Treat your body with love and respect. So, if you’re carrying a few more kilograms than you should, Flora Force can help you to lose weight in a gentle, healthy way. With an unusual ingredient…

In our blog ‘Body type: love the shape you’re in’, we discussed the differences between body types and how to make the best of your figure. But what happens when you’ve loved your shape a little too much and now have a few unwanted kilograms that are making you feel uncomfortable?

Your weight, your metabolism and your thyroid

The key to maintaining a healthy body weight is a well-operating metabolism – the system in your body that is responsible for the way you use energy and burn kilojoules. Your metabolism is regulated by your thyroid gland, which, in turn, is kick-started into action by the trace mineral iodine. When the thyroid gland absorbs iodine, it releases the hormones that control metabolic function. We get iodine from our diet (in iodated table salt, saltwater fish, kelp) or by supplementation (such as Flora Force West Coast Kelp tablets).

So, if you’re unable to lose weight despite dieting and exercising, you may have a sluggish thyroid. You may not be taking in sufficient iodine for ideal thyroid function, and low iodine levels can lead to a condition known as hypothyroidism.

What happens when your thyroid is underperforming?

If your thyroid gland does not get sufficient iodine, it is unable to produce thyroxine, a hormone that regulates metabolism in all the body’s cells. This condition is called hypothyroidism, and if it affects you, not only will you be unable to lose weight, you may actually gain a few kilos. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include skin breakouts, fatigue, brain fog, loss of sex drive, impotence, irritability and unhealthy hair, nails and teeth and, the bane of women everywhere, cellulite brought on by water retention. 

According to natural medicine practitioner Dr Burton Goldberg, writing in Alternative Medicine, ‘The healthy functioning of the thyroid is essential to maintaining metabolism and preventing the accumulation of body fat.’ Although the body needs only small amounts of iodine, it is crucial to overall health – so much so that in the 1920s the US government decided to add iodine to common table salt. To this day, all table salt sold in South Africa is iodated. Despite these measures, though, close on 1.6 people around the world still suffer from iodine deficiency.

Enter West Coast kelp

Most of us are familiar with the long thick tubes of kelp that wash up on our beaches. Called Ecklonia maxima, this form of seaweed grows in shallow ocean waters and forms thick colonies, almost like an underwater forest. Drying on the beach, it often has a pungent smell and a busy attendance of flies. It is certainly the last thing you’d want to eat.

west coast kelp
However, fresh kelp is a natural superfood loaded with trace minerals, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Most notably, kelp is a rich natural source of iodine, which can provide adequate levels to stimulate a sluggish thyroid and encourage a healthy metabolism.

Calcium-laden kelp (it contains more calcium per serving than any other non-milk-based food) is also useful to treat other conditions that are associated with excess fat. Research published in the June 2011 issue of Nutrition Reviews noted that eating more calcium may promote ‘statistically significant weight loss in overweight and obese individuals’. In other words, it may help you lose weight.

Kelp is also loaded with antioxidants, which help to detoxify your body. Other essential compounds in kelp are alkali (which helps balance pH levels), vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D and E, as well as minerals such as zinc, magnesium, iron, potassium and copper.

Lose weight gently with kelp

You’ll lose weight by eating healthily (including nutrient-rich organic fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and oily fish in your diet) and exercising regularly. Listen to your body and take stock of how each system and process in your body is functioning. If you’re feeling sluggish, consult your healthcare practitioner to check your thyroid function. If it’s poor, kelp may restore your iodine levels and help get your system back on track. Remember though, says Dr. Elson M. Haas in Staying Healthy with Nutrition, ‘Iodine itself will not help you lose weight if there is normal thyroid function.’ If you simply haven’t been exercising enough or eating healthily, don’t rely on kelp or other iodine supplements to provide a quick weight-loss answer.

Kelp alert

While we encourage you to play a conscious role in maintaining your health, we recommend that you consult your medical professional before embarking on any alternative healthcare and exercise regimen to lose weight, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or suffer from any ailments. Check your iodine levels before embarking on a course of kelp: taking too much of it can cause other health problems such as hyperthyroidism, Grave’s disease and thyroid cancers. Make sure your kelp supplement comes from unpolluted waters, which can contain heavy metals, which could lead to liver or kidney problems. A safe, sustainably harvested supplement you can rely on is Flora Force West Coast Kelp tablets.

Acknowledgements & Photo credits

Article compiled for Flora Force by Judy Beyer.


  1. Group, Dr Edward F. III. The weight loss benefits of kelp. Global Healing Center. 2012 Oct.
  2. Haas, Elson D. Stay healthy with nutrition. Celestial Arts, USA, 2006.
  3. Sea kelp: super-supplement or health risk? Cosmopolitan. 2013 Dec.
  4. Veracity, D. How iodine accelerates weight loss by supporting the thyroid gland. Natural News. 2005 June.


  1. Waste measuring photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures /
  2. West Coast Kelp: “Algue Afrique du Sud“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons