Personal Development

Most of Us Are Deficient In The Nutrients Found In This Sea Vegetable: A Lesson from A Trip to La Jolla, California

Most of Us Are Deficient In The Nutrients Found In This Sea Vegetable: A Lesson from A Trip to La Jolla, California

Recently we loaded up the RV with our three teenagers aged 19, 17 and 13, and drove down the coast of Southern California to the beautiful little beach town called La Jolla Shores, a suburb of San Diego.  

Months ago, we planned a kayak trip to La Jolla to tour the famous sea caves found within the cliffs where sea lions lounge, pelicans breed, tortoises feed in the kelp beds and all sorts of other wildlife thrive.   We were pumped!  The family was ready for the tour guide to give us a career’s worth of marine biology lessons as we viewed the habitat of majestical wildlife in our day tour.

A Lesson from A Trip to La Jolla, California
A Lesson from A Trip to La Jolla, California

It was cloudy and a bit chilly.  In order to embark, we had to paddle feverishly head on to bypass 5 foot waves crashing onto the shore in order to find more peaceful water beyond the break to start our kayaking journey.  We were soaked, and a little bit rattled, but what we saw made up for it.  Here are a few of the sights we felt lucky enough to catch a glimpse of.

Sea Lions and a sea cave in La Jolla, CA
Sea Lions and a sea cave in La Jolla, CA

Sea lions will always look for the warmest place to rest, though these guys were not resting.  They were playing, diving in and out of the water like the professionals they are, all 700 pounds of them.  We were warned not to get too close for obvious reasons. Of course, there’s always that one guy on the tour that doesn’t listen, or doesn’t hear that important nugget of information warning not to try and play or get too comfortable with the wildlife. That guy tells himself that the sea lions understand his need for a good close up.

Perhaps sensing the photographer’s ignorance, one large sea lion decided to have a little fun and pop up his head close enough to the photographer’s kayak causing it to push and spin him with their wake with great force.  This sea lion just wanted to obtain a closer look at the human who didn’t have enough respect or understanding for their size.  

In that quick instant, the jolt of the kayak caused the poor guy to lose grasp of his phone, which he had just taken out of its waterproof case.  It slipped into the sea and sank out of view promptly.  He could not see it sink all the way to the bottom because we all happened to be over a large patch of sea kelp.   

On the bright side, he was very lucky.  He could have fallen out and become a toy to those playful, yet clumsy, or possibly deliberate sea lions.  

 Once the people on the tour calmed down after witnessing that spectacle, the tour guide took the opportunity to talk about the kelp bed that we were sitting over in our kayaks, to draw attention away from the embarrassed man.

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The Miracle Of Kelp

Our tour guide Alejandro talked about the sea turtles who congregate in La Jolla because they feed on kelp beds like the ones we were viewing right underneath our kayaks.

The Miracle Of Kelp
The Miracle Of Kelp

He said that we humans need to take a lesson from the turtles and make kelp a regular part of our diets because they are super rich in minerals.  

Many of those minerals available in kelp are the ones we humans are deficient in, since most people do not eat the most balanced diets.  Alejandro stated that kelp has thousands of times more minerals in its plant structure than the seawater around them, making this a food we need to consume more often either in our recipes or in supplements.  

This is because most humans are deficient to some degree in almost every nutrient available in sea kelp!

He went on to talk about different minerals found in kelp and what they do for the body, and what happens to individuals when they are deficient in these minerals.  

I found this to be fascinating, and decided that I would research this further when I got back to my office.

How Rich is Kelp in Bio-Available Minerals?

Gram for gram, kelp’s abundance in minerals is greater than most any other food, often being 10 to 100X greater than the mineral content of land vegetables.  

This is simply because kelp and sea vegetables in general bathe in sea water as they grow, and throughout their entire life cycle. They absorb all of the minerals from the sea water that they need to grow, live and eventually reproduce.

After several weeks of growth, the mineral concentration found in kelp is much higher than the minerals found in the water around them.  For example, the ocean contains about 380 ppm (parts per million) of potassium.  Kelp has been found to have, on average, 71,500 ppm of potassium.  

Impressive Concentration of Iodine Found in Kelp

The most impressive bioaccumulation is found when determining the amount of iodine in kelp.  For a comparison, ocean water contains .05 ppm of iodine.  In contrast, the bio-available amount of iodine in kelp is around 13,600 ppm which is approximately 270,000 times higher than the sea water it grows in.  

There is no other option of land vegetable that comes close to this amount of iodine.  The bio-availability of the minerals means that it can be absorbed and utilized easily by the body.  Sometimes, we buy supplements that are not bioavailable enough, and much of it gets wasted, as it is too difficult for the body to absorb.  This is not the case with kelp.  The minerals within kelp are easily utilized by our bodies with little effort.

Why is Sea Kelp So Mineral Rich?

Scientists have a long way to go in determining why kelp is able to absorb such a high concentration of minerals, this process is not well understood.  Whatever the reason is, it is a good habit to get into consuming kelp on a regular basis to keep mineral deficiencies at bay.

What Minerals Is Sea Kelp Rich In?

Very few vegetables can come close in the vast amount of different minerals available in an easily absorbable format for human consumption.  Kelp is king when it comes to minerals!

Calcium – Calcium makes up the main component in teeth and bone.  It assists in blood vessel dilation and contraction and nerve transmission.  Required for balanced hormones.

Potassium –  This is the third most abundant in our body.  Assists in muscle contraction, supports healthy blood pressure.  Potassium is often called an electrolyte because it contains a positive electrical charge which helps in nerve function.

Magnesium –  Assists with nerve function and the formation of strong bones, and regulating glucose levels in the blood

Iron –  Iron assists with the formation of red blood cells and their ability to transfer oxygen.  Children require iron for healthy brain development

Manganese –  Important for reproduction, bone growth and formation, immune system health

Iodine –  Essential for the function of the Master Gland, the thyroid

Zinc –  Zinc assists with many functions including wound healing, keeping the immune system functioning properly, and cell division.

Selenium –  Assists with thyroid function and reproduction

Who is At Risk For Mineral Deficiency?

Mineral deficiencies in humans are not rare.  In today’s busy world, people cut corners by eating balanced meals, trading quick foods that are often devoid of nutrients to fill up on for homemade, thoughtfully planned out meals.  

Athletes, pregnant and lactating women, children and the elderly are most susceptible to mineral deficiency because these groups need more minerals, or in the case of elderly people, they may not absorb minerals from their food as well as they did when they were younger.  

Even when we feel we are eating healthy enough, our foods are often grown in soils that are mineral deficient, and supplements we take may not be bio-available enough for us to absorb them fully.

What are Some Examples of Mineral Deficiency Symptoms?

It is often difficult to pinpoint mineral deficiency because the symptoms often start out subtly.  Here are some symptoms associated with different minerals:

Unexplained fatigue:  Deficient in iron, calcium, magnesium or iodine

Slow healing of skin wounds, white spots on nails, thinning hair, poor immunity:  Deficiency in zinc

Anemia, decreased libido, non vibrant pale skin, fatigue:  Iron deficiency

Tremors, constipation, twitching in eyes, muscle cramps, high blood pressure:  Magnesium and potassium deficiency

Where To Buy Kelp?

Kelp can be purchased at health food stores, online, and at some health focussed grocery stores.

To get an idea of quality kelp supplements, take a look at 2 reputable products that are naturally derived from Kelp and contain kelp in its natural form. 

The first pick is to serve those who want to take a kelp supplement that is balanced and as close to the kelp found in nature with all of its minerals within one capsule.  In this case, Oregon’s Wild Harvest is a quality choice.

Oregon's Wild Harvest Kelp Organic Supplement
Oregon’s Wild Harvest Kelp Organic Supplement

Others may choose to take kelp to focus on thyroid health, as it is rich in iodine, and it can help regulate hormones and keep the thyroid functioning optimally.  In this case, Dr. Berg’s Iodine focussed kelp supplement is a stellar product to add to your daily routine.

Dr. Berg's Sea Kelp Enhanced
Dr. Berg’s Sea Kelp Enhanced

Disclaimer:  Although the facts and information in this article are correct, neither a diagnosis nor a course of therapy should be based on them. The warning signs and symptoms listed here aren’t specific to mineral deficiencies; they might also point to other major medical issues. If you suffer any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.  The FDA states that  Seaweed shouldn’t be used to treat any illness.

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Teacher, Real Estate Investor
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