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Side Effects of Kelp Tablets

author image Rae Uddin
Rae Uddin has worked as a freelance writer and editor since 2004. She specializes in scientific journalism and medical and technical writing. Her work has appeared in various online publications. Uddin earned her Master of Science in integrated biomedical sciences with an emphasis in molecular and cellular biochemistry from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.

Kelp is a nutrient-rich vegetable, commonly called seaweed, found in the ocean along the coastline. Treatment with kelp tablets may be beneficial if you have iodine deficiency, digestive disorders or joint and bone problems. Before taking this seaweed supplement, be sure to talk with your medical provider about the potential side effects of kelp tablets.


Ingesting large amounts of kelp tablets may increase the amount of iodine in your body. High blood levels of iodine in your blood may cause your thyroid gland to produce too much thyroid hormone -- a condition called hyperthyroidism. Side effects associated with the overproduction of thyroid hormone include sweating, fatigue, loose stools and unintended weight loss, Flora Health Herb Encyclopedia reports. If you develop any of these side effects while taking kelp tablets, contact your medical provider as soon as possible. Additionally, if you have a personal or family history of thyroid disease, consult your physician before taking kelp tablets as you may be at an increased risk of developing thyroid complications following treatment with this supplement.


While using kelp tablets, you may develop acne -- small, red, pus-filled skin lesions across your face or body. These skin lesions may appear in small clusters across your skin and may be tender or painful to the touch. Picking or scratching at these skin lesions should be avoided as doing so may result in permanent skin discoloration or scarring. Acne may be severe and can be embarrassing to those affected by this adverse reaction. If acne side effects are bothersome, seek additional care from your doctor.


Treatment with kelp tablets may cause intestinal irritation or diarrhea in certain people. Frequent, loose bowel movements may be accompanied by abdominal cramping or bloating or loss of appetite. Diarrhea may also interfere with your body's ability to absorb essential electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium, and may increase your risk of becoming dehydrated. If you experience chronic diarrhea or develop symptoms of dehydration, such as increased thirst, dry skin, headache or dizziness, consult your medical provider as soon as possible.

Arsenic Toxicity

Certain types of kelp contain high levels of the toxic metal arsenic. Prolonged treatment with kelp tablets may significantly elevate your blood levels of arsenic, which may cause arsenic toxicity. Symptoms associated with arsenic toxicity require prompt medical attention and include severe stomach upset, garlic breath odor, heart rate irregularities, kidney damage, breathing difficulties, numbness, tingling, weakness, seizures or temporary paralysis. If left untreated or undetected, arsenic toxicity may be life-threatening.

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