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Studies have found that levels of iodine vary widely among bladderwrack products. 1 Because of this, if you use bladderwrack as a regular supplement, there is a real risk you may receive an overdose of iodine and develop hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism .
Bladderwrack and other seaweed preparations can also worsen acne and decrease iron absorption. 2 Finally, bladderwrack, like other sea plants, can concentrate toxic heavy metals, such as arsenic, from the surrounding sea water. 3 One report suggests that use of a bladderwrack product with a high heavy metal content is responsible for a case of kidney failure. 4 Heavy metals present particular risks for pregnant or nursing women, children, individuals with kidney disease, or anyone using bladderwrack in high doses or over a long period of time.
- Norman JA, Pickford CJ, Sanders TW, Waller M. Human intake of arsenic and iodine from seaweed-based food supplements and health foods available in the UK. Food Addit Contam. 5(1):103-9.
- Harrell BL, Rudolph AH. Kelp diet: a cause of acneiform eruption [letter]. Arch Dermatol. 1976;112:560.
- Walkiw O, Douglas DE. Health food supplements prepared from kelp—a source of elevated urinary arsenic [letter]. Can Med Assoc J. 1974;111:1301-1302.
- Conz PA, La Greca G, Benedetti P, Bevilacqua PA, Cima L. Fucus vesiculosus: a nephrotoxic alga? Nephrol Dial Transplant. 13(2):526-7.