Mineral Nutrients Found in Seaweed and Their Function
As already mentioned in earlier pages, seaweeds are an extremely valuable source of a huge range of essential nutrients that your body must have to be healthy and function properly interms of fighting disease and vitality (37). The body uses approximately 56 minerals to live and survie healthily (36).
Here you will find a list of many of the nutrients that seaweeds possess that enhance your overall well-being, just click on the title tab of each nutrient you are interested below to findout more about each componant that interests you.
The sections are broken down into the macro-minerals and micro-minerals or minerals found in seaweeds. Trace minerals in seaweeds are simply nutrients that the body utilises to activate enzymes, sustain cellular activity and help absorb and utilise other important minerals, trace minerals are required in small quantities, whilst macro-minerals are required in relatively higher quanities by the human body (38). All originate from the earths crust and cannot be made, (33). As with macro-minerals, they are broken down from rock formations and enter the soil, they are then either absorbed by plants or are washed into the sea and and then subsequently absorded by sea vegetables such as seaweeds, these minerals are then consumed by us and other animals that we eat such as cattle and sheep fro example or by fish and crusteaceans, respectively.
Macro-Minerals Found In Seaweeds
Calcium is a major structural constituent of bones and teeth, the degenerative condition osteoporosis is greatly effected by the amount of calcium that is consumed as part of your diet. Calcium which is also found in seaweed minerals is used in the processes that provide muscle contractions, it is also found used as a cofactor for a number of enzymatic reactions that occur throughout the body. Seaweeds contain relatively high levels of calcium which makes up a large proportion of the ash content of many seaweeds, which ca be as high as 30% in some instanced. (Refs).
Iron (as hemoglobin, transports and distributes
oxygen to all your cells)
Phosphorous is found in all animals plants, seaweeds and microorganisms. It is a vital componant of DNA and RNA (ribonucleic acids). This mineral nutrient is found in every cell in everybody, this mineral completes a role is many metabolic processes. It formas a structural role in your bones and membranes. Perhaps it most important role is that of as part of an energy carrier called ATP which is thfundamental energy currency of the cell that all the food your body consumes is converted into for motion, growth and life. (Refs.)
Potassium is an element and also an important macro-mineral, it is a vital electrolyte that with sodium and cholride conduct electricity when dissolved in water, thwhy is this so important ? Well electrolytes maintain water balance, acid-base balance, helps regulate blood pressure, adrenal fuction, maintenace of bone density, muscle, nerve, heart and kidney function to name but a few (8).
While each of sodium, potassium (both are alkalii metals) and chloride are required daily as part of your diet most people take in too much sodium and chloride (as sodium choride table salt) and not enough potassium, many health professionals believe that this inbalance probably leads to the development of cardivascular diseases such as high blood pressure or hypertension, strokes, heart irregularities (17). Symptoms of low potassium levels in the body include generalised weakness and constant fatigue (ref), generally when I am involved in hard vigourous and strenuous work such as seaweed harvesting, for example, where I sweat havely loosing valuable body salts and minerals, to prevent this embalance, I am always eating seaweed while consuming water to replace these lost electrolytes to keep my energy levels up.
Therefore we should actively include foods that have a high potassium to sodium ratio or in otherwords have many times more potassium than sodium, friut, vegetables and seaweeds are such foods, by just including increased amounts one or more of each of these three food groups can lead to a significaant improvement of overall health. In addition, seaweeds contain up to 50 other minerals that the body can use to maintain health (Ref).
Potassium is also important to help the body eliminate toxic by-products of metabolism from the body by stimulating the kidneys (14).
Hypokalemia is a condition where the patient suffers from potassium difficiency, this condition can be brought about by a poor diet (17) where insufficient seaweeds, friuts and vegetables are consumed in their diets or by following fad diets. Other people at risk from this condition are diabetics and those people who suffer from kidney problems (17).
Sulphur is required in relatively large amounts and is used to manafacture proteins. Seaweeds which contain upto 35% protein can contain large amounts of this macro element (ref). Primarily because sulphur is used to make amino acids that are combined together to form protiens it is an essential element for the formation of healthy bones, hair, skin, nails etc. (38).
Without trace or micro-minerals we could not survive, indeed deficiencies in one or more of this class of nutrients leads in many cases to chronic illness(es), even cancer (33), as they are used for healing growth or energy production.
Thankfully, few people have a deficiency of certain types of macro minerals, except individuals who can experience such difficiencies through injury or pathology (37). However, many others find it more difficult to absorb, or to find then in the food sources included in their diet, especially as we begin to age. A diet in high in processed foods (which is becoming more the norm in many of our diets) andsguar will rerely if ever supply sufficient micro nutrients, if anything they will inhibit your body from absorbing what it needs. Seaweeds which have a high and diverse content of minerals provides an easy and efficient way of obtaing all the vitamins and minerals your body requires to be healthy.
Born is also found in seaweeds, it plays a role in the metabolism of various minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and magesium. It also plays a role in cholecalciferol from vitamin D3 after exposure to UV radiation. Boron is thought to be involved in mineral homeostasis and could be involved in complex bone structure, though this function requires more substancial evidencial studies. Boron is also thought to affect severa other vitamins and hormones. (Refs). Boron is known to increase the absorbtion rate of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus (minerals also found in seaweeds) within the body (34).
Chromium is known to stimulate a number of metabolic processes, such as glucose uptake and metabolism, stimulate protein sysnthesis. Chromium is known to be part of something called glucose tolerance factor that has been shown to ehance the effect of the hormone insulin, therefore, this essential trace element for maintaining balanced and health blood sugar levels (34). A case in point are athletes or other people involved in tough physical work who consume relatively higher amounts of carbohydrate also require more chromium (34). It is known to activate enzymes that are involved in energy production from fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Chromium alo have a role in the production of cholesterol from fats in the liver where it helps this process, and improves cell mediated immune resonses. Chromium is known to improve growth rates in some animals along with raising milk production and decreasing fat levels producing leaner meat. This mineral is also widely distributed in seaweeds. (Refs)
Cobalt is found associated with many enzymatic reactions , it too like chromium is thoght to have a role in immune responses and may also aid nervous system health and choerance. (Refs). Cobalt is aother of the many minerals found saeweeds, that are abundant along of all the coastlines of the world.
Copper plays a vital absorbtive role in the intestine that helps us absorb iron, it is also an integral mineral in a number of enzyme systems, plays a role in oxygen metabolism and too as with zinc plays a central role in maintaining the structure and function of a healthy nervous system. Copper also plays a role in maintaining our vascular and and skeletal systems. Copper is another example of an element that seaweeds can provide us that has wide specrum effects on our overall body health.
Germanium is a trace element that is known too occur in extremely low concentrations in seaweeds (34), where it is known to enhance cellular oxygenation, which in turn improves total body health. This essential element is best obtained from natural mineral sources such as seaweeds,
For many people iodine is the mineral most associated with seaweed, in geneeral this is the mineral most ppeople ask mea about in association with my seaweed products, where many people buy this sea vgetable from me when they have thyroid related metabolic problems. Iodine therefore, is essential to the thyroxine and triiodothyronine, both thyroid hormones whose balance is at the core of our metabolic welbeing, controling our energy metabolism. This means that iodine therefore, affects our basal (or basline) metabolic rate, it has a cancer protection role against iodine 131 that is produced as a by-product of nuclear reactions and that is also present because of all the nuclear tests that were carried out last century and have travelled the world since. Iodine is also thought to be involved in many other enzymes found in the body that are also involved in the respiratory system (Refs).
As with zinc and chromium, manganeese also has a role to play in maintaining our brain and nervous system, thereby maintaining our central nervous system. Manganeese is a catalyst involved in many enzyme systems, from the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and nucleic acids, this is because of this elements redox potential. This material enables the use of the vitamins thamin or B1 (which is deeply involved in metabolism, i.e. krebs cycle, where oxygen is i used to produce energy from your food) and vitamin E (also known as tocopherol). Manganeese effects the formation of cartilage and also bone development. In addition to this structural role it also afects mucous and blood formation. Along with many other minerals coutline here it is implicated in immune resposes. In animals it has a pivital role in egg production and the subsequent formation of the eggshell. (Refs) . Therefore, this importan element in that forms part of our diet when consumed in plant and seaweed foodstuffs, has many important roles in our wellbeing.
Molybdenum is an essential componant that forms the enamel on our teeth, it is alos involved in many oxidation reactions, where it forms part of several essential enzymes (list), it helps is involved in the metabolism of fta and carbohydrate food sources. It is intrinsically part of DNA metabolism and protein sysnthesis. In addition, the production of uric acid (the material that forms deposits in the joints resulting in a painful swelling also known as gout) and taurine are essentailly liinked to Molybdenum. This element is yet another fundamental mineral componant we radily obtain from sea vegetables. (Refs).
Molybdenum An integral nutrient for the conversion of purines to uric acid and nitrogen metabolism, as well as bone and teeth health, deficiencies of this micro mineral are linked to mouth and gum problems as well as cancer (35).
While many of the activities of this element are uncertain, nickle is implicated in hormone regulation, could possibly assist the absorbtion of iron in the intestine. Nickle is a vital consistuent of some metalloenzymes (examples). This elenet is also obtained from seaweeed as a natural source. (Refs).
Selenium is a persojnal favourite amoung mineral nutrients of mine and is known to occur widely in and at relatively high concentrations in seaweeds. Selenium has a protective role, implicated in teh effctive rapair of damaged DNA, to put this important role in to context, damaged DNA almost always leads to the development of cancer. So this element is vital to our survival and good long lasting health. Selenium also has a protective function for tissues, muscles and has been linked to the proper function of the pancratic organ. Selenium has also been found to protect some tissues against the toxic effects of heavy metals.The effect this element has on the immune system also requires comment, it is known to boost immunity and helps resist viral infection, seaweeds are also known to posses other naturally occurring anti-viral agents, to illustrate this point, extracts of some seaweeds are now being tested for activity against the aids virus in contentental Africa. The activity of vitamin E is intrinsically linked to the presence of selenium, where this element enhances the antioxidant activity of vitamin E, this helps protect agianst free-radical damage (34). Anino acid synthesis is also greatly influenced by this amzingly funtional mineral element. (refs.)
This trace nutrient is known as the beauty mineral that is invital for the production of collagen and other connective tissue (34), that is known to be found in seaweeds such as the kelps (35). This micro-nutrient is also neccessary for health bones, teeth, skin and hair, which as we age is harder to absorb in our diet, where eating seaweed which contains silicon should be considered (34).
Tin may or may not have a role in animals, several possible roles have been suggested for this element, tin may act as a catalyst in redox reactions, it could be found at the active sites of some enzymes and could play a structural role in some important macromolecules (list) (Refs). Seaweeds because they grow in the mineral rich sea, they are known to contain up to 60 minerals where tin is known to be one, however, akin to the low dietry requirement that may be for tin, if it does indeed prove to be implicated in animal health, is only found in minute quantities in seaweeds if it is present.
While the role of this elment in animals is not fully understood, it is known to be used by oxidoreductases, enzymes involved in redox reactions that use tungstin similarly to moybdenum listed earlier. Again this element is know to be found in sea vegetables. (refs).
This trace element is very difficult for the body to absorb from food (35). Sodium levels in the body may also regulated by vanadium, indeed it is becoming obvoius that the levels of elements in the human body are regualted by compliacted and often not well understood mechanisms, where several elements can effect the levels of another mineral, for example, vanadium, chlorine, and potassium affect sodium levels. Vanadium is known to have a role in the mineralisation of bone and teeth tissue, it could also play a role in the metabolism of glucose, lipds and possiblly some hormones. However, vanadium is known toe essential for successful growth and reproduction and plays a structural role in the formation of some metaloenzymes (list) (refs). Vanadium has been shown to be a constituent in some seaweeds.
Zinc is essential to all forms of life, micro-organisms, plant (alsoo including seaweeds) and aminal life (12), where it performs numerous roles within the human body broadly broken down into three categories; catalytic, structural, and regulatory activities (7), therefore, this element is involved inn many key areas of metabolism.
Catalytic activities, there approximately 100 enzymes that hare dependant on zinc to function, removal of zinc from these enzymes means they stop working (12). As an example of how important some of these zinc containing enzymes are, RNA polymerase for instance is used by the cell to convert information in your genes to working molecules (5).
The structural role played by zinc is also extremely import to the body, zinc chelates or binds proteins together, these proteins are involved in transering information from your genes (Ref). Another enzyme superoxide dismutase has a zinc core at its centre, this enzyme functions by destroying superoxide radicals, they mop up these destructive compounds inside the cell (4).
The regulatory role of zinc in the body is demonstrated by its involvement in proper brain function or synaptic sigaling in the cerebal cortex (10). Large amounts of zinc are localised in the brain, up to 10% of total body zinc (12).
Zince also plays a reole in the calcification of bone, it helps in the healing of wounds and injuries, zinc improves male fertility, it is necessary for the transfer of carbon dioxide in red blood cells, it is essential for a healthy functioning immune system, plays a role in the production of some hormones (Refs).
Zinc is widely distributed in foods (12) and in seaweeds (14), therefore, zinc deficiancy is rare, examples include where patients are fed intraveniously without adequate addtions of zinc to the infusate (12).
So who needs to consume over the counter mineral pill suppliments that may or may not be in a form that is readily absorbable by our intestines. These elemenal nutrients are however, available in seaweeds, in the most natural of naturally available forms, forms that our ancestors have long known were essential to their helalth and wellbeing.
While the above list is large it is not intended to be exhaustive, all care has been taken to insure that the above information is accurate with specific references for each point made for your further investigative work. If you do find any errors or inconsistencies please to not hessiate to contact us at. (contact page).
The above information is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose any aliment that you might have. We strongly advise that you contact your health professional about any medications or health problems that you have.
Click here to view a complete list of all the documents cited in the formulation of the documents produced herein.