THE BENEFITS OF KELP
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© February 2023, LD Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Table Of Contents
The Brand Of Kelp Matters
II. THE BENEFITS OF KELP
A Superb Mineral Supplement
Kelp Versus Other Mineral Supplements
A Good Nutritional Supplement
Why Kelp And Not Other Iodine Supplements?
Why Kelp And Not Other Green Superfoods?
Why Kelp And Not Other Sea Vegetables?
A Very Yang Food And Supplement
III. CAUTIONS WITH KELP
Mercury And Arsenic
Reactions To Kelp
IV. THE KELP BODY WRAP
Kelp is a family of about 30 species of highly nutritious large brown algae sea vegetables of the order Laminarialis. A substitute for kelp that can be used, as well, and is often sold as kelp, is Ascophyllum nodosum. It is sometimes called Norwegian kelp, knotted kelp or knotted wrack.
The right brand of kelp is a life-saving food supplement today that we recommend for everyone. It is extremely nutritious, safe to eat, inexpensive, and widely available.
1. Grave’s disease. One must not take kelp if one has Grave’s disease or hyperthyroidism, as it can aggravate this condition.
2. Healing reactions. Some people react to kelp, especially at first. It is a healing reaction because kelp removes iodine antagonists from the body.
So please begin taking kelp by taking only one capsule daily, and then taking more in two days, up to the recommended amount, which is about 6 capsules daily for adults. If you can only take one or two capsules daily at first, that is okay. After a few months, most people can increase to 6 capsules daily for adults or about 12-15 tablets daily.
The reactions to taking kelp are usually healing reactions. They occur because kelp helps to push out mercury or one of the iodine antagonists – bromine, fluorine and chlorine. In our experience, these reactions subside after a while as the body detoxifies if one follows a development program.
3. The brand of kelp matters. The reason is that some brands do not work as well. They may be intentionally poisoned or have other problems. Ascophyllum nodosum, which is a wrack, works fine.
NOTE: We can no longer recommend Nature’s Way brand of kelp. Something was changed in this product.
Safe brands of kelp, so far, are the ones listed below:
Endomet, Solaray, Country Life, Now, Ecological Formulas, Office Gudni Gudnason, Solgar, Frontier Herbs, Monterrey Bay Herb Company, Douglas Labs and kelp from realrawfood.com.
We do not recommend other brands of kelp. They are different plants and may be somewhat toxic. Brands that we definitely do not recommend at this time are Azure Farm and Maine Sea Coast Kelp. They seem to be toxic.
II. THE BENEFITS OF KELP
Kelp is a fabulous food supplement for all the following reasons:
1. A SUPERB MINERAL SUPPLEMENT
Everyone today is low in minerals, due to modern agricultural methods, depleted soils, food processing, weak digestion, and perhaps other reasons. Kelp is well known as an excellent source of many trace minerals. There are few such sources anywhere on earth.
Besides the well-known trace elements such as iron, copper, zinc, manganese, chromium and others, kelp supplies many of the ultra-trace minerals such as germanium, iridium, rubidium and others.
Kelp also supplies, calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulfur and other macrominerals the body needs.
Kelp versus other mineral supplements. Kelp is rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, with some zinc and selenium, but low in copper. This is quite a good blend of minerals and one of the main reasons why I prefer kelp to other “mineral supplements”.
Kelp is also a food, so the body is more able to selectively absorb what it needs from it. Kelp is also an all-natural product, which avoids some toxicity.
Please do not take most mineral supplements such as E-lytes, electrolytes, sea minerals, fulvic and humic minerals, and others. All of these have one or more of the following problems:
1. They do not contain the ultra-trace minerals.
2. They contain the wrong balance of minerals.
3. They contain more toxic metals without containing substances to counteract or bind and remove the toxic minerals.
Readily available calcium. This is a complex phenomenon because many foods contain calcium. However, I find that kelp, carrots, carrot juice, sardines and raw dairy contain the most usable forms of calcium. The calcium found in pasteurized and homogenized dairy, in seeds and nuts, and in a few other foods is not as well utilized by most people.
Bioavailable iodine. This is kelp’s best known benefit. Kelp is rich in iodine, and everyone needs more iodine. The reason is the overwhelming amount of iodine antagonists present on planet earth today. These are bromine in breads and soda pop, chlorine in drinking water and elsewhere, and fluorides in water supplies and foods.
The iodine antagonists interfere with our iodine uptake and utilization, causing widespread thyroid problems in most women, especially. It also causes many other health problems, as well.
Fish and seafood are other good sources of bioavailable iodine. However, they are too high in mercury to be eaten regularly today. Iodized salt provides some iodine, but is not enough, in almost all cases. Also, the iodine in salt is not that well utilized.
Some doctors prefer not to use kelp because the amount of iodine in kelp can vary greatly. This is a concern, but not a major concern because kelp is a natural food and from our research, so far, the body seems able to regulate the amount of iodine absorption.
Why kelp and not other iodine preparations? I prefer Kelp instead of Iodoral, Lugol’s solution, Prolamine Iodine, or other iodine preparations because:
1. Safety. The right brand of kelp is less toxic. All the other iodine preparations listed above seem to build up in the liver to some degree, indicating some toxicity.
2. All single-mineral products can interfere with the absorption of other minerals. Minerals all compete for absorption to some degree. Taking a balanced food such as kelp, rather than a single mineral product, appears to be much safer for long-term use, which most people need.
3. Kelp is more yang. This is important, although it may sound a little esoteric. The bodies today are all yin, and taking yin supplements always weakens them further.
Kelp is significantly more yang because it is a natural food, and it naturally contains a lot of salt, which is yang.
4. Kelp contains at least 20 trace minerals, plus other nutrients, so it serves several nutritional purposes at the same time.
5. Kelp is much less expensive than some other iodine products, especially considering that it is a whole food and “green food” supplement as well as a source of iodine.
NOTE: In a few rare cases, I found that Lugol’s solution or Iodoral was needed for a short time to prevent goiter. After the body heals and becomes more balanced, this was no longer the case.
2. KELP IS A GOOD OVERALL NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT
Kelp is a source of:
1. Minerals, as explained above.
2. Protein. One hundred grams of kelp also contains 1.7 grams of protein.
3. Some vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K. Kelp is also particularly rich in folate.
4. Soluble fiber.
5. Many other phytonutrients.
6. Fatty acids. Kelp contains some fatty acids, including a little of the omega-3 fatty acids, and others.
Why kelp and not other green superfoods? I prefer kelp to the other ‘superfoods’ because:
1. Kelp is much more yang. As mentioned above, this is very important. The other “green superfoods” are much more yin, which is harmful, even if they are very nutritious.
2. Kelp keeps its potency better and does not turn rancid nearly as easily. The high salt content of kelp acts as a natural preservative.
Exposing dried vegetables, especially powders, to the air causes them to break down quickly and some will turn rancid. All green superfoods should always be in capsules and preferably kept in the freezer. However, very few of them are sold this way.
3. Kelp does not contain spirulina, chlorella or blue-green algae. These common algaes are somewhat toxic for human beings. They build up in the liver, indicating they are not too compatible with human physiology, no matter what nutritional benefits they may offer.
4. Kelp has much more iodine, and I find this is absolutely needed today.
5. Kelp is less expensive.
Why kelp and not other sea vegetables? Kelp is not the same as bladderwrack, Irish moss, dulse, nori, hiziki, wakame and many other sea vegetables, so do not confuse them.
The main difference, for therapeutic purposes, is that the brands of kelp I recommend have lower levels of toxic metals and a much higher alginate content. The alginates in kelp help bind the mercury and other toxic metals found in all products from the sea.
This is important because eating the other sea vegetables, as with eating much fish at all, will result in mercury and arsenic toxicity, unfortunately. I do not recommend the other sea vegetables, except for occasional use, and I do not recommend any fish or seafood except for 3-4 cans of sardines weekly for adults, due mainly to the mercury problem in all products from the sea.
3. A MORE YANG FOOD AND FOOD SUPPLEMENT
As mentioned above, kelp is a very yang product, meaning rich in salt, exposed to a lot of sunshine, and of a more contracted, “drier” nature when the water is expelled from it. Such qualities are needed today because most food has become far more yin or expanded and cold, thanks to genetic modification and other reasons such as pesticide use.
Kelp is therefore a balancing food and this may be one reason why it seems to work so well with so few problems, in our experience.
The yang quality of kelp does, however, make it a more powerful therapeutic food, and this could be one reason why it causes more reactions than eating broccoli, for example. This may also be a factor in why the toxic metals in kelp, in particular, are not well-absorbed. This will be researched more in the future.
III. CAUTIONS WITH KELP
THE MERCURY AND ARSENIC PROBLEM IN KELP
A drawback of kelp and all sea products is the presence of toxic metals, mainly mercury and perhaps arsenic. However, I have not found that our clients’ hair mercury or arsenic levels rise due to taking kelp at up to 4000 mg daily.
In contrast, ingesting other sea vegetables such as dulse, wakame, nori and others does raise the hair mercury level. The reason for the difference is that kelp contains more alginates that bind to mercury and prevent its absorption.
REACTIONS TO KELP
Two situations seem to cause reactions to kelp.
1. Hyperthyroidism or Grave’s disease. Individuals with this condition often need to avoid kelp completely until the condition has resolved using a complete nutritional balancing program. All cases, so far, have gone away on this program.
However, when hyperthyroidism is present, kelp is usually not well-tolerated. For more details, read Thyroid Disease, Hyperthyroidism, and Hyperthyroidism Interview on this site.
2. A detoxification reaction. Occasionally, a person has a purification reaction when starting to taking kelp. The usual symptoms include irritability, perhaps nausea, and a few cases of hair loss.
These reactions are temporary and they are healing reactions. Most are due to the removal of toxic elements such as mercury, chlorine, bromine and fluorine compounds from the body. Usually, one just needs to reduce the dose for a while, and then work up slowly. One man reported a reaction to kelp that went away when he took zinc along with kelp.
Everyone seems able to take kelp, eventually, if the person follows a nutritional balancing program. As with the product, GB-3, some people must go easy at first, but everyone eventually seems able to take it.
DOSAGES OF KELP
Adults can usually take at least 1800 mg of kelp daily and up to about 4000 mg, preferably with meals. That is how deficient many people are in iodine and the other minerals found in kelp. 4000 mg is about 6 capsules daily.
Capsules, tablets, granules or powder. Kelp capsules are better than tablets because capsules are larger, so fewer are required. Powdered or granulated kelp is okay, but it does not taste good so the capsules are better for this reason, as well.
Kelp leaves. Dried kelp leaves are also sold in health food stores, sometimes called kombu. However, this must be powdered or cooked to be absorbed. Powdering it requires special equipment. Cooking takes an hour or more and damages some nutrients in the kelp, so I do not recommend it.
Children over the age of about 7 may take 600 mg of kelp capsules daily. Younger children and babies usually do not need it, although some might benefit from 100-300 mg daily.
IV. THE KELP BODY WRAP
This is an excellent procedure to remineralize the body faster. This procedure is a little messy, but you can do it in the bathtub and imagine you are at a fancy health spa. Some day, we hope that health spas will offer this procedure. For details, read The Kelp Wrap.
Amster E, Tiwary A, Schenker MB. Case Report: Potential Arsenic Toxicosis Secondary to Herbal Kelp Supplement. Environmental Health Perspectives. April 2007;115(4).
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