Effects of Daily Kelp ( Laminaria japonica) Intake on Body Composition, Serum Lipid Levels, and Thyroid Hormone Levels in Healthy Japanese Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind Study

Mar Drugs. 2021 Jun 22;19(7):352. doi: 10.3390/md19070352.


To investigate whether supplementation with iodine-reduced kelp (Laminaria japonica) powder decreases body fat composition in overweight Japanese subjects, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled intervention study was conducted in 50 Japanese subjects with body mass index (BMI) ≥25 and <30 kg/m2. Subjects were randomly assigned to consume thirty tablets/d (10 tablets orally, 3 times/d) containing either iodine-reduced kelp powder (test, 6 g kelp powder corresponding to 3 g alginate/d) or kelp-free powder (placebo) for 8 weeks. Anthropometric measurements, blood lipids, and serum thyroid hormone levels were obtained before and after the trial. Body fat percentage was significantly decreased in male subjects from the test group compared with the placebo group. The same tendency was observed for body weight (p = 0.065) and BMI (p = 0.072) in male subjects. No significant changes in anthropometric measurements or visceral fat area were observed in female subjects. Serum thyroid hormone concentrations did not increase after 1.03 mg/d of iodine supplementation through kelp intake. The intake of iodine-reduced kelp powder led to significant and safe reductions in body fat percentage in overweight male subjects. The consumption of kelp high in alginate may contribute to preventing obesity without influencing thyroid function in Japanese subjects with a relatively high intake of iodine from seaweed.

Keywords: alginate; body fat percentage; iodine; kelp; thyroid hormone.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Aquatic Organisms
  • Body Mass Index
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Kelp*
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Thyroid Hormones / blood
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Lipids
  • Thyroid Hormones