A healthy, balanced diet is the best way to get the nutrition you need, but sometimes, a supplement can be beneficial.
While some individuals consume supplements to combat a vitamin deficiency or lower the risk of a certain disease, others are simply proactive about their health.
From vitamin A to zinc, people have been incorporating dietary supplements into their daily routines for decades. One dietary supplement that you may or may not have heard of? Kelp powder.
Whether you consume kelp powder as a supplement or in a supergreens smoothie, this oceanic plant is a nutrient-packed addition to a healthy diet and offers a wide range of health benefits.
At a glance:
- What is kelp powder? — Powdered kelp is a seaweed that has been dried and processed into a powder. It is considered a superfood due to its high mineral content and the various health effects associated with its use.
- What are the benefits of kelp powder? — Kelp powder can improve bone and muscle health, help ward off disease, and aid with weight loss. There is also evidence to suggest that kelp powder slows the growth of certain cancers and even increases human lifespan, among other benefits.
- What are the side effects of kelp powder? — Kelp powder contains iodine, and some varieties contain arsenic. Consuming too much can result in an upset stomach, fatigue, heart rate irregularities, and kidney damage, among other things.
- How to use kelp powder — Kelp powder can be consumed in the form of a kelp supplement or a supergreens product. Supergreens contain blends of various superfoods, including kelp powder.
Ready to integrate kelp powder into your diet? Try Ensō Superfoods!
What Is Kelp Powder?
Sometimes used as a synonym for seaweed, kelp refers to brown algae that grow in various ocean climates across the world. Kelp forests can be found from Baja, California, to Japan.
According to the National Park Service, kelp grows very quickly at about 1.5 feet per day, and some of these sea vegetables can reach lengths of 150 feet. Kelp has been a staple in several Asian cultures for centuries and is quickly becoming a part of a healthy balanced diet for a large number of Americans as well.
“Whether in pill, powder, or liquid form, the goal of dietary supplements is often the same: to supplement your diet to get enough nutrients and enhance health,” explains Jeffrey Millstein, MD, a physician at Penn Internal Medicine Woodbury Heights.
People can purchase kelp in many different forms. Grocery stores will sell fresh kelp, raw kelp, dried kelp sheets and flakes, and even kelp noodles. There are also kelp supplements, which can be purchased as pills or powders.
Kelp powder is a seaweed that has been dried and processed into a powder. It is considered a superfood due to its high mineral content and the various health effects associated with its use.
What Are the Benefits of Kelp Powder?
Like many other superfoods, kelp powder has been granted superfood status because it has many benefits that contribute to overall health and wellness. Here are some of the most significant health benefits of kelp:
1. Source of Iodine
According to the National Institute of Health, kelp is one of the best natural food sources of iodine, an essential component in thyroid hormone production and overall thyroid health.
If an individual doesn’t consume enough iodine, this can lead to metabolism disruption, an enlargement of the thyroid gland, and various other complications. Consuming just the right amount of iodine can enhance brain function and boost energy levels.
It’s important to remember that consuming too much iodine can also be harmful. People who consume too much iodine experience similar symptoms to people who are deficient in iodine.
Common side effects include goiters, thyroid gland inflammation, and thyroid disorders. The recommended daily intake of iodine is 150mcg for healthy adults, and the maximum is 1,100 mcg. Other foods that contain iodine include fish, shellfish, dairy, eggs, beef liver, and chicken.
2. Weight Loss
There are several different ways that kelp aids with weight loss. For one, kelp is a low-fat and low-calorie food source but is also fairly filling. Kelp also contains compounds called alginates. These compounds help with weight management and weight loss.
A 2012 study found that, when combined with an energy or calorie-restricted diet, alginate supplementation was associated with greater weight loss in people with obesity. One conclusion was that the alginate’s high fiber content was able to keep people feeling full for longer and reduce hunger. Other studies have found that alginate can prevent fat from being absorbed by the gut by 75%.
Kelp also contains a protein known as fucoxanthin, which has been shown to reduce fat tissue. A scientific study in Moscow also found that combining pomegranate seed oil with fucoxanthin promoted weight loss and increased liver function.
3. Wards Off Diseases
Inflammation and stress are both considered risk factors for many chronic diseases. Inflammation is often caused by an overactive immune system, which tends to flood the body with dangerous hormones and free radicals. One way to prevent the onset of certain diseases is to eat antioxidant-rich foods, like kelp.
Because kelp possesses anti-inflammatory properties, it can help reduce inflammation in the body, which also reduces an individual's risk of getting sick.
On top of being packed with antioxidants, kelp contains carotenoids and flavonoids, which both fight against disease-causing free radicals. Kelp also contains fucoidan, which also possesses anti-inflammatory processes and also improves cholesterol levels in the blood.
Kelp is also packed full of vitamins, including Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin B-12, calcium, iron, and magnesium. While each one of these nutrients helps your body stay healthy in different ways, many of these vitamins have immune-boosting functions. For instance, Vitamin A helps your body maintain optimum eye health but also supports the immune system.
4. Bone Health
While kelp has numerous health benefits, one of its better-known nutritional advantages is that it is a plant-based source of calcium. It is a better source of calcium than most vegetables, including kale.
This makes kelp powder especially beneficial for individuals who do not eat dairy regularly, including people who are lactose-intolerant and follow a plant-based diet. Calcium plays a significant role in blood flow, muscle function, and bone development.
Kelp is also a rich source of Vitamin K and fucoidan. An individual serving of kelp can provide you with almost a quarter of the daily recommended intake of Vitamin K. One of the main roles of Vitamin K is it helps strengthen bone density, which helps prevent individuals from developing arthritis and osteoporosis later in life. Meanwhile, fucoidan helps prevent age-related one loss and improves the mineral density in bones.
5. Regulate Blood Sugar and Cholesterol Levels
Some studies have found that eating kelp and other seaweeds helps to reduce blood glucose levels. This quality is especially beneficial for individuals with Type 2 diabetes.
A study published in “Nutrition Research and Practice” found that kelp consumption significantly improved blood glucose levels, positively influenced glycemic control, and increased antioxidant enzyme activities in patients with type II diabetes.
Kelp also contains a mineral called vanadium that helps regulate blood sugar in both humans and animals. In another study, oral vanadium supplements were given to 14 Type 1 diabetic patients for 30 months. Not only did fasting blood sugar levels decrease by over 30%, but vanadium also decreased cholesterol levels.
A study published in “Pharmaceutical Biology” reported that kelp also helps lower cholesterol levels. Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is crucial for protecting cardiovascular health and reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Not only does kelp have the ability to lower bad cholesterol levels, but it also lowers triglycerides and raises good cholesterol levels.
6. Slows Cancer Growth
There are various nutrients in kelp that help protect the body against cancer. For instance, the presence of fucoxanthin was found to be effective against several types of prostate cancer. Fucoxanthin can also remove drug resistance in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatments. This then reduces the number of harmful drugs an individual needs to consume to treat their cancer.
While kelp contains many beneficial compounds for cancer patients, fucoidan may be the most beneficial. Fucoidan can cause cancer cells to die in a process known as “apoptosis.” Fucoidan has been shown to be effective in leukemia, lung cancer, as well as colon and breast cancer.
There is some evidence that indicates the difference between breast cancer levels in American and Japanese women is related to the dietary choices of these respective countries. Studies show that kelp may inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
7. Various Blood Disorders
Fucoidan is a powerhouse nutrient that has also proven effective against various blood disorders. Fucoidan has effectively prevented blood clots that can lead to dangerous health problems, including strokes and heart attacks.
This powerhouse nutrient is so effective at preventing blood clots that researchers say that it has the potential to be used as an oral antithrombotic agent, which would reduce some individuals’ need to take prescription drugs to treat clotting problems.
Fucoidan also protects cells in your body from ischemic damage, which is caused when too much blood flows to certain parts of the body.
8. Muscle Function
Kelp also offers health benefits to professional athletes, owing to its high magnesium levels. Kelp can reportedly provide energy when you exercise and help your muscles recover after you finish a workout.
Kelp also contains all sorts of electrolytes besides magnesium, including sodium, potassium, and calcium. This electrolyte-dense food keeps muscles functioning properly and also helps them relax, as well.
Kelp is also known to possess longevity and anti-aging properties. The iodine in kelp is believed to be a valuable anti-aging ingredient. A form of iodine in kelp removes free radicals, the chemicals responsible for causing aging, from human blood cells. As a result, kelp is now being utilized in various skincare products.
Not only does kelp have the ability to make you look younger, but it has also even been linked with leading to a longer life. Kelp is a dietary staple in Japan and is included in approximately 21% of Japanese meals.
Researchers suggest that kelp could be a contributing factor in Japanese people’s above-average life spans. However, more research needs to be conducted to support these claims.
What are the side effects of kelp powder?
While kelp powder is safe to consume, there are side effects that individuals have experienced from eating too much kelp.
Iodine and Hyperthyroidism
Ingesting large amounts of kelp powder increases the amount of iodine in your body. High levels of iodine in the blood may cause your thyroid gland to produce too much thyroid hormone, leading to hyperthyroidism.
Side effects associated with the overproduction of the thyroid hormone include sweating, fatigue, loose stools, and unintended weight loss.
If you have a personal or family history of thyroid disease, consult your physician before taking kelp powder, as it may increase your risk of developing thyroid function complications.
Several types of kelp contain high levels of arsenic. Consuming too much kelp powder may elevate the arsenic levels in your bloodstream, which may lead to arsenic toxicity.
Symptoms of arsenic toxicity include an upset stomach, heart rate irregularities, kidney damage, breathing difficulties, numbness, tingling, and seizures, among other things.
How to Use Kelp Powder
Kelp powder is sold as an individual supplement. Individuals taking kelp supplements typically consume one teaspoon every day mixed with food or any recipe. Kelp powder can be mixed in with a smoothie, sprinkled on top of a salad, or mixed into a dressing. However, one of the best ways to consume kelp powder is with your favorite supergreens product.
Every supergreens contains a unique blend of organic ingredients full of clean superfoods. For instance, Ensō Superfoods contains a unique blend of 19 ingredients, kelp powder being one of them.
By consuming kelp powder via supergreens, you receive all of the beneficial qualities of kelp powder along with the beneficial qualities of 18 or so other ingredients. Not to mention, consuming kelp powder through supergreens guarantees that you will not consume excessive iodine or arsenic on any given day, which will help you avoid suffering from the potential side effects of kelp powder.
How Ensō Superfoods Can Help
A scoop of Ensō Supergreens daily can help your body reach its recommended intake of vitamins and minerals. By consuming Ensō Supergreens, not only are you getting a daily dose of kelp powder with your supergreens smoothie, but your body is also receiving a slew of other super greens powder benefits.
Ensō Superfoods features 19 healthful ingredients, including a probiotic complex and an enzyme complex. All of these ingredients benefit different aspects of your health and wellness. For example, alfalfa leaf improves metabolic health and lowers cholesterol levels, whereas dandelion leaf is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K.
Ensō Superfoods can also help with digestion, gut health, immunity, focus, energy, metabolism, weight loss, sleep, stress, and more!
It’s important to keep in mind that supergreens are not a band-aid solution to an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. However, if you are already incorporating whole fruits and vegetables into your daily life, supergreens will help bridge the nutritional gaps in your diet.
Frequently Asked Questions on Kelp Powder
What does kelp powder do?
There are many benefits to consuming kelp powder. The long brown algae possess compounds that improve bone and muscle health, help ward off disease, and aid with weight loss. There is also evidence to suggest that kelp powder slows the growth of certain cancers and even increases human lifespan.
What is kelp powder used for?
Kelp powder is used as a supplement and is also incorporated into various supergreens products. People consume kelp powder supplements for various reasons. Some people use skin products that include kelp powder to help with anti-aging, while athletes consume kelp powder to help with muscle function before and after they exercise.
Is kelp powder good for you?
If you consume the right amount, kelp powder is very good for you. That said, it’s important to exercise caution. Kelp contains iodine, and some varieties also contain arsenic. Consuming too much iodine can lead to hyperthyroidism, whereas consuming too much arsenic can lead to arsenic poisoning.
How much kelp powder should you take per day?
The recommended daily amount of iodine for men and non-pregnant women is 150 micrograms. Any kelp supplements with more than 500 micrograms should be avoided. Pay attention to the packaging on the supplement for specific dosage information. If you or any family members have a history of thyroid issues, consult a doctor first.