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The Importance of Sea Vegetables in Restoring and Maintaining Your Health

by Steven H Horne RH (AHG) IIPA and Kimberley Balas ND


Iodine is a vital nutrient for good health.  Not only is iodine critical for thyroid gland function and body metabolism, it’s also essential for reproductive tissue health.  The breasts, uterus and prostate require very large amounts of iodine.  It’s also needed for healthy skin, eyes and nerve function.  In fact every cell of the body needs some iodine.


Unfortunately iodine is a rare element and only small amounts of iodine are present in most people’s diets especially amongst Western societies.  Seaweeds and other sea vegetables such as kelp, dulse and Irish moss are the most dependable food source for iodine - foods which are rarely eaten, if at all. 


Besides iodine, sea vegetables are rich sources of iron, magnesium, potassium, boron, silica, selenium and chromium.  They are also loaded with essential fatty acids, vitamins (including vitamin D) and water soluble fibres which make them excellent bone-building and tissue repairing foods.  Sea vegetables are also known to improve hair colour and quality, skin tone and texture, fingernail strength and ease arthritic symptoms.


In the Orient, sea vegetables have been used for centuries in the treatment of cancer.  Anti-cancer compounds such as lignans have been found in sea vegetables (kelp, kombu and wakame) which bond to oestrogen-receptor sites and so inhibit oestrogen-dependent cancers.  Fucoidan, which is found in kelp and bladderwrack, is extremely anti-proliferative against cancer cells.  So, adding sea vegetables to the diet could be a powerful way to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.  Fucoidan also interferes with every stage of viral attack, which is why people who eat lots of sea vegetables also seem to be more resistant to colds and flu.


Because they are high in water-soluble fibre, natural chlorine and potassium, sea vegetables have a protective effect on the heart and cardiovascular system.  They can lower blood cholesterol and reduce high blood pressure.  They also have anti-inflammatory properties.


Sea vegetables have a powerful detoxifying effect on the body; not only do they absorb toxins and heavy metals, they also reduce inflammation.  When used in baths, the minerals found in mucilaginous seaweeds are also absorbed through the skin, to aid tissue repair.  The mineral salts found in sea vegetables also help move lymphatic fluids, so they enhance lymphatic drainage and can be helpful in softening hardened lymph nodes.


Sea vegetables are excellent foods for pregnancy.  Lack of iodine can cause stunted growth, mental deficiency, puffy facial features and a lack of muscular development.  Sea vegetables can help increase haemoglobin levels and also reduce constipation and stretch marks in pregnant mothers.


Everyday Products That Disrupt Your Iodine Levels

Our dietary deficiency is further compounded by the fact that a number of everyday chemicals actually displace iodine or disrupt its key functions within the body.  These iodine ‘disruptors’ belong to a group called ‘halogens’ which include bromine/bromides, fluorine/fluorides and chlorine/chlorides, along with mercury, aspirin and other salicyclates, steroids and unfermented soy products.   


Bromides (substances containing bromine)

Studies show that bromine intake can adversely affect the accumulation of iodine in the thyroid and skin, and can also cause hypothyroidism in animals.  Yet, despite the health risks, bromides are being increasingly utilised as antibacterial agents for pools and hot tubs, as fumigants for agriculture, and for killing termites and other pests.  They're found in many pharmaceutical drugs and are also being added to foods such as carbonated and sports beverages and also bread flour. 


Many years ago iodine used to be added to flour; however this has now been replaced with bromides.  Since this change, levels of obesity have increased dramatically.  Instead of getting iodine in bread (which would help burn fat), people are consuming more bromides, which in turn disrupt iodine and therefore increases fat deposition.



Fluorides are toxic which increase the risk of bone cancer and hip fractures.  This toxin has also been shown to lower intelligence, increase depression and lower testosterone levels in men.  High levels of fluorides cause mottling, pitting and dulling of the teeth.  Fluorides can also produce goiter, as well as low thyroid, by inhibiting the ability of the thyroid gland to actually store iodine.


Besides being introduced into drinking water, fluorides are found in toothpastes, dental treatments and a variety of drugs such as Prozac, Paxil, Baycol, Propulsid, Posicor, Astemizole, Flonase, Flovent and Fen-Phen.  It would therefore be wise to increase iodine intake if you’re on any of these medications, and also best to avoid fluoridated toothpastes and fluoride treatments at the dentist in future.



Unlike bromide and fluoride, chlorine is used as a nutrient in the body, and in fairly large amounts.  However, the oxidised form of chlorine forms chlorides, and chlorides are toxic. 


Research shows that the rise in coronary heart disease parallels the rise in the chlorination of water supplies.  In fact, chlorine actually makes cholesterol ‘sticky’ so it adheres to surfaces.  Because iodine is needed to release and disperse fats (emulsify) from surfaces, and chlorine displaces iodine, the may be one of the reasons why chlorine (including sodium chloride – common table salt) contributes to heart disease.  Chlorine is also linked to birth defects, cancer, reproductive disorders (including still birth) and immune system breakdown. 


The newest artificial sweetener ‘Sucralose’ is nothing more than chlorinated sugar, so these types of products are best avoided.  A reverse osmosis water filtering unit is a great way to reduce chlorine at home or in the office.



Mercury is another iodine disruptor which finds its way into the body through silver amalgam fillings, contaminated sea foods, poor quality food supplements, environmental pollution and vaccines.


With the above destructive factors in mind, it’s therefore no wonder that 90% of the population is iodine deficient!  With all the everyday iodine disruptors that we’re exposed to, we probably all need extra iodine if we want to main optimal health. 


Regular detoxing throughout the year is essential in helping remove many of the iodine disruptors from the body.  We recommend that you include natural sea salt and sea vegetables in your daily diet; however, depending upon your taste, this may not always be desirable. 


Therefore nutritional supplementation would be the ideal solution.  Nature’s Sunshine’s Products contain 4 kinds of seaweeds in their supplements that can be taken according to your health condition.  These include:


Kelp can be found in Nature’s Sunshine’s Kelp and Hops Combination (glandular), Energy-V (circulatory, glandular, nervous), Super Supplemental Vits & Mins (vital nutrition) and Mastergland (glandular) formulas. 



Dulse is found in Horsetail and Rosemary Combination (structural and skin) formula.


Irish moss is found in Kelp and Hops Combination (glandular) and a key ingredient in Natria Irish Moss Body Lotion (skin).



Steven H. Horne is a highly acclaimed international author, iridologist, teacher, herbalist and natural healer.  Steven is a professional member and past president of the American Herbalists Guild and president of Tree of Light Publishing.


Kimberley Balas is a board certified naturopath and co-owner of Vital Solutions.  Kimberley is an instructor for Tree of Light, where she is head of research.


The nutritional supplement product links stated in this article can only be purchased from this website in UK and in Europe; however all other health product links stated on this page are available worldwide from Natural Body Healing.  



The above information should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional.






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