Kelp meal for plants

Kelp Meal

Kelp, or seaweed, grows throughout most oceans and is a renewable resource. It has formed part of the human food chain for thousands of years, and is dried and eaten in many traditional cuisines. Kelp is prized for its many benefits, including the high levels of nutrients found in this aquatic plant. Kelp meal allows growers to provide those benefits to their plants.

Kelp meal is an important source of vitamins and minerals necessary for plant growth and health. In fact, it contains over 70 different nutrients, many of them trace nutrients that are scarce in soil. This includes potassium, which can help improve plants’ resistance to disease, boost leaf production, enhance crop size, and more. Other important nutrients include nitrogen and phosphorus.

Kelp is harvested from the ocean, and then dried. This may involve drying in the sun on wooden racks, or drying in a kiln. Kiln drying is faster, allowing manufacturers to produce a higher volume of fertilizer in a shorter amount of time, but sun drying is more traditional. Both processes result in a nutrient-rich fertilizer that can benefit gardeners.

In most instances, kelp meal is available in a dried, ground form. It can be mixed with water and added directly to garden soil, or even sprayed onto plants. It can also be used in hydroponic and aquaponics systems, and can be added directly to the nutrient mix.

Of course, the percentage of kelp meal will depend on the size of the garden in question, as well as the number of plants. A light dressing for an in-ground garden would be roughly one-quarter cup of kelp meal per plant. A heavy dressing would be one-half cup per plant.

Kelp Meal

Along the Icelandic coastline, mineral-rich mountain streams, and arctic sea waters come together to create the perfect conditions for growing the finest seaweed harvested anywhere in the world.

Kelp Meal is cut fresh, cleaned, desalted, dried slowly, and ground into a nutrient rich, dust-free meal. Thorvin Kelp Meal is certified organically grown kelp and is OMRI listed as a certified organic livestock supplement. This organic kelp meal is a feed grade source of kelp and is the finest natural growth stimulant. Organic kelp meal is environmentally friendly and can be safely used around trees and shrubs, on lawns/ athletic turf, added to container gardens and incorporated into organic vegetable gardens. Our organic kelp meal can be broadcast, used as a top dressing, applied when amending soils or transplanting, and brewed into a nutrient rich kelp meal tea.

Kelp Meal Tea Recipe:

  • Mix ¼ cup of kelp meal into one gallon of water, let it steep for 2-3 days (agitating it daily). If you use the tea as a foliar spray, strain the solids out using cloth so that it won’t clog your sprayer.

Dry Application Rates:

  • Amending Soil: Apply 1 lb. per 100 square feet or 50 row feet crops (for rows 2′ wide)
  • Transplanting: Add 2-3 tbsp into the soil per planting site
  • Established Plants: Work 1/8 – 1/4 cup of Kelp Meal into the soil around existing plants
  • Broadcasting: 1 – 2 lbs. per 100 sq ft.
  • Compost Tea: 3-4 tbsp per 5 gallon compost tea brew

Livestock Supplement:

  • Blend at 1 to 2% of total feed ration or feed free choice. Great for cats, dogs, poultry, horses, sheep, goats, beef and dairy cows.

One pound equals 2.5 cups

GUARANTEED ANALYSIS NITROGEN (N) ……………………………….. 1.0% PHOSPHORUS (P) …………………………… 0.0% POTASSIUM (K) ………………………………. 2.0%

When used as a fertilizer, organic kelp meal also provides; Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Sulfur (S), Manganese (Mn), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), and Zinc (Zn). Thorvin kelp, Ascophyllum Nodosum, contains at least 60 trace minerals, over 12 Vitamins and 21 Amino Acids (including the 17 considered vital) at a fraction of the price of mined minerals and synthetic vitamins. Used by farmers for its rich value, seaweed provides plants with a wide range of nutrients, growth bio-stimulants and conditioners.

How Seaweed works:

Sea Kelp contains a large complex of soluble trace elements that help plants with mineral deficiencies. It also contains important growth stimulants, which have a tremendous effect on seed germination, root development, and general growth.

  • Organic soil amendment and natural fertilizer
  • Stimulates development: Kelp functions as a catalyst increasing the chlorophyll levels within your plants and chlorophyll production, helping them to use the sun’s energy more effectively thus promoting stronger, healthier growth.
  • Feeds the soil: Healthy soil is the key to healthy plants. Kelp helps to improve soil health and provides an excellent food source for the organisms that cycle nutrients and feed plants. A diverse soil ecosystem with a good source of food will help to create an extended root system, giving your plants greater access to nutrients and water in the soil. Kelp is an excellent food for compost as well.
  • Natural resistance: Stimulating beneficial soil microbe activity creates a biological barrier in the root zone where the greater numbers of beneficial microbes out-compete pathogens. This can lead to improving your plants natural resistance to stresses.


Blended in a carefully choreographed living soil mix, kelp has the potential to make other nutrient-rich additives even more effective. It does this by serving to reduce overall stress on crops throughout their lifecycle – including the growth, budding and flowering stages.

Alone, kelp has the power to achieve hardier plants that deliver higher yields. Together with the other soil amendments in each batch of SoHum Living Soil, it produces a synergistic effect that makes many of our other ingredients that much more powerful. For example, nutrients like iodine and selenium are not major nutrients but without them certain metabolic reactions would not occur and therefore the plant or microbe may not be able to produce a necessary metabolite for optimal health or growth.

Many crops benefit from the inclusion of B-vitamins in their feed, kelp is chalk full of vitamin B12. But, Kelp is most popular for the plant hormones that is possesses – gibberellins, auxins, and cytokinins.

Using kelp as a seed soak allows for the gibberellins to help with germination. Later as a young plant or clone, kelp can increase lateral root growth (auxins) and root mass (cytokinins). It’s important to note that having adequate kelp will help promote lateral bud development after pruning or topping.

Mary’s Heirloom Seeds

We’ve already shared our Alfalfa Meal tea so today we’re making KELP tea. This is especially important if you plan on planting Organic Garlic this year.

What is KELP and What does Kelp Tea do for plants?
Kelp is derived from sea plants and is sustainable. Kelp Meal contains only small amount of N, P, and K (highest in Potash) but adds valuable micronutrients. Kelp Meal also contains vitamins that help increase yields, improve soil structure, reduce plant stress from drought, and increase frost tolerance.
From our website,
Organic Kelp Meal (1-0-2) is dried and ground Rock Weed (Ascophyllum Nodosum), which grows in the cold clean waters along the New England coast, and is known as the best marine plant available for agriculture today
Full of trace Minerals, Carbohydrates and Amino Acids, helping create a strong root systems and makes a very healthy plant
It should be tilled in the soil before planting or can be top dressed, incorporated into potting soils, seed beds and composting material.
Organic kelp meal is ascophyllum nodosum, which is widely recognized as one of the finest marine plants available for agriculture today
It is a natural and cost effective enhancement to any soil fertilization and conditioning program
It is suitable for all crops and applications, and can be mixed with most soil conditioners and fertilizers
BONUS: Sprinkle a small handful of kelp meal early in the growing season around and on the base of squash plants to help deter squash bugs. Do this every 10 days where squash bugs are a problem.
Easy kelp meal tea:
Add 1/2 cup of kelp meal to 1-5 gallons water. Let steep for 1-3 days and agitate daily.

*1 gallon of water will give you a very strong tea

*5 gallons of water will give you a very weak tea
Ways to Use Kelp Tea
-Soak Garlic Cloves in kelp tea for 1 to 2 hours before planting
-Use Kelp Tea as a foliar spray to help protect plants from cold and hot temperatures.
-Soak seeds in Kelp Tea before planting to boost germination
-Apply to soil after transplanting to reduce shock
-Water plant with Kelp Tea once a month. Stimulates soil microbial activity

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The benefit of using kelp meal is it’s full range of minerals necessary for plant health. Kelp absorbs the minerals into it’s branches and leaves easily from the seawater. That’s the good thing – it also will absorb pollutants as well. In Japan and China kelp is grown in bays where you find commercial oyster operations. The kelp is there to remove as many pollutants as possible to provide the purest seawater possible to grow these oysters.

DIY Instant Kelp Meal Tea – Coots Hydrated Kelp Meal Trick

Not only is this quick and easy to prepare ahead of time, it’s practically instant once you’ve pre-made the Hydrated Kelp meal.

I could go on and on about how kelp meal is a must have for your garden but I think you already know that. Just in case, I’ll hit a few key points.

Kelp contains: NPK along with over 60 micronutrients. Plus Alginic acid, Mannitol, Cytokinins, Indoles, Hormones, Auxins and Gibberellins.

There are MANY “liquid” seaweed nutrient bottles and they aren’t nearly as good as this easy DIY solution.

Here are the instructions Per Coot:

Take 1/4 cup of kelp meal and cover that with about 1/2 cup of water and let it completely re-hydrate. Once that is done then pour off any excess water and use that for a kelp meal tea.

Take the hydrated kelp meal and puree it as much as possible to make a kelp meal paste. You’ll want to do this in small batches and store in the refrigerator in the coldest place which is usually in a corner.

When you need to apply a kelp meal tea than add about 2 tsp. to 1 gallon of water, shake until it’s completely dispersed and this is a safe concentration for spraying the leaves and you would probably want to double that amount to apply to the soil.

Salt: Because kelp is harvested directly from the ocean, using it straight from the beach and in the garden may add additional salt, which is unhealthy for plants. Fortunately, you’d have to add a huge amount, much greater than most gardeners will ever add, for the salt to build up.

Soup Up Your Soil with Kelp, Molasses & Guano

Rick Weller, founder of Organically Done in Michigan, likes to talk about “souped-up soil”—soil that’s loaded with organic amendments thoroughly blended in before you plant. The point of souped-up soil is to combine all the nutrients, amino acids, and minerals that plants need to grow to their best potential and produce a high-yield crop by only adding water during the growing season. There are many ways you can soup up your soil using organic amendments, starting with kelp, molasses, and guano.


If you’ve ever walked along an ocean beach after a storm, you’ve seen seaweed—probably kelp–lying tangled along the high-tide mark. It grows in long, leathery strips that are slippery when wet. Many times here on the coast of Maine, I’ve gathered dry seaweed with a pitchfork for my compost pile. It’s always mixed with small mussel and clam shells, crab shells and claws, seabird feathers, chunks of weathered white Styrofoam, and frayed bits of orange polyester rope. I only pick out the non-organic bits.

Kelp is an amazing gift from the sea for gardeners and growers. It isn’t a miracle plant food, but it can be very important when used in combination with other nutrients. While not a primary source of the macronutrients—nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium—it contains more than 60 trace minerals, plus aminos, enzymes, and alginates. By adding kelp to your soil, along with the other necessary nutrients, you’ll improve your soil health, seed germination, plant vigor, sugar content, and even how many blooms are set and the size and storage life of your harvest. Seaweed contains mannitol, a natural sugar that chelates or breaks down micronutrients and makes them available to plant cells. It also stimulates more lateral root growth and larger root mass. Furthermore, kelp bolsters stress resistance from disease, pests, drought, and frost; promotes natural growth hormone development; and stimulates important microbial activity.

“Kelp helps make plants hardier,” says Ann Molloy of Gloucester, Massachusetts. “There’s a lot of stress on plants during their growth, budding, and flowering stages. Kelp really helps with that.” And as for the source, Molloy says the cold waters of the North Atlantic are ideal. “The darker the water, the more nutrients in the kelp and the fish as well,” she says.

Kelp is available as a dry meal and in a concentrated liquid form. Kelp meal doubles in volume when it’s wet, which helps aerate your soil and retain moisture. It should be applied in the spring and fall. One pound will cover 100 square feet. Work it well into the soil. Liquid kelp, on the other hand, is best used for foliar feeding for both soil-grown and hydroponic plants. Spray the tops of your plant leaves as well as underneath them. Apply early in the morning or late afternoon, as direct sun isn’t good. Foliar feeding every two to four weeks is recommended.

“Studies have shown that milk does work as a fertilizer, even for foliar feeding.”


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Here’s a sweet thought. Another organic ingredient you can use on your garden is molasses. There are three kinds of molasses: mild (Barbados), dark (second boiling), and blackstrap (third boiling). Unlike refined sugars, blackstrap contains trace amounts of vitamins and healthy amounts of calcium, magnesium, and iron. Molasses should always be unsulfured.

Molasses is a very valuable addition to your compost pile. In addition to the minerals, the sugar feeds the micro-organisms in the compost and in your garden soil. Mix up to a whole cup off molasses in a gallon of unchlorinated water. You can make an even more potent mixture by using milk instead of water. Raw milk is best, but any kind of milk with do. Molasses mixed with milk is a miracle in the garden and greenhouse. However, it isn’t commonly used in hydroponics because its stickiness plugs up the equipment.

Using milk on crops and soil was an ancient practice that has been lost in today’s enormous agribusiness. Studies have shown that milk does work as a fertilizer, even for foliar feeding. Another benefit of spraying the molasses-milk combo is that it controls broad-leafed weeds and runs off any hungry grasshoppers.

“We’re big on molasses. It’s not just for plants, it great for the microbes—the more organics the better,” says Eric Olsen of NPK Industries. “We use the entire plant, roots and all, which has a good amount of iron. Our veteran growers have been using molasses a long time.”


Another great organic amendment for plants is guano. Guano is the accumulated poop of seabirds, seals, and bats, which ends up being some of the most potent, sought-after and expensive natural fertilizers in the world. Most guano comes from caves that have long established colonies or “camps” of bats. The caves are usually in mountainous areas and in a tropical climate.

In North America, guano is imported from all over the world, including Mexico, Jamaica, Indonesia, Sumatra, and Peru. Mexican guano boosts lots of vegetation, as opposed to promoting fruit and flowers, while Jamaican and Indonesian guano boosts bud production. Seabird guanos are the most balanced.

What’s in a Guano?

The N-P-K values of guano vary depending on what part of the world the guano is harvested from, so read your labels carefully. Some may look like this:

  • Indonesian, 0.5-12-0.2
  • Jamaican, 1-10-0.2
  • Sumatran, 8-3-1
  • Mexican, 10-2-1
  • Mexican liquid, 8-5-0
  • Peruvian seabird, 10-10-2

Whichever source of guano you’ve considered, check to make sure the harvester is going about things as eco-friendly as possible. For example, in Peru, through the Fair Trade Agreement, the sale of guano has been a huge financial benefit for the country’s economy says John Lorey of Sunleaves Garden Products. “We have people there overseeing the operation to make sure everything is being done right.”

There are more than 1,200 species of bats worldwide, which can be broken down into two types based on their diets. Bats that eat moths and other insects produce guano that’s high in nitrogen, while bats that eat fruit produce guano that is low in nitrogen, but high in phosphorus.

There are a few ways to go about introducing your plants to guano. Guanos come as a loose powder in bags and in a liquid. Seabird guano is pelletized. Some customers make guano tea, a potent plant elixir, which has to be used in the first 12 hours. “Guano is popular with our hydroponic growers, and hydroponics is growing by leaps and bounds because it’s so ecologically sound,” says Tony Bayt of Sunleaves Garden Supply.


Another organic option you might want to consider for your garden is worm castings—an organic form of fertilizer products by earthworms and also known as vermicast. In ancient Egypt, Cleopatra proclaimed the lowly worm “a sacred creature” and she made taking worms out of the fertile Nile Valley a capital offense. Charles Darwin thought it probable that worms are the most important creature on earth. Even the late Robert Rodale praised worm castings as “the finest form of humus known.” In soil enriched with castings, microbial activity is 10 to 20 times higher than in just soil alone. Castings hold two to three times their weight in water, which means you can water less. Other natural fertilizers may have higher percentages of nutrients, but a plant’s ability to use them is limited because they aren’t broken down to the degree of worm castings. Gardeners appreciate that castings are non-toxic, odorless, won’t burn plants or roots, and have colossal growing power. Just a handful will make your plants happy. Here’s a quick tip: Earthworms love coffee grounds, so by using them in your compost pile, your worm population will increase, pooping their enriching castings as they go.

Kelp has been an essential component of East Asian diets for centuries. In fact, this diet introduced kelp into different regions across the world. The potential health benefits of kelp are wide-ranging – it can fight iodine deficiency, help with diabetes, and prevent blood clots. Read on to find out more.

What Is Kelp?

Kelp, or brown algae, is found on the coasts of Korea and Japan. Kelp can have many therapeutic and nutritional benefits, as it is a rich source of iodine, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, proteins, and healthy carbohydrates. Kelp may also improve diabetes, reduce blood clots, and even help fight hepatitis C and breast cancer .

Kelp is an excellent source of iodine, potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium .

Depending on the type of kelp or seaweed, the nutrient profile can vary greatly .

Laminarin is a specific type of kelp in the brown algae family rich in nutrients (iodine, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron). Its compounds may also block tumor growth and spreading .

Another type of seaweed – Gracilaria changii – is rich in fiber content and essential amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) .

Kelp also contains a complex long-chain carbohydrate (polysaccharide) called fucoidan. Fucoidan is responsible for several potential effects of kelp, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cancer fighting .

Kelp is also an excellent source of vanadium, used in clinical studies to lower glucose levels in individuals suffering from diabetes type 1 and 2. Fucoxanthin, a pigment found in brown seaweed, may also boost weight loss .

Mechanism of Action

The high iodine content in kelp supports the production of thyroid hormones T3 and T4. If iodine deficiency is severe and prolonged, the thyroid gland enlarges and forms a goiter. This can also lead to a lack of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism) .

Kelp has potential cancer-fighting properties. Fucoidan from kelp may kill cancer cells and stop their growth .

Nutrients from seaweed carry potential health benefits. Dietary fiber, peptides, lipids, and minerals protect the heart. They may help reduce markers of heart disease, protect the cells (reducing oxidative stress), reduce inflammation in blood vessels, reduces high blood pressure, and decrease blood clotting .

Health Benefits of Kelp

Inducing Labor and Facilitating Abortion Procedures

Sticks made of Laminaria (a type of kelp) are used to induce birth and perform abortions. Different methods and amounts are used depending on the trimester (inserted into the cervix). The sticks cause the release of prostaglandins, which act as hormones that help initiate womb contractions .

Laminaria sticks can mechanically assist in terminating pregnancy from the first to the late second trimester of pregnancy. In one study (longitudinal), 171 late second-trimester abortions were performed using Laminaria (cervical preparation). Only one had serious complications (no contractions during delivery) and 9 required additional safety measures .

However, there are better and safer methods for inducing labor or abortion. Depending on the circumstances, doctors may :

  • Ripen the cervix with synthetic prostaglandins
  • Rupture the amniotic sac
  • Give intravenous Pitocin (synthetic oxytocin)

Possibly Effective for:

Kelp has a high iodine content (200 to 400 µg). It improved thyroid function in a study of 7 patients with severe motor and intellectual disabilities and hypothyroidism due to iodine deficiency. Patients were given 1 to 2 grams of powdered kelp daily, and this treatment restored thyroid function, increasing the concentration of iodine in the urine .

In another trial on 36 healthy people, kelp increased the levels of the hormone that stimulates the thyroid gland (TSH) .

However, excessive amounts may have the opposite effect. In a Japanese clinical trial on 13 people, eating 15-30 grams of kelp per day suppressed thyroid function, resulting in low thyroid hormone levels .

All in all, the evidence suggests that appropriate kelp doses may improve iodine deficiency and thyroid function. Be sure to discuss with your doctor if it may be helpful in your case and how you should take it.

2) Diabetes

Powdered seaweed pills reduced sugar levels in a study of 20 subjects with type 2 diabetes (RCT), taken daily for 4 weeks. It decreased fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels and serum lipid (fatty acid) levels. Also, the pills increased HDL levels, which help prevent heart disease associated with diabetes .

In another trial on 65 people, polyphenols extracted from two different kelp species lowered blood sugar, insulin resistance, and inflammatory markers .

However, an extract with seaweed polyphenols was ineffective at lowering blood sugar levels (both before and after meals) in a trial on 26 people .

Kelp is a great source of vanadium. Oral vanadium supplements (150 to 300 mg daily) given to 14 type 1 diabetic patients (longitudinal study) for 30 months decreased fasting blood sugar levels by over 30%. Vanadium also decreased cholesterol levels. It caused no major side effects, with the exception of mild diarrhea at the beginning of the treatment period .

Vanadium mimicked insulin in animal studies. In one study with diabetic mice, a vanadium-based compound reduced blood sugar levels and diabetic symptoms (such as thirst, hunger, and weight loss), with no side effects .

Although limited, the evidence suggests that kelp and its compounds may help lower blood sugar and insulin resistance.

3) Weight Loss

A study of Xanthigen, which is a type of kelp, showed reduced body weight, waist circumference, and body and liver fat content in 151 non-diabetic obese women. It also improved liver function tests and increased energy use at rest .

Mice fed fats from seaweed had increased markers of weight loss in fat tissue. Fucoxanthin, a pigment from seaweed, produced these effects .

In a cell study, alginate (a carbohydrate present in the walls of algae and seaweed) reduced the activity of a protein in the pancreas that breaks down fats (pancreatic lipase). Lower activity reduces fat breakdown, leading to fewer fats being absorbed after a meal .

Again, the results are promising but limited. Further clinical research is needed before concluding for certain that kelp helps with weight loss.

Insufficient Evidence for:

The following purported benefits are only supported by limited, low-quality clinical studies and some animal research. There is insufficient evidence to support the use of kelp for any of the below-listed uses until the existing results are replicated in larger, more robust clinical trials. Speak with a doctor before taking kelp supplements and never use them as a replacement for approved medical therapies.

1) Blood Clotting and Flow

In a clinical trial on 24 people, dietary fucoidan prevented the formation of blood clots by increasing the production of two messengers (hydrogen peroxide and prostacyclins) in the blood vessels .

Fucoidan infusion decreased clotting in bleeding in rats. The rats also had less inflammation around the area of swelling, moved easier, and had better memory retention after fucoidan treatment .

Fucoidan supplements prevented blood clotting in mice. The supplements also decreased the activity of blood clot stimulators (platelets and fibrin). In another study, fucoidan injections in mice led to enhanced cell survival and function in tissues with low blood supply (ischemia) .

In tissues with low blood supply, fucoidan decreased cell death proteins (including MAPK, JNK, and caspase-3) and harmful compounds (reactive oxygen species) .

2) Cancer

Below, we will discuss some preliminary research on kelp’s potential anticancer. It’s mostly in the animal and cell stage and clinical trials have yet to determine if it may be useful in anticancer therapy.

Do not under any circumstances attempt to replace conventional cancer therapies with kelp, its active compounds, or any other supplements. If you want to use it as a supportive measure, talk to your doctor to avoid any unexpected interactions.

A study of 15 postmenopausal women, 10 of whom were breast cancer survivors, looked at the effects of brown seaweed supplementation over a 3-month period (alternating with placebo). Seaweed decreased an important marker of breast cancer recurrence by half (receptor uPAR) after 4 weeks .

Fucoidan, a key component of seaweed, may fight cancer and stop tumor growth, based on both cell and animal models. In addition, seaweed supplements and algae extracts, including the brown seaweed Laminaria, reduced colon, breast, and prostate cancer activity .

Fucoidan injections or fucoidan, when given in food, slowed tumor growth in mice. Fucoidan killed cancer cells by activating the immune system (via natural killer cells) .

Fucoidan reduced the growth of leukemia cells and killed 2 out of 4 lines tested in a study. In another study in cells and mice, fucoidan stopped the growth and spread of lung cancer cells by blocking growth pathways (Akt–mTOR and NF-kB) .

3) Hepatitis C

In a study of 15 patients with chronic hepatitis C, fucoidan from brown seaweed was used to treat virus-related liver diseases. After 8 to 10 months of treatment, hepatitis C virus (HCV) levels in the blood significantly decreased .

Additionally, this study also examined alanine aminotransferase levels, a protein whose presence correlates to a more severe HCV infection. The blood tests also present a decrease in alanine aminotransferase levels. Despite the positive laboratory findings, these results did not lead to significant clinical improvements .

Animal and Cell Research (Lack of Evidence)

No clinical evidence supports the use of kelp for any of the conditions listed in this section. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based research, which should guide further investigational efforts. However, the studies listed should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit.


In a rat model, fucoidan (present in kelp) was used to reduce inflammation caused by immune cells in the brain. Fucoidan improved animal behavior, reduced harmful compounds (TNF-alpha), prevented neuron loss, and protected the cells from damage (reducing reactive oxygen species) that can cause neurodegeneration

In a brain and spinal cord cell study, fucoidan reduced inflammation (blocking nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandin E2 production). Fucoidan also blocked inflammatory proteins (cytokines IL-1β and TNF-alpha) and the inflammation pathway (reducing NF-kβ and p38 MAPK) .

Fucoidan reduced all important actors in the inflammatory cascade in cell studies. In brain immune cells (microglia) fucoidan from brown seaweed showed promise for treating neurodegenerative diseases caused by inflammation .


Fucoidan blocked the growth of the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) in infected mice. Mice given fucoidan had better survival rates. The treatment improved immune response (innate and adaptive), increasing antibody production .

Brain Protection

In a study (cell), seaweed extracts (including kelp) protected brain cells from death in cell models of Parkinson’s disease and improved cell survival. It also protected from toxins, helping the cells avoid death (via hydrogen peroxide and caspase-3) .

Bone Growth and Strength

In a rabbit model, fucoidan helped create new vessels, essential for communication with bones and bone repair. It also partially improved bone growth in rabbits with defects in skull formation .

In human stem cells, fucoidan boosted the development of cells that build bones, called osteoblasts. Fucoidan also increased the growth of new vessels, improving communication with bones .

In another cell study, fucoidan increased proteins that promote bone and mineral formation (via BMP-2, osteocalcin, and ALP). Fucoidan given to aged female mice increased bone density and weight suggesting that fucoidan may play a role in treating age-related bone loss .

Blood Pressure

Ten protein extracts from a particular sea kelp (wakame) were given to rats with high blood pressure. Of the 10 extracts, 4 experienced decreased blood pressure after both a single dose and routine use .

In a cell study, 5 organic brown seaweed (kelp) extracts blocked an important enzyme that may contribute to high blood pressure (Angiotensin-converting Enzyme, ACE). This enzyme is often a target for blood pressure-lowering drugs .

Blood Fat Levels

A 1% or 5% fucoidan (from kelp) diet reduced fat in mice that were fed a high-fat diet over 12 weeks. Kelp reduced the weight of liver and fat tissue, glucose, and fats (cholesterol and fatty acids) in the blood. It increased the activity of a protein that breaks down fatty acids (lipoprotein lipase), dissolving the plaque in arteries .


The antioxidant properties of fucoidan (from kelp) were confirmed in a cell study that tested its 2 major components, sulfate and fucose. Fucoidan showed antioxidant effects and has the potential to be used as a natural antioxidant .

Side Effects & Precautions

This list does not cover all possible side effects. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any other side effects.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. In the US, you may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at In Canada, you may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

1) Excess Iodine

A 45-year-old woman with no history of thyroid disease experienced an extended period of thyroid hyperactivity (hyperthyroidism) shortly after beginning a kelp-containing diet. This later developed into low thyroid activity (hypothyroidism) caused by the excess iodine in the seaweed .

A 39-year-old woman presented with a case of hyperthyroidism after drinking a kelp-containing herbal tea. The tea consumption led to the formation of a goiter, an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland .

Similarly, a 40-year-old woman developed liver damage (hepatotoxicity) after drinking an herbal tea that contained kelp 3 times a day over 2 months. From the excessive iodine, the thyroid glands swelled, leading to hypothyroidism and reducing liver function

A 54-year-old woman experienced hair loss worsening, memory loss, fatigue, and nausea due to exceeding the prescribed amount of kelp supplements. This caused iodine toxicity, impairing thyroid function, and possible arsenic poisoning (present in the patient’s urine) that caused the symptoms .

2) Risk of Heavy Metal Poisoning

Dried seaweed may have high heavy metal content, such as cadmium (Cd). Cadmium can cause toxicity in the body .

Levels of other toxic heavy metals, such as arsenic, lead, aluminum, and mercury in Korean seaweed were determined to be very low and not a health threat .

Still, another cellular study (initiated in response to the case of severe side effects) found detectable arsenic levels in 8 out of 9 tested kelp supplements. Levels of arsenic were higher than the FDA tolerance level for certain food products. None informed of possible arsenic contamination .

Kelp supplements have been linked to autoimmune disorders that cause red blood cells and blood clotting factors to become defective and attacked by the body’s immune system due to the possible presence of toxic metal (arsenic) .

3) Inaccurate Food Labeling

A UK-based study examining the accuracy of food labeling on edible seaweed and algae products surveyed 224 products, and only 10% of them contained information regarding iodine content. Of these, 26 were deemed to potentially lead to iodine intake above the accepted level .

4) Allergic Reactions to Laminaria Sticks

Two women experienced anaphylactic shock, an extremely severe and possibly fatal allergic reaction when Laminaria (a type of kelp) sticks were used to terminate a pregnancy. The reaction included breathing difficulty, nausea, and dangerously low blood pressure. Previous laminaria tent procedures possibly caused this sensitivity .

Drug Interactions

Supplement/Herb/Nutrient-drug interactions can be dangerous and, in rare cases, even life-threatening. Always consult your doctor before supplementing and let them know about all drugs and supplements you are using or considering.

As a huge source of iodine, kelp supplements may interfere with thyroid replacement therapies. Excessive amounts of iodine, similar to deficiencies, can alter thyroid hormones released and impair overall thyroid function .

Limitations and Caveats

Most potential health benefits are supported by only a few, small clinical trials. In the cases of inflammation, oxidative damage, herpes, brain protection, bone health, and blood pressure and fats, only animal and cell-based studies have been carried out.

Supplementing with Kelp


Because kelp supplements are not approved for any health conditions, there is no official dose. Users and supplement manufacturers have established unofficial doses based on trial and error. Consult your doctor about the best kelp dose in your case.

Importantly, the FDA-recommended dosage for daily intake of iodine is 225 μg. One gram of powdered kelp contains approximately 200 μg of iodine. Certain kelp-based supplements contain that in one tablet. Never exceed this recommended dosage without consultation .

Natural Sources/Forms of Supplementation

Kelp is a form of large brown sea algae. Different kelp supplements exist with varying amounts of proteins and other nutrients. In nature, different kelp species (such as Laminaria digitata, Laminaria Hyperborea, Saccharina latissima, Alaria esculenta) that carry more proteins may contain less long-chain carbohydrates (such as fucoidan), and vice-versa .

You can take kelp as food, pill, powder, or tincture. Different types of kelp are used, including winged kelp, laminarin, and fingered tangle. Each species varies in iodine levels and nutrients, so the supplement strength and risk will also vary .

Genetics Related to Kelp Metabolism

People in some regions of the world may digest large-chain carbohydrates present in seaweed more easily than others. The Japanese, whose diet includes more marine algae, have a gut bacterium for seaweed digestion that is not present in Americans or Europeans. It originates from a marine bacterium (via gene transfer) living on the surface of some sea algae species .

User Experiences

The opinions expressed in this section are solely those of kelp users, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. Their reviews do not represent the opinions of SelfDecode. SelfDecode does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.

Do not consider user experiences as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare providers because of something you have read on SelfDecode. We understand that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.

Users regarded kelp as an effective agent for weight loss and an essential ingredient in energy-boosting juices. Additionally, users with histories of thyroid issues claimed that the source of iodine present in kelp and its supplements worked better than previously prescribed iodine pills, even improving metabolism.

Certain kelp supplement users complained of gaining weight and experiencing depression after long periods of use. Some even complained of developing the dependency on the supplements for thyroid function, due to the resulting iodine imbalance. Others complained of excessive sweating and mucus formation after taking kelp-based supplements.

The Herb from the Sea — 7 Amazing Health Benefits of Sea Kelp

Meagan ChabertFollow Aug 23, 2018 · 4 min read Source:

Sea kelp is an important food element of East Asian countries for over centuries now. The supplement has numerous health benefits such as it helps in controlling diabetes, reducing iodine deficiency, decreasing inflammation, reducing weight, decreasing premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, and offers an overall nutritious diet.

What Is Sea Kelp?


Sea kelp is a type of brown algae found in the coastal waters. This alga grows so quickly that in just 10 days of the previous harvest, it cultivates back completely.

Owing to its high nutritious value, people of many countries consumer it on a regular basis to take advantage of its therapeutic benefits. It is usually available in powdered form or in form of pills or capsules.

Nutrient Content and Functioning of Sea Kelp

Kelp is a rich source of magnesium, iodine, iron, potassium, and calcium. Depending on the type of seaweed or sea kelp being used, the nutrition value can differ.

It helps in streamlining metabolic functioning as kelp is a rich source of Vitamin B. Other minerals such as calcium and magnesium promote bone and muscle health. Kelp is popularly used in Japanese and Chinese cuisines as the supplement provides fiber, minerals, vitamins, and other necessary nutrition to the body.

Fucoidan, an element found in sea kelp, is even known to fight cancer. The fucoidan is said to help in preventing the growth of cancerous cells by causing apoptosis (death) of these cells.

6 Surprising Benefits of Sea Kelp

1. Fights Iodine Deficiency

Iodine is essential for our body as its deficiency can cause low thyroid levels, brain damage in children, and damage to reproductive functioning. If during pregnancy a woman is suffering from low iodine levels, it can cause severe cognitive and mental damage to the fetus.

A trial tested 7 patients who had severe disability along with hypothyroidism. These individuals received a daily dose of iodine prior to the kelp treatment for as long as three years. During the kelp study, the participants were administered a daily dose of 1 to 2gms of kelp powder. At the end of the study, it was found that these the patient had normal thyroid functioning along with regular urine iodine concentration.

2. Decreases Sugar Levels

Diabetes is a severe health condition that occurs in individuals whose bodies are not capable of maintaining the balance in the blood sugar level.

A study that involved 60 Japanese patients including 40 women and 20 men between the age of 30 to 77 years, analyzed the effects of sea kelp on blood sugar. This study was 8 weeks long and the participants were given 0 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg fucoxanthin, a compound found in kelp. The patients who received 1 mg and 2 mg kelp were found to have lower blood sugar levels when compared to the placebo group (0 mg).

3. Treats Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C virus or HCV infection is a type of disorder which can lead to chronic hepatitis when not controlled. In this health condition, the viral clearance rate of the body is low, hepatocellular cancer cells start forming, and liver scarring increases.

In an open-label study, 15 patients, who suffered from hepatitis C, were treated with fucoidan, a primary element of sea kelp, for 12 months. After the treatment was completed, the HCV RNA levels were lower than before. The study also concluded that it is safe to consume kelp or fucoidan for HCV related liver disorders.

4. Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation is our body’s response to start the healing process from an injury. While inflammation protects our body from the attack of foreign elements, but it can also become a reason for many chronic diseases. Sometimes, our body can trigger inflammation to attack its own tissues such as in the case of autoimmune diseases. In such scenarios, reducing inflammation becomes necessary.

A male mice model was fed brown seaweed for 16 weeks to reduce the effects of inflammation in the body. At the end of the study, it was found that seaweed could, in fact, decrease inflammation in the mice model.

5. Decreases Weight

Sea kelp helps in reducing weight by delaying hunger. The fiber content of kelp can slow down the process of emptying stomach, which keeps the person full for longer duration and delays the hunger cycle.

In a trial, 151 non-diabetic, obese patients were involved to test the effects of Xanthigen. Xanthegin is a combination of pomegranate seed oil and brown marine sea kelp. For 16 weeks, xanthegin was given to the participants of the study and results revealed that enhanced liver functioning, reduced liver fat content, and enhanced weight loss.

6. Treats Herpes

Herpes simplex virus is a common type of infection that occurs around the mouth or genitals. It spreads when two people are in bodily contact and it causes painful sores and blisters on the skin.

When fucoidan was used to treat HSV-1 infected mice, it was revealed that this primary sea kelp nutrient has the capability of inhibiting the multiplication of infected cells. Fucoidan supplement was orally administered to the mice resulting in the stimulation of immune defense function.

A Nutritious Diet with Sea Kelp

Sea kelp is a popular natural ingredient that can be used to treat many underlying health conditions including herpes, hepatitis C, diabetes, etc. However, it is recommended to take kelp according to the prescribed amount given by a doctor.

What are the benefits of seaweed?

The following are the best health benefits of seaweed:

1. It is highly nutritious

Share on PinterestSeaweed is a rich source of iron and iodine.

Each type of seaweed may contain slightly different nutrients and minerals.

In general, however, eating this marine algae is a simple way to boost a person’s intake of vitamins and minerals without adding many calories.

As a study in Marine Drugs notes, seaweed is generally a good supply of:

  • protein
  • carbohydrates
  • fiber
  • minerals
  • polyunsaturated fatty acids

A study in the Journal of Applied Phycology points out that the various types of seaweed contain helpful nutrients, including:

  • vitamin C
  • vitamin B
  • vitamin A
  • vitamin E
  • iron
  • iodine

Seaweed also contains antioxidants, which may protect the body from oxidative stress and reduce inflammation at the cellular level.

2. It may help with thyroid function

The thyroid gland controls and releases hormones for energy production, growth, and cellular repair.

The thyroid needs iodine to function correctly, but the amount that a person requires depends on the state of the thyroid.

Iodine deficiency is one cause of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). It may result in the development of a goiter, a visible enlargement of the thyroid gland.

People may be able to prevent or improve hypothyroidism by ensuring that their diet contains sufficient iodine.

Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is overactive and produces excessive amounts of hormones. An excessive iodine intake may worsen symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

Seaweed is very rich in iodine. According to a study in the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, kombu is the richest source of iodine, followed by wakame and nori. Kelp powder is also a significant source.

The type of seaweed and location in which it was grown can alter the iodine contents.

3. It may help with diabetes

Share on PinterestSeaweed may help in the management of diabetes.

Fiber-rich foods may help with diabetes. This is because high amounts of fiber help regulate blood glucose levels and insulin levels. Adding seaweed to the diet may help increase a person’s fiber intake without a large increase in calories.

A 2018 study in rats found that compounds in one type of seaweed may directly reduce markers of type 2 diabetes, such as high blood sugar.

Compounds in seaweed may also reduce diabetes risk factors, such as inflammation, high fat levels, and insulin sensitivity. Further research in humans may help provide stronger evidence for the use of these compounds.

4. It may support gut health

Bacteria in the intestines play an important role in breaking down food and supporting digestion and overall health.

Algae may be an ideal food for the gut. Authors of a study in the Journal of Applied Phycology report that algae tend to contain high amounts of fiber, which may make up 23–64 percent of the algae’s dry weight.

This fiber can help feed the gut’s bacteria. Intestinal bacteria break fiber into compounds that improve gut health and the health of the immune system.

Adding algae to the diet may be a simple way to provide the body with plenty of gut-healthy prebiotic fiber, which in turn can help with issues such as constipation or diarrhea.

5. It may help with weight loss

The fiber in seaweed may benefit people who are trying to lose weight.

Fiber helps a person feel full, but it contains very few or no calories itself.

According to the study in Marine Drugs, a high amount of dietary fiber delays stomach emptying. As a result, the stomach may not send signals of hunger to the brain for a longer time, which may help prevent overeating.

6. May protect the heart

As the same study notes, high-fiber foods such as algae may also reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood. These soluble fibers bind to bile acids or salts in the body.

The body then uses cholesterol to replace these elements, which may result in a decrease of total cholesterol by up to 18 percent.

Many types of algae also have high levels of antioxidants, which may also support heart health over time.

Kelp is derived from sea plants and is completely sustainable. It grows quickly in the oceans along the shores. Kelp comes in a liquid, powder or pellet form. Although kelp fertilizer contains only small amount of N, P, and K (highest in Potash) but adds valuable micronutrients, growth hormones (of course natural), and vitamins that help increase yields, improve soil structure, reduce plant stress from drought, and increase frost tolerance. Kelp also increases resistance to pests and diseases. It just simply makes plants healthier. It can be applied directed into the soil or as a foliar spray. All seaweed products are good for supplying major and micronutrients, but kelp seems to provide even more benefits over other seaweed products. It supplies over 50 minerals. Kelp Meal is a perfect compliment to organic gardens, and is suitable for all crops.


Easy kelp meal tea: ¼ cup of kelp meal to 1-gallon water, let steep for 1-3 days and agitate daily.

Use kelp meal tea to drench plants before transplanting to help with transplant shock.

Use kelp meal tea as a soak for garlic 1 to 2 hours before planting.

Soak Asparagus Crowns in a kelp meal tea 1 hour before planting for healthier roots.

Sprinkle a small handful of kelp meal early in the growing season around and on the base of squash plants to help deter squash bugs. Do this every 10 days where squash bugs are a problem.

Use liquid kelp as a spray to increase yields by promoting bud formation, overall health, and to slow transpiration.

Use liquid kelp over dry kelp meal on stressed plants for quicker absorption and response.

Use liquid kelp as a foliar spray to help protect plants from cold and hot temperatures.

For vegetable gardens and flowerbeds Apply Kelp Meal at 1-2 pounds per 100 square foot and mix into the top 3” of soil. For transplants, add 1 teaspoon per hole and mix with soil and water in. To feed established plants, side dress 1-2 teaspoons per plant 1-2 times throughout the growing season to promote plant growth. For container and houseplants: for new plantings, mix ¼ lb. per cubit foot of soil. For established plants, side dress 1-2 teaspoons per gallon of soil 1-2 throughout the growing season to promote plant growth.

Down to Earth Kelp Meal is pure Ascophyllum nodosum seaweed from the clean, cold waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. Hand-harvested, carefully dried and finely milled.


Environmental Concerns

Farmers and gardeners alike are particularly interested in organic fertilizer that does not harm the environment. Some fertilizers have harmful metals that, when released to the environment, can harm plants, animals, and even humans. Organic fertilizer is a safe, eco-friendly option for plant enthusiasts that ensures healthy plants with bountiful bumper yields.

Kelp Meal Fertilizer 2-0-4 is the ultimate choice of fertilizer – owing to its vast popularity and use. The fertilizer is a favorite to many as it has been proven to bear results.

Outstanding Product Benefits

Kelp Meal Fertilizer is composed of some incredible features favorable to plant health and growth while helping conserve and maintain the correct soil standards.

Below is a highlight of the features of Kelp Meal Fertilizer 2-0-4:

  • The appropriate and right micronutrients and elements composition. Kelp Meal Fertilizer 2-0-4 is a composition of 2% Nitrogen and 4% Potassium, repackaged from Organic NON-GMO Kelp Meal. Non-GMO products have the natural and original plants and crops taste and all the health benefits. Potassium composed fertilizer is right for the plant and crop growth, as they are the required micronutrients for healthy plant growth and proper yields.

  • Kelp Meal stimulates root development, boosts plant growth, and prevents fungus growth. Healthy, disease-free plants grow stronger, and the result is quality and bumper yields during harvesting season.

  • The fertilizer composition is essential and beneficial to the plant, as it helps release locked up minerals in the soil such as Calcium and Magnesium that would otherwise not be accessible to the plants. The released minerals are vital for wholesome plant development, health and growth.

  • The fertilizer also prevents the plants from going into shock by extreme temperature fluctuations. Plants exposed to extreme and fluctuating temperatures might end up not developing correctly, resulting in stunted growth, wilting, and even death. The ability to prevent the plants from going into shock is critical in the general plant health and growth.

The above product features are crafted to provide the crops with essential required minerals and micronutrients, help the plants withstand extreme temperature fluctuations and also beneficial to the soil for the bumper harvest at the end of the season.

If you have been looking for a fertilizer that has the right composition and will benefit both the plants and the soil, then consider buying Kelp Meal Fertilizer 2-0-4.


Why Kelp?

Norwegian Kelp, or Ascophyllum nodosum (or common rockweed), is an exceptional, all-natural soil amendment and fertilizer. When dehydrated and ground into a meal, Norwegian Kelp is a valuable source of macro- and micro-nutrients (mostly in trace quantities). It is 100% natural, environmentally friendly and can also be safely used around trees and shrubs, on lawns, added to container gardens and incorporated into garden beds.

How to Use

  • Make a Kelp Meal tea – This recipe can be used both to water your plants and as a foliar spray. Mix ¼ cup of kelp meal into one gallon of water, let it steep for 2-3 days (agitating it daily). If you use the tea as a foliar spray, strain the solids out using cloth so that it won’t clog your sprayer. One pound equals 2.5 cups.
  • Use as a soil top-dressing – Hand apply Kelp Meal in the spring after the weather warms, watering-in after each application.
  • New garden beds – Use 2 lbs. per 100 sq. ft. Mix into the top 2-3” of soil.
  • Established beds – Side-dress 3 lbs. per 100 sq. ft. twice during the growing season.
  • Rows of vegetable plants – Use 2 lbs. per 100 foot row twice during the growing season.
  • Planting holes – For 1 gallon pot size or less, add 1 tbs. per planting hole. Larger than 1 gallon, add 2 tbs. per planting hole. Mix into the soil and water-in after planting.
  • Lawns – Use 10 pounds per 100 sq. ft. in the spring.
  • Trees and shrubs – Use 1 pound per inch of trunk diameter around the drip line of the tree once yearly. Rake it into the soil.
  • Houseplants – Top-dress 2 tsp. per gallon of soil twice during the growing season.

We’re Organic

Our Organic Plant Food supplements, including Kelp Meal, are all single source fertilizers that comply with the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) rules and are included in the NOP listing of all-natural, non-synthetic substances permitted in organic production.

Caution: This product is non-toxic, but do not take internally, keep sealed, out of reach of children and pets and in a cool, dry place. Wash hands and exposed skin with soap and water after handling. This product meets the guidelines for metals adopted by the Association of American Plant Food Control Officials. Information regarding the contents and levels of metals in this product is available at

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