Ask The Pharmacist: Dulse, superfood of the sea

Suzy Cohen
A cluster of dulse seaweed is grown at the Hatfield Marine Science Center for Oregon State University in Newport on Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Dulse grows quickly, is full of protein and tastes like bacon when fried.

Quick, what food is red, salty, chewy and delicious? If you said bacon, you’re close … sort of!

I’m actually talking about dulse (rhymes with pulse), which is a kind of seaweed, or technically a form of algae that grows attached to rocks near the shore of the Northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Its leaves are roughly the same shape as bacon, which is ironic because when you pan fry dulse, it actually tastes kind of like bacon; especially if you’re drunk. Nah, I’m just kidding about being drunk; it really does taste a little bit like bacon.
Don’t roll your eyes at me, I’m totally serious.

Unlike bacon, dulse is a superfood. The high content of minerals make it particularly useful for the production of ‘thyroxine’ thyroid hormone.

More:Ask The Pharmacist: Should the government control your latte?

Dulse comes in many forms, even powder. Think of that like you would salt, and just sprinkle it on soups, chicken, salads, popcorn and stir fries. It might also replace some of the salt in your food. But my favorite way to eat it is pan-fried, which is when it comes close to tasting like bacon. I have a simple recipe posted there for a DLT (dulse, lettuce and tomato) sandwich, and a comprehensive version of this article with precautions.

Sign up for my newsletter at and I’ll email it. If you’re already a subscriber, you will automatically receive your copy. Dulse has powerful antioxidant properties and can inhibit runaway cell proliferation, plus it provides the following nutrients plus several others not listed here.


These are potent antioxidants, like alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, all of which are known to be good for healthy eyesight, reducing free radical damage, and decreasing the risk or duration of chronic illness.


Iodine is essential for your thyroid to be able to produce enough thyroid hormone and iodine deficiency is very common. But it’s not just for your thyroid, it’s needed in all your cells especially your reproductive organs and immune function.


This mineral is necessary to make a protein called hemoglobin, which acts like a tow truck and lugs oxygen all over your body. It supports the health of your blood, helping to prevent anemia. Iron is also vital to carry out dozens of life-sustaining chemical reactions throughout your body.


Potassium is a vasodilator and functions as an electrolyte to help balance sodium; this regulates fluid balance in your cells so it supports healthy blood pressure. Potassium provides for an alkaline environment which counters common acidosis caused by a fast-food Western diet.

Vitamin A

This skin and vision-loving nutrient can also boost immunity by keeping your mucous membranes ‘wet’ and strong, meaning that they are empowered to filter particles and pathogens before they enter your body.

Free glutamate

Dulse has a lot of glutamic acid, as does most shellfish and seaweed. It is not the same as the food additive MSG but it can sometimes behave that way in a small percentage of people.

Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit