Too much iodine in it

A Yachting Monthly reader is concerned that an article about cooking and eating seaweed in our current issue (see YM July page 71) should have carried a ‘health warning’.

Dr Ken Taylor, a consultant physician and endocrinologist, said that seaweed contains a significant amount of iodine and that an excess of iodine in the diet can cause health disorders.

Dr Taylor, who sails a Sovereign 35 ketch from Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex, said: ‘While it is true that iodine is an important trace element in man’s diet. In the UK iodine deficiency is not a significant problem because we get traces of iodine through vegetables.

‘As a physician who has a special interest in disorders of the thyroid gland, I have seen several cases of over-activity of the thyroid as a result of excessive iodine ingestion. This has been in people ingesting kelp tablets purchased from the health food shop, or those taking a particular tablet to control the rhythm of the heart that contains a significant amount of iodine. I would strongly recommend that nobody should eat seaweed at all, and certainly not regularly.

‘A trace of iodine is good for you, but an excess is harmful to health. In the UK we are all getting enough iodine without any need for seaweed or kelp tablets!’