Umami Drops are made using one of the kelp species of seaweed called Alaria esculenta (otherwise known as Alaria, or Dabberlocks, or Badderlocks, or Atlantic Wakame, or Winged Kelp!)
Pickled Seaweed is made using another one of the kelps called Saccharina latissima (otherwise know as Sugar Kelp, Sweet Kelp, Sea Belt, Devil’s Apron, and Kombu Royale!)
Both of these seaweeds have a lovely umami flavour with a natural sweetness, and (thanks to the naturally occurring glutamates in the seaweed) act as a natural flavour enhancer.
The Alaria esculenta and Saccharina latissima are supplied by Islander Rathlin Kelp who produce their seaweed to organic standards off the island of Rathlin, Northern Ireland, within a Marine Conservation Zone. The seaweed is cultivated and harvested without the need for land, freshwater, fertilisers or pesticides.
This seaweed is very different to the seaweed that washes up on beaches! The seaweed supplied by Islander Rathlin Kelp is sustainably cultivated and harvested from the living, growing plant.
Seaweed has been deservedly gaining in reputation as a sustainable superfood. It contains high levels of antioxidants and a wide array of vitamins and minerals including iodine.
There are thousands of species of seaweed globally, and each has its own nutritional profile. Alaria esculenta and Saccharina latissima belong to the kelp family of seaweeds. They are high in iodine, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. They also contain fucoxanthin and alginic acid.
There is a lack of comprehensive data on the iodine status of the UK population, but research suggests that mild iodine deficiency in the UK is an issue - particularly for vulnerable groups, namely vegans or others who don't eat dairy or fish, teenage girls, women of child bearing age, and pregnant women.
Consuming enough iodine is essential for the maintenance of healthy thyroid - a gland in the neck which helps produce and regulate hormones. Thyroid hormones are important for healthy metabolism and cognitive function. Mild iodine deficiency can cause a wide range of symptoms including tiredness, weight gain, susceptibility to infections, achy muscles and dry skin. Iodine plays an important role in growth and development in childhood, and it is important that pregnant and breastfeeding women consume enough iodine.
The iodine found in seaweed (‘chelated iodine’) creates a more slow, steady supply of iodine than the manufactured iodine (‘potassium iodide’) which is added to iodized salt or included in some supplements.
Alaria esculenta and Saccharina latissima are naturally rich in iodine. Each 1ml serving of our Umami Drops typically contains 129 micrograms of iodine, or 86% of adult iodine Nutrient Reference Value (NRV - the minimum deemed to be required to prevent deficiency). Each 20g serving of our Pickled Seaweed typically contains 116 micrograms of iodine, or 77% of adult iodine NRV.
Whilst the thyroid malfunctions without iodine, too much iodine can also be problematic. The World Health Organisation considers 1100 micrograms of iodine per day to be the safe upper limit. The UK Department of Health recommends that a daily intake of 1000 micrograms iodine should not be exceeded.
It is recommended that consumption of Umami Drops is limited to 3ml per adult per day (typically 387 micrograms iodine), and that consumption of Pickled Seaweed is limited to 60g per day (typically 348 micrograms iodine). Those with an iodine sensitivity should consult a Doctor before introducing seaweed into their diet.