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The Best Sea Vegetables For Thyroid Health And Function

An image of various sea vegetables that promote thyroid functionChronic stress has the potential to not only negatively affect your adrenal gland function and cause adrenal fatigue, but it could also harm your thyroid function. And interestingly, thyroid function and adrenal fatigue have a close correlation. Many people suffering from low thyroid function or hypothyroidism may suffer from adrenal fatigue, and together with this, have a diet lacking in enough iodine. Therefore, we are taking a look at the best sea vegetables for thyroid function in this article.

You see, all of us know that vegetables supply our bodies with essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. But very few of us know that the sea has its own supply of vegetables. Nor do we know that we can purchase the best sea vegetables for thyroid health at a store.

Why You Should Consume The Best Sea Vegetables For Thyroid Health And Function

The reason you should consider having the best sea vegetables for thyroid health as part of your diet is that they contain iodine. Your thyroid gland needs iodine as a building material to make thyroid hormones, namely thyroxine T4 and triiodothyronine T3.

What many of us do not know is that your thyroid hormones play a particularly important role in your body’s metabolic rate and helps with bone maintenance, brain development, and your heart, muscle, and digestive functions. These hormones also play a role in cellular repair. So, in effect, these important body processes need thyroid hormones so they can successfully carry out their function. And this means a steady supply of iodine which one could naturally ingest by consuming the best sea vegetables for thyroid health and function.

Interestingly, approximately a third of the world’s population suffer from an iodine deficiency. This is especially true of those living in areas where only trace amounts of iodine occur in the soil. Yet an iodine deficiency may result in hypothyroidism, swelling of the thyroid known as a goiter, fatigue, weight gain, and numerous other symptoms often associated with adrenal fatigue.

The Benefits Of The Best Sea Vegetables For Thyroid Health

The best sea vegetables for thyroid health hold numerous benefits when it comes to supporting your thyroid health. These benefits, however, also include other areas of health.

Thyroid Function

Sea vegetables contain iodine and tyrosine, an amino acid. These support thyroid function and the release of thyroid hormones that help repair cellular damage and play a role in growth and energy production.

Sea vegetables have a unique ability to absorb iodine from seawater, although the end quality and quantity in these vegetables depends on where they grow and the processing procedure.

High In Vitamins And Minerals

An image of hands holding sea vegetablesSea vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals, although the type of content depends on the seaweed type consumed. Generally speaking, though, they contain carbohydrates, proteins, fiber, fat, iron, manganese, copper, riboflavin, and thiamin. In addition to this, sea vegetables also have small quantities of Vitamins A, E, and C as well as zinc, magnesium, calcium, and sodium. Furthermore, the protein in certain sea vegetables has all the essential amino acids we need as well as being good omega-3 and vitamin B12 sources.

Great Antioxidant Potential

Excess free radicals in your body may cause numerous health issues, including diabetes and heart disease. The best sea vegetables for thyroid health contain numerous antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E which help protect your body from free radical damage. Furthermore, they also contain many plant compounds beneficial to your overall health such as carotenoids and flavonoids.

Provides Gut Health Support

Many health issues start in your gut, especially when you have an imbalance between good and bad gut bacteria. Sea vegetables, an excellent fiber source, promote gut health by resisting digestion and is a large intestine bacteria food source.

To add to this, sea vegetables contain sugars known as sulfated polysaccharides. These sugars may help increase good gut bacteria levels while providing support to cells lining your gut as well as acting as a food source to these cells.

Promotes Weight Loss

Obesity is one of the main causes of heart disease and diabetes. The best sea vegetables for thyroid health contain a lot of fiber with minimal calories. Fiber takes time to digest, leaving you feeling fuller for longer and delaying hunger pangs. Furthermore, studies suggest the fucoxanthin in seaweed may support weight loss and reduce blood sugar levels. And of course, the fiber in sea vegetables also helps improve your metabolism.

Helps With Blood Sugar Control

The number of people suffering from diabetes increases yearly. As mentioned, the presence of fucoxanthin in sea vegetables may help with blood sugar control. This improvement was also noticed in type-2 diabetics with a genetic tendency towards insulin resistance.

Interestingly, a compound in the best sea vegetables for thyroid health called alginate to prevent blood sugar spikes after ingesting high-sugar meals, according to an animal study. The alginate, researchers believe, reduces sugar absorption into your bloodstream.

Reduces Your Risk Of Heart Disease

Factors contributing to an increased risk of heart disease include obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and a lack of physical exercise. Interestingly studies show that sea vegetables may lower your cholesterol and even reduce excessive blood clotting. The latter is another source of heart disease. Furthermore, the peptides in seaweed, according to studies, may partially block pathways in your body that increase your blood pressure, thereby decreasing your blood pressure.

The Link Between Adrenal Fatigue And Thyroid Function

Your thyroid and adrenal health share a link. A compromised thyroid may result in compromised adrenal gland health and vice versa. And so too, when an iodine deficiency limits thyroid hormone production you see an effect on your adrenal health.

Stress of any kind sets a set of events in motion starting with your Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis and the setting in motion of your body’s NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) stress response. Besides elevated levels of your fight or flight hormones, certain body functions slow down or stop. In the long run, this could seriously impact all aspects of your health, resulting in a range of health issues that seem unrelated but that point at adrenal fatigue. This includes a compromised thyroid function, and in the case of an iodine deficiency, resulting in hypothyroidism. And this is due to another axis, the Ovarian, Adrenal, Thyroid (OAT) axis.

You see, different hormone systems, although all tied to each other, resulting from certain end organs which could affect other organs either physiologically, clinically, or sub-clinically. The OAT axis ties in the adrenals, thyroid, and ovaries. Although each of these organs has its own function, they are also codependent in that each needs the hormones produced by the other to function optimally. So, if you have a compromised thyroid gland, it could affect adrenal and ovarian function. In turn, compromised adrenal glands would have a negative effect on thyroid function. Furthermore, someone with symptoms indicating an ovarian hormone imbalance like estrogen dominance, for example, may see an increase in hypothyroidism symptoms.

Addressing The Issue(s)

Now, unfortunately, conventional medicine would, in the case of hypothyroidism, look at treating only this one issue, without looking at the other symptoms. Furthermore, they would look at addressing each symptom, which could include heart disease or diabetes, as examples, as separate issues. This could result in you taking a wide range of medications of which have their own set of contraindications. You could end up gaining more diverse symptoms which had nothing to do with the initial problem.

On the other hand, a more holistic approach would look at finding the root cause of your diverse set of symptoms. In many cases, the solution may see you taking years to improve adrenal health, for example. But sometimes the solution could be as simple as eating the sea vegetables for thyroid health. But this does not mean you would also need to provide support for your other health issues as well. So, looking after your adrenal health should always be a priority, especially when other symptoms like heart disease or diabetes are at play.

The point is, you can support both thyroid and adrenal health as well as other health issues including gut health at the same time. And sea vegetables for thyroid health do just that. They provide your body support on various levels.

The Best Sea Vegetables For Thyroid Health

An image of a bowl containing sea vegetable soupMany Asian countries get their iodine from consuming sea vegetables. Yet western countries often rely on iodine supplements to their salt to get their daily iodine intake. However, we could limit or stop this second method of gaining our iodine requirements by eating the best sea vegetables for thyroid function and health.

Sea Lettuce

Called sea lettuce because it looks a lot like the land-growing lettuce you find in a store, Ulva provides 27 micrograms of iodine for every 7 grams serving ingested. An excellent iron and protein source, and rich in vitamins and minerals, you can easily incorporate sea lettuce into your diet by adding it to a salad or a soup.


Kombu, a sea vegetable widely consumed in the eastern regions of Asia, is remarkably high in iodine. The vegetable also contains many vitamins and minerals and is a good calcium source. Found at most Asian markets, you can eat kombu either raw or cooked.


Dulse, or palmata as it is also known, slightly resembles bacon, an all-American favorite due to its color. This sea vegetable contains decent amounts of iodine, proteins, vitamins, and minerals and is popular in many Asian dishes.


If you like sushi, then you have probably eaten nori. This sea vegetable, when dried for sushi, looks like a thin piece of green paper and holds your sushi together. It is a low-calorie sea vegetable rich in minerals, minerals, and iodine.


Wakame has a sweet flavor. This sea vegetable, popular in Japanese dishes, is often found in soups or salads. Besides containing iodine, vitamins, and minerals, the vegetable may also have cancer-fighting properties.


Kelp, one of the best sea vegetables for thyroid health, is often used to make iodine supplements. Immensely popular in Asian cooking, kelp is also high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Often used to make noodles, you can eat it raw as well. You can also purchase kelp in a flake form and use it as a seasoning.

Alternative Natural Iodine Sources

Besides the best sea vegetables for thyroid health and function, other natural iodine sources also exist. These include cod, tuna, shrimp, dairy products, eggs, lima beans, prunes, and baked potato with its peel. You could also consider using iodized salt.

Risks Associated With Consuming Too Much Of The Best Sea Vegetables For Thyroid Health

An image shows various iodine food sourcesAlthough many Americans suffering from hypothyroidism have a diet low in iodine, too much of a good thing could also be a bad thing.

While certain Asian cultures like the Japanese are considered extremely healthy, many do consume too much iodine which could result in the same symptoms found in those with too little iodine in their diet, e.g. the development of goiter. It could also cause inflammation in the gland and thyroid cancer.

For the most part, however, in Asia, people tend to eat, together with sea vegetables, foods that inhibit iodine uptake. Such foods, called goitrogens, include leafy greens like bok choy, broccoli, and cabbage. Furthermore, most of the best sea vegetables for thyroid health tend to lose almost 90% of their iodine content when cooked for fifteen to twenty minutes.

Furthermore, consuming large quantities of sea vegetables may harm your adrenal health because they tend to contain heavy metals. These quantities, however, are usually quite low but they can accumulate in your body over time and add to your adrenal stress. You should thus only consume organic sea vegetables because they should not contain any significant amounts of heavy metals.

Cooking with the Best Sea Vegetables For Thyroid Health

Cooking with sea vegetables is easier than you think. Try these two delicious tried and tested sea vegetable recipes.

Sea Vegetable, Miso, And Mushroom Soup

This soup is light but super healthy and ready in no time!

Ingredients A

  • 1 1/3 cups of dried sea vegetables (any type is suitable but alaria, also called winged kelp, is a good choice)
  • 6 cups of water

Ingredients B

  • 5 tablespoons miso

Ingredients C

  • 2 cups tofu, cubed
  • 2 cups mushrooms of your choice, lightly cooked in olive oil
  • 1 cup green onions, thinly sliced


  1. Place the sea vegetables and water in a large pot and bring to a rolling boil. Turn heat down and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove sea vegetables from pot and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Add miso to water, stir well, and add the sea vegetables.
  3. Serve the soup in bowls and top with Ingredients C.
  4. Serve and enjoy.
  5. This recipe serves four.

Sea Vegetable Risotto

The flavors of this recipe develop very well if prepared a day in advance before heating to serve.

Ingredients A

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil (extra-virgin)
  • 1 large, chopped onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 medium-sized shallots, chopped
  • kosher salt to taste

Ingredients B

  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups pearled barley
  • 5 cups of water

Ingredients C

  • Zest of one lemon
  • ¼ cup cream cheese
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • ¼ ounce dried nori


  1. Heat pan in a saucepan over medium heat. Saute ingredients A for about four minutes while stirring constantly until onions start to soften.
  2. Next, add the barley and stir. Add the broth and allow to simmer for four to five minutes. Lower the heat so that you have a gentle simmer. Add the water a cup at a time, allowing the barley to absorb most of the water before adding more. Remember to stir regularly. This process takes about 40 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Add ingredients C one at a time stirring well between each addition.
  4. This recipe serves six people.

In Closing

If you believe you have low iodine levels, here are a few things you can do to help alleviate the situation.

  1. An image of leafy green vegetables in colanderTalk to your healthcare practitioner to find out if low iodine is the reason for your symptoms.
  2. Consider incorporating the best sea vegetables for thyroid function and health in your diet.
  3. Explore the use of kelp supplements or use kelp flakes to season your food.

When consuming the best sea vegetables for thyroid health and function, do try to always purchase those that are organic. Also, keep moderation in mind because you may end up consuming more iodine than is good for you.

For more information or assistance about the best sea vegetables for thyroid health, the team at Dr. Lam Coaching is there to help you. We offer a free*** no-obligation phone consultation at +1-626-571-1234 where we will privately discuss your concerns and various options. You can also send us a question through our Ask The Doctor system by clicking here.

© Copyright 2021 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

To put it simply, yes, the best sea vegetables for thyroid function do address adrenal health. In fact, they may actually support it. This is because these sea vegetables contain iodine, which is necessary for thyroid hormone production as well as key elements supporting adrenal health as well.

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