Sea kelp is an excellent natural source of iodine, and as such, is emerging as a health trend, despite its use for thousands of years in some traditional diets. As supplements and health-supporting interventions become more widespread and accepted, sea kelp supplements have grown in popularity--and with good reason. We have identified the best sea kelp supplements to try in 2023 to reap the nutritional benefits of this powerful food.
Nutritional Value of Sea Kelp Supplements
Rich Source of Vitamins and Minerals
Sea kelp is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. A great deal of emphasis is placed on the presence of iodine in sea kelp, but iodine levels are not the only ideal nutrient levels found in sea kelp. Instead, this particular type of seaweed has vitamins A, K, C, and E, along with minerals like iodine, calcium, and iron. We've identified three of the most vital below.
- Iodine. Iodine is an essential nutrient to maintain thyroid health and hormone regulation. Including seaweed or sea kelp supplements in your day-to-day routine can help boost your iodine levels and potentially increase the health and function of your thyroid.
- Calcium. Calcium has a reputation as being essential to avoid health conditions like bone density loss and osteoporosis, but calcium plays a role in far more than bone health. Calcium is also essential to maintain strong tissues, and can be vital in maintaining joint health, and even a healthy, robust musculature.
- Iron. Iron is also invaluable to sustained health, as it is responsible for the effective transportation of blood and nutrients throughout the body. While sea kelp may not usually be seen as a potent source of iron, it does provide enough iron to make it a worthwhile addition to the dietary or supplementation routines of those with iron deficiency symptoms.
Antioxidants in Sea Kelp Supplements
Sea kelp is also a great source of antioxidants, or compounds that ameliorate free radicals in the body. The three most significant types of antioxidants found in sea kelp include vitamins C and E and carotenoids. In isolation or working alongside one another, these antioxidants can help the body fight free radical damage.
- Vitamin C. Vitamin C (also called citric acid) is an essential vitamin to maintain immune health and healthy skin and hair, though it may also have ties to maintaining strong bones and even supporting mental health. The types of kelp that possess Vitamin C are primarily those found in diets and supplements.
- Vitamin E. Vitamin E (a group of antioxidants known as tocopherols) is an antioxidant with ties to prevention of cardiovascular disease, the signs of aging, and cancer. Tocopherols are among the contents in kelp that can help fight against or prevent illness, cellular damage, and more.
- Carotenoids. Carotenoids are perhaps best known as being the brightly-pigmented components of some fruits and vegetables that give them their rich hues. The presence of carotenoids in kelp is considered among the benefits of kelp because they have been linked to protection against cancer, vision degradation, and cardiovascular diseases.
Health Benefits of Sea Kelp Supplements
Sea Kelp acts as an incredible source of vitamins and minerals, both of which are essential to maintain general health, from maintaining stable blood glucose levels to supporting mental health, and protecting against free radical damage. The most significant benefits of the brown seaweed known as sea kelp involve heart disease, thyroid health, and skin and hair health.
Thyroid Health Support
It has been suggested that sea kelp might help maintain healthy thyroid hormone levels by supporting thyroid function via iodine. When the thyroid is functioning optimally, it is more effectively able to:
- Regulate Hormones
- Boost Metabolism
- Manage Weight Loss
- These are all potential benefits of a well-functioning thyroid, as the thyroid is the bustling birthplace of many hormones, some of which are tied to healthy weight maintenance, metabolic function, and more.
Cardiovascular Health Support
This type of edible seaweed can also be a useful source of heart health support. With numerous natural vitamins and minerals, sea kelp may be able to support heart health in the following ways:
- Lowering Cholesterol Levels
- Reducing Blood Pressure
- Improving Blood Circulation
- With plenty of vitamin A, C, and K, sea kelp can help maintain healthy weight through supporting the thyroid, aiding in cardiovascular health, and may be able to help the heart in other ways, by encouraging healthy blood flow and healthy blood clotting, and reducing high blood pressure levels.
Skin and Hair Health Support
While skin and hair health are not always seen as the most vital areas of health, the skin is the body's largest organ, and plays a substantial role in making sure foreign pathogens do not breach the body's defenses. The state of health of one's hair and skin often demonstrates the presence or lack of internal health, and sea kelp can help that internal health radiate through via the skin and hair. This is primarily accomplished through three pathways:
- Promoting Hair Growth
- By fighting free radical damage, sea kelp can help mitigate the effects of aging, including the onset of dryness, fine lines, and wrinkles. By providing adequate vitamins and minerals, sea kelp can help the body more effectively regulate moisture. Finally, by providing essential nutrients, the building blocks of all skin health and hair growth, sea kelp may be able to promote hair growth and overall health.
10 Best Sea Kelp Supplements to Try in 2023
Fine USA Kelp Root Extract
Fine USA's kelp root extract is made from Japanese kelp. The trace elements found within this particular type of kelp include vegetable nutrients (think vitamins and minerals), which is why Japanese kelp has been called the "King of Sea Vegetables." Japanese sea kelp is one of the greatest sources of iodine in a dietary supplement, as it provides 1000% of the USDV for iodine. It can also promote normal bowel movements, provide dietary fiber, and is a rich source of sodium alginate.
Nature’s Way Kelp
Nature's Way is a brand frequently found in grocery stores in the United States, making it an accessible option for those who want kelp but are not as particular about the sourcing. Like most other kelp supplements, Nature's Way kelp is rich in iodine and can consequently aid in thyroid function, and may also be able to help improve skin health by lessening oxidative stress.
Solgar – North Atlantic Kelp
Solgar's North Atlantic kelp is another supplement rich in iodine, and can also help regulate thyroid function and benefit the health of the skin. The iodine content in this supplement may be more readily bioavailable than iodine supplements that are not derived from natural sources of the compound.
Country Life Norwegian Kelp
Country Life Norwegian Kelp offers another type of kelp that is rich in iodine, which can help improve energy levels by supporting thyroid function. The fiber content is less easy to determine, as there is natural fiber found within kelp, but some of this may be eradicated during the production process.
Solaray Organically Grown Fermented Kelp
Solaray organically grown fermented kelp is also rich in vitamins and minerals, with claims that include bolstering the immune system and improving digestion. Improved digestion and adequate vitamins and minerals can help ward off weight gain, provided that the gain in question is related to the inflammation and hormonal imbalances that can be linked to thyroid dysfunction, metabolic disorders, and cardiovascular diseases.
Yuve – Organic Sea Kelp
Yuve organic sea kelp is a kelp supplement that is said to be formulated for focus, clarity, and metabolic support. Another rich source of iodine, each tablet of Yuve's product contains 250 mcg of iodine. It may also benefit people with allergies, as it is labeled as non-GMO, gluten free, gelatin free, and free from artificial flavors and sweeteners and preservatives.
Nature’s Life – Icelandic Kelp
Nature's Life Icelandic kelp supplement may support healthy thyroid function. Each bottle contains 100 vegetarian tablets and has 225 mcg of iodine per serving, with 41 mg of kelp per serving. This particular brand sources of Iceland ocean waters, which have been identified as mineral rich: this kelp is said to retain the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids present in Iceland's clear waters.
Oregon’s Wild Harvest – Kelp
Oregon's Wild Harvest offers a kelp supplement that promotes thyroid health and supports a healthy metabolism. With 90 capsules in each bottle, each capsule contains 400 mcg of iodine and 600 mcg of kelp that is considered organically grown. The company is so named because kelp are taken from Novia Scotian Atlantic waters and are extracted responsibly. The tablets are also said to be free of many common allergens, including gluten, dairy, soy, wheat, corn, and peanuts. For those who are concerned with genetically modified ingredients, the kelp is also GMO-free, in keeping with its organic designation.
NusaPure – Sea Kelp
NusaPure sea kelp, like the aforementioned products, contains high amounts of iodine, making it a useful source of support for thyroid health and, by proxy, metabolic function and weight management. NusaPure bottles contain 200 capsules (with a serving size of 1 capsule) and each capsule contains 325 mcg of iodine and 65 mcg of organic kelp. NusaPure's line of capsules are 100% vegan and are both non-GMO and gluten free.
Best Naturals – Kelp
Best Naturals kelp is formulated specifically for thyroid health. Each bottle comes with 30 tablets, with a serving size of one tablet, and those serving sizes include 150 mcg of iodine derived from kelp. Best Naturals' brand does not use the following ingredients:
- Artificial colors and flavors
This long list of "free from"s makes it a great candidate for anyone with substantial dietary restrictions.
How to Choose the Right Sea Kelp Supplement for You
Not all sea kelp supplements contain the same exact ingredients, and not all are designed to target the same issues. When selecting the right sea kelp supplement for you, it is important to consider both the form in which they are delivered, and the contents of the supplement; after all, not all will possess the same rigid standards and others, and it is not unheard of to find unnecessarily fillers in supplements of all kinds.
Types of Sea Kelp Supplements Available
There are different types of sea kelp supplements available, but the most common types include the three below:
- Powdered Form. Powdered supplements are often preferred for those who want an easy way to incorporate sea kelp into meals, as they can be added to soups and smoothies without greatly altering taste or texture.
- Tablets or Capsules. Tablets and capsules are ideal as on-the-go supplements and are great for people who are struggling to withstand the taste of sea kelp. Although it is certainly not a bad taste, necessarily, some find the sea-rich taste of sea kelp overwhelming.
- Liquid Form. Liquid supplements are also great for those looking to get the supplement into their daily routine, without having to alter too much of their diet or habits. Liquid types can be placed in soups, smoothies, juice, and even water.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Supplement
In addition to paying close attention to the format in which trace mineral rich sea kelp is delivered, it is also important to pay close attention to the actual contents. Many different supplements add other ingredients to further boost the benefits, while others add fillers to make supplements less expensive and easier to produce. When looking for a new sea kelp supplement, from an actual pill to a form of asian cuisine, consider the following:
- Quality and Purity. The quality or purity of a product is a key component in its efficacy; after all, if the kelp is taken from unclean versus clean water, the quality will be degraded and some unhealthy compounds may be present.
- Iodine Content. Iodine content is a substantial reason many people seek out sea kelp supplements, as iodine is essential for healthy thyroid function. While the marine environment kelp grows in is naturally rich in iodine, not all supplements will contain the same amount of iodine.
- Additional Ingredients. Additional ingredients can be useful, as might be the case when a kelp supplement adds complementary healthy ingredients, or problematic, as might be the case when a supplement includes fillers, artificial colors or flavors, and compounds of that nature.
When seeking out a supplement for your needs, make sure you closely investigate all of the aspects of the supplement identified above.
Sea kelp is primarily known for its iodine content, which can help spur thyroid health and function, but kelp is actually a powerhouse of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals. Because vitamin and mineral balance is essential for health and longevity, including food items and supplements in your diet that provide an adequate amount of both vitamins and minerals can truly help support health and promote well-being.