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Taking Kelp for healthy Thyroid function?
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Taking Kelp for healthy Thyroid function?

I wondered if anyone knew about taking kelp for natural iodine suppliment during ttc and pregnancy?  My general dr. suggested for me to take it and I told him I was ttc and he said it was okay to take, but I am apprensive to take a natural suppliment like this....  Does anyone know?
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I did a little research on this and came up with a few different things..

"Toxemia and Kelp: Kelp, as might be expected, is also of use in the female organs. It will tone up a weak uterus and help produce a more healthy baby, as the balanced minerals will be supplied fully with the use of Kelp. Some women who had lost babies in childbirth and others who had not been able to carry babies were helped by the use of Kelp by Dr. Powell's prescription of Kelp to carry healthy babies full term. Especially when toxemia threatens during the last stages of the pregnancy, Kelp, being a carrier of important minerals and a toner and an antiseptic, can help clear up an otherwise dangerous condition. [UW-Kelp]"

I also found this...

"Uses:  Kelp is widely used as a homeopathic remedy for hyperthyroidism.  Kelp, known as laminarias in the obstetric setting,  is also used topically to ripen the cervix for labor.

"What you should know:  Ingestion of large amounts of kelp during pregnancy may result in congenital hypothyroid of the fetus.  Iodide component readily crosses the placenta and can cause congenital goiter and disruption of normal thyroid development.  This can have severe consequences on the developing fetus, the most important of which is mental retardation and delayed central nervous system development.  Ingestion of kelp during pregnancy has also been associated with congenital cataracts.  Its use during pregnancy is not recommended."

From everything I read it seems like a beneficial supplement to take... its just knowing how much to take. Hope this helps some.
I also found this article. I know it is talking about pre-natal pills, not kelp supplements, but I found what it said about pre-natals with kelp do not giving an accurate iodine reading on the label was interesting...

"BOSTON, Feb. 25 -- Prenatal multivitamins that use potassium iodide as the iodine source give a more consistent dose of the element than those that use kelp, researchers here said.

Multivitamins that included potassium iodide consistently contained about 75% of the iodine content listed on their labels, whereas others that used kelp had large variations of the element, Elizabeth Pearce, M.D., of Boston University Medical Center, and colleagues reported in the Feb. 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Although the findings favor potassium iodide over kelp, Dr. Pearce said the bigger problem is the lack of vitamins on the market that contain any amount of the element.

"Many of the multivitamins don't contain any iodine at all, which is the most troubling thing," she said. "Our major concern is that it's just not there."

Iodine deficiency in mothers can have adverse effects on fetuses and breast-fed infants, as it is essential for normal thyroid function and neurocognitive development.

But iodine intake in the U.S. has decreased by about 50% since the 1970s, the researchers said.

Dr. Pearce said this could be due to decreased consumption of iodized salt over fears of hypertension.

Several groups have made recommendations about appropriate iodine consumption for pregnant women and nursing mothers. The Institute of medicine recommends a daily 220 mcg during pregnancy and 290 mcg during lactation, the World Health Organization suggests 250 mcg a day for both groups, and the American Thyroid Association recommends 150 mcg daily.

To determine the dosages that pregnant women actually receive, the researchers identified 114 prenatal multivitamins that contained iodine. Of these, labels on 101 of them indicated that they contained 150 mcg or more of iodine per dose.

For 59% the iodine was in the form of potassium iodide; another 37% used kelp.

The researchers measured the iodine content of 60 of the multivitamins and found that the mean level of measured iodine typically varied from the labeled dose.

For the vitamins containing potassium iodide, the mean measured level was 119 mcg per dose; those containing kelp ranged from 33 mcg to 610 mcg per dose.

A total of 13 brands contained levels of iodine that were discordant by 50% or more with the values on their labels.

The researchers said that potassium iodide contains 76% iodide, which means the measured content of iodine was equal to about 76% of the total potassium iodide content.

"Manufacturers of prenatal multivitamins in the U.S. should be encouraged to use only potassium iodide, to maintain consistency in labeling, and to ensure that these vitamins contain 150 mcg of supplemental daily iodine," the researchers said.

Dr. Pearce said it was a measure of "simple math" for manufacturers to include 200 mcg of potassium iodide per dose to be sure pregnant women get the recommended 150 mcg of iodine daily.

She also noted that the 610 mcg dose of iodine in some of the multivitamins using kelp is "probably too much," although there is only one recommendation on a limit to dietary iodine. It's from the World Health Organization and it's a "conservative guess that's not based on much evidence."

Still, she said the "most important point" of the study was to make women and their healthcare providers aware that "iodine is critical in pregnancy and lactation and they should be looking for a prenatal vitamin that has iodine in it, preferably in the form of potassium iodide."
Interesting nunu...thank you so much for your research and help!  I think it sounds like a good idea to take in when ttc but then maybe back off of it when actually pregnant.  I am going to hold off on taking it and ask my ob just to be sure.  I'm also going to go read the label of my prenatal vitamin to see what it has in it already.  Thanks again!
I agree that you should ask your OB about the dose at least. good luck and lots of baby dust your way.
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