A healthy, balanced diet is the best way to get the nutrition you need, but sometimes a supplement can be beneficial. From vitamin A to zinc, people have been incorporating dietary supplements into their daily routines for decades. Many people include a combination of vitamins and supplements in their daily routines, recognizing that each one offers unique health advantages. For example, vitamin A not only supports eye health but also contributes to overall wellness, while zinc plays a crucial role in supporting the immune system and metabolic health.
While some individuals consume supplements to combat a vitamin deficiency or lower the risk of certain illnesses, others are simply proactive about their health. 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 super greens smoothie, this oceanic plant is a nutrient-packed addition to a healthy diet and offers a wide range of health benefits, from potentially aiding weight management to helping support bone health.
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 support bone and muscle health and aid with weight management. There is also evidence to suggest that kelp powder may even help increase 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, and kidney damage, among other things, so it’s best to talk to a healthcare professional before adding this dietary supplement to your diet.
- How to use kelp powder — Kelp powder can be consumed in the form of a kelp supplement or a super greens product. Super greens contain blends of various superfoods, including kelp powder.
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 in various regions, 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 Potential Benefits of Kelp Powder?
Like many other superfoods, kelp powder has been granted superfood status because it has many possible benefits that can support overall health and wellness. Here are some of the most significant health benefits of kelp:
1. Good 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 supporting 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 also support brain function and energy balance.
It’s important to remember that consuming too much iodine can also be harmful for some. People who consume too much iodine experience similar symptoms to people who are deficient. Common side effects could include goiters, thyroid gland inflammation, and thyroid disorders. Be sure to confirm what’s the ideal amount of iodine for your health needs before consuming kelp.
The recommended daily intake of iodine is 150 mcg 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. Can Help With Weight Management
There are several different ways that kelp aids in weight management. For one, kelp is a low-fat and low-calorie food source that is also fairly filling. Kelp also contains compounds called alginates, which may help with weight management.
A 2012 study found that, when combined with an energy- or calorie-restricted diet, alginate supplementation was associated with greater support for body composition goals in individuals seeking healthy weight management. One conclusion was that the alginate’s high-fiber content was able to keep people feeling full for longer and curb appetites. According to other studies, alginate may help reduce the gut's ability to absorb fat by up to 75%.
Kelp also contains a protein known as fucoxanthin, which has been shown to help reduce fat tissue. A scientific study in Moscow also found that combining pomegranate seed oil with fucoxanthin supported healthy weight goals and liver function.
3. Contains Anti-inflammatory Properties
An overactive immune system frequently contributes to inflammation by flooding the body with harmful hormones and free radicals. One way to prevent the onset of certain illnesses is to eat antioxidant-rich foods like kelp.
Because kelp possesses anti-inflammatory properties, it may help with the reduction of inflammation in the body, which also helps reduce an individual's risk of getting sick.
On top of being packed with antioxidants, kelp contains carotenoids and flavonoids, which both help support immune health. Kelp also contains fucoidan, which also possesses anti-inflammatory properties.
Kelp is packed full of vitamins, including vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin B-12, calcium, iron, and magnesium. While each one of these nutrients supports your health in different ways, many of these vitamins also support your body’s natural defenses. For instance, vitamin A not only helps your body maintain optimum eye health but also supports the immune system.
4. Promotes 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 or follow a plant-based diet. Calcium plays a significant role in 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 that it helps strengthen bone density. Meanwhile, fucoidan may help with age-related bone loss and support mineral density.
5. Supports 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. Though more testing is needed, one study found that seaweed supplementation with exercise helped increase maximal weight capacity.
Kelp also contains all sorts of electrolytes besides magnesium, including sodium, potassium, and calcium. This electrolyte-dense food supports muscle function and also helps your muscles relax and recover.
6. Supports Digestive Health
Kelp powder is high in dietary fiber and can help support digestive health. The fiber content in kelp powder assists with regularity. Kelp powder also contains enzymes, which aid in breaking down fats, proteins, and complex carbohydrates, allowing the body to absorb more nutrients.
Furthermore, kelp powder's prebiotic content can help support digestive health. Prebiotics can also help with the reduction of inflammation and support the immune system.
7. Aids Hair and Nail Health
Kelp powder contains minerals such as iodine, zinc, and iron, which aid in the maintenance of healthy hair and nails. Iodine, in particular, promotes healthy hair and nails by supporting thyroid function, the system that regulates metabolic health and hair growth. Similarly, iron aids in producing hemoglobin, which transports oxygen to the body's cells and promotes healthy hair and nail growth.
Kelp powder also contains vitamins A, C, E, and B, which all help to strengthen skin, nails, and hair. As a result, kelp powder can help strengthen hair follicles and nail beds while providing various essential nutrients for overall health and wellness.
10. Aids with Healthy Skin
The skin is the largest organ in the body and requires a lot of nutrients to stay healthy. Antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals found in kelp powder can support skin health and help protect skin cells from damage. The vitamin C content of kelp powder also aids in collagen production, which is essential for skin firmness and elasticity.
Because of its high nutritional value, kelp powder has the potential to help with the reduction of inflammation, support irritated skin, and aid with the prevention of acne breakouts. While more scientific research is needed, kelp powder's nutrient and mineral content can help support healthy skin maintenance.
10. Energy Levels
Kelp powder is high in nutrients such as iron, magnesium, and iodine, which all support energy balance. As indicated earlier, the iron content of kelp powder aids in producing hemoglobin, which allows the body to transport oxygen to the cells more easily, supporting energy levels and production.
Magnesium also aids in the conversion of food into energy, which ultimately fuels the body's cells. Kelp powder also contains B-complex vitamins, which aid in energy and metabolism. While many factors influence energy levels, kelp may make it easier for the body to convert foods into energy and contribute to optimal cell health.
10. Supports Brain Health
The brain requires a variety of vitamins and minerals to function properly, and kelp powder contains several of these nutrients. Kelp powder contains iodine, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants, which can all help the brain function. Iodine aids in the production of thyroid hormones, which are required for brain development and function.
Omega-3 fatty acids help with memory and cognitive function while also supporting mood and helping lower the risk of age-related cognitive decline. Antioxidants help the brain by supporting the body’s natural defenses, and the high content of these nutrients in kelp powder can help support brain function.
What Are the Side Effects of Kelp Powder?
While kelp powder is generally considered safe to consume, there are side effects some individuals have experienced from eating too much kelp.
Ingesting large amounts of kelp powder increases the amount of iodine in your body. High levels of iodinemay cause your thyroid gland to produce too much thyroid hormone, which could lead to hyperthyroidism.
Side effects associated with the overproduction of the thyroid hormone include sweating, fatigue, loose stools, and unintended changes in body mass. Consult your physician before taking kelp powder.
Several types of kelp contain high levels of arsenic. Consuming too much kelp powder may elevate the arsenic levels in your body, 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. Be sure to confirm that any kelp powder you take has been third-party tested for purity.
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 into 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 super greens powder.
Every greens powder contains a unique blend of ingredients full of various superfoods. By consuming kelp powder via a super greens blend, you receive all of the possible beneficial qualities along with a dozen or so other ingredients.
How Live it Up Can Help
A scoop of Super Greens daily can help your body reach its recommended intake of vitamins and minerals. By consuming Super Greens, not only are you getting a daily dose of kelp powder with your Super Greens smoothie, but your body is also receiving a slew of other super greens powder nutrients.
Super Greens features 20+ healthful ingredients, including organic vegetables, superfoods like alfalfa and dandelion leaf, a probiotic complex, and an enzyme complex. All of these ingredients are chosen with the intent of aiding different aspects of your health and wellness. Super Greens may also help with digestion, immunity, focus, energy, weight management, sleep, stress, and more!
It’s important to keep in mind that super greens are not a band-aid solution to an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. However, if you are already staying active and incorporating whole fruits and vegetables into your daily life, greens powders are an easy and convenient way to help bridge the nutritional gaps in your diet.
Frequently Asked Questions on Kelp Powder
What does kelp powder do?
There are many potential benefits to consuming kelp powder. The long brown algae possess compounds that can support bone and muscle health and aid with weight management. There is also evidence to suggest that kelp powder even helps increase human lifespan.
What is kelp powder used for?
Kelp powder is used as a supplement and is also incorporated into various super greens 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 could also lead to thyroid function issues.
How much kelp powder should you take per day?
Any kelp supplements with more than 500 mcg 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.