• Nutrient-rich Food
Kelp refers to several species of large, brown algae that can grow to enormous sizes far out in the depths of the ocean. Kelp is a type of seaweed, but not all seaweed is kelp: "seaweed" loosely describes any type of vegetation growing in the ocean, including many other types of algae and plants.
Kelp is a regular part of a normal human diet in many parts of the world, such as Japan, Alaska, and Hawaii. It is also incorporated into some vitamin and mineral supplements because of its nutrient value. Kelp is a good source of
Supplements containing kelp can be purchased at most pharmacies and health food stores. Kelp used in food preparation is available at groceries that stock specialties for Asian cooking.
There is no appropriate "therapeutic" dosage of kelp, as it is not yet known whether kelp is truly therapeutic for any conditions. However, because of its high iodine content, it is important not to overdo your use of kelp. The iodine content in 17 different kelp supplements studied by one group of researchers varied from 45 to 57,000 mcg per tablet or capsule.
The recommended daily intake for iodine is 150 mcg per day for people over the age of four, and taking a great deal more than this can cause thyroid problems (see
Kelp is used primarily as a nutrient-rich food supplement.
The results of highly preliminary test tube
Additionally, kelp has been marketed as a
Another common claim regarding kelp is that, because of its high iodine content, it can help all kinds of thyroid problems. This claim, however, is misleading and even dangerous. It is true that if you are deficient in iodine, kelp is probably good for you, but iodine deficiency is rare, and taking extra iodine when you don’t need it can
dysfunction of the thyroid (see
Taking excessive kelp can overload the body with iodine and cause either hypothyroidism
Additionally, published reports describe two cases of
Finally, some kelp supplements have been found to contain levels of arsenic high enough to be toxic.
12. Konno N, Makita H, Yuri K, et al. Association between dietary iodine intake and prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism in the coastal regions of Japan. J Clin Endocrinol Metab . 1994;78:393-397.
17. Yamaguchi K, Fukushima H, Uzawa H, et al. A case of iodide myxedema observed for three years under a low iodide diet—especially on the restoration of the escape mechanism from the Wolff-Chaikoff effect. Nippon Naibunpi Gakkai Zasshi . 1984;60:79-88.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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