What is kelp?
Kelp (Laminariales), also known as brown seaweed, is a mineral-rich sea vegetable, high in nutrients like fiber, iron, magnesium, niacin, and a range of vitamins. Notably, it is also a superior source of iodine.
An Asian food staple, kelp is consumed the world over in salads, soups, and stews, and as a salt replacement. And, it’s sustainable — it can grow nearly two feet per day when cared for properly, and does not deplete freshwater supplies, nor does it require the use of land-based agriculture (which generally contributes to deforestation, greenhouse gases, and soil degradation). (1)
Why is iodine important?
Iodine is essential for proper thyroid function, playing a key role in thyroid hormone activities such as protein synthesis and metabolic function. Iodine has also been shown to play a role in immune response, and is critical for the proper development of the skeletal and nervous systems in fetuses and infants. The National Institutes of Health advises a serving of 150 micrograms of iodine daily for adults, both male and female. (2)
Why supplement with iodine?
Iodine intake has been declining in the US for decades, for a number of reasons.
First, there are fewer iodine-based additives in previously-enriched sources like livestock feed and bread. Secondly, though iodized table salt is the main source of iodine for most people, it isn’t a reliable one; research shows that over half of iodized salt samples contain less than the recommended level of the nutrient, and amounts fluctuate between different brands and packages. Further, the public’s awareness of a high-salt diet has lowered their intake of salt overall, further limiting iodine intake. (3)
Why is kelp the superior source?
Potassium iodide and sodium iodide are commonly used as additives in salt and nutritional supplements. Potassium iodide, though, comes with its fair share of side effects when used in higher doses, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), namely skin rashes, salivary gland swelling, metallic taste in the mouth, and symptoms of a head cold. (4)
Kelp, on the other hand, is a natural and whole food source of iodine, with bioavailability rivaling that of its artificial counterparts. (5) The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that nutritional needs be met primarily from food sources, and the NIH says that seaweed like kelp is one of the best food sources of iodine, boasting as much as 2,984 micrograms per serving when consumed raw. (2)
In all, kelp is a time-tested and nutritionally superior source of iodine, and one that is both natural and whole food derived. Because Vitalah is committed to offering the highest quality supplements for whole body nutrition, we have chosen kelp as our source of iodine for Adult Oxylent.
- Ocean holds the key to superior nutrition and sustainability, Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) via ScienceDaily [online] www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150818131758.htm.
- Iodine Fact Sheet, NIH Office of Dietary Supplements [online] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-HealthProfessional.
- Iodized Table Salt May Be Low In Iodine, Raising Health Concerns, American Chemical Society via ScienceDaily [online] www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204090923.htm
- Frequently Asked Questions on Potassium Iodide (KI), US Food and Drug Administration [online] http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/EmergencyPreparedness/BioterrorismandDrugPreparedness/ucm072265.htm
- Aquaron, R, et al. Cell Mol Biol. 2002;48(5):563-9. PMID: 12146713 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12146713)