Every week we bring you a review of a supplement that really works. Today we are focusing on Kelp!

Feeling fatigued? Cold all the time? Struggling to shed excess fat? You may be suffering from an iodine deficiency!

Iodine is an essential mineral for healthy thyroid function, and a healthy thyroid is essential for a healthy metabolism. An underactive thyroid can lead to weight gain, fatigue, cold sensitivity, loss of hair and bradycardia (slow pulse).

Whilst I try to eat dulse (seaweed) when I can, as it is a good source of iodine, it’s not easily sourced and not palatable at all! What I do consume on a regular basis is a kelp supplement as kelp is high in iodine and because its a tablet you all the benefits without the nasty taste!

So why is iodine so important? And why should you consider supplementing with kelp?

Firstly, the WHO has diagnosed Ireland as an area of iodine deficiency, and in April 2011, the BBC released a report suggesting that iodine deficiency could be becoming endemic in the UK. The government is aware of this deficiency and so iodise our salt. The reasons we need to supplement with an iodine containing compound are multifaceted – our diet is traditionally iodine poor, we do not eat seaweed, and any health conscious individuals tend to avoid salt. Being deficient in iodine wreaks havoc with your weight loss or body composition goals as iodine helps regulate thyroid function and a thyroid that is functioning sub-optimally will result in a low metabolism, and a low metabolism means you will struggle to shift those extra pounds! It’s a vicious cycle! The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland located at the bottom of the throat, it is responsible for regulating your metabolic rate and body temperature. High metabolism is essential for reducing bodyfat levels and promoting favourable body composition. Your dreams of getting lean will remain just that unless the thyroid is functioning optimally.

Kelp is an excellent source of iodine and can help supplement a deficient diet, because of this kelp is one of the few supplements I would recommend to clients.

Secondly, check out the long list of benefits below:

Kelp strengthens nails and supports hair growth.
Kelp is also a natural diuretic and so assists in the reduction of water retention
Kelp can help to alleviate the severity of hangovers
Kelp is a mild thyroid stimulant (due to the high levels of iodine) .
Kelp also supports the pituitary gland
Kelp is a really potent immunity booster and can support and improve immune function
Because it is rich in Vitamins A, C and E, as well as minerals such as magnesium, selenium and zinc. It helps to keep skin youthful as these vitamins and minerals are essential to regenerating skin cells and tissue.
Kelp is an alkaline food so it helps to reduce acidity and balance pH levels
More recently a university in Berkeley found that a diet containing kelp lowered serum estradiol (‘bad’ oestrogen) levels in women – watch out for a blog coming soon about oestrogen dominance and its negative side effects!

What’s not to like?!

And thirdly, Kelp is an excellent supplement for athletic women or anyone who takes their training seriously as it is packed with other necessary nutrients such as iron, calcium and potassium. Supplementing with kelp can significantly boost energy and endurance levels and also improved overall performance. This is in part due to the fact it contains Magnesium which along with iron helps to maintain a healthy bloodstream and creates a friendly environment for the growth of red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the working muscles so it helps to increase energy levels too!!

The Iodine in kelp is essential for the thyroid gland, to regulate the body’s metabolism. As mentioned an underactive thyroid can lead to weight gain, fatigue, cold sensitivity, loss of hair and slow pulse. The WHO classifies Ireland as an area of dietary iodine deficiency and says that Ireland’s intake is well below recommended levels. For this reason alone iodine shots be part of your supplement and fat loss arsenal!

Naomi McArdle MSc

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