You’ve probably heard of Sea Kelp! Not only has it been eaten and used medicinally for thousands of years, it’s now in many health and beauty products and very popular as a food supplement.
Here we discuss the many benefits of sea kelp supplements and cover some questions…
What is it and what is sea kelp used for? Can you use sea kelp for weight loss? Can taking sea kelp for hair loss really help? Are sea kelp tablets vegan? Are the anti-ageing and longevity claims true?
Read on for more info about this superfood from the sea… It’s not just for mermaids!
So What is Sea Kelp?
Sea Kelp is a large brown algae which grows around coastal areas in nutrient rich salt water. Kelp forms underwater kelp forests which can be huge in size (Kelp can often grow up to 35 metres or more!) They are amazing ecosystems, home to many forms of sea-life, and absolutely stunning.
Seaweeds and kelp have been used by mankind for thousands of years. They are used extensively in Japanese cuisine and the diets of other East Asian cultures. They’ve also been used medicinally throughout history by Asia, Europe, the Roman Empire and the ancient Greeks, amongst others!
Kelp is considered one of the richest natural sources of iodine, has 10 times more calcium than milk and more Vitamin C than orange juice! Wow!
Iodine in Sea Kelp
Sea Kelp is a potent source of iodine, an essential mineral which helps to regulate thyroid hormones, promoting normal thyroid function. Iodine also supports cognitive function and can help reduce tiredness and fatigue. Iodine also contributes to the maintenance of normal skin, nails and hair. Some sea kelp supplements may contain several thousand times the daily recommended limit of iodine, so it’s extremely important to consider this if choosing a sea kelp supplement. Soul Nutrients Sea Kelp Tablets contain 250mcg of Iodine.
Calcium in Sea Kelp
Kelp contains more calcium than most other vegetables! As you may well know already, calcium is essential for healthy bone and teeth formation and maintenance. It has additional vital functions in the body, including nerve function, helping your blood clot normally, and regulating muscle contractions (including your heart). Other minerals in sea kelp, including copper, magnesium, and zinc all contribute to bone health.
Other Vitamins and Minerals in Sea Kelp
A veritable powerhouse of essential vitamins and minerals, sea kelp is prized for its powerful antioxidant properties which fight against disease-causing free radicals. In addition to plentiful amounts of iodine and calcium, sea kelp contains:
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
Vitamin B9 (Folate)
Is Sea Kelp Anti-Ageing?
There have been many claims that sea kelp is anti-ageing - can it really be true? The particular type of iodine in kelp is thought to assist in removing free radicals. These are the chemicals which can cause cell damage, ageing and illness. Sea kelp is full of antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory too, all of which promotes great skin health. The following study on Potential Anti-Aging Substances Derived from Seaweeds is a good source of further information.
What About the “Sea Kelp and Longevity” Claims?
Japan has a high life expectancy and relatively low rates of cancer. Kelp is an everyday food in Japan and the regular consumption of seaweeds and kelp could well be a factor in increasing the longevity of the Japanese. More research is required but let’s watch this space!
Can you really use Sea Kelp for Weight Loss?
Sea Kelp contains alginate (a natural fibre). Studies suggest alginate could stop fat from being absorbed by the gut by up to 72%. Read this article by PubMed Central if you want a more in depth look.
Fibre is also useful in reducing those hunger pangs by increasing feelings of fullness!
Did you know that alginates are used as thickening agents by food manufacturers?
Iodine (which as we already know, is present in sea kelp) is also considered helpful in regulating metabolism, which in turn affects weight loss and gain.
Additional research into sea kelp being used as a supplement for weight maintenance is being conducted.
Sea Kelp for Hair Loss?
Although often claimed, this does not appear to be the case, sadly. However the myriad vitamins and minerals in sea kelp can promote healthy, strong hair and help to prevent breakages.
Are Sea Kelp Tablets Vegan?
While we can’t speak for other brands, what we do know is that Soul Nutrients Sea Kelp Tablets are suitable for vegetarians and vegans, gluten free and contain NO gelatin, artificial colouring agents, flavours, sweeteners, preservatives, added sugar or salt, lactose, soya, gluten, wheat or yeast!. In fact, our sea kelp tablets may be extremely helpful for vegans in particular, as a completely natural source of iodine, calcium, vitamins and other trace minerals.
Are Sea Kelp Supplements Safe for Everyone.. What are the Side Effects of Sea Kelp Supplements?
Eating kelp is generally considered safe, but kelp supplements can have side effects for certain people. .People with Hypothyroidism (or other thyroid problems) shouldn’t take kelp supplements as it may make their symptoms worse.
The recommended daily allowance for adults is 140 micrograms of iodine according to the NHS website, who also say
“ Taking high doses of iodine for long periods of time could change the way your thyroid gland works. This can lead to a wide range of different symptoms, such as weight gain. If you take iodine supplements, do not take too much as this could be harmful. Taking 0.5mg or less a day of iodine supplements is unlikely to cause any harm. “
Sea kelp supplements may also contain high levels of arsenic or heavy metals.
So kelp has numerous health benefits, but its high iodine content can make taking too much dangerous. As always, please talk with your doctor or a qualified healthcare professional before taking any food supplement (including kelp tablets) . This is particularly important if you have a thyroid disorder, an allergy to iodine, kidney or liver disease.
The Health Benefits of Taking Sea Kelp Tablets - Summary
So if you’ve checked it’s safe for you to take, these are some of the incredible benefits which sea kelp has to offer:
High in iodine, helping to promote a healthy thyroid.
High in calcium, for strong bones and teeth.
High in Vitamin C, to support a healthy immune system.
Full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
Perfect for vegans looking for a natural source of iodine and other vitamins and minerals.
Can assist with weight loss and management
May help slow the ageing process
May even promote longevity!
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