Photo courtesy of Courtney Miller

Implications - The hard truth and what we'll lose

Landscape showing F. vesiculosus - Courtesy of Ester SerraoThe climate seems to be shifting towards the warmer end of the thermometer. This seems to be having a negative effect on the northern Atlantic. Because so many types of algae are so sensitive to climate change, as you have read on this site, they tend to not be able to reproduce. So is the case with bladderwrack. Bladderwrack, along with other organisms, has been declining in distribution not only because of stress from climate change, but also because of eutrophication, caused by humans, which fortunately, is preventable.

Without many of these organisms, especially bladderwrack, marine ecosystems can change drastically. To learn more, and to find out how you can help this cause, you can visit multiple websites. You can find all the links to these sites at the Baltic Sea Portal.

Once again... Who cares about a Brown Algae?
This website was created for a class with the overall theme of medicinal organisms. Most people wouldn't think of a brown algae such as Fucus vesiculosus as an organism that can be used to treat any disease a human has. Most would associate more infamous plants such as the Opium Poppy, or one that has been in the news more recently, Ginkgo biloba (ginseng), as medicinal organisms. But F. vesiculosus has plenty of potential for future cures, as well as being a current treatment for a few diseases and ailments.

Picture of a goiter - Found on public domain - Click to follow to sourceBladderwrack has quite a few medicinal uses. The main use is to cure goiters. Goiters occur when the body does not have enough iodine for the thyroid gland to function. As a result, the thyroid gland enlarges, and forms a very large lump on the neck. The person in the picture to the left has an extremely large goiter, you can see why people would want to cure this as quickly as possible. Bladderwrack contains quite a bit of iodine in it, but the levels can differ from organism to organism. The primary way that people take bladderwrack to cure their iodine deficiency is in the form of a pill bought from supplement stores.

Another reason why we should care about declining distribution is because scientists may have found the reason why east-Asian women have significantly lower rates of ovarian cancer: higher intake of algae due to their diets. So, because of this, research has been done to find a possible link between taking bladderwrack as a supplement and lowering the possibility of getting ovarian cancer. Through these experiments, scientists have also found that bladderwrack may have the ability to stabilize women's irregular menstrual cycles, but more research needs to be done in clinical trials to further substantiate this link.

Research has also been done on a number of other compounds that are found in bladderwrack that may be used for treatments of other ailments. There is potential for bladderwrack as an aid in weight loss, speeding up a person's metabolism to increase the amount of calories burned in a day. Bladderwrack also produces a compound called squalene that may be used as an antimicrobial to fight off infections.Picure of ice cream - Found on public domain - Click to follow to source

You scream, I scream, we all scream for Ice Cream!
A slightly less important, however much more tasty use for bladderwrack, is its use in thickening many processed foods that people with a sweet tooth just couldn't live without. Bladderwrack produces a compound called algin that is used in thickening foods like pudding and ice cream, along with salad dressings as well. Without algin, not only would ice cream be not as rich, but it would not freeze as uniformly as it does now, as algin aids in this process.


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