By Larch On February 12th, 2003

One in ten adult American women have been diagnosed with thyroid disorders, and perhaps as many as 25% of adult American women have clinically detectable thyroid disfunction. The American diet is deficient in iodine because most factory food does not contain iodized salt. The American lifestyle exposes us to the halides: fluorine (in water and dental products), chlorine (in water that is chlorinated), and bromine (in pesticides, bromated dough conditioners, disinfectants)– and all of these tend to displace iodine in the body. Living in America, we are also exposed daily to radioactive iodine 131 which is released from nuclear power plants. Iodine 131 has a short half-life of about eight days, and thus a radiogenic life of about 60 days. This makes it very dangerous, especially because a human being who doesn’t have enough iodine 127 (the normal form of iodine) will absorb iodine 131, and this radioactive isotope will damage the thyroid. The way to remedy all of this is to eat three to five grams of kelp each day. This is a good preventive measure. In the event of a nuclear catastrophe, there is another feature of kelp which comes into play: Kelp contains sodium alginate which is capable of binding with ingested particles of toxic strontium 90, cesium 137, and various heavy metals in the digestive tract, thus aiding the body in excreting radioactive fallout. After Chernobyl, the Russians isolated the polysaccharide U-Fucoidan in kelp, an excellent absorber of radioactive elements.

Dr. Tatsuichiro Akizuki, M.D. and the staff of his hospital survived the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki on August 9th, 1945. The hospital was built of bricks, it was located about a mile from the epicenter of the explosion. Dr. Akizuki and his staff had been eating a diet that included brown rice and miso soup and seaweeds. Sugar was excluded. After the bombing, rice balls, seaweeds, salt, miso and other good-quality strengthening foods were fed to all the patients and staff.

I would recommend laminaria longicruris or laminaria saccarina as a good daily food for maintaining adequate levels of iodine 127 in the body, but in the event of a nuclear catastrophe, I would recommend laminaria digitata.

People will sometimes ask me if they should be concerned about radioactive iodine in seaweed. I reply, “No, I don’t live near a nuclear reactor, and since my kelp is stored for 80 days before being put on the market, all iodine 131 will have radioactively decayed anyway. As long as the body has adequate iodine 127, it won’t absorb iodine 131.”