Sea Kelp Tablets. Is a good supplement?
I first learnt about sea kelp as a supplement about three years ago; but I only got round to buying my first pot of sea kelp tablets a year or so ago. As I run a nail art blog, having nails that are in great condition all year round is really important to me. When I noticed recently that my nails were brittle and starting to peel, I decided to see if the sea kelp tablets I had would help at all. I was hoping primarily that my nails would grow quicker so that the peeling ends could be filled off and the new, healthier nail could grow to a nice length. With my sister's wedding coming up, it seemed like the ideal time to try them out properly.
Sea kelp tablets are basically the powered, pill form of a very natural product - sea weed! Kelp itself can be eaten to improve energy levels and control thyroid problems but if you don't have access to it, then sea kelp tablets are a good alternative. Iodine is present in a lot of the higher range of multi-vitamins so if you're taking something daily already, it's worth checking to see whether or not you're already getting your dose of iodine that sea kelp tablets will provide you. Unlike vitamin C, iodine is not water soluble so taking too many tablets can cause serious health problems.
After about a fortnight of taking two tablets a day (which I have now cut down to one tablet a day, see below) my nails are definitely growing quicker; they don't appear to be any stronger right now but I'm guessing that is something that will come over time. My hair growth has definitely improved which is a bonus as I wanted it longer anyway! Sea kelp takes quite a while to start working so don't be disheartened if you don't see results very quickly. I've heard that sea kelp is good for weight loss but as I'm not taking it for this purpose I can't comment on that issue, even though the bottle I have has 'supports weight management' as its main tagline. After a little bit of googling I found an article from the Daily Fail slamming a footballer's wife for taking them; this is the only source I can find that says they don't work for weight loss. Make up your own mind on that!
Sea kelp is a good supplement when used correctly!
Medically, sea kelp can be used to stimulate low thyroid production and as it contains a high level of calcium, it's great for your bones and digestion. There is evidence to suggest that sea kelp may help slow down the aging process and anecdotally, Japenese women are reported as saying it's what keeps their hair coloured well into their old age. There are of course risks related to sea kelp, so you should be very careful if you want to start taking them. If you have any thyroid issues at all then you should check with your doctor first - it can cause hyperthyroidism and other illnesses that just aren't fun. Make sure to source your sea kelp tablets properly as some can contain too much iodine (the element that helps your hair to grow) or heavy metals that can be dangerous to pregnant women and their babies. As sea kelp is not a medically recognised supplement, it can be unpredictable and there is a small possibility that you may experience a weird side effect. Consulting a doctor before starting on the supplement is a good plan!
Back to the tablets I've been taking - the only real issue I have with them is that they're really big and aren't coated so they're quite hard to swallow! I have to break one tablet into two every time I take them. This is a bit of a pain but the benefits far outweigh this little inconvenience. To stop them from drying out, the pot has a roll of cotton wool underneath the lid which has to be removed every time I take a tablet out; again this is a mere annoyance but not really something you can get around. The bottle is easy to open and has all the nutritional data printed on it which reassures me somewhat. I cut my dose down when I realised that taking the recommended two to three tablets was giving me between 200 and 300% of my daily iodine intake! If you eat a varied diet that you can and do get iodine through the day from various sources (such as milk and meat) so taking 300% of your RDA in a tablet on top of that is just not necessary. I was also worried about the possibility of causing a side effect at that dose level. I'm not really sure how others have found 600mg tablets because that, according to my bottles nutritional information, would be 1200% over the RDA of iodine per tablet - either my values are off or something fishy is going on!
Where to Buy It
I got my tablets from Holland and Barret. It was about £5 for a big pot of 500 30mg tablets, which has lasted me forever (I have a feeling it was on half price). If you wait until Holland and Barret do one of their stickered events (half price or buy one, get one for 1p) then you can grab a pot of sea kelp tablets for a very reasonable price! Health food shops will also stock sea kelp tablets, and you may be able to find it in other more palatable forms if you can't handle taking massive tablets every day. Amazon sell kelp powder however I am unsure how much it is or how much iodine it contains.
I will continue to take one tablet a day until I am satisfied with my nail and hair condition - I'll definitely be keeping an eye open for any unwanted side effects though. Health is so much more important than long nails and shiny hair! If you're pregnant (or breast feeding), under 18 or have kidney, thyroid or liver problems, then please do not take these tablets as they could cause you a lot of problems.