Evidence Based Studies on Kelp and Thyroid Function
Iodine is an important trace element needed by the body for basic functions. Thyroid health is one of those basic functions. Without adequate amounts of iodine the thyroid becomes sluggish, the metabolism slows and the symptoms of an under active thyroid begin to occur. Iodized table salt is how the majority of people have consumed iodine in the past. However, with the implications of salt and its relationship to high blood pressure, alternative sources of iodine are important for consumers. This alternative source of iodine comes in the form of kelp, which is a form of seaweed.
A study published in the "Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine" notes that kelp is a rich source of iodine. In addition, a study in "J Med Food", found that the ingestion of kelp causes a notable increase in thyroid function. The kelp stimulates the thyroid to increase its hormone output, which restores a healthy metabolism.
Incidents of thyroid dysfunction caused by iodine deficiency are rare in Asia. The rarity of iodine deficiency is due to the high consumption of kelp. The incidents of iodine deficiency are, surprisingly, more likely to occur in the United States where the increasing popularity of sea salt, which doesn't contain iodine, has taken hold. In addition, Asia has the lowest rates of cancer and cardiovascular disease in the world and this is, in part, due to kelp consumption whereas the United States has some of the highest rates of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Since low iodine levels are responsible for an under active thyroid, consuming sea kelp can raise these levels to a normal range. Raising the iodine levels to a normal range will alleviate the various symptoms of an under active thyroid. Goiters, which are caused by iodine insufficiency, diminish with the ingestion of sea kelp. In addition, the primary symptom of a poorly functioning thyroid, weight gain, can be treated with kelp.
Kelp is a great alternative for those who are concerned with salt intake. It can restore inadequate iodine levels and restore the thyroid to full functionality. At the same time, kelp is also beneficial for the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease.