Seaweed- lots of minerals, vitamins etc?

poaky1February 23, 2014

I have heard you can add it to soils and it is supposed to contain many good minerals, vitamins etc. I recently tried seaweed snacks that you eat. They are kind of similar to the stuff you wrap sushi in (seaweed dried salted, in a sheet) the label lists vitamin A mostly and a small percentage of another element or vitamin. The amount of the second element is not a high percentage. Other than salt, nothing more is listed. I just wonder why (if it is so high in good stuff) the label for the sheets of seaweed doesn't list a bunch of goodies. The ingredients are :seaweed, sesame oil, and salt.

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If seaweed is readily available and inexpensive where you are you can add it to the soil and it will benefit that soil just as any other form of organic matter, except peat moss, will. Plants take up from the soil the macro and micro nutrients that are available and through a complex process make the vitamins they give us when we eat them or their fruits.
Does adding vitamins to soil help plants grow better? I have seen some research the appears to indicate plants fed vitamin C grew stronger, but most appears to be pseudo science just as foliar feeding appears to be.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 6:56AM
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Seaweed is greatly more beneficial than land-grown OM. If one has only a small garden then buying a jug of seaweed extract goes a long way.

On a big scale it doesn't pay.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 7:55AM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

Nutrition labels follow basic FDA or USDA requirements in the US, and they are not required to list trace elements.

I'd certainly use it if I lived on the coast and had access to lots of it, but somehow we landlubbers manage with all the great variety of other stuff that grows here. In fact my backyard compost was higher in almost every trace element than 90% of the commercial composts I tested a couple years back.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 10:44AM
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Natures_Nature(5 OH)

Can one harvest anything from the local great lakes to use as a fertilizer or whatever? Anyone have any experience?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 12:37PM
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As far as Seaweed/Kelp, i read that it has high amounts of Iodine.
a small amount of Iodine helps plants to increase the amount of Nitrogen they can take up.
This can help them grow faster.
a large amount of iodine is harmful though.
You might want to research this before using a lot of it.

i had a fresh water pond
with lots of Water hyacinth growing in it.

when it would get too dense, i would take out a lot of them and throw them under my orange tree.

That Orange tree took off.
It has given me huge amounts
of very sweet fruit every year since

Here is a link that might be useful: USES OF SEAWEEDS Fertilizers and soil conditioners

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 12:45PM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

Re: Great Lakes, how about some of those invasive fish they've been fighting for decades? The sea lampreys came in, then they put in the alewives to eat the lampreys or some such, and now they're out of control, and there's the Zebra Mussel, and the flying carp...all these would make great fertilizer if you could catch em. :-]

Seriously, if I had all the money in the world I'd start a nonprofit to harvest flying carp from the MO River and make boutique organic fertilizer out of em.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 11:24AM
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Tox -- and can we team up because I want to start a non profit that would harvest Lion Fish from the Atlantic and sell them to eat in expensive restaurants. I ate some in Belize last year, and they're delicious. And extremely dangerous.

Soon as we get all the money in the world, okay?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 4:10PM
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Fresh water weeds can be a good source of nutrients, if you can find any. Most often the lake associations pay someone to spray the lake with toxic poisons to control those weeds, without understanding they are also destroying fish habitat.
Many years ago I could go to the beach and collect weeds that had washed up to use in my garden, but have not seen any around in many years.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 6:49AM
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Natures_Nature(5 OH)

I don't know how I didn't know about the lamprey infestation in lake erie. I fish in the lake all the time, catch hundreds of fish, haven't ever seen them on a fish. Just did a quick search, I guess their threatening the steelhead. I am fond of steelhead fishing as well, caught dozens, never had a lamprey on em.. ill be on the look when it warms up, that'll be my excuse to get out fishing!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 5:40PM
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I have wondered about a small fishing pond or lake (not sure how to define which is which) that has some weeds in the water, all freshwater. But harvesting may be difficult. I DO NOT have access to seaweed. I would use some if I did. My question (really) should not be in this forum, I guess. I sorta had an answer from toxcrusader. That for food the FDA doesn't have to list all trace elements. My MAIN question was that since this HUMAN FOOD LABEL didn't list more than 2 beneficial elements in this SEAWEED HUMAN SNACK FOOD, (vitamin A, and I THINK Iron) how can seaweed be touted as having MANY beneficial soil elements, and even on the food label for these seaweed snacks. I am sorry for the confusion, but hope you see what I am questioning. I also wonder if there is a lot of Mercury in either the snack for people, or the soil additive. The fact that the seaweed snack label lists very little but the salt, vitamin A and (iron?). The Iron may be wrong. I should have kept the package. I thought that even though it is food, seaweed should have the same elements in it wether it is for soil, or peoples consumption. And high Mercury or Iodine even is a concern.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 11:33PM
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A pond is usually a man made body of water either by digging a hole and allowing water to fill it or by damming a stream to slow the flow of water. A lake is a larger body of water usually by natural processes.
Whether seaweed has any mercury, or other contaminants depends on the source, but the FDA does not require these products to be labeled because they are largely unregulated.
Nature, Lamprey have been a problem in the great lakes since about the 1920's.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 6:22AM
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There will be years when weeds wash ashore in the Great Lakes. Lake Saint-Clair, by far the smallest in the chain, and Lake Erie can have weed covered shores. Fresh water weeds will concentrate minerals like seaweed, but iodine, sodium, selenium and probably zinc will be lower. Local, smaller glacial lakes or impoundments are choked with weeds every single summer.

There is of course the problem of BPA but keep in mind that fungi readily degrade it, so fresh water weeds should be a great amendment, unless they have huge cadmium concentrations.

Elisa, you may want to add asian carp to your non-profit goals. It is very good to eat, professional fishermen in the Mississippi basin are becoming rich with exports to Asia.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 12:23PM
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seaweed , spirulina, chlorella etc...
all CAN pickup heavy metals from theri environment if it is contaminated.

I buy spirulina from
(no i dont work for them)
they are just the cheapest i found.
They have a regular, and an organic, which is supposedly better.

very small amounts of spirulina can be added to the soil and increase iodine levels which help the plant uptake nitrogen.

i take a teaspoon every other day.
its high in micro nutrients and easily digested protein too

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 1:04PM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

Elisa - you're on, let's buy lottery tickets. :-]

I grew up in MI, and used to go for beach walks with my dad, and he told me about the lampreys. That was probably in the late 60s. I learned at a young age how complex natural habitats are, and how easy it is to screw them up.

The sea is not full of mercury, it only seems that way because there is a lot of talk about fish. But fish concentrate mercury to many many times higher concentrations.

As far as minerals in seaweed, I'm curious now whether the dry wt. content of minerals in seaweed is really higher than, say, terrestrial plant matter that you'd compost. I know my landlubber backyard compost is very high in micro minerals. I wouldn't turn down seaweed, but I don't really know that it's superior. Would need to find some data.

Ah, here we go:

"Mineral content was determined in several brown (Fucus vesiculosus, Laminaria digitata, Undaria pinnatifida) and red (Chondrus crispus, Porphyra tenera) edible marine sea vegetables. Seaweeds contained high proportions of ash (21.1 - 39.3%) and sulphate (1.3 - 5.9%). In brown algae, ash content (30.1 - 39.3%) was higher than in red algae (20.6 - 21.1%). Atomic absorption spectrophotometry of the ashes indicated that marine seaweeds contained higher amounts of both macrominerals (8.083 - 17,875 mg/100g; Na, K, Ca, Mg) and trace elements (5.1 - 15.2 mg/100 g; Fe, Zn, Mn, Cu), than those reported for edible land plants. Edible brown and red seaweeds could be used as a food supplement to help meet the recommended daily intake of some essential minerals and trace elements."

That was just the first interesting Google hit I looked at, there's probably a lot more.

This post was edited by toxcrusadr on Tue, Mar 4, 14 at 16:42

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 3:24PM
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This may be of some interest to some.

Here is a link that might be useful: how mercury accumulates in fish

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 5:20PM
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As far as Lamprey, I need to do a web search on what a Lamprey is. I should have mentioned, what I have been eating is " Annie Chun's" Seaweed snacks. Vitamin C 15%, 1 gm protein, salt and carbs. No iron in this one. The freshwater source I mentioned, definitely has some sort of weed in the shallows. It is a large fishing pond. I would say it more a pond than lake, but it is a large pond.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 11:30PM
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i have been working with vitamins and herbs for 30 yrs
i would say that Spirulina is the best "superfood" there is...

it has a higher vitamin and mineral content than probably anything else.
It is also VERY high in protein, and its a very easy form of protein for the body to break down.
its also a very high source of fatty acids your body needs.

it also helps detoxify your body of toxins

Spirulina contains rich vegetable protein (60~ 63 %, 3~4 times higher than fish or beef ), multi Vitamins (Vitamin B 12 is 3~4 times higher than animal liver)

It contains a wide range of minerals (including Iron, Potassium, Magnesium Sodium, Phosphorus, Calcium etc.), a high volume of Beta- carotene which protects cells (5 time more than carrots, 40 time more than spinach), high volumes of gamma-Linolein acid (which can reduce cholesterol and prevent heart disease). Further, Spirulina contains Phycocyanin which can only be found in Spirulina.

Spirulina grows in alkaline saline water. Because Spirulina easily absorbs nutrients from water, if the water contains pollution or heavy metals, these will be highly concentrated in the Spirulina cell. If this happens, then this kind of Spirulina is no longer suitable for human consumption.
What does Spirulina contain?
With over 100 nutrients, Spirulina is often described as the most complete food source in the world. The American National Aeronautical and Space Agency includes it in their astronauts diet and plans to grow Spirulina in itâÂÂs space station. ItâÂÂs easy to see why.

Spirulina contains more than 60% vegetable protein, which is much higher than fish, pork, or beef (which contains about 15 ~20 %).Animal protein is a much bigger molecule than vegetable protein, and is much harder to for our system to digest.
Most modern people overindulge in animal protein, by eating fish, beef, pork etc. When too much animal protein is eaten, it is deposited in our body as fat. Too much fat will cause high cholesterol levels and may impact our heart and blood vessels.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 7:21AM
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There was a news piece last night about marine biologists taking samples of kelp off the coast of California to test for radiation from fukashima. Apparently kelp accumulates the radioactive elements and is a "canary in a coalmine" for radioactive contamination. So beware of west coast seaweed for the garden...

Toxcrusadr - I've had the same thoughts regarding turning invasive carp into fertilizer. I've often thought, after watching the youtube videos of those carp jumping out of the water, that one could devise some sort of harvest boat with concave in-ward sloping metal mesh nets that would "intercept" the fish as they launched and direct them into a holding tank on the trawler, potentially grinding them as they go into the hold. Maybe you could get some money from the state DNRs to do so. Would be a win-win... That's going to be my retirement project...

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 9:29AM
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I've harvested bags of seaweed from the beach on the Florida east coast and it broke down quite nicely in my compost bin. Did give me an allergy attack the day after gathering it though...probably red tide or something...

The best tomatoes I've ever grown were grown on scraps (heads, skins, bones) from fishing. I dug a 10" deep trench and spread all the scraps in the trench, then covered it back up with dirt. Planted tomatoes from seed right on top and they were impressive that year.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 9:37AM
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Natures_Nature(5 OH)

"I've harvested bags of seaweed from the beach on the Florida east coast and it broke down quite nicely in my compost bin."

Im having a hard time invisioning harvesting seaweed. Maybe the long strains of kelp, and the density of kelp forest, you can easily grab ahold of it,or maybe a rake harvesting tool of some sort.. But, over here swiming in the lake, we have very fine seaweed, it would seem difficult to harvest.

On another note of kelp harvesting, ill leave you with a quote from Charles Darwin:

"I can only compare these great aquatic forests(kelp forest)...with the terrestrial ones in the intertropical regions. Yet if in any country a forest was destroyed, I do not believe so nearly so many species of animals would perish as would here, from the destruction of kelp. Amdist the leaves of this plant numerous species of fish live, which nowhere else could find food or shelter; with their destruction the many cormorants and other fishing birds, the otters, seals and porpoise, would soon perish also; and lastly, the Fuegian[s]...would...decrease in numbers and perhaps cease to exist."

��" Charles Darwin, 1 June 1834, Tierra del Fuego, Chile

Also on the note of kelp detoxifying pollutants, radiation, etc. maybe it's better if we leave the kelp do it's thing in the ocean, maybe we are doing more harm than good harvesting it, i dont know.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 11:09AM
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I've been trying to convince my brother to put ground up fish in his compost pile for years. I figure better to test it on his pile...

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 11:17AM
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Natures_Nature(5 OH)

That's one of the biggest tug-o-war I'm having.. I carry a naturalist philosophy. And knowing that our ancestors used fish on their gardens for eons.. I am frustrated that I cant take advantage of it. I even cringe when someone reccomendeds fish emulsion, or digging fish in their gardens. Every time I use anything fish, my garden gets destroyed by animals. Perhaps composting the fish first will take care of the smell, and once it's fully decomposed in the garden, the animals won't go crazy for it. But theb, they'll be digging in the compost.. You could fence off the compost.. Either way, animals turning your compost is better than tilling in your freshly transplanting seedlings.

For all of those who advise fish, fish, fish, blood, bone meal, how do you guys not have animal problems? I would imagine nearly everyone with some animal population around would have the same problem. I cant get over this.. Maybe my animals here are just extra hungry..

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 1:01PM
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Using fish for fertilizer is terrible. Fish should be used for human food, at worst to feed chickens and pigs. Native americans used fish for fertilizer because they had runs, and no refrigeration. So they used it as a nitrogen store.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 11:56AM
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Some native Americans used fish as a fertilizer when they grew food crops, but not all native Americans were into cropping. Some fish were used for fertilizer while other fish were consumed as food.
There are still fish that are better used as fertilizer then for food, for example the Alewife in the great lakes.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 6:38AM
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I just want to add that the source of these seaweed snacks is Korea. Fukashima is very close to Korea, I would imagine. I would think if it wasn't safe the U.S. wouldn't allow it in our markets. Am I wronge to worry about eating these snacks?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 6:54AM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

Theoretically it wouldn't be allowed if it wasn't safe, but our food testing regime is inadequate in terms of sheer volume. It's unlikely that particular product was tested.

Having said that, I do not know enough about the direction of the Fukushime plume to make a guess. I am fairly confident someone *is* thinking about that, so perhaps the Korean coast is unaffected, or if detectable at all, it's such a small amount that US risk assessors aren't concerned. Anyway that's how I would approach it - look for likely hot spots and act accordingly.

I wouldn't worry about one product if it makes up a tiny amount of your diet. I have general concerns about water quality in Asia and resulting food quality, so I stay away from Asian foods more and more just because of general pollution, not because of Fukushima. Just my 2 cents.

On a related note, someone mentioned the US monitoring seaweed as an indicator. I would guess Iodine-131 is the isotope at work here (breakdown product of uranium).

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 2:12PM
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"I wouldn't worry about one product if it makes up a tiny amount of your diet. I have general concerns about water quality in Asia and resulting food quality, so I stay away from Asian foods more and more just because of general pollution, not because of Fukushima. Just my 2 cents. "

Totally understandable. You avoid North American food to be on the safe side as well, right?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 3:00PM
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toxcrusadr(Zone 6a - MO)

No, we actually have some semblance of environmental regs here that are generally followed, somewhat. I cannot say I am confident of the same in Asia. It looks like the 1950s over there as far as I can tell.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 12:05PM
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A ringing endorsement? :)

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 2:13PM
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