Kelp supplements have been reported to cause side effects such as diarrhea, nausea and general weakness, according to a February 2018 study in Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry.
Side effects, toxicity and interactions
Seaweed may contain harmful metals. These include cadmium, lead, aluminum and other heavy metals. This is more likely if you eat a lot of seaweed from areas with contaminated seawater. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use seaweed supplements.
The authors of the study, published in February 2018 in Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, state that one of the dietary side effects of seaweed due to its arsenic content is toxicosis, leading to diarrhoea, nausea and general weakness.
Kelp is rich in antioxidants, including carotenoids and flavonoids, which help fight disease-causing free radicals. Antioxidant minerals like manganese and zinc help fight oxidative stress and may help protect cardiovascular health and prevent cancer.
A daily dietary supplement with more than 500 micrograms of iodine should be avoided, the association recommended. Many iodine, potassium iodide and seaweed supplements contain levels of iodine up to several thousand times the daily tolerable upper limit of 1,100 micrograms per day, they found.
So, is it a yes or no for seaweed? As with all dietary supplements, it is definitely best to consult a doctor before taking; especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have any medical condition. “If you have thyroid disease, you should consume no more than 158-175 micrograms of seaweed per day,” says Hamilton.
Introduction. Kelp refers to many types of brown algae that grow in the ocean. It has been used to promote weight loss and lower blood pressure. Kelp has also been used to help the body fight off disease.
Seaweed is rich in an amino acid called tryptophan. It is used by the brain to make melatonin, and studies have shown that higher levels of tryptophan in the body lead to higher levels of melatonin. In other words, sleep better!
High doses of iodine can cause thyroid dysfunction and other adverse effects. To be safe, the FDA states that a kelp supplement should provide no more than 225 µg of iodine per daily serving.
Kelp can make existing thyroid conditions worse. Kelp products should be avoided in patients with thyroid disease, whether or not they are taking a thyroid supplement.
Algae contain carbohydrates called fucans, which may help prevent blood clotting (40, 41). In fact, one animal study found that fucans extracted from seaweed were just as effective at preventing blood clotting as an anticoagulant (41).
Aside from thyroid disorders, excessive consumption of seaweed can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as nausea and diarrhea as seaweed is a natural laxative.
It also depends on how severe your deficiency is. In general, the more severe a vitamin or nutrient deficiency you have, the faster you will notice a difference when you take supplements. In most cases, however, it takes about three to six weeks before noticeable changes become visible.
High iodine intake can also cause thyroid inflammation and thyroid cancer. Ingesting a very large dose of iodine (e.g. several grams) can cause burning in the mouth, throat and stomach; Fever; Stomach pain; nausea; Vomit; Diarrhea; weak pulse; and coma.
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A higher intake can increase the risk of side effects such as thyroid problems. Iodine in large amounts can cause metallic taste, sore teeth and gums, burning in the mouth and throat, upset stomach, and many other side effects.