The Health Benefits of Kelp For The Thyroid and for Weight Loss

benefits of kelpKelp is a form of seaweed that grows in underwater forests in semi-shallow coasts. It requires nutrient and mineral rich ocean water to survive and thrive, and is subsequently an incredibly nutrient rich sea vegetable that contains almost every essential mineral. It is particularly rich in iodine food, containing as much as 5-20 times the RDA for iodine.

Kelp, and other forms of seaweed, can be eaten naturally to acquire the nutrients, and can be quite tasty if prepared well. You can cook with it, prepare salads, or even sprinkle kelp flakes on a dish to give it a salty, briny kick. Alternatively, there exist many kelp supplements that allow you to consume kelp in a quick and inexpensive matter.

The nutrition profile of Kelp is impressive, containing high levels of almost every essential mineral and vitamin, 1.7g of protein per 40 calorie serving, soluble fiber, and small amounts of critical omega 3 fatty acids. And, of course, it is one of the most iodine dense foods on the planet, which is of particular importance considering the increasing occurrence of iodine deficiency and related thyroid disorders. Kelp may be superior for the remedy of thyroid disorders over pure iodine because of it’s balanced and natural nutrient profile. The thyroid requires a complete blend of essential daily nutrients to function properly, not just iodine.

Another positive of kelp is it’s inherent resistance to toxicity. Toxicity of sea food, mercury in fish, for example, is a legitimate concern, and certain sea foods are more prone to absorbing toxins, depending on where it exists and the biochemical nature of it. That being said, it is of course important to research how any company that sells kelp or kelp supplement products ensures purity and tests for toxicity.

Kelp is also inexpensive. Most kelp supplements are not much more than 15 dollars a bottle and provide around 6 months worth of daily supplementation. Iodine endorses The NOW Food’s blend:

If your looking for an easy way to get crucial iodine in your diet, then a kelp supplement is probably an excellent option.

Can Kelp Help with Hypothyroid Related Weight Gain?

Yes, it can, at least to a slight degree. See my article on hypothyroid related weight gain/loss for more information. Though, don’t expect it to work miracles on it’s own. All in all, it can help slightly with weight management if you have hypothyroidism that’s related to iodine deficiency. There is also something to be said for the indirect benefits of fixing nutrient deficiencies related to inadequate iodine intake. If you’re not bogged down by fatigue, for example, it might be easier to adhere to an exercise and dietary schedule. Though, the main reason you should consider regular Kelp consumption, either food based or in supplement form, should be for general health and well being.


image credit: NOAA’s National Ocean Service