This article deals with possible side effects of kelp and those who may be more at risk than others.
Kelp or sea kelp, contains an abundance of minerals and vitamins that our bodies can greatly benefit from.
However, as with anything we eat, moderation is the key. Excessive consumption of kelp and its supplements can lead to various side effects.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 10 years, you know the importance of eating a daily diet of fruit and vegetables to maintain a healthy body.
Kelp is simply a vegetable that lives in the sea and happens to contain a whole host of vital nutrients including; high amounts of iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium and particularly iodine.
This sea vegetable also contains bromine, boron, protein, sodium salts, alginates, alginic acid, essential fatty acids, nitrogen, selenium, zinc, laminarin, vitamin C and B-vitamins.
Kelp contains high levels of iodine. This in itself is no bad thing, as a sufficient level of iodine is essential for maintaining optimal thyroid function and the production of thyroid hormones.
There are several places around the world where crops grow in soil deficient in iodine. These places must add iodine to their diet in the form of iodized salt.
In most developed countries like the US, this problem was virtually wiped out early in the 20th century.
Unfortunately iodine deficiency is on the rise again and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that some 1 billion people around the world are at risk of health problems due to iodine deficiency.
Even a mild iodine deficiency, can cause thyroid enlargement (goiter), hypothyroidism, and developmental brain disorders.
But like anything, too much of a good thing is usually bad for us and consuming excessive amounts of iodine can have the same effect of causing hypothyroidism and goiter.
As well as these thyroid related problems, excessive consumption of kelp can lead to gastrointestinal problems like, nausea and diarrhea and a reduction in the ability of the body to absorb certain vital nutrients like iron, sodium and potassium.
Additionally, it has been observed that kelp extracts or supplements can lower the level of blood sugar in the body. You should take professional medical advise while using it along with blood sugar lowering medications.
Anyone already taking medication such as aspirin for this condition should not take kelp in supplement form.
If used in moderation, kelp can provide significant health benefits. But it is imperative to consult with a doctor or medical professional, before taking kelp or its supplements for medicinal purposes.
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are usually advised to avoid kelp or kelp supplements, but again, medical advice is always recommended.
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