THE BROWN KELP USED AS AN IODINE SUPPLEMENT 
“NATURES ANSWER TO IODINE DEFICIENCY”

LAMINARA

Laminaria is a type of brown seaweed that is native to Japan. Laminaria contains iodine, an element that the body needs to make thyroid hormones. It is also a rich source of iron and potassium. Despite serious safety concerns about laminaria, some people use laminaria as medicine. Laminaria is also used for weight loss, high blood pressure, as a bulk laxative for constipation, and for treating radiation sickness. It is also used for preventing cancer.

Sometimes healthcare providers use laminaria to expand the cervix, the mouth of the uterus, before certain medical procedures. They place a layer of laminaria directly inside the cervix, the “neck” of the uterus. This layer of laminaria is sometimes called a “tent.” The purpose of the tent is to enlarge the cervix before “D&C,” also known as dilation and curettage (scraping of the uterus); removal of a medical device that is in the uterus; diagnostic procedures; placement of radium for cancer treatment; and other gynecological procedures. Laminaria tents are also used in pregnant women to “ripen” (expand) the cervix to make labor and delivery easier, and also to cause abortions during the first three months of pregnancy.

Sometimes healthcare providers use laminaria to expand the cervix, the mouth of the uterus, before certain medical procedures. They place a layer of laminaria directly inside the cervix, the “neck” of the uterus. This layer of laminaria is sometimes called a “tent.” The purpose of the tent is to enlarge the cervix before “D&C,” also known as dilation and curettage (scraping of the uterus); removal of a medical device that is in the uterus; diagnostic procedures; placement of radium for cancer treatment; and other gynecological procedures. Laminaria tents are also used in pregnant women to “ripen” (expand) the cervix to make labor and delivery easier, and also to cause abortions during the first three months of pregnancy.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Laminaria seems to be able to form a thick, sticky gel when it comes into contact with water. This allows laminaria to work as a bulk laxative. It also allows laminaria “tents” that have been placed inside the cervix to expand the cervix for procedures or to “ripen” the cervix and speed up the onset of labor. These laminaria tents absorb water, gradually swelling to a diameter of 1/2 inch over 4-6 hours. This swelling causes the cervix to expand, and that can bring on labor.

Laminaria can be consumed by adding it to the food like soups, salads and stir-fries. Laminaria is also available in capsule and powder form which can be had like a nutritional supplement. It is also a big part of cuisines like Japanese where nori sheets are regularly used. 

There have been no reported adverse reactions on Laminaria and it is being used a lot in alternate therapies. There are complete spa treatments dedicated to the use of Laminaria. As research is still being done, you should eat Laminaria carefully and if possible, get advice from a specialist.

Laminaria contains iodine and fucoidan. Iodine helps metabolise cells normally. Fucoidan helps increase immunity in the body.   Laminaria also contains a whole slew of vitamins like vitamins A1, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E, K, along wih pantothenic acid, folic acid, and niacin.

Laminaria is also very high in minerals especially in the important ones like sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, magnesium and manganese.  Seaweed is, in fact, considered one of the magic foods for the sheer number of nutritional properties it has.

HEALTH BENEFITS AND THERAPEUTIC USES

Laminaria helps in conditions like fatigue, menstrual symptoms, hypothyroidism, cough, asthma, haemorrhoids, headaches and stomach ailments. Laminaria also helps prevent goitre which is also a malfunction of the thyroid gland because of its high iodine content. The B12 in seaweed is quite rare in vegetables and this makes it an important addition in the diet of vegetarian people who usually have to take supplements for B12.

Though there is little scientific evidence to prove it, brown seaweed has also shown cancer preventive properties. Ingesting bladder wrack or brown seaweed has shown some results in reducing oestrogen-related cancers. This form of seaweed with fucoidan also has been shown to reduce inflammation. There have been some reports that fucoidan also can prevent breast cancer.