Updated: Jul 13, 2021
When you think of the word kelp, seaweed comes to mind right? I know it did for me when I first heard of it. It made me think of the green stuff that floats in the water. Or the kelp forest that sea otters love so much. But did you know that kelp is essential for the way your body functions?
Kelp is another word for iodine. So what is so great about iodine and why is it beneficial for you?
What is Kelp?
Kelp or iodine is an essential mineral for your body. It is found in many kinds of seafood, such as shellfish, saltwater fish, seaweed, eggs, some yogurts, and some cheeses. But unless you are eating this every day with every single meal... you are probably not getting enough.
Unfortunately, because of the change in our food, there is a widespread iodine deficiency. So, continuing to eat foods with iodine plus supplementation may be a good idea for you especially for babies and pregnant women.
Why Do You Need Iodine?
Iodine or kelp is essential for your thyroid hormone. Your body NEEDS it so it can properly make thyroid hormones.
A body that properly produces hormones is a body that is functioning correctly. Once one hormone is thrown out of balance, the rest will follow.
Your body includes an extensive amount of hormones. Thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, melatonin, testosterone (both men and women), and DHEA. These hormones are what help your body function properly.
Kelp is extremely helpful for thyroid production. If your thyroid stops producing hormones properly, there go all the hormones I just listed. And hormones can really get your body all out of whack if they are not right.
Thyroid hormones are produced to help your metabolism. It also helps with brain function and enhances your immune system.
Plus, if you are physically active you lose iodine through your sweat. So, this mineral is critical for humans because of the massive benefits we get from it.
Signs of an Iodine Deficiency
Most of these signs of iodine deficiency are closely related to a thyroid condition... because iodine helps the body make thyroid hormones.
Swelling in the neck- this means your thyroid gland is too big and is working way too hard.
Unexpected weight gain- your thyroid hormones control the speed of your metabolism so if these hormones are not working properly neither can your metabolism.
Fatigue- your thyroid hormone helps your body make energy, when it is not working properly it cannot help your body make energy leading to feeling tired. It's NOT normal to feel tired all the time.
Feeling colder than usual- this is something that I experience myself. Low thyroid levels may cause this. Having a high speed of metabolism can cause your to feel warmer whereas low speeds may cause you to be more sensitive to cold.
There are many more signs on this list. But these seem to be the top four that I have witnessed in the people I have talked to.
Daily Iodine Intake
Here is a chart from the NIH to help you target how much iodine you or your child should be getting daily. If you are low in iodine, you may need to tailor this chart a bit. But this is a good place to start. However, you should not be taking more than 1,000 mcg a day. I take 325 mcg daily due to my sensitivity to cold. If you are not sure where to start, start with the recommendations in this chart. Adults at 150 mcg.
Birth to 6 months:110 mcg
Infants 7–12 months:130 mcg
Children 1–8 years: 90 mcg
Children 9–13 years: 120 mcg
Teens 14–18 years: 150 mcg
Adults: 150 mcg
Pregnant women: 220 mcg
Breastfeeding women: 290 mcg
If you have a thyroid condition, you should always talk to your doctor about taking an iodine supplement or kelp supplement as it may interfere with some medications.
Supplementation is important. Start supplementing today for proper thyroid function and brain function. Because both of these systems are involved in everything you do, every day.
Stay brain happy,
Ashley Allen, Dr. Amen Licensed Brain Health Trainer
Owner & Founder of SustainaBrain