Seaweeds are used principally in human food, animal food, fertilizer and nutritional supplements. The nutritional seaweed supplement most readily found on health food store shelves is a brown seaweed named kelp. Kelp is a concentrated source of iodine, but also contains important trace minerals necessary for human existence. Marine plants, such as the brown seaweed plant that is the source of kelp tablets and powder, live and flourish because of sunlight and the nutrients so plentiful in the sea.
The brown seaweed group is usually found in cold waters, although a number of varieties are harvested in the warmer waters of the Pacific off the coast of California. So fantastic is their growing ability, deriving nutrients only from the sun and surrounding water, that when they are harvested four feet from the surface, they grow back within ten days. Seaweeds do not have any roots, but cling to rocks with grippers strong enough to survive the action of waves.
Kelp tablets may contain up to 500mg of kelp powder which provides between 150µg and 500µg of iodine. Tablet contents and iodine concentration vary significantly so you should read the label on any particular product. The adult RDA is about 150mcg per day.
As a food seaweed is primarily used in certain salads, sushi and other ethnic oriented cuisines around the world. But, food is not the only way to enjoy the benefits of seaweed. Beauty products are also a sure fire way of introducing the superb qualities of this oceanic herb to the largest organ of the human body, your skin.
Seaweed has a wonderful effect on the thyroid because it normalizes and stabilizes its function. Blood pressure can also be stabilized, cholesterol can be lowered, and seaweed promotes a healthy intestinal tract. The best nutritional aspect is, however, that various cancers among those that regularly consume seaweed are low. A seaweed extract has also been found to increase the metabolic rate and can contribute significantly to weight loss.