Sea kelp is an important food element of East Asian countries for over centuries now. The supplement has numerous health benefits such as it helps in controlling diabetes, reducing iodine deficiency, decreasing inflammation, reducing weight, decreasing premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, and offers an overall nutritious diet.
What Is Sea Kelp?
Sea kelp is a type of brown algae found in the coastal waters. This alga grows so quickly that in just 10 days of the previous harvest, it cultivates back completely.
Owing to its high nutritious value, people of many countries consumer it on a regular basis to take advantage of its therapeutic benefits. It is usually available in powdered form or in form of pills or capsules.
Nutrient Content and Functioning of Sea Kelp
Kelp is a rich source of magnesium, iodine, iron, potassium, and calcium. Depending on the type of seaweed or sea kelp being used, the nutrition value can differ.
It helps in streamlining metabolic functioning as kelp is a rich source of Vitamin B. Other minerals such as calcium and magnesium promote bone and muscle health. Kelp is popularly used in Japanese and Chinese cuisines as the supplement provides fiber, minerals, vitamins, and other necessary nutrition to the body.
Fucoidan, an element found in sea kelp, is even known to fight cancer. The fucoidan is said to help in preventing the growth of cancerous cells by causing apoptosis (death) of these cells.
6 Surprising Benefits of Sea Kelp
1. Fights Iodine Deficiency
Iodine is essential for our body as its deficiency can cause low thyroid levels, brain damage in children, and damage to reproductive functioning. If during pregnancy a woman is suffering from low iodine levels, it can cause severe cognitive and mental damage to the fetus.
A trial tested 7 patients who had severe disability along with hypothyroidism. These individuals received a daily dose of iodine prior to the kelp treatment for as long as three years. During the kelp study, the participants were administered a daily dose of 1 to 2gms of kelp powder. At the end of the study, it was found that these the patient had normal thyroid functioning along with regular urine iodine concentration.
2. Decreases Sugar Levels
Diabetes is a severe health condition that occurs in individuals whose bodies are not capable of maintaining the balance in the blood sugar level.
A study that involved 60 Japanese patients including 40 women and 20 men between the age of 30 to 77 years, analyzed the effects of sea kelp on blood sugar. This study was 8 weeks long and the participants were given 0 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg fucoxanthin, a compound found in kelp. The patients who received 1 mg and 2 mg kelp were found to have lower blood sugar levels when compared to the placebo group (0 mg).
3. Treats Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C virus or HCV infection is a type of disorder which can lead to chronic hepatitis when not controlled. In this health condition, the viral clearance rate of the body is low, hepatocellular cancer cells start forming, and liver scarring increases.
In an open-label study, 15 patients, who suffered from hepatitis C, were treated with fucoidan, a primary element of sea kelp, for 12 months. After the treatment was completed, the HCV RNA levels were lower than before. The study also concluded that it is safe to consume kelp or fucoidan for HCV related liver disorders.
4. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is our body?s response to start the healing process from an injury. While inflammation protects our body from the attack of foreign elements, but it can also become a reason for many chronic diseases. Sometimes, our body can trigger inflammation to attack its own tissues such as in the case of autoimmune diseases. In such scenarios, reducing inflammation becomes necessary.
A male mice model was fed brown seaweed for 16 weeks to reduce the effects of inflammation in the body. At the end of the study, it was found that seaweed could, in fact, decrease inflammation in the mice model.
5. Decreases Weight
Sea kelp helps in reducing weight by delaying hunger. The fiber content of kelp can slow down the process of emptying stomach, which keeps the person full for longer duration and delays the hunger cycle.
In a trial, 151 non-diabetic, obese patients were involved to test the effects of Xanthigen. Xanthegin is a combination of pomegranate seed oil and brown marine sea kelp. For 16 weeks, xanthegin was given to the participants of the study and results revealed that enhanced liver functioning, reduced liver fat content, and enhanced weight loss.
6. Treats Herpes
Herpes simplex virus is a common type of infection that occurs around the mouth or genitals. It spreads when two people are in bodily contact and it causes painful sores and blisters on the skin.
When fucoidan was used to treat HSV-1 infected mice, it was revealed that this primary sea kelp nutrient has the capability of inhibiting the multiplication of infected cells. Fucoidan supplement was orally administered to the mice resulting in the stimulation of immune defense function.
A Nutritious Diet with Sea Kelp
Sea kelp is a popular natural ingredient that can be used to treat many underlying health conditions including herpes, hepatitis C, diabetes, etc. However, it is recommended to take kelp according to the prescribed amount given by a doctor.