Bladderwrack (also spelled bladder wrack) is a seaweed recommended by herbalists to treat an under active thyroid gland. If an under active thyroid gland is the cause of weight gain, bladderwrack may be an effective treatment. Bladderwrack contains iodine, an element used by the thyroid gland to create thyroid hormones. The thyroid regulates metabolism. People who are hypothyroid have an under active thyroid gland, and tend to gain weight. Bladderwrack provides a natural source of supplemental iodine and can jump start a sputtering or under active thyroid gland.
Weight gain occurs from many factors. Overeating and under exercising are by far a more common cause of weight gain than thyroid illness. If thyroid illness is suspected, a physician can conduct blood tests to determine whether or not the thyroid gland is indeed under active. Only then would bladderwrack supplements help weight loss by providing extra iodine to stimulate the production of thyroid hormones and hopefully speeding up metabolism naturally to burn more calories.
Bladderwrack provides supplemental iodine. The thyroid gland uses iodine to make hormones that regulate metabolism. The increased iodine is thought to stimulate an under active thyroid gland into performing at optimal levels. Bladderwrack and other supplements are not magic pills and cannot help people lose weight if they continue to eat more calories than they burn off during the day, so be sure to monitor caloric intake and exercise daily.
The National Institute of Health recommends 200 to 600 milligrams taken daily in a pill or liquid extract form for people age 18 and older with no other health problems. It's helpful to take bladderwrack with food to avoid stomach irritation. Side effects can occur from bladderwrack, especially if the preparation is made from seaweed contaminated with heavy metals. Bladderwrack can cause low blood sugar and should not be used by diabetics or people with hypoglycemia. It may also cause excessive bleeding and should not be taken for several weeks prior to surgery. Pregnant and nursing women should also avoid bladderwrack. The National Institute of Health lists bladderwrack as "questionable" or untested, meaning not enough studies have been conducted on its efficacy or safety. The Internet Drug Resource lists bladderwrack as unsafe due to the various side effects. Use with caution.
Because bladderwrack is harvested from the oceans, it can become contaminated with heavy metals. Choose a high quality supplement and read the ingredients. Look for testing, certification, and guarantees of purity. Take 200 to 600 milligrams of bladderwrack for up to six weeks for weight loss. If weight does not change, discontinue use and seek help from a physician to determine the cause of unusual weight gain.