Kelp and seaweed are often used synonymously. They are both sea vegetables with similarities, but they are not the same. Basically seaweed floats on top of the water and kelp grows in deeper waters. There are hundreds of varieties of kelp and they do not all possess the same nutrient picture.
Kelp is in that superfood category, a type of blue-green algae like chlorella and spirulina.
It is a whole food as opposed to synthetic source of vitamins and minerals.
The Japanese culture historically has consumed larger amounts of these types of foods than other world peoples. Some believe that because of this consumption their bodies are naturally more protected from the effects of radiation than those whose bodies are not saturated with the nutrients in these foods.
In particular, kelp is believed to be high in iodine, which may be deficient in many individuals who are hypothyroid, including dogs. The thyroid gland is a body tissue that is often most adversely affected by radiation. When provided, iodine will gravitate to saturate a thyroid gland and can help keep it healthy by binding to receptors so that radioactive iodine cannot get in. A large percentage of the American population is hypothyroid without even knowing it.
In reality, only one species of kelp is significantly high in iodine, D.laminaria Some commercial kelp products contain some D. laminaria, many do not. Also to release
absorbable iodine, the D.laminaria would need to be ground into a flour consistency.
In addition, some naturally harvested kelp sources may become contaminated with
post-tsunami pollution. It is important to inquire as to the source of any sea vegetables which you may purchase in the future. Deep Atlantic waters will be safe.
Nova Scotia farmers have fed kelp to their livestock and their dogs and cats for hundreds of years. When harvested from unpolluted deep waters and dried slowly, it is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and even sulfur. This is an important building block of collagen. These important nutrients combine to promote healthy skin and joints. Holistic practitioners recommend kelp to manage chronic health disorders such as allergies and arthritis in pets and people.
Some reputable sources for kelp and iodine are Pet Kelp and Standard Process. Pet Kelp contains a variety of kelp including D.laminaria. Standard Process has a product called Thyroid Complex which contains bladderwrack, a type of kelp. They also tout their Prolamine Iodine tablets as a good absorbable form. The tablets are 2mg. One per day is perfect for the average dog. Some reliable sources recommend 12 mg per day to effectively saturate an adult. For more on iodine visit mercola.com.
Jodie Gruenstern,DVM,CVA is a UW-Madison graduate and has been practicing veterinary medicine in Muskego, Wisconsin since 1987. She is a certified veterinary acupuncturist and food therapist by the Chi Institute. Dr. Jodie is the owner of the Animal Doctor Holistic Veterinary Complex, an integrated small animal practice. She has been an advocate for natural pet care through writing, speaking, radio, television and the manufacturing of unique products. Dr. Jodie is founder of the non-profit iPAW: Integrating People for Animal Wellness.