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:
The new connective tissue source:
The most exciting secret of seaweed was that not only were they were the king of soluble dietary fibers, but that some species has very special molecular structures in their connective tissue that mimicked connective tissue in humans. Things like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. These are the seaweeds that PhycoHelath 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.
Trace elements and minerals:
Magnesium, iron and iodine are still deficient in nearly all countries of the world. Supplementing food with particular seaweed in the right proportions can overcome these deficiencies. Clinical studies have shown the reversal of anemia and iodine deficiency for hormone and brain health, and some less well known minerals like boron are uniquely available and rich in seaweeds, but also important for bone health and protecting stores of Vitamin D.
As long as you use seaweed daily in your food or food supplements regime, you won't need other synthetic sources of elements and minerals. Get your minerals from the ocean - naturally.
Omega-3 in the food chain:
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 eat like fish or chickens also eat a healthy and Omega-3 rich diet.
Exciting marine pigments:
Pigments in seaweed are used not only for photosynthesis, but in some of them there are pigments like lutein, zeaxnathin and violxanthin that are used to protect seaweed form oxidative damage cause 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 that we are exploring the anti-oxidant function of. 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 seaweed in your diet, that's all you need. But you need to eat about 200g fresh seaweed to get enough dietary fibre. This means that some seaweed are not suitable as they have too much iodine to be eaten in such amounts. 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.
PhycoDigest extracts in our SeaFibre-3 and Biobelly products has also been researched in clinical studies to see which and how much gut flora changes and how this affects overall wellness. PhycoDigest is an easy way to get the concentrated seaweed fibre that is more like connectise tissue glycosaminoglycans that other seaweed or plant sources. These sulfated molecules with high rhamnose and glucuronic acids have unique recognition patterns with human epithial (skin) and immune cells and we are undertaking research on how they interact with the human gut directly, gut flora as well as optimising the food you eat.
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 groups that had high CRP-inflammation, 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?
Because of the special structure of our seaweed extract that mimic human connective tissue, we undertook a series of studies with human skin cells and wound healing research. We found that unlike other seaweed extracts, our seaweed PhycoDerm extracts are recognised by special receptors on human skin cell membranes and have a strong binding affinity. This means that humans cells attached to and thrice on our extract which also modulates and protects natural collagen in the skin. This is why we have developed a new skin product range featuring both connective tissue rich and peptide rich extracts for cleansing and caring for your skin daily.