Kelp is a type of sea vegetable related to brown algae and is native to all oceans of the world. Kelp is a popular food in some cultures, such as the Japanese. Some types of sea kelp, such as bladderwrack, laminaria, and rockweed, are harvested and developed into dietary supplements.
Kelp's Health Benefits
Kelp is rich in essential nutrients, such as calcium, potassium and iodine. As a rich natural source of iodine -which is not found in abundance in the diet - kelp may be especially important to those with under-active thyroids (hypothyroidism). Iodine is a major component of thyroid hormone, and many people with hypothyroidism may lack sufficient amounts of this vital nutrient in their diets.
Consult your physician before beginning the use of a kelp supplement if you have or suspect you may have any thyroid condition. Use as directed. Kelp is available in tablet, capsule, liquid and powder form. Kelp supplements may lose potency over time, so store as directed by the manufacturer and be aware of expiration dates.
Side-effects and Cautions:
Kelp supplements may cause nausea and diarrhea in some individuals. A small percentage of the population is sensitive to iodine and may develop thyroid problems if kelp is consumed in large amounts. If these symptoms occur, consult your physician. Pregnant/nursing women should not take kelp supplements, as they have not been proven safe in this population. Individuals with thyroid abnormalities should consult a physician before consuming a kelp product, as it may interfere with the effectiveness of some medications.