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Is Arsenic in Sea Kelp Dangerous

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 03/01/2024

Organic Sea Kelp Benefits

Organic sea kelp benefits are increasingly gaining attention among health enthusiasts and nutrition experts. This marine superfood, derived from brown seaweed, offers a plethora of essential nutrients that can significantly improve overall well-being.

From thyroid support through iodine intake to estrogen reduction for hormonal balance and its natural source of Vitamin B, there's no denying the myriad of benefits consuming organic sea kelp provides.

The Benefits of Sea Kelp

Sea kelp is a nutrient-rich sea vegetable that offers numerous health benefits. It contains essential trace minerals, amino acids, and B vitamins vital for overall wellness.

Some of the key advantages include supporting thyroid function due to its high iodine content, reducing estrogen levels in the body, and providing a natural source of Vitamin B.

Sea Kelp vs Seaweed: What's the Difference?

Many use "sea kelp" and "seaweed" interchangeably regarding sea vegetables. However, there is a difference between these two types of marine plants.

Kelp refers specifically to brown algae seaweeds that belong to the Laminariaceae family. These large seaweeds grow in underwater forests known as kelp forests and can reach up to 150 feet in length.

One of the most significant benefits of sea kelp is its high iodine content. Iodine is an essential mineral required for proper thyroid function and overall health. Those with low iodine levels or thyroid issues often use sea kelp supplements.

In addition to being a natural source of iodine, sea kelp also contains other nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C.

"Seaweed" refers more broadly to any macroalgae found in saltwater environments. This includes red algae (such as nori), green algae (such as sea lettuce), and brown algae (such as kombu).

Many varieties of seaweed contain beneficial vitamins and minerals like folate, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, which can make them great additions to any diet.

Brown Seaweeds:

  • Kombu

  • Wakame

  • Arame

Red Seaweeds:

  • Nori

  • Dulse

  • Irish Moss (Sea Moss)

Incorporating sea kelp and seaweed into your diet can provide numerous health benefits. Whether you eat them raw, dried, or in supplement form, these natural food sources offer a variety of nutrients that can support thyroid health, weight loss goals, and overall wellness.

Thyroid Support 

Iodine is a necessary nutrient to control thyroid functioning. The thyroid gland is crucial in regulating metabolism and maintaining energy levels.

Studies have shown that consuming adequate amounts of iodine can help prevent hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). Sea kelp is an excellent source of this vital mineral, making it beneficial for those looking to support their thyroid health naturally.

Hormonal Balance

Research has found that sea kelp may help reduce estrogen levels in the body thanks to its unique compounds called lignans.

These substances can bind to estrogen receptors and block them from being activated by excess hormones - helping maintain hormonal balance within the body.

Natural Source of Vitamin B

Vitamin B1 (thiamin): Supports healthy brain function and energy production.

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): Helps convert food into usable energy while supporting skin health.

Vitamin B9 (folate): Essential during pregnancy for adequately developing the baby's nervous system.

Sea kelp is a natural source of these essential B vitamins for overall health and well-being. By incorporating sea kelp into your diet, you can ensure you get adequate amounts of these vital nutrients.

Iodine's Impact on Metabolism and Immune System

Iodine deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism, a condition characterized by low thyroid hormone production. 

Symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as fatigue, weight gain, and poor concentration, can result from iodine deficiency. Consuming adequate amounts of iodine through sea kelp or other sources helps support healthy thyroid function and maintain proper metabolic rates.

In addition to its effects on metabolism, iodine also contributes to immune system regulation. It helps protect the body from harmful pathogens by activating white blood cells called macrophages that destroy bacteria and viruses.

Trace Minerals for Overall Well-being

Besides being rich in iodine, sea kelp also contains various trace minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and selenium that contribute significantly to overall health:

  • Magnesium: Essential for nerve function and muscle relaxation, magnesium supports heart health, bone density maintenance, and energy production.

  • Zinc: Zinc plays a vital role in immune function, wound healing, and cell division. It also supports the senses of taste and smell.

  • Selenium: As an antioxidant, selenium helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. It is essential for thyroid hormone metabolism and DNA synthesis.

Organic vs. Inorganic Arsenic in Sea Kelp

While arsenic is present in sea kelp, it's essential to understand the difference between organic and inorganic forms.

Organic arsenic is an easily digestible form that poses minimal risk to our bodies when consumed within safe limits. In contrast, inorganic arsenic can be toxic if ingested at higher levels.

Organic Arsenic: This type of arsenic is found naturally in plants and animals, including sea kelp. It has a lower toxicity level than its counterpart due to its chemical structure, making it less harmful for human consumption.

Inorganic Arsenic: Typically found in industrial processes or contaminated water sources, this form of arsenic poses a more significant health risk due to its high toxicity levels. Prolonged exposure or ingestion can lead to various health issues, such as skin lesions, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.

Safe Levels of Arsenic Consumption

Regarding arsenic consumption, it's crucial to understand the safe levels for human intake. The EPA has set toxicity thresholds for arsenic and other substances, with any amount above 15 micrograms per serving deemed unsafe.

Arsenic in Organic Sea Kelp

Fortunately, most certified organic sea kelps contain only around 0.225 micrograms of arsenic - well below this threshold - making them safe for regular consumption as part of a proper diet.

Sourcing High-Quality Organic Sea Kelp

When selecting sea kelp supplements, it is crucial to ensure they come from reputable sources. This guarantees the purity of the product and maintains low levels of organic arsenic.

Certified organic sea kelp ensures you consume a high-quality product free from harmful chemicals and contaminants. By opting for certified organic options, you can trust that strict regulations have been followed during the cultivation, harvesting, processing, and packaging stages. 

Iceland is known for its pristine waters and stringent environmental regulations, which make it an ideal source for high-quality sea kelp products. The country's commitment to sustainability ensures that its sea vegetables are harvested responsibly without harming marine ecosystems. Because of its isolated location, Icelandic waters contain much lower levels of pollutants than other areas.

Incorporating high-quality organic sea kelp into your diet can provide numerous health benefits while minimizing potential risks associated with arsenic consumption. 

Taking Sea Kelp Supplements

One convenient method to include sea kelp in your diet is by taking supplements. Available in various forms, such as capsules, tablets, or liquid extracts, these supplements provide a concentrated dose of nutrients without needing meal preparation. 

When selecting a supplement, ensure it comes from a reputable source that adheres to strict quality standards and contains minimal organic arsenic.

Adding Dried Flakes or Powder to Meals

If you prefer incorporating whole foods into your meals rather than relying on supplements alone, consider adding dried sea kelp flakes or powder directly to dishes. Here are some ideas for integrating sea kelp into everyday recipes:

  • Sprinkle over salads: Enhance the nutritional value of leafy greens by sprinkling dried flakes on top before serving.

  • Mix with smoothies: Add a teaspoon of powdered sea kelp to your favorite smoothie recipe for an extra boost of vitamins and minerals.

  • Incorporate into soups & stews: Stir in some dried flakes during cooking for added depth of flavor and nutrition.

  • Create homemade seasoning blends: Combine powdered sea kelp with other herbs and spices to create a unique, nutrient-rich seasoning for meats, fish, or vegetables.


It is essential to choose certified organic products and reputable sourcing from regions like Iceland to ensure safe levels of arsenic consumption.

Iodine's impact on metabolism and the immune system, along with the importance of trace minerals for overall well-being, make sea kelp a valuable addition to any health-conscious individual's diet.


1. What are the Health Benefits of Organic Sea Kelp?

Organic sea kelp offers numerous health benefits, including thyroid support through iodine intake, estrogen reduction for hormonal balance, and providing a natural source of Vitamin B.

Additionally, it contains essential trace minerals that contribute to overall well-being. Choosing certified organic products ensures minimal exposure to contaminants like arsenic.

2. Is it Okay to Take Kelp Every Day?

Taking kelp daily is generally safe if you consume it within recommended dosages. However, excessive iodine intake can lead to thyroid issues or imbalances in some individuals.

It's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating any new supplement into your daily routine.

3. Is Eating Sea Kelp Good for You?

Sea kelp is beneficial due to its rich nutrient profile containing iodine, vitamins, and trace minerals.

Incorporating moderate amounts of dried flakes or powder into meals can help improve metabolism and immune system function while supporting hormonal balance and overall wellness.

The high concentration of iodine in seaweed supports healthy thyroid function, which is crucial in regulating hormone production throughout the endocrine system.

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