Aquamin and charcoal are trending as potential gut-health ingredients



Aquamin is a trademarked multi-mineral formula made from red seaweed that can help keep a healthy digestive barrier in the stomach that helps thwart chronic GI inflammation, according to Food Processing magazine. The trademark owner is an Irish company that has been studying Aquamin applications in gluten-free and regular breads, ice cream, rice, pasta and cereal bars.

Activated charcoal is showing up in black cold-pressed juices, coffee, baked goods, ice cream and other products and is said to help with digestive health, reduce cholesterol and remove impurities from the body.

Gut health is becoming more important for consumers. Consequently, the number of food and beverage products making digestive health claims is growing. The global market for digestive products grew 12% between 2012 and 2017, the report stated.

Aquamin contains calcium magnesium and trace minerals and is believed to help limit chronic gut inflammation and support joint health. It is considered a versatile ingredient for adding calcium to food

Activated charcoal plays a much different role by binding itself to poison and keeping the poison from entering the bloodstream. However, as the University of Utah pointed out, more research is needed into exactly how it works. Charcoal can also bind to consumed foods and block the absorption of both nutrients and medications. When added to food, it has a smoky and earthy flavor.

Burger King was an earlier pioneer in using activated bamboo charcoal by launching a “kuro burger” in selected outlets in Japan in 2012. This product featured a patty inside a sliced black bun, including a sliver of black cheese and a black sauce made from squid ink. They were a big hit with Japanese customers and outsold all other new products the company offered that year. However, the restaurant’s big sales likely came more from the sandwich’s visual impact and smoky taste and less from the possibility of improved gut health.

Gut-healthy foods and beverages show no sign of slowing entry into the global marketplace. As long as people want to improve their digestive health, they will seek out these products. And though Aquamin and activated charcoal are trendy now.


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