Biochemical Benefits of Dulse

Question: What contains more iron that sirloin steak, more calcium than cheese or more fibre than prunes ?

Answer: Seaweeds. An 8g serving of dulse contains more Iron than a 100g portion of sirloin steak, incredible.

Dulse is a rich source of potassium, an essential cellular ion and low in sodium salts, a high potassium to sodium level is essential for proper heart health and some recent studies have suggested that foods high in potassium may help prevent high blood pressure. Current medical evidence suggested that the majority of Westerners exhibit potassium deficiency due to the methods commonly employed in cooking vegetables, that leaches this essential ion out of the vegetable So eating and chewing dulse is an excellent way of obtaining potassium in the diet.

Zinc is an important ion required for the proper function of an enzyme called DNA polymerase for example, DNA doubles during cell division, to divide and grow healthily, a cell requires zinc. Zinc is also essential for maintaining normal levels of vitamin A in the blood.

Manganese is required for a surprising number of essential enzymes, such as pyruvate carboxylase, which is a key metabolic enzyme involved in energy production from sugars.

Iron is recognised for its important role as a central component of haemoglobin, in the red blood cells, these cells transport oxygen around the body through blood stream. Taking an iron supplement can prevent or alleviate anaemia.

Calcium, dulse is rich in this ion required by the body for the formation of healthy bones. Calcium is especially required by women who are at risk of osteoporosis and young children for the development of strong healthy bones and teeth. The importance of taking dietary calcium can not be overstated, recent evidence points to a link between heart disease and oral calcium supplements from the UK, this link did not exist with calcium taken as part of a healthy diet which contain foods that are naturally high in calcium like dulse.

Magnesium is found bound to adenosine triphosphate, the the metabolic energy currency of the cell, this important energy molecule is involved in the majority of the biochemical process the cell undergoes, every minute of the day through an individuals life.

Iodine prevents gout and must be ingested by people who obtain nutrition from food stuffs grown in iodine poor soils. This ion plays a role in controlling thyroxine concentration, a body hormone that regulates energy levels within the body. People who are run down or are effected by lethargy often find that an reduced thyroxine levels are at fault.

Vitamin A or retinol, aids vision especially at night, this vitamin can prevent and alleviate night blindness, it also helps to prevent dry skin and hair.

Vitamin B1 or thiamin, plays an important role in keeping nerve cells functioning properly, it also has a metabolic coenzyme role (as do the other B vitamins), e.g. it is associated with pyruvate decarboxylase, important for energy production in the cell.

Vitamin B2 or riboflavin, a flavin, another coenzyme found in the mitochondria (the power house of the cell) where the majority of the energy of the cell is produced from sugar, therefore, demonstrating this vitamins vital metabolic role.

Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine, another important metabolic molecule, which functions as a coenzyme that assists the reactions of many enzymes involving amino acids. It is essential for the metabolism and conversion of these amino acids. Blood levels of this vitamin B6 can be halved in vegetarians, strict vegans can in some cases exhibit symptoms of pernicious anaemia, these symptoms abate after a course of injections of this vitamin. Therefore, intake of this vitamin by vegetarians is particularly important for maintaining a full healthy diet.

Dulse and other seaweeds such as Irish Moss provide strict vegans, vegetarians and anybody who consume them as part of a healthy balanced diet, with a natural source of vitamin B12, it is extremely difficult for vegans to obtain vitamin B12 (a vitamin metabolic cofactor) normally in their diet in the when meat products are excluded from their daily meals. It is no wonder then that vegetarians, vegans and everyone who is interested in natural body health and well being love seaweeds, using then as a natural alternative to popping pills that

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is a powerful anti oxidant, which performs a detoxification role in the body. Ascorbic acid also keeps bones healthy and strong, protecting the body against scurvy, it keeps the gums, skin and joints healthy. Intake of this vitamin is especially important for the very young and old.

Vitamin E or a-tocopherol protects cellular membranes against attack from free radicals. Thus, this vitamin protects the cell against damage and potential cancer causing agents, keeping the cell functioning properly.

Dulse and other seaweeds are an excellent natural source of vital vitamins and minerals we all require for a health functioning body, that will serve us throughout life !

Obtained from Metzler, D. E. 1977. Biochemistry: The Chemical Reactions of Living Cells. Academic Press, Inc., New York. All additional information was obtained from articles published in the newspaper media.