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What is Kelp Extract?

Sara Schmidt
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Taken from the sea plant of the same name, kelp extract is one of many coastal-based nutritional supplements. Kelp benefits range from boosting immunity, aiding with weight loss efforts, and providing nutritional support. The extract is also often used as a garden fertilizer.

The scientific name for sea kelp is Ascophyllum nodosom. People incorporate kelp extract into their diets for a variety of reasons. Some believe that it can help them lose weight. Others utilize the nutritional aid as a way to help support deficiencies within their dietary intake or immune systems. Those who complete body detoxification programs sometimes do so with a kelp detox as well.

Kelp is considered a good source of iodine. Some people with thyroid issues take the supplement to help balance the gland. Men and women who strive to maintain healthy nails, hair, and skin may take the extract to help promote youthful appearance. Some kelp aficionados claim that the extract also helps promote longevity and general youthfulness overall.

Sea kelp extract may be helpful in preventing cancer and osteoporosis. Some use it to promote liver health. Research has shown that the plant extract may also be helpful in ensuring healthy blood clotting.

Dried kelp and kelp powder are two of the most popular versions of this dietary supplement. It can be added to shakes, smoothies, and other foods. Some people prefer to take kelp capsules that can be swallowed easily with water. Kelp extract is also available in liquid form, either as a kelp tea or in drops.

When used to treat plants, kelp extract provides a number of helpful benefits. Dozens of nutrients are often already provided through, or added to, kelp plant supplements. Flower and fruit sizes have been known to increase when fed kelp supplements. The extract has been shown to help plants thrive in extreme weather conditions as well.

To use kelp extract with plants, it should be applied every two to four weeks. Application is typically through saturation. Most growers mix kelp extract with water before spraying it directly onto their plants. Some kelp extracts are sold already liquefied for plant use.

Caution should be used when selecting kelp products for internal use. Some kelp extracts have been found to be contaminated with heavy metal poisoning. Since such nutritional supplements are not regulated in many areas, it can be difficult to ascertain the safety of the products. An herbalist, nutritionist, or doctor may be able to help identify a source of safe kelp supplements.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Sara Schmidt
By Sara Schmidt , Writer
With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for The Health Board, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.

Discussion Comments

By turquoise — On Aug 20, 2011

I read an article about kelp extract and it claimed that all of the kelp extract that's on the market are contaminated.

The article also mentioned its benefits and I also agree that it sounds like a great supplement, especially for anyone who has an iodine deficiency. But the author also said that the oceans are not as pure as they use to be several decades ago. Several studies have found high arsenic levels in kelp extract.

How can we know if the kelp extract sold at pharmacies and other stores are safe? Would organic or natural ones be safer?

By fify — On Aug 19, 2011

I've seen my Asian roommate cook with kelp. She uses it in instead of salt because it tastes salty and she says it's good for us because it has antioxidants.

I told my mom about this and she thinks it's a great idea. Apparently both my parents are taking kelp extract capsules to prevent bloating and constipation.

It sounds like this extract has so many uses and benefits. I didn't know that it helps promote weight loss as well. I think I'm going to eat more of my roommate's cooking from now on!

By bear78 — On Aug 18, 2011

Kelp extract is really a great supplement for garden plants. I am seeing a huge difference with mine. They have grown much faster this season and I can't wait to see the fruit.

The other great part is that it is so affordable. I buy mine in bulk and it's probably going to last me a year or more, even though I'm applying some about every two weeks. I'm also using it for my indoor plants and flowers instead of a vitamin solution which is so much more expensive considering how little of it I get.

Sara Schmidt

Sara Schmidt

Writer

With a Master's Degree in English from Southeast Missouri State University, Sara Schmidt puts her expertise to use by writing for The Health Board, plus various magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She published her own novella and has other literary projects in the works. Sara's diverse background includes teaching children in Spain, tutoring college students, running CPR and first aid classes, and organizing student retreats, reflecting her passion for education and community engagement.
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