Seaweed and iodine are essential for women’s health

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(NaturalHealth365) This is the first in a series of articles devoted to the healing properties of the sea – the source of life itself. In these articles we will shed light on the various therapeutic properties of marine algae from microscopic plankton that form the meadows of the sea to the giant kelp that grow to a length of 180 feet! Each of these plants is rich in vital elements absorbed from the surrounding seawater.

In the words of French author Jean Cocteau: “Man goes to the ocean to discover his past; what he will discover is his future.” The future is now.

Why are health professionals confused about iodine?

Whenever I travel to give lectures on the healing properties of the ocean and most notably seaweed, I am usually confronted by spa and massage therapists with questions over allergies to iodine (which is found prominently in seaweed). In fact the fear of iodine is so pervasive that most spas will not perform a seaweed service on anyone who claims to be allergic to iodine.

I had been perplexed by this unwarranted fear of iodine which is so vital to our health and well-being. Then I came across the studies conducted by a group calling themselves “The Iodine Project” headed Dr. Guy Abraham of UCLA. What I learned was eye-opening – to say the least.

RDA = “Really Dumb Advice” for women

With the use of radio-active iodine as a contrast in radiology, there were indeed some allergic reactions. This led to the elimination of iodine in the baking of bread. The iodine was replaced with bromide which is a harmful chemical used in fertilizers and hot tubs. In all, iodine consumption was reduced by 50% over the last 40 years.

Now iodine is vital to women’s health. When learning about the role of iodine, we are taught that it is responsible for the health of the thyroid. Deficiencies in iodine leads to goiter and in some cases mental retardation. The RDA needed to prevent goiter is approximately 160 IUs of iodine daily. However, that is the minimum amount to prevent goiter but ignores iodine’s other roles equally important.

To understand this consider that iodine is required for the healthy functioning of the reproductive organs – breast tissue, uterus and ovaries. It is equally important for the health and moisture-locking abilities of your skin. Here is a breakdown (according to Dr. Abraham) of where iodine goes in the body:

Thyroid – 3 percent; Breast Tissue – 9 percent; Uterus/ovaries – 9 percent; Skin – 20 percent; and Muscle tissue & misc. – 59 percent.

Therefore, the RDA of 160 IUs doesn’t cut it. By contrast, the Japanese health agencies consider the RDA for their population to be 10,000 IUs! This is about 70 times greater than the U.S. figure. It is worth noting that the Japanese consume that amount daily in their diet consisting largely of seaweed dishes.

95 percent of all Americans have an iodine deficiency

When you have time – look up the work of Jorge D. Flechas, M.D. His research on the value of iodine is amazing. In addition, research provided by The Iodine Project suggests that breast cancer and uterine cancer are iodine deficiency diseases. Iodine is vital in women’s reproductive health. With cancer rates almost 10 times greater in the U.S. than in Japan.

One symptom of iodine deficiency is chronically dry skin

The causes are varied for this syndrome. First, we can point to the gradual elimination of iodine in bakery products. However, the bromide used to replace iodine is in fact an iodine inhibitor. There are three such inhibitors that most Americans come into contact with. These are bromide, chlorine and fluoride. Here is how they inhibit your daily requirement of iodine.

No Parking for Iodine

Each cell in the reproductive organs and skin has what is termed as “iodine receptors.” That means that molecules of iodine fit into the spaces allocated by those cells. The problem arises when your diet has excess bromides or other halogens such as chlorine and fluoride.

Swimming in a chlorinated pool exposes you to this toxic element as does taking many medications such as anti-depressants which overload the system with fluoride. When these halogens circulate throughout the bloodstream, they fit into the iodine receptor spaces normally reserved for iodine. In effect there is no parking available for iodine. What to do?

One remedy is to increase your diet with iodine rich seaweeds – the richest source of iodine available. The problem is that most Americans do not have seaweed available. For those who don’t eat sushi on a daily basis, there is another way to get your daily requirement of iodine. And that is via topical application of seaweed or bathing in seaweed.

Your skin is a great way to receive iodine

Iodine is a trace element. Its molecular size is infinitesimally small. As such, iodine along with other minerals and trace elements are able to penetrate through to skin and enter the bloodstream. This is based on research by the University of Rennes in France that suggests that bathing in a warm (body temperature) bath allows for penetration of these vital nutrients. You are feeding your body – transdermally.

This is both good and bad. Bathing in seaweed is a relaxing way to obtain minerals such as calcium and magnesium as well as iodine. However, swimming in most pools or bathing in a hot tub exposes you to chlorine and bromide – this is a bad thing. So my advice is to bathe in seaweed at home.

The best way to enjoy a seaweed bath

Nourish yourself by preparing a warm bath ranging from 98 to 100 degrees. Add seaweed powder to running water and add a relaxing aromatherapy oil. Finish with a mineral rich body lotion to lock in the nutrients. For an added benefit, light a candle and soak for 20 minutes. You will be refreshed and on the road to health. If you have any questions or wish to share your experience – post your comments below.

About the author: Dan Fryda is president of Spa Technologies International – a laboratory specializing in research and development of marine-based skin and body care products both for the Spa Tech brand as well as private label. He has been a leader in skincare for 25 years and is the author of The Ocean Within which is dedicated to bringing valuable information on seaweed and marine algae to the spa industry. For more information on Dan Fryda and his products – visit:

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  • Debra Carrabba

    It would be hard to take a bath & soak in the good stuff, when your water has chlorine & fluoride in it, put in by the town. I can’t afford a filter for the bathroom, I’m in a building with 11 other apartments, with a shared water tank & heater.

  • Cynthia K. Gibb

    The major problem I find with this approach is that in most of the U.S., that bath or spa water contains BOTH chlorine (and its byproducts) and fluoride. It seems to me that this would cancel out any benefit a seaweed soak could possibly give a person. I have just recently starting using Iosol and a supporting thyroid supplement to help my thyroid. I suspect I have ALWAYS been iodine deficient and did not know it. When I was growing up, there was iodized salt available; but, I apparently did not get enough. I had, and still do have, VERY dry skin. I am waiting to see if the Iosol and cohort will help to solve this over time.

  • Michellealeta

    Very interesting method of getting seaweed and iodine into bloodstream simultaneiously by bathing. Now I take iodine in water daily(lugals solution) then magnesium bath(when I have time) then spirulina and kelp internally still at another time. I am vegan for 5 years now and have excellent cholesterol numbers as per my doctors check-up comments, yet I still have high blood pressure which I’m attempting to combat with magnesium and deep breathing exercises. It would be a blessing to get all this in at the same time by merely doing a nice relaxing soak bath–!! i would like more info on purchasing and dosage requirements for the seaweed baths. I didn’t see these details when I checked web site mentioned above. Please send at your more info or let me know where I can find such at your earliest convenience and thanks so much. Sincerely yours, and warm regards

  • Craig Kavanaugh

    @Michellealeta…while there are many potential causes of high blood pressure, you may consider the following add’l steps: eliminate regular table salt (which causes high blood pressure, even if iodized) and substitute a good sea salt or rock salt (which lowers blood pressure due to a full-spectrum balance of 84 minerals); eliminate black and white pepper (both of which induce high blood pressure); reduce (with the goal of eliminating) all caffeine products (coffee, black and green tea, sodas, etc…) (as caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands, releasing cortisol hormones that induce the continual stress of the flight or fight response); and try consuming apricot seeds daily (which help reduce blood pressure by both clearing calcification of clogged arteries and helping to soften artery walls making them more supple) (buy at (also, the most anti-carcinogenic food available); finally, add prayer to your daily breathing exercises, as the Creator and Great Physician is the source of all true healing. Be blessed and a blessing. -Craig in Boston

  • nancy ricklefs

    Great article. Can you provide information on what kind and where to buy the seaweed powder, how much to use along with how much of the essential oils, and what is a good product for a mineral rich body lotion? Thanks for helping us put your recommendations into practice.

  • Audrey Gregis

    What a great article! I’m a distributor for a company whose foundation product is 9 different sea veggies in a base of aloe and black cherry juice (great for gout). At 58yo, I can run circles around my kids — but we have all gained so much from drinking this seaweed drink every day. And, I can attest to soaking in seaweed, because we also have a herbal body wrap that I use as a bath. OMGosh, it does wonderful things for your skin. I just love when I read articles about how good seaweed is for us, because I couldn’t agree more!

  • preventcanswers

    The first two comments are spot on. We do have so much chlorine and fluoride in our water, that it would be hard to get enough iodine through soaking in kelp to displace the toxic halides. According to Dr. Flechas and Dr. Abraham, we need to ingest high amounts of lugols’ iodine in order to displace the toxic halides. That is what worked for me. They also do not recommend seaweed as a source of iodine, as seaweed is often tainted with chemicals.
    That said, it is important to get the word out about the importance of iodine to our health. It is just a matter of time until iodine supplementation will be deemed every bit as essential as Vit. D.
    Thanks for spreading the word.

  • Christina Clark

    To Audrey Gregis, what company are you in that has the seaweed juice with aloe/black cherry?

  • Todd

    @Debra: I use an Aquasana filter for my OWN shower head. Only $50 every 6 months to replace the filter. You can afford that I’m sure for healthy water. i noticed a huge difference in my skin.

    @Cynthia: agreed.

    @Michellealeta: cholesterol numbers don’t really mean anything in correlation to your body, and certainly not the nonsense your conventional dr’s tell you. ( Also, Buteyko breathing exercises rock. Make sure it’s DIAPHRAMATIC breathing, NOT deep chest breathing which only causes you to hyperventilate.

    @Craig: Nice work. Agree, although prayer is optionally replaced with gratitude for those of us who don’t believe in some Higher Power.

  • Dr. T. Bricker

    Do bare in mind, that in cases of hyperthyroidism,seaweed(iodine) is contraindicated. In many cases however, seaweed/iodine is a helpful/essential inclusion in a daily supplementation protocol.

    Very well put Craig from Boston. Prayer unto the Greatest Healer we have is essential, as there are enough testimonies/proof indicating the efficacy thereof. Thank you Craig.

    Dr. Trudy

  • Audrey Gregis

    To Christina Clark — Life Force Int’l. They are very careful about where they harvest seaweed. I noticed someone said that seaweed can be tainted with chemicals. Seaweed doesn’t grow in polluted water. We are careful about the harvesting because of the radiation from Japan. So now they harvest it off the northeast corner of Canada. Every batch, not once every few batches, but EVERY batch is tested for radiation and pollutants. Actually, after 28yrs, they just upped the seaweed by 60% and tweaked the aloe so the saccarides are more available. If you didn’t know, black cherry juice is great for gout. My son was diagnosed with Reactive Arthritis which led into gout. All his symptoms are gone. I also agree with Craig, and I tell people all the time — God put us here and he put the food to nourish our bodies here also.