Why You Should Be Taking Kelp

By Adrian Oaks / January 16, 2016

Kelp is a species of sea algae that often grows in large forests in the shallower parts of the ocean. Over 20 million years old, these plants have been a vital source of food and medicine to many different communities throughout the ages. In ancient Rome a common practice was to use kelp for cattle feed. The Yang-Shao Chinese used it to make medicine. And to this day, kelp noodles are considered a dietary staple in Japan.

Kelp Mineral Concentrations​

Sea plants can contain almost 50 times more minerals than land plants and this number is increasing yearly due to the over farming of our fertile soil. As a result, kelp is one of the most nutrient dense supplements on the market today. This sea alga contains over 50 micro and macro trace nutrients, the most important of which are:

B-Sitosterol – This plant sterol helps reduce cholesterol and prevent heart disease. This sterol has also been shown to help athletes recover from inflammation.

Copper – this trace element plays a role in respiratory function, connective tissue, and neurological development.

Zinc – Another trace element that balances with copper, meaning having too much or too little of zinc/copper can throw the other out of balance. Zinc is used by hundreds of biological processes in the body. The highest concentrations are found in the eyes and prostate. Interestingly enough, zinc oxide can also be used as a sun screen. This may have something to do with burn victims having lowered amounts of zinc in there system, often resulting in zinc deficiency.

Selenium – This element supports thyroid hormone regulation and protects the body against oxidative stress. It can also detoxify the body of excess mercury. It does this by seeking out the mercury molecules and binding to them. Essentially, selenium is a mercury magnet.

Potassium – This electrolyte is responsible for blood circulation and autonomous muscle movement. The diet in most developed countries is heavy in refined salt, which causes an imbalance in the body. Refined salt can also contain aluminum and Ferro cyanide. Avoiding high amounts of refined salt and consuming adequate potassium and unrefined salt can help prevent high blood pressure.

Iodine – By far the most important mineral in kelp. Iodine is chiefly responsible for thyroid gland health and cellular metabolism. Its main role is in the upkeep and production of thyroid hormones. According to the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 2007-2010, over the last 50 years iodine levels have dropped over 50% in the United States. Having low iodine levels during pregnancy can effect fetal development, resulting in reduced IQ. It is also associated with many childhood disorders such as ADHD and autism.

Many people today have thyroid issues due to a lack of overall iodine in the diet. Diseases such fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and arthritis have been linked to an underactive thyroid. Another major component of the thyroid is how it controls weight. Since they thyroid is so closely linked to overall metabolism, having an underactive thyroid results in low BMR. Essentially, BMR controls the amount of calories you eat verses the amount of calories your body uses. If you have low BMR, you will always have a positive calorie balance and thus gain weight much more easily.

Potassium iodine can also protect against radiation exposure. Radioactive iodine can be absorbed by the thyroid, so having healthy iodine levels before being exposed will block any harmful isotopes from binding to the thyroid gland.

These are just some of the of the ways kelp benefits the human body. But humans aren't the only ones who can utilize these healthy minerals - plants and animals can too.

Kelp and gardening

Due to its high nutrient content kelp can also be used as fertilizer. Kelp improves the texture and fertility of soil by allowing beneficial bacteria to thrive. Additionally, Kelp can aid in and strengthen plant root growth. Also, in terms of N/P/K ratios, seaweeds are a very rich source of potassium but they are low in phosphate and nitrogen. It is recommended to mix the kelp with fish emulsion to get a good ratio of nutrients for your garden.

Kelp as animal feed

Kelp is a great economical supplement for animal feed as well. Studies have indicated that it increase productivity, boost digestion, and help fur maintain a healthy sheen. It can improve weight gain and increase the overall milk output of dairy cows. It has also been shown to have an effect on fertility, decreasing the likelihood of birth defects.

Micronized kelp

If you are going to supplement your garden or herd feed with kelp, be sure to get the micronized variety, as it is much more digestible to plants and animals. Micronized kelp contains finely ground particles that are almost 20 times smaller than those found in typical kelp supplements. This results in a product with much more bioavailability to ensure maximum nutrient uptake.

More Sea Algae

Spirulina & Chlorella are 2 other great sources of sea alga that you should consider adding to your supplement routine. Although they are not as high in trace minerals as kelp, they have a much higher vitamin content. They also bear the unique distinction of being one of the few non animal sources of Vitamin B12.

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