The algae industry in Western culture has skyrocketed in recent decades, but this sea vegetable is not new to the health food scene. In China, people harvested and consumed certain types of algae as far back as 2,000 years ago, then later its use spread to other Asian countries and South America. Aside from their innumerable health benefits, algae are also vital to the world’s marine and freshwater ecosystems. It produces a large amount of oxygen for the environments in which it lives; close to 30% of what land animals need to survive. In addition, algae are the basis for many different food chains in both freshwater and marine environments, ensuring that life itself continues.
Algae’s origins are not known because fossil records are limiting, but its existence can be traced back millions of years to its single-cell ancestors known as protozoa.
Algae health benefits
You may have heard of types of algae such as chlorella and spirulina, which are popular in health food stores today as powders, beverages, supplements, and more. However, for gastrointestinal issues, a byproduct of brown algae known as alginic acid is used as an effective ingredient in many over-the-counter remedies.
Alginic acid was first studied and patented for use in 1881. While it is considered an acid, it is not acidic in the sense that it will exacerbate stomach discomfort. It is extracted from algae, typically brown algae because of its high concentration. In a gastrointestinal aid such as Digestive Relief & Repair Liquid Formula, alginic acid can be used in herbal remedies as an alternative to common antacid ingredients. It can impressively absorb 200-300 times its natural weight in water and becomes a gel which creates a barrier among gastric acid content found in the stomach, which can placate stomach unease.
Why we use alginic acid | healthy, beyond relief
- Creates a barrier that protects the esophagus from the stomach reflux
- Bio-adheres to the esophageal mucosa
- Displaces the acid pocket, which helps attenuate reflux symptoms