KELP – Superfood from the Sea

In Blog by Amanda Chong

What is Kelp?

Kelp is a large seaweed belonging to the brown algae family. It grows in enormous beds just below the surface of the sea. Because of sunlight and the plentiful nutrients in the sea, it is known for its high growth rate; some grow as fast as half a metre a day!

Kelp contains almost every mineral and trace mineral necessary for the human body. It is also rich in amino acids and vitamins. Everyone would do well to develop the habit of taking kelp tablets daily. Kelp can also be made into powder to be used as seasoning.

As early as 1750, kelp has been used by Dr. Bernard Russell, an English physician, to treat goitre successfully. In 1862, Dr. C. Dupare successfully used kelp as an aid to treat obesity. 

Kelp is a principal source of organic iodine in natural form.


Iodine is important for both physical and mental development. Mental retardation may result from iodine deficiency in children. Iodine is needed for a healthy thyroid gland, and for the prevention of goitre, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Iodine deficiency has recently been linked to breast cancer, obesity and low metabolism. The most important source of natural iodine is from kelp. It is also found in small quantities in seafood, asparagus, garlic, mushrooms and sesame seeds.

In addition to promoting the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, iodine also helps to provide energy, endurance and relieve nervous tension. Because it promotes circulation, particularly to the brain, it contributes to clear thought, and is beneficial for the prevention and treatment of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

In contrast to the organic iodine found in kelp which is good for health, drinking iodine or taking potassium iodide/sodium iodide in iodized salt is not safe. These are inorganic sources of iodine, which can be toxic to the body.

Thyroid Health

Many suffer from an unhealthy thyroid without realizing it! Sufficient intake of organic iodine is essential for maintaining a healthy thyroid. The most visible and perhaps most dangerous symptom of iodine deficiency is goitre, which affects about 3% of the population globally causing a few thousand deaths every year.

Iodine deficiency can also be a cause of both hypothyroidism AND hyperthyroidism, as it is essential in the production of thyroid hormones which are responsible for managing the body’s metabolic rate, and maintaining a healthy, balanced thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism is more common than you might think, with millions of people suffering from it to different degrees.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • coarse, dry hair and hair loss
  • muscle cramps and frequent aches
  • dry, rough pale skin
  • slower than normal heart rate
  • constipation
  • depression

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • changes in appetite
  • fatigue
  • insomnia
  • abnormal frequent bowel movement
  • heart palpitations
  • increased sweating
  • heat intolerance
  • irritability

Iodine-rich foods such as kelp have a long history as a natural therapy for those with both hypo- and hyperthyroidism due to iodine deficiency.

Heart Health

Dietary iodine also has a role to play in protecting the cardiovascular system. Supplementation of kelp is highly recommended for individuals with high cholesterol or heart problems.

Weight Loss

Hypothyroidism makes it difficult for one to lose weight due to a reduced metabolic rate, which often results in higher waist-to-hip ratio and a much higher risk of being overweight or obese. Kelp has long been used to treat obesity due to the ability of its natural iodine content to alleviate hypothyroidism.

Digestive Cancers Prevention

What do the thyroid gland, breast tissue, and parts of the digestive tract have in common? They are all areas of the body that contain high concentrations of iodine. Studies have found that people living in iodine-deficient areas have higher rates of stomach cancers. Gastric cancer tissues have a much lower concentration of iodine compared to the surrounding normal tissues. This has led researchers to believe that there is a link between iodine deficiency and a higher risk of gastric cancer.

Radiation Protection

Many people do not realize that radiation is far more toxic than any chemical, pesticide or other poisonous substances. Why? Radioactive waves possess enormous energy that break chemical bonds in our body, producing free radicals and creating massive disruption in our living cells. Worse still, radiation does not go away quickly, the effect of radiation in the body is accumulative.

Kelp contains algin that chelates and detoxifies heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury etc. It also protects the body from the effects of radiation. It is found that kelp can reduce absorption of Strontium-90 by 50-80% and would help against the absorption radioactive iodine. Both Strontium-90 and radioactive iodine are radioactive fallouts that are found in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat, especially in the milk and beef from countries that are exposed to nuclear testing and nuclear wastes. Exposure to radiation over time can have negative effects on the body such as enzyme destruction, cell mutations, abnormal cell division (retarded or cancerous), alteration of cell membrane permeability and cell metabolism. This can happen in our bodies over decades, resulting in poor health or chronic diseases such as cancer.

Breast Cancer Prevention

Studies are showing a marked difference in breast cancer statistics between populations of women based on the consumption of seaweed in their diet. Japanese women have an iodine intake about 25 times higher than the average American women, and statistics show that Japanese women have roughly one-third the breast cancer rates of those found in America. Interestingly, this difference does not appear in Japanese women who have migrated to the US, where they consume much less seaweed.

Research has found that diets containing kelp seaweed helped to lower the levels of potent sex hormone estradiol in women. Other studies have shown that longer menstrual cycles and lower serum estradiol levels may contribute towards lower rates of breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers.

Benefits of Kelp

Not only is Kelp the richest source of dietary iodine, it provides the body with 46 minerals, 16 amino acids, and 11 micronutrients that include:

  • Calcium
  • Folic acid
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D, and E

It is also rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory effects on the body.

Regular intake of Kelp is helpful for supporting healthy thyroid function and preventing the effects of iodine deficiency such as hypothyroidism. It has been useful for supporting regular menstrual cycles in women and also promoting weight loss in those that struggle to lose weight due to lowered metabolic rate.

Kelp is a true daily essential that should be taken regularly in order to ensure sufficient intake of iodine for long term health and vitality!

Who Might Benefit from Kelp?

Kelp is recommended as a daily supplement in the diet for every living person, in particular the following:-

  • Growing children
  • Senior citizens
  • Women
  • Those suffering from hyper/hypo thyroidism, acidosis, boils, diarrhoea, DDT poisoning, cardiovascular disease, asthma, oedema, emphysema, epilepsy, dandruff, gangrene, gout, hair problems, hay fever, inflammation, lupus, radiation, mercury and other metallic poisoning, osteoporosis, premenstrual syndrome, prostate disorders, skin disorders, stress, T.B., fibrocystic disease of the breast, frigidity and high blood pressure.
  • The overweight and the obese
  • The underweight
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