Supports energy production
Kelp, or bladderwrack, is a brown type of seaweed that is rich in iodine. Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones, which regulate many different processes in the body, including energy production. Studies have found that supplementing with kelp can help support healthy thyroid function
Supports healthy thyroid gland function
The thyroid is one of the largest hormone producing glands in the body, and is located at the base of the throat. It controls how quickly the body burns energy, makes proteins, and regulates how sensitive the body is to other hormones, e.g. female reproductive hormones and insulin. It also plays a role in mood regulation and cognition.
The thyroid gets a signal from the brain to produce the largely inactive thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4), which is then converted elsewhere in the body into the metabolically active triiodothyronine (T3).
The body needs iodine to produce these hormones. The body cannot make iodine itself, which means people need to get it through their diet. If they don’t get enough iodine through their diet, the body can’t produce enough thyroid hormones, and this can cause hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism occurs in about 5% of the Australian adult population, affects 10 times more women than men; with rates increasing with ageing. “Many people suffer from “subclinical hypothyroidism” or mild thyroid failure, where the thyroid’s function slows down but not enough for a GP to prescribe medication. Symptoms and signs of hypothyroidism are often mild and subtle and can range from fatigue, weight gain and intolerance to cold; to dry brittle hair, reduced attention span, feelings of depression and poor memory. Because these symptoms are so common, hypothyroidism may remain undiagnosed for a long time
Apart from regulating energy production, iodine is also critical for producing neurotransmitters, chemical messengers in the body that amongst other things, regulate moods. Several studies have shown that low T3 levels as a result of low iodine levels, can lead to reduced levels of serotonin in the brain3. Low serotonin levels are associated with impaired cognitive function and depression, and supplementing with iodine or foods rich in iodine may help improve cognition. Insufficient iodine can negatively affect acetylcholine synthesis in the brain, which can affect cognition, memory, learning, recall and mood
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