diet, and this is where supplements come in. Only supplements that fill a gap in your diet are the ones that are going to help you, and glycan, sulfated and soluble dietary fibre intake is one of gaps that most people will find hard to fill. Further, we know that the long chain marine Omega-3's are also immensely supportive of your natural anti-inflammatory processes, but also very deficient in modern diets. So we have combined both of these gaps, including our unique seaweed glycan and algal Omega-3, into SeaFibre-3. PhycoHealth uses seaweed that has safe levels of iodine and formulates food and supplements with the full knowledge of the trace element profile for real and safe health outcomes.
2. How does seaweed help with Psoriasis?
Both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, as well as rheumatoid arthritis, are increasingly being linked to the gut. Although different in diagnosis, they are regarded as autoimmune and both show raised inflammation in blood tests (CRP). Inflammatory disorders are increasingly being linked to gut dysbiosis (imbalance).
In our clinical studies, we found that inflammation was reduced in high CRP-inflammation groups that were taking our PhycoDigest seaweed extracts, and this might be one of the mechanisms that led to case studies of reduced psoriasis. How this works is still being studied, but it could be a result of direct interaction of our connective tissue like seaweed extracts with the gut lining and immune system, or effects on the microbiota that reside in your gut.
3. Are there benefits to putting seaweed on your skin too?
There is a special molecular structure in our seaweed extract that mimics human connective tissue. We are using this molecule in its purest form to look at protecting and regenerating human skin. We have found that, unlike other seaweed extracts, our seaweed PhycoDerm extract is recognised by special receptors on human skin cell membranes and have a strong binding affinity. This means that humans cells attach to and thrive on our extract which allows them to thrive, migrate and produce natural collagen in the skin. In addition, the extract is protecting the collagen that is made. This is why we have developed our PhycoDerm skincare range featuring both connective tissue rich and peptide rich extracts for cleansing and caring for your skin daily.