Laminaria Information & Purchase
Also Known As:
Algue Brune, Brown Algae, Brown Seaweed, Hai Dai, Pacific Kelp, Kombu, Kun Bu, Laminaire, Laminaire Digitée, Laminaire Japonaise, Limu, Makombu Thallus, Sea Girdles,
CAUTION: See separate listings for Bladderwrack, Blue-green Algae, and Brown Algae.
Laminaria digitata; Laminaria japonica; Laminariae stipites. Family: Laminariaceae.
People Use This For:
Orally, laminaria is used for weight loss, preventing cancer, hypertension, as a bulk laxative for constipation, and for treating radioactive intoxication. Topically, laminaria is used as a "tent" placed into the cervix to cause cervical dilation prior to D & C, for removal of intrauterine devices, diagnostic procedures, for relief of cervical stenosis, and to facilitate uterine placement of therapeutic radium. Laminaria tents are also used in pregnancy for near-term or term cervical ripening particularly for a first pregnancy, to facilitate labor, alone or as adjunct to prostaglandins, and for inducing first-trimester abortions.
POSSIBLY UNSAFE ...when used orally. The average laminaria-based supplement might contain as much as 1000 mcg iodine. Ingesting more than 150 mcg iodine per day
can cause hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or exacerbate existing hyperthyroidism. In addition, some laminaria supplements may contain arsenic.
There is insufficient reliable information available about the safety of laminaria for its other uses.
PREGNANCY: POSSIBLY UNSAFE ...when used topically for cervical ripening; there is an increased risk of maternal and neonatal infection. LIKELY UNSAFE ...when used topically to induce labor because use is associated with maternal endometriosis, neonatal sepsis, fetal hypoxia, and intrauterine death. UNSAFE ...when used orally because of potential hormonal effects; avoid using.
LACTATION: LIKELY UNSAFE ...when used orally because of potential toxicity.
Parturition. Applying laminaria topically doesn't seem to be effective for cervical ripening. Although laminaria might reduce the duration of induction, it doesn't seem to reduce the incidence of birth by cesarian section. It also increases maternal and fetal infectious complications.
There is insufficient reliable information available about the effectiveness of laminaria for its other uses.
Mechanism of Action:
Laminaria is a seaweed that is native to Japan. Laminaria contains iodine, and is considered to be a rich source of iron and potassium. Iodine, which is the essential substrate for the thyroid hormone, is present in concentrations from 0.03-1.0% in laminaria. The constituents of laminaria include alginate, lamine, and laminarin.
Much of the utility of laminaria relates to its ability to form a viscous colloidal solution of gel in water. This allows laminaria to function as a bulk laxative. It also allows laminaria to be used to dilate the cervix for procedures or to ripen the cervix and hasten the onset of labor. For these uses, laminaria "tents" are inserted cervically. They absorb ambient moisture, gradually swelling to a diameter of 1/2 inch over 4-6 hours. This swelling causes cervical dilation that can induce labor.
The mechanism of cervical "ripening" might be similar to that of a foreign body that disrupts the normal chorioamniotic balance and initiates prostaglandin synthesis. That, in turn, causes myometrial contractions and cervical ripening. An alternative theory is that laminaria causes ripening because it contains high levels of the prostaglandin precursor, arachidonic acid. Still another theory is that laminaria causes partial detachment of the placenta and induces cervical dilation. Although laminaria can reduce the duration of labor induction, it is associated with an increased risk for maternal endometritis and neonatal sepsis.
Some other laminaria constituents might also have medical uses. The polysaccharide constituent of laminaria, laminarin, has antilipemic activity when partially sulfated and anticoagulant activity similar to heparin when more extensively sulfated. The basal portion of the blades is used as a hypotensive agent; the constituents histamine and lamine may be responsible for hypotensive effects. The constituent algin (sodium alginate) has bulk laxative and demulcent (soothing) effects. Alginate-containing kelp reduces absorption of radioactive strontium in animals and humans and it has been used for managing radioactive intoxication. Preliminary evidence also suggests that alginate-containing kelp extracts might have antiviral effects, possibly by inhibiting viral enzyme activity. However, the risk of adverse effects resulting from laminaria's iodine content may outweigh the benefits of its use as a routine preventative measure.
Orally, laminaria has been linked to a report of induced or exacerbated acne. Oral use might also cause hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, or exacerbate existing hyperthyroidism.
Iodine contained in laminaria can cause idiosyncratic or allergic reactions.
Arsenic poisoning is also a risk with laminaria, because the plant concentrates arsenic from the ocean. In one case, use of an oral laminaria supplement for several months resulted in symptoms of arsenic poisoning including headache, weakness, fatigue, worsening memory loss, rash, nail damage, diarrhea, and vomiting. Urinary arsenic levels were elevated. The concentration of arsenic in laminaria may vary between different batches, and also depends upon the part of the world where it was harvested. The concentration of arsenic has been reported to be higher in laminaria preparations in Australia than in Great Britain.
Topically, laminaria used for cervical ripening can cause pelvic cramps and cervical bleeding. Its use for cervical ripening is associated with neonatal and maternal infection; however, in a small study of "tent" use with manufacturer recommended procedures, no infection occurred. Manufacturer recommendation included prior swabbing of the cervical canal with a suitable lubricant and antibacterial agent, then packing the canal with antibacterial gel. Uterine contractions associated with laminaria use have been implicated in fetal hypoxia and subsequent intrauterine death. Tent use is also associated with possible rupture of the cervical wall and subsequent infection.
Interactions with Herbs & Supplements:
POTASSIUM: Theoretically, due to the potassium content of laminaria, concomitant use can increase the risk of hyperkalemia.
STRONTIUM: Laminaria contains alginate which binds strontium and reduces its absorption from the gastrointestinal tract. A 10% sodium alginate solution reduces strontium absorption 4-fold when taken at the same time. This effect has been used to reduce strontium absorption and toxicity in cases of poisoning, but could theoretically also affect the absorption of strontium supplements.
Interactions with Drugs:
ACE INHIBITORS (ACEIs) Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Theoretically, due to the potassium content of laminaria, concomitant use might increase the risk of hyperkalemia.
DIGOXIN (Lanoxin) Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination. Theoretically, due to the potassium content laminaria may cause hyperkalemia in susceptible individuals and potentiate digoxin effects and adverse effects. Use with caution.
POTASSIUM SUPPLEMENTS Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination. Theoretically, due to the potassium content of laminaria, concomitant use can increase the risk of hyperkalemia.
POTASSIUM-SPARING DIURETICS Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination. Theoretically, due to the potassium content of laminaria, concomitant use may cause hyperkalemia.
THYROID HORMONE Interaction Rating = Moderate Be cautious with this combination. Theoretically, due to the significant iodine content laminaria might interfere with drugs for hyper or hypothyroidism.
Interactions with Foods:
Interactions with Lab Tests:
POTASSIUM: Theoretically, laminaria may increase serum potassium levels and test results.
THYROID HORMONES: Theoretically, the iodine in laminaria might elevate thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels.
Interactions with Diseases or Conditions:
RENAL INSUFFICIENCY: Theoretically, laminaria may induce hyperkalemia in people with renal insufficiency on a potassium restricted diet. Laminaria also contains significant amounts of iodine. Use with caution.
THYROID DISEASE: Laminaria contains significant amounts of iodine, which might exacerbate hyper- or hypothyroidism.
ORAL: People typically use capsules or tablets containing 500 to 650 mg of ground laminaria once daily.
TOPICAL: No typical dosage.
General Certificate Of Analysis (COA) less manufacture date and batch number provided for different product strengths if the link is not available or manufacture date and batch number is required use the email us box to request Certificate Of Analysis (COA) emailed. Any questions about product or wholesale pricing for twenty five kilos or more. Please be sure to use product ID, Trade Name and Scientific Name.
- Specification Sheet Laminaria Powder
Purchase Gift Certificate
"These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease."