Yours in Good Health

Having just recovered from the worst flu of my life (seriously – in bed for five days with the worst symptoms, including feeling like I’d been hit by a cement mixer truck), I thought I’d make this a blog topic. Why? Because, seaweed.

The flu – also known as by its long name nobody ever uses, influenza – is a viral infection of the respiratory passages resulting in fever, aching, and the build-up of mucus in the nose and/or throat.

In addition to being good for your skin and good for your body, did you know seaweed also possesses anti-viral properties? Studies show that sea greens give us protection against some flu strains, including influenza B. Scientists at Japan’s Saga University say that red seaweed is particularly effective in combating the flu. They studied saragassum piluliferum (known as "mametawar" in Japanese) and found it contains a substance called MC26 that is a powerful fighter. The substance disrupts the absorption of harmful viral particles in the cells which then stops the infection from spreading through your body. 

“Through a series of in vitro experiments with type-A influenza virus, the team found that the substance, known as MC26, is capable of eliminating about 50 percent of flu viruses with about a third of the dose required in conventional flu medicine amantadine hydrochloride,” according to this Japan Times newspaper article.

While I haven’t seen any flu-specific medications containing saragassum piluliferum on shelves in Western Canada, kelp can also be considered when fighting an illness such as the flu. Kelp also is wonderful at tackling infections entering the body. Kelp is high in iron and magnesium, which supports the creation of red blood cells.

Isn't seaweed just amazing?