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If Red Marine Algae Are Beneficial, Why the Caution?

First I’m going to give the overview of the benefits of red marine algae. However, be sure to read the caution at the end of this article, so you can have the full picture of how to get these benefits for yourself.

Red marine algae have been a valued food in Asia for many of years due to their high nutritious value and trace mineral content. Red marine algae have been used by people as a food staple for thousands of years in coastal regions around the world. This group of algas is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, proteins, complex carbohydrates, enzymes, essential fatty acids, fiber and trace elements.

How Can the Right Red Marine Algae Help You?

You might wonder how Red Marine Algae can help you. Red marine algae can assist the body’s immune response to viruses. Some consider these algae to be one of the most beneficial ocean vegetables in the world, which has caught the attention of the modern scientific community for its immune supporting properties against skin disorders such as herpes.

Red Marine Algae’s medicinal properties are thought to enhance the immune system’s response, indicating that it is an immuno modulatory agent that boosts your own immune system. The polysaccharides or long chained complex sugars stimulate interferon production as well as other anti-tumor and immune- enhancing agents such as T and B cells improving their action in the body. Because algae stimulate the immune system, increase white blood cell count and promote the growth of healthy flora, algae supplements are ideal for improving immune, skin, and overall health.

Herpes has somewhat of a bad reputation; there are five types of herpes viruses that are very common causing conditions such as cold sores, shingles and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Epstein Barr. Red marine algae through its immune boosting properties can reduce the formation of herpes virus colonies, also helping to reduce the number and severity of outbreaks when they occur. Eradication of the herpes virus will most likely never happen, but success in the short term temporarily suppression of the virus has been achieved with diet and marine algae.

The polysaccharides found in Red Marine Algae are what give these algae a powerful immune activity. Research has proven that the sulfated polysaccharides in red marine algae provide nutritional support for immune health. Research has isolated and identified a number of sulfated polysaccharides from red algae that improve immune function. In addition, clinical trials have shown that these sulfated polysaccharides can suppress HIV, herpes, and influenza viruses, and patients have reported a lessening or even a halting of viral growth within the body.

In addition to antiviral properties, red marine algae have been useful in weight-loss, lowering cholesterol and fat in the blood, and detoxifying and counteracting degenerative conditions. The antiviral polysaccharides found in red algae can stimulate the production of interferons, which work with the immune system and strengthen it. A long series of scientific studies has confirmed that red marine algae have potent antiviral applications and that, when used as a medicinal food, could play and important role for people who are susceptible to herpes (Cold sore) conditions, including genital herpes and shingles, as well as other viral conditions.

What to Watch Out For

There is a very important botanical name game that you must be aware of. Algae a group of many thousands of different organisms. Each type (species) has its own unique scientific name. At least 3,900, and possibly as many as 10,000, of these are red algae. Research on the antiviral and immune stimulating properties of algae involve more than one kind. They are not all the same, and they do not all impart the same health benefits. Unfortunately, when you go to any nutrition store looking for red marine algae, chances are that nobody at that store has a clue about the wide variety of red algae.

This just means that you have to know exactly which type of red algae, by scientific name, is the one that offers the best chance for you against shingles. It is silly to have a product label that just says, “Red Marine Algae,” on the front, although all such products do this. The most important thing for you to do is look carefully for where that actual scientific name is located, either in small print on the front of the label or in the ingredients list on the back. If there is no such scientific name anywhere to be found, you have no way to know whether you have the right species.

The Right Species of Red Marine Algae

The scientific name that you must look for is: Gigartina skottsbergii. I know this seems like a mouthful. And I don’t blame botanists for foisting this on you. I used to do this to my students, too, and for good reason. Scientific names are unique and specific to only one kind of organism. When you are looking for “red marine algae,” you could theoretically get any one of thousands of species, or at least any of the hundreds that have been studied for their medicinal properties. However, when you want one particular type, the only way to be sure that you have it is to know the correct scientific name. To see what this looks like in an actual product, take a look at Red Marine Algae by Source Naturals at Note the species name appears on the back of the label, in the Supplements Facts box. It looks like this:

Supplement Facts for 350 mg Tablet

Serving Size: 1 tablets

Amount %DV
Red Marine Algae (Gigartina skottsbergii) 350 mg

Not very many companies provide this information, which is unfortunate. You really have to know this very important detail to know what you are getting.

All the best in natural health,

Dr. D