A brown, leafy seaweed present throughout the oceans of the world, kelp is a type of algae that has been a staple of Asian cuisine for centuries. Capable of reaching anywhere from 100 to 265 feet in length, kelp can grow as quickly as one and a half feet per day and is often referred to as a superfood due to its dense nutritional profile.
Kelp is most highly regarded as a thyroid-supportive seaweed due to its abundant natural iodine. It has been used assist with iodine deficiencies (which are relatively common) for thousands of years. Iodine is necessary for thyroid function. Specifically, iodine helps the body to synthesize the thyroid hormones T3 and T4. In addition to supplying highly bioavailable iodine, kelp has been found to be a source of minerals such as calcium and iron, as well as supplying B vitamins and powerful antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E.**
Naturally high in a particular fiber known as alginate, kelp has been used with some success in weight management programs. In fact, one research study found that those eating a diet high in alginate proved more successful in managing healthy weight than those who were not provided alginate-rich foods. A natural diuretic, the seaweed can aid in a detoxification regimen or in minimizing the effects of constipation. Kelp also contains fucodian, a complex carbohydrate which has been researched for its potential to modulate the body’s inflammatory responses.**
In addition to supplying iodine, the seaweed’s vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds have made it a popular supplement and dietary choice. Kelp in its raw or dried form is available from many markets that specialize in Asian cuisine. Noodles made from dried seaweed are also common in Asian diets. Those without a close or ready supply of kelp-based food can take nutritional supplements instead, which are available as tablets, in capsules, or even in liquid extract. Powdered kelp has also been used as a food additive or to brew tea.**
Kelp Directions for Use
Never begin a nutritional supplement regimen without consulting your doctor or primary health care provider first. The generally accepted kelp dosage is from between 200 mg to 600 mg a day, or two fluid ounces up to three times a day when administered in a tea or liquid extract.**