Posted by: Jo | 2012-12-09


Hi Doc

What is you opinion on kelp? Is it worth taking it? I''ve read that it''s the highest source of calcium and as I dont'' eat diary I thought this can be highly beneficial. I''ve also read that it helps to regulate hormones, can aid in weight loss and hair growth. However the side effects I''ve read is very iodine, can cause sever side effects and acne. Is all this true is it worth drinking for health benefits or not. Thanks

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Jo
While kelp is an excellent food if people eat it in large quantities as is the practice in countries like Japan, taking kelp as a supplement in very small doses probably only contributes significantly to your iodine intake. Let's take the statement about calcium for example. A 100g portion of kelp provides 168 mg or 13% of the Nutrient Reference Value (NRV) for adults in SA. The NRV for calcium is 1300 mg of calcium per day for adult men and women. According to the new SA Labelling Regulations, No Nutrient Claim is allowed to be made for foods that provide less than 15% of the NRV per serving. Even a 100g serving of kelp does not supply 15% of the NRV for calcium, whereas a 10 g serving only supplies 1.3% of the NRV which is negligible. The regulations also specify that a food must provide 30% or more of the NRV for a nutrient like calcium to be allowed to make the claim that it is 'high in' calcium or any other nutrient. I can, therefore, not figure out why anyone would list kelp as 'the highest source of calcium'! You are correct that the high content of iodine in kelp may be harmful to individuals with low thyroid function if taken in excess and it can also stimulate the thyroid gland to the extent that it becomes hyperactive causing hyperthyroidism. I would recommend that you rather take a calcium supplement such as MenaCal.7 and obtain your iodine from ordinary table salt which is iodated by law in SA to prevent goitre.
Best regards

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