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Robby Gardner is a freelance journalist in Los Angeles, specializing in fresh produce and health food ingredients.
Another study supports seaweed supplements for people with low iodine.
More scientific data is available on seaweed supplements and iodine, thanks to a study out of the University of Glasgow. And it’s much needed, as many experts agree that iodine deficiency and insufficiency is still a globalproblem.
Numerous seaweed species exist off the coasts of Scotland and elsewhere, but these aquatic plants are often overlooked, even if they are edible and rich in iodine. To at least increase the available science on seaweed consumption, a team of researchers fed wild wrack seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) capsules to a group of women reporting low intake of iodine-rich foods. After two weeks of daily use, the capsules modestly improved iodine levels in the subjects. Compared to synthetic iodine (potassium iodide), which was deemed 59% bioavailable in women, seaweed iodine was “modestly bioavailable” at 33%. This is because seaweed has a delayed release of iodine.
The researchers stated that while seaweed will provide just a small initial spike in iodine in the body, “it remains available for a longer period, as compared to [potassium iodide], which is highly bioavailable and then very quickly excreted.” Seaweed also contains trace minerals and amino acids.
Today’s global iodine problem is likely a result of many factors, including popularity of non-iodized salt, reduced iodine supplementation in livestock feed, and, of course, low consumption of seaweed. Seaweed studies like the Glasgow one may help change that.
The seaweed capsules used in this study (Seagreens) are now available in the United States through exclusive supplier RFI Ingredients (Blauvelt, NY).
Nutritional Outlook magazine
Photo © iStockphoto.com/BryanToro