The National Agency for Food Safety, Environment and Labor (ANSES) warns against the excessive consumption of algae. At issue: their high iodine content, which can cause health problems.
Nori, wakame, sea lettuce or kombu ... After being discovered in Japanese restaurants where they are especially served in maki form, seaweed has gradually invaded the tables of chefs, who use them in Asian-inspired dishes. or to revisit classics of gastronomy. They are now also a favorite in organic stores, where they are sold fresh, dried, and in the form of food supplements.
Thyroid dysfunction, heart and kidney disease
Praised for their high content of antioxidants, vitamins C and E and fiber, algae must be consumed in moderation. In a notice published Tuesday, August 7, the National Agency for Food Safety, Environment and Labor (ANSES) warns consumers who might be tempted to eat in large quantities. They could then be exposed to a risk of overconsumption of iodine.
"As the iodine content in the various seaweed-based products may be high, their consumption presents a significant risk of exceeding the upper limits of safety, and in particular, in the case of consumption of algae combined with dietary supplements. algae base ", warns ANSES, which" recommends regular consumers to remain vigilant ".
Excessive and regular intake of iodine can cause health problems such as thyroid dysfunction, heart disease or kidney failure. ANSES particularly advises against the "consumption of foods and food supplements containing algae" with three profiles: people with thyroid dysfunction, heart disease or kidney failure; people taking treatment with a drug containing iodine or lithium; pregnant or lactating women, excluding medical advice.
The health agency also reminds people with iodine deficiency "that it is not relevant to consume products containing algae in order to correct this deficiency".
Not more than 600 micrograms of iodine per day
In its report, ANSES warns particularly against the consumption of certain algae reputed for their high iodine content: laminar brown algae Laminaria spp. and Saccharina spp, as well as red algae Gracilaria warty. As explained in Parisian Irene Margaritis, head of ANSES's Nutritional Risk Assessment Unit, "their iodine content varies enormously depending on the production conditions or even the type of preparation".
The problem is that the amounts of iodine are rarely indicated, even on the boxes of dietary supplements. "What must be avoided is to accumulate a consumption of seaweed with iodized dietary supplements or drugs that contain iodine," advises Irène Margaritis. It is therefore better to refer to the recommendations made by EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), which establishes at 600 μg per day for adults the consumption of iodine. The French regulations set the maximum daily dose of iodine at 150 μg in food supplements.
Do not worry, however, if you consume regular dry spirulina, fresh or in the form of dietary supplement since this microalga contains almost no iodine.