Last updated: August 10, 2021

Welcome to our big kelp test 2021. Here we present all the kelp products we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best kelp product for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should pay attention to if you want to buy kelp.




The most important facts

  • Kelp is a brown alga that is offered as a food supplement due to its vitamin-rich content.
  • Kelp protects and helps with various diseases and ailments. This is largely due to the high iodine content.
  • Kelp preparations are offered as tablets, capsules or powder.

The Best Kelp: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying kelp

What is kelp?

Kelp is edible brown algae which, due to their special properties, are also offered as a food supplement in the form of an extract. Kelp is called a superfood because it has a strengthening effect on the organism and contains a disproportionate amount of vitamins and trace elements.

Kelp - The algae are rich in vitamins, minerals and trace elements. (Image source: 123rf.com / Daniel Poloha)

Such seaweeds are mainly cultivated in cool coastal regions and are mainly native to the North Pacific. Kelp is found, for example, on the coasts of Canada, Greenland or Sweden. The sea plant is also used in the kitchen. I

t is particularly popular in Asian cuisine. There, kelp often serves as the main ingredient in oily salads. In Europe, kelp is not quite as popular yet, but demand is increasing as more and more people are convinced of its healing properties.

What is kelp suitable for?

Kelp is particularly rich in nutrients and therefore has a very wide range of uses. Among other things, this is due to the high iodine content. In the following table we show you for which diseases or complaints kelp can help or have a preventive effect.(1)

Illness/complaint Kelp
Inflammations Kelp has a vitalising and anti-inflammatory effect. This is due to the high iodine content, the B vitamins and fucoidans contained
Appetite The dietary fibre alginate contained in kelp reduces fat absorption and is able to boost your metabolism. In addition, the flucoxanthin in the brown seaweed is said to support weight loss
Hypothyroidism Fatigue, weight gain or increased cholesterol levels are likely to be familiar to most people with hypothyroidism. The trigger is often a significant iodine deficiency. This can be counteracted with iodine-rich algae, but one should be careful
Lyme disease Lyme disease is an infectious disease that is usually transmitted by ticks. The trigger of Lyme disease is the Borrelia bacteria. According to studies, kelp is able to inhibit or fight 2 out of 3 forms of Borrelia bacteria (spirochete form and biofilm bacterial form)
Hair loss A lack of minerals and trace elements can lead to hair loss. Iodine deficiency also leads to hair loss in many cases. Kelp helps to bring your vitamin balance back into balance and is said to promote hair growth
Histamine intolerance The iodine contained in kelp inhibits the release of histamine
Detoxification cure Besides iodine, vitamins and minerals, kelp also contains antioxidants. These are able to reduce an excess of free radicals
Osteoporosis Kelp is also able to prevent osteoporosis.The calcium and fucoidan in kelp help against bone loss, the magnesium and vitamin K stimulate bone formation

As shown in the table above, kelp is helpful for various ailments and also serves as a preventive measure against some diseases. The vitamin-rich superfood also ensures healthy skin and prevents cardiovascular diseases. Hollywood stars have long sworn by the miraculous effects of kelp (2)

Who is kelp suitable for?

The healing effect of kelp is suitable for the vast majority of people. People with thyroid disorders should consult a doctor before taking kelp and follow the dosage recommendations of the respective manufacturer.

Kelp can also be eaten fresh and is part of traditional Asian cuisine. (Image source: 123rf.com / David Kadlec)

Pregnant women and women who are still breastfeeding should not use k elp, as it could change the hormone balance and this can have side effects for mother and child.

What are the ingredients of kelp?

As already mentioned, kelp is very rich in nutrients. So that you know which ingredients kelp contains, we show you a list here (1)

  • Iodine
  • Potassium
  • Selenium
  • Sodium
  • Sulphur
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Calcium
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamins (A, B1, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12, C and E)

How much does kelp cost?

The range of kelp products is very large and the prices vary accordingly. The price range of kelp food supplements can be between less than 10€/100g and more than 40€/100g. This depends on the quality, the manufacturer, the dosage form and other factors.

Does kelp have side effects?

An overdose of kelp products can cause side effects due to the high iodine content. Excessive iodine consumption damages the thyroid gland and can lead to hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. (3) Therefore, we advise you not to exceed the recommended daily dose. The German Nutrition Society recommends a daily iodine intake of 180 to 200 µg (depending on age) for adolescents and adults.

What does kelp taste like?

Natural kelp has a tangy marine flavour and is crunchy. You will hardly be able to taste the kelp supplements in capsule or tablet form. Kelp in powder form is also suitable for seasoning.

What alternatives are there to kelp?

In the following table we show you what alternatives there are to kelp that are similar to the effect of kelp:

Bladderwrack

Bladderwrack is another iodine supplier of the brown algae species and is more or less the little brother of kelp, even though bladderwrack belongs to a different genus. Like kelp, the healing effect of bladderwrack is mainly due to its iodine content, which makes it an ideal alternative.

Chlorella

Chlorella is considered a green detox alga and has more than earned this name. The plant manages to mobilise heavy metals and other harmful substances in our organism and transport them out.

Red algae

Although red algae have lower iodine contents than brown algae such as kelp, your body will still benefit from the richness in vitamins and minerals.

Fish oil

If you do not suffer from a fish allergy or do not have to avoid animal products for other reasons, fish oil capsules (omega-3 fish oil capsules) are an optimal algae alternative. This is because fish eat the algae, and thus contain the same healthy fats that ensure normal brain and heart function.

Kale

Kale contains magnesium and calcium, but may not contain iodine. Nevertheless, kale remains an important part of a balanced diet because, unlike kelp, it is available everywhere.

Spirulina

Spirulina is also an underwater plant like kelp and belongs to the blue-green algae family. Compared to kelp, spirulina is richer in minerals and can boast higher protein values. Just like kelp, spirulina is used for the above-mentioned and other diseases / ailments.

Wakame

Wakame, another type of brown algae, contains about the same ingredients as kelp, but the values are not quite as high. Nevertheless, wakame is considered a suitable alternative to kelp.

Decision: What types of kelp preparations are there and which is the right one for you?

If you want to buy a kelp preparation, there are 3 alternatives to choose from:

  • Kelp in tablet form
  • Kelp in capsule form
  • Kelp in powder form

In the following paragraphs, we will show you the advantages and disadvantages of each dosage form to make your decision easier.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of kelp in tablet form?

Kelp tablets are extremely popular because they can be easily divided at the breaking points, making them easy to dose and easier to swallow.

Advantages
  • Easy to split
  • Suitable for vegans/vegetarians
Disadvantages
  • Often contain separating agents

Another advantage is that the tablets are suitable for vegans or vegetarians. The only disadvantage of tablets with kelp is that they often contain separating agents such as magnesium stearate.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of kelp in capsule form?

Kelp capsules are also offered by many manufacturers. Due to their coating, they are very easy to swallow or, if necessary, can simply be opened to dissolve the kelp in water.

Advantages
  • Easy to swallow
  • Can be opened and dissolved in water
Disadvantages
  • Often not suitable for vegans/vegetarians

If you are a vegetarian, vegan or simply an animal lover, you must pay attention to the capsule material used. Gelatine capsules made from pork or beef are not suitable for vegetarians or vegans.

There are different ways to supplement kelp. Whether tablet, capsule or powder - all provide you with important vitamins and minerals! (Image source: 123rf.com / belchonock )

The only alternative here are so-called HPMC capsules. These are capsules made of cellulose, which are purely vegetable and therefore also suitable for vegetarians or vegans.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of kelp powder?

Kelp powder is advantageous because it is easier to dose and can also be used in food or smoothies. Vegetarians or vegans do not have to worry because there are no animal products involved.

Advantages
  • Easy to dose
  • Suitable for vegetarians/vegans
Disadvantages
  • Taste needs getting used to

The only disadvantage of the powder is probably the taste of the powder that takes some getting used to, which you miss when you quickly swallow a tablet/capsule.

Buying criteria: You can compare and evaluate kelp based on these factors

In the following we will show you which factors you can use to decide between the many possible kelp preparations. The criteria you can use to compare kelp include:

  • Nutrition
  • Dosage form
  • Iodine content

In the following paragraphs, we will explain what is important in each of the criteria.

Diet

Another criterion is the individual diet. Kelp capsules, for example, are often not suitable for vegetarians or vegans. Lactose-intolerant people will probably not enjoy some products either. Organic or the desired renunciation of unnecessary additives can all speak as criteria for or against the purchase of a kelp preparation, which is why you should pay attention to these points when buying!

Dosage form

The dosage form of kelp also plays an important role in your purchase decision. As mentioned above, kelp tablets, capsules and powder offer different advantages and disadvantages. While kelp tablets are suitable for all animal lovers, they often contain controversial release agents. Capsules, on the other hand, are easy to swallow or even open and dissolve in water, but are usually unsuitable for vegetarians or vegans.

Iodine content

Most kelp preparations contain between 150 and 250 mcg of iodine. Since tablets and capsules are more difficult to dose and everyone has different iodine requirements, you should also consider the iodine content of the respective product. (4) Before taking a product, you should discuss your individual iodine requirements with a doctor in order to minimise any side effects of an excessive iodine intake.

Facts worth knowing about kelp

How should I take kelp?

When taking food supplements such as kelp, you should always make sure you eat a balanced diet. When it comes to dosage, you should not exceed the manufacturer's recommendation.

People with hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism should consult a doctor beforehand.

Kelp powder can be added to soups or smoothies to give your food an extra vitamin kick.

Can kelp help with Hashimoto's thyroiditis?

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease in which the thyroid gland is chronically inflamed. While the body and thyroid gland generally need iodine, high iodine intake can worsen the inflammation of the thyroid gland in Hashimoto's patients, such as with kelp. (5) Nevertheless, your body/thyroid gland needs iodine, so you should be careful about taking kelp products and check with your doctor beforehand.

What is Kombu?

Kombu is an edible seaweed that is mainly consumed in Asian countries such as Japan, China and Korea. Most kombu is cultivated and has a high iodine content compared to other foods.

Is kelp an allergen?

Kelp is not an allergen. There is a rumour that algae cause skin allergies, but this is not true. There is a poisonous alga (Lyngbya majuscule) that does cause allergies, but this is not to be expected with kelp.

Is kelp suitable for children?

Yes, kelp is also suitable for children, but you should consult your paediatrician before taking it.

Is Kelp suitable for dogs or horses?

Yes, kelp is also suitable for dogs, horses and co. The vitamins and minerals contained in kelp ensure a healthy coat and better digestion. The immune system is also strengthened and the number of red blood cells is increased.

Can I take kelp during pregnancy?

Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should refrain from taking kelp, as it could affect the hormone balance and have long-term consequences for mother and child.

Can I cook with kelp?

Yes you can cook with kelp. You will usually find dried or fresh kelp in Asian markets. Before cooking, you should soak kelp in lukewarm water until it has significantly increased in volume. Then you should rinse the kelp again and squeeze out the water. Kelp is great for salads, soups, fish and seafood. You can also use the kelp powder as a seasoning.

(Image source: 123rf.com / Valentina Gabdrakipova)

References (5)

1. Yu LL, Browning JF, Burdette CQ, Caceres GC, Chieh KD, Davis WC, Kassim BL, Long SE, Murphy KE, Oflaz R, Paul RL, Sharpless KE, Wood LJ, Yen JH, Zeisler R. Development of a kelp powder (Thallus laminariae) Standard Reference Material. Anal Bioanal Chem. 2018 Feb;410(4):1265-1278.
Source

2. Hameury S, Borderie L, Monneuse JM, Skorski G2, Pradines D. Prediction of skin anti-aging clinical benefits of an association of ingredients from marine and maritime origins: Ex vivo evaluation using a label-free quantitative proteomic and customized data processing approach. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2019 Feb;18(1):355-370.
Source

3. Gammone MA, D'Orazio N. Anti-obesity activity of the marine carotenoid fucoxanthin. Mar Drugs. 2015 Apr 13;13(4):2196-214.
Source

4. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Seaweed. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006-.
Source

5. Nagata K, Takasu N, Akamine H, Ohshiro C, Komiya I, Murakami K, Suzawa A, Nomura T. Urinary iodine and thyroid antibodies in Okinawa, Yamagata, Hyogo, and Nagano, Japan: the differences in iodine intake do not affect thyroid antibody positivity. Endocr J. 1998 Dec;45(6):797-803.
Source

Why you can trust me?

Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Yu LL, Browning JF, Burdette CQ, Caceres GC, Chieh KD, Davis WC, Kassim BL, Long SE, Murphy KE, Oflaz R, Paul RL, Sharpless KE, Wood LJ, Yen JH, Zeisler R. Development of a kelp powder (Thallus laminariae) Standard Reference Material. Anal Bioanal Chem. 2018 Feb;410(4):1265-1278.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Hameury S, Borderie L, Monneuse JM, Skorski G2, Pradines D. Prediction of skin anti-aging clinical benefits of an association of ingredients from marine and maritime origins: Ex vivo evaluation using a label-free quantitative proteomic and customized data processing approach. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2019 Feb;18(1):355-370.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Gammone MA, D'Orazio N. Anti-obesity activity of the marine carotenoid fucoxanthin. Mar Drugs. 2015 Apr 13;13(4):2196-214.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) [Internet]. Seaweed. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2006-.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Nagata K, Takasu N, Akamine H, Ohshiro C, Komiya I, Murakami K, Suzawa A, Nomura T. Urinary iodine and thyroid antibodies in Okinawa, Yamagata, Hyogo, and Nagano, Japan: the differences in iodine intake do not affect thyroid antibody positivity. Endocr J. 1998 Dec;45(6):797-803.
Go to source
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