Can Red Marine Algae Help Boost Your Immune System?
Many naturalistic practitioners use red marine algae to treat patients with chronic fatigue. It has also been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, analgesic and gastro-protective properties, as well as a few other uses that may surprise you.
What is Red Marine Algae?
Algae is categorised by its colour, or pigment. Red marine algae belong to the Rhodophyta class and are well known for their high antioxidant content, which may help boost the immune system to fight off free radical damage. Red algae contain an antiviral compound known as carrageenans that are believed to boost the immune system and offer protection against diseases such as the shingles virus, HIV and cold sores. Click To Tweet It may even help fight strains of germs that are resistant to certain medications.
Health Benefits of Red Marine Algae
As well as boosting the immune system, red marine algae come with a host of other proven benefits.
Eye and Skin Health
Red algae contain a good amount of the antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein, which have been shown to prevent macular degeneration and support eye health. Click To Tweet Macular degeneration is a condition in which the eye’s macula deteriorates. This is the part of the eye responsible for the ability to see fine detail. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoid antioxidants that may prevent macular degeneration because they are concentrated in the macula and make up the macular pigment. They function both as an antioxidant and as blue-light filters to protect against damage.
Reduce Pain and Inflammation
Many different forms of algae have been found to contain anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties due to the high chlorophyll and omega-3 fatty acid content. A 2016 study published in Pharmaceutical Biology found that red algae is a natural source of compounds that contain potent biological and pharmacological properties, including gastro-protective, analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities. Click To Tweet
Results of the study found that the Mediterranean red algae Laurencia obtuse contains significant pain-killing and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also known for its gastro-protective ability in that it is able to inhibit a gastric ulcer by as much as 81.3 percent when taken in the amount of 50 milligrams per kilogram.
Algae is a rich source of a plant sterol called fucosterol, which has been shown to naturally lower cholesterol, among many other health-related benefits. What’s more, algae are a good source of phytosterols, which have been shown to reduce “bad” or LDL cholesterol levels when taken in supplemental form by lowering intestinal cholesterol absorption.
Red algae are packed with antioxidants, further benefiting the immune system. A 2013 study found that ethanol extracts of the Callophyllis japonica and Gracilaria tenuistipitata species of red algae have antioxidant effects on the body, such as activating cellular antioxidant enzymes and suppressing certain mechanisms that kill off healthy cells. Red algae may also be able to help prevent DNA damage and fight chronic fatigue with its high antioxidant content. Click To Tweet
Antioxidants play an important role in boosting immune system health by neutralising free radicals and moving toxins out of the body. They are also naturally detoxifying and may assist in heavy metal detoxification, weight loss and restoring blood pH levels to an alkaline status.
Protects Against Herpes
One of red algae’s most notorious uses is for the prevention of the herpes simplex infection. Click To Tweet According to a 2006 study published in Plant Medica, an isolated compound from the red seaweed Gigartina skottsbergii was shown to be a potent inhibitor of the Herpes simplex virus types 1 and type 2.
Supplementing With Red Marine Algae
According to a 2015 study, sulphated polysaccharides “have several important properties, such as anticoagulant and/or antithrombotic, immunomodulatory ability, antitumor and cancer preventive, antilipidemic and hypoglycaemic, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, making them promising bioactive products and biomaterials with a wide range of applications.”
The study showed that red algae is beneficial in fighting against the HIV type 1 and type 2, the human papilloma virus (HPV), the encephalo-myocarditis virus, the hepatitis virus type A and type B and the dengue and yellow fever virus with its powerful antiviral,… Click To TweetSupplementing with Red Algae vegan capsules is a good way to boost the immune system, fight free radical damage, ward off disease and even balance pH levels, which can aid in weight loss.
Whole-Food Nutrition & Supplementations | Red Algae | Blog #3
Red Algae or Rhodophyta
The history and use of seaweed and specifically Rhodophyta are very old. Ancient Asian cultures have been using and realizing the benefits for thousands of years, but it’s been just since the 1970’s that Chinese and Japanese scientists have been studying red algae.
Red algae, almost exclusively found in the ocean. They commonly live below the kelp forest because they can survive with less light than brown algae.
Red Algae are consumed by humans, representing a rich source of fiber, protein, and minerals. The mineral content can be 20 times higher than plants growing in the ground. They retain both their gelatinous nature and color even when cooked.
Benefits of Red Algae or Rhodophytes
Studied Health Claims:
- Weight Loss
- Lowers Cholesterol
- Lowers Inflammation
- Cardiovascular Health
- Studies claim that red algae are Cancer Fighting
- UTI treatment
Another critical benefit is that rhodophytes are a potent antioxidant and help to counter the cellular damage done by free radicals. Free radicals are common by-products of normal internal reactions. Furthermore, pollution, UV radiation, and strenuous aerobic exercise have been connected to free radical formation.
They are also a good source of vitamin K, an important fat-soluble vitamin which plays vital roles in building your bones, protecting your heart, helping your blood to clot properly, and optimizing your insulin levels. Symptoms of a deficiency in vitamin K include hemorrhage, prolonged clotting time, and excessive bleeding.
Algae used in Food Products
According to the University of California at Los Angeles, a type of algae called carrageenan is commonly added to dairy products to give them a denser consistency. The most common algae containing products are sour cream, chocolate milk, and cheese.
The Hawaii Department of Education says algae is often added to liquids to make them thicker. For example, algae are put in shakes and malts to thicken them. It’s also an ingredient in mayonnaise to prevent it from becoming runny. Alginic acid contained in algae acts as a stabilizer or emulsifier.
The green paper-like substance used to wrap sushi rolls is algae. The green paper is a particular “leafy” variety of algae grown on farms in Asia and shipped throughout the world. The green algae are grown on strings then dried in the sun. This types of algae are exceptionally high in vitamins and nutrients.
Gelatin contains a type of algae called agar. It can solidify just about anything that comes in a liquid form. Agar was first used in China in the 17th century and is found in hundreds of foods sold in grocery stores, such as pie crusts, pumpkin pie filling, and flavored gelatin.
Non-Food Products with Algae
Algae is used in a lot of non-food products, most notable is toothpaste, without algae, toothpaste would be a runny liquid. Algae make toothpaste into a semi-solid that then dissolves with the brushing action of cleaning teeth.
It’s clear that algae and red algae are important in our lives, but when consuming algae or algae-based products, it’s important that the algae are from the ocean because algae coming from the ocean contains the highest level of vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients.