Question

I am a breastfeeding mother and i want to know if it is safe to use Seaweed? Is Seaweed safe for nursing mother and child? Does Seaweed extracts into breast milk? Does Seaweed has any long term or short term side effects on infants? Can Seaweed influence milk supply or can Seaweed decrease milk supply in lactating mothers?

Seaweed lactation summary

Seaweed is unsafe in breastfeeding
  • DrLact safety Score for Seaweed is 5 out of 8 which is considered Unsafe as per our analyses.
  • A safety Score of 5 indicates that usage of Seaweed may cause serious side effects in breastfed baby.
  • Our study of different scientific research indicates that Seaweed may cause moderate to high side effects or may affect milk supply in lactating mother.
  • Our suggestion is to use safer alternate options rather than using Seaweed .
  • It is recommended to evaluate the advantage of not breastfeeding while using Seaweed Vs not using Seaweed And continue breastfeeding.
  • While using Seaweed Its must to monitor child for possible reactions. It is also important to understand that side effects vary largely based on age of breastfed child and time of medication in addition to dosage.
  • Score calculated using the DrLact safety Version 1.2 model, this score ranges from 0 to 8 and measures overall safety of drug in lactation. Scores are primarily calculated using publicly available case studies, research papers, other scientific journals and publically available data.

Answer by Dr. Ru: About Seaweed usage in lactation

Seaweed. The stem of the plant is used.It contains large amounts of mucilage and minerals, including iodine which appears in variable amounts that can be significant, in such a way that it may be a cause a hyperthyroidism-like disease (anxiety, insomnia, tachycardia, palpitations).It may also contain heavy metals, being a species of seaweed with a high ability of contamination by toxic products. The commission E of the German Health Ministry has not approved any clinical indication, discouraging its use. At latest update no published data on excretion into breast milk were found. However, there is information from other algae whose consumption is known to increase iodine levels in the plasma and breast milk.There have been reports of hypothyroidism in infants whose mothers have included in their diet important quantities of seaweed. There is no evidence of effectiveness on increasing milk production. The most effective method to increase milk production should be done by strengthening maternal self-confidence, evaluate and correct problems along with an effective support to breastfeeding mothers.

Answer by DrLact: About Seaweed usage in lactation

Kelp (Fucus vesiculosus, other Fucus species, and Ascophyllum nodosum), also known as bladderwrack, consists of the dried whole plant. It contains soluble fiber (e.g., alginic acid), vitamin B12, iron and iodine. It can also contain heavy metals (e.g., arsenic, cadmium, lead). Brown seaweed (Undaria pinnatifida) is a purported galactogogue in some Asian cultures; however, no scientifically valid clinical trials support this use. Galactogogues should never replace evaluation and counseling on modifiable factors that affect milk production.[1] No data exist on the excretion of any organic components of seaweed into breastmilk; however, iodine is actively transported into breastmilk and heavy metals are excreted into milk. For further information on iodine in breastmilk and its potential adverse effects, see the iodine record in LactMed. Some sources recommend against using seaweed during breastfeeding because of its high iodine content,[2][3][4] and potential contamination with heavy metals. Dietary supplements do not require extensive pre-marketing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Manufacturers are responsible to ensure the safety, but do not need to the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements before they are marketed. Dietary supplements may contain multiple ingredients, and differences are often found between labeled and actual ingredients or their amounts. A manufacturer may contract with an independent organization to verify the quality of a product or its ingredients, but that does certify the safety or effectiveness of a product. Because of the above issues, clinical testing results on one product may not be applicable to other products. More detailed information #about dietary supplements# is available elsewhere on the LactMed Web site.

Seaweed Side Effects in Breastfeeding

A study of 31 preterm infants born at 34 weeks gestational age or less was performed in Korea where mothers typically ingest large amounts of seaweed soup during the first month postpartum. Subclinical hypothyroidism was frequently found in the infants that had high intakes of iodine from breastmilk.[7] Two mothers originally from Asia (Korea and China) reportedly ate large amounts of soup made from seaweed from their home countries in the postpartum period. Their infants had elevated thyrotropin (TSH) levels when tested at 3 to 4 weeks of age and signs of hypothyroidism. Both were treated with thyroid hormones and regained normal thyroid function.[8]A 21-day-old breastfed (extent not stated) infant presented with unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia. Neonatal TSH screening was normal, but at 21 days it was 87.3 IU/L (normal 0.27 to 4.2 IU/L). Free T4 was 7.3 pmol/L (normal 12 to 22 pmol/L) and the thyroid was slightly enlarged. The infant's parents were of Korean origin and the mother had consumed 3 to 4 bowls of brown seaweed (Undaria pinnatifidia) soup daily from the time of birth. The infant's hypotyroidism was probably caused by the high iodine content of the seaweed soup.[9]

Alternate Drugs

Licorice(Unsafe)
Garlic(Safe)
Ginger(Safe)
Echinacea(Low Risk)
Melatonin(Safe)
Hops(Low Risk)
Coriander(Safe)
Ginkgo(Low Risk)
Nutmeg(Low Risk)
Oregano(Low Risk)
Calendula(Safe)
Sage(Low Risk)
Rhubarb(Low Risk)
Chamomile(Safe)
Caraway(Safe)
Cumin(Safe)
Basil(Unsafe)
Cranberry(Safe)
Chasteberry(Unsafe)
Alfalfa(Unsafe)
Fenugreek(Safe)
Castor(Unsafe)
Lecithin(Safe)
Lavender(Low Risk)
Dong Quai(Low Risk)
Coenzyme Q10(Low Risk)
Aloe(Low Risk)
Hops(Low Risk)
Coriander(Safe)
Oregano(Low Risk)
Rhubarb(Low Risk)
Caraway(Safe)
Basil(Unsafe)
Cranberry(Safe)
Alfalfa(Unsafe)
Lecithin(Safe)
Lavender(Low Risk)
Licorice(Unsafe)
Garlic(Safe)
Echinacea(Low Risk)
Hops(Low Risk)
Coriander(Safe)
Oregano(Low Risk)
Ginkgo(Low Risk)
Nutmeg(Low Risk)
Calendula(Safe)
Sage(Low Risk)
Rhubarb(Low Risk)
Caraway(Safe)
Chamomile(Safe)
Basil(Unsafe)
Cumin(Safe)
Cranberry(Safe)
Chasteberry(Unsafe)
Lecithin(Safe)
Lavender(Low Risk)
Fenugreek(Safe)
Castor(Unsafe)
Dong Quai(Low Risk)
Licorice(Unsafe)
Aloe(Low Risk)
Garlic(Safe)
Ginger(Safe)
Echinacea(Low Risk)
Hops(Low Risk)
Coriander(Safe)
Oregano(Low Risk)
Ginkgo(Low Risk)
Nutmeg(Low Risk)
Calendula(Safe)
Sage(Low Risk)
Rhubarb(Low Risk)
Caraway(Safe)
Chamomile(Safe)
Basil(Unsafe)
Cumin(Safe)
Cranberry(Safe)
Chasteberry(Unsafe)
Lecithin(Safe)
Lavender(Low Risk)
Fenugreek(Safe)
Castor(Unsafe)
Dong Quai(Low Risk)
Licorice(Unsafe)
Aloe(Low Risk)
Garlic(Safe)
Ginger(Safe)
Disclaimer: Information presented in this database is not meant as a substitute for professional judgment. You should consult your healthcare provider for breastfeeding advice related to your particular situation. We do not warrant or assume any liability or responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information on this Site.