In 2013, in response to public concern in the wake of recent iodine sufficiency surveys in Britain*, an independent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, July 2014 was conducted at Glasgow University to assess the efficacy of Seagreens wild Wrack seaweed over other forms of iodine supplementation. It shows that Seagreens as an ingredient or supplement could solve the UK iodine insufficiency problem. Please click here for the original paper.
A further papoer has been produced by Glasgow University on assessing insufficiency - please click here for a copyright free version of this paper.
The product chosen for research was Napier's 'Hebridean Seagreens® Organic Kelp' capsule, containing 100% Seagreens species Ascophyllum nodosum harvested and produced to Seagreens proprietary Human Food SeaweedTM standard among the Scottish Outer Hebrides.
When iodine intake is below the recommended daily intake of 140 µg adequate secretion of the thyroid hormones may still be achieved by the thyroid and pituitary, increasing the secretion of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), but fetal supply and placental transfer remain low, presenting potential insufficiency in the growing fetus. There is growing concern that subclinical iodine deficiency may be emerging in post-industrial countries.
"Iodine-insufficiency is now a sustained issue in the UK and other European countries, due to low intakes of dairy and seafoods, especially where iodine fortification is not in place. We tested commercially-available encapsulated edible seaweed for its acceptability to consumers, iodine bioavailability and the impact of a 2-week lolng daily supplementation on iodine levels and thyroid function among healthy non-pregnant women of childbearing age, self-reporting low dietary consumption of dairy products and seafood, with no histoty of thyroid or gastro-intestinal disease. Seaweed iodine was modestly bioavailable and after supplementation, urinary iodine excretion increased from 78 to 140 µg/L, evidencing iodine sufficiency. There was no change in other thyroid hormone levels after supplementation. The seaweed was palatable and acceptable to consumers as a whole food or as an ingredient, and effective as a source of iodine in an insufficiency population. Incorproation in staple foods would provide an alternative to fortification of salt or other foods with potassium iodine" (eg. in the form of potassium iodide) - Combet W, Ma ZF, Cousins F, Thompson B and Lean MEJ (2014), Human Nutrition, School of Medicine, College of Vterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow - 'Supplementation with low amount of seaweed improves iodine status in iodine-insufficient British women'.
Iodine obtained in this way in its natural whole food form in Seagreens, unlike for example fortification with potassium iodine, also provides the body with all of the micronutrients necessary for the proper metabolism of iodine such as selenium, zinc, iron and vitamins A and E. The Glasgow research also revealed that whilst the potassium iodine entered the bloodstream very quickly and was as rapidly depleted, the Seagreens iodine remained in the system significantly longer, enabling the body to make use of the available iodine.
The researchers concluded that young women in the UK, with diets low in seafood and dairy, display biochemical evidence of quite marked iodine deficiency and that an acceptable, palatable seaweed supplement can boost iodine without deleterious impact on thyroid function. The full research is to be published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Consumers should examine total ingredients of so-called kelp or seaweed based supplements. Many have high levels of manufacturing incipient a like binders, flowing agents and cellulose fillers like microcrystalline, as well as mould inhibitors and preservatives, especially cheap kelp tablets.**
* Vanderpump MPJ, Lazarus JH, Smyth PP et al. (2011) Iodine status of UK schoolgirls: a cross-sectional survey. Lancet 377, 2007-2012 - highlighted mild iodine deficiency with median urinary iodine concentrations of 80 µg/L. Lampropoulou M, Lean M & Combet E (2012) Iodine status of women of childbearing age in Scotland. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 71 - found similar results likely to present a potential hazard in pregnancy due to the increased demand placed on the maternal thyroid function. This level of iodine insufficiency in the population is sufficient to impair intellectual development of future generations. There is no requirement for iodine fortification of foods in the UK.
**Research showed 2 leading high street kelp tablets comparsed to Seagreens as follows: Brand 1 required 6.06 tablets to equate to Seagreens iodine level which would mean a daily intake of 1903mg of binder and 400mg calcium (chalk filler); Brand 2 required 4 tablets which would also mean ingesting 1000mg binder. The kelp ingredients were not certified organic or allergen free and not produced to any nutritional quality standard.