Volume 55 (2008) Issue 6 Pages 1103-1108
The effect of ingesting seaweed "Kombu" (Laminaria japonica) on thyroid function was studied in normal Japanese adults. Ingesting 15 and 30 g of Kombu (iodine contents: 35 and 70 mg) daily for a short term (7-10 days) significantly increased serum thyrotropin (TSH) concentrations, exceeding the normal limits in some subjects. The serum free thyroxine (FT4) and/or free 3,5,3'-triiodothyronine (FT3) concentrations were slightly decreased within the normal limits. During long term daily ingestion of 15 g of Kombu (55-87 days), the TSH levels were elevated and sustained while the FT4 and FT3 levels were almost unchanged. Urinary excretion of iodine significantly increased during ingestion of Kombu. These abnormal values returned to the initial levels 7 to 40 days after discontinuing the ingestion of Kombu. Based on these findings that thyroid function was suppressed during ingestion of Kombu, though the effect was reversible, we recommend Japanese people avoid ingesting excessive amounts of seaweed.