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Bounty on the shoreline

IT is often said that there is nothing new under the sun.

And the latest dietary supplement to be recommended by scientists is as old as the hills - or our beaches, at any rate.

Researchers at the University of Glasgow say women with diets low in dairy products and seafood should take a daily seaweed supplement to boost vital iodine levels, after conducting tests involving a kelp supplement harvested from waters off the Outer Hebrides.

Scots have long known the value of this item of marine bounty, though it has not always been neatly formulated in capsule form - throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, kelp was gathered for use as a fertiliser on crofts. Dulse also once played a pivotal role in crofters' diets, often eaten with oatmeal in a thick broth, or simply boiled and served as a separate dish. Nowadays top chefs use it in many of their dishes, and enthuse over its nutritional and flavoursome benefits.

A lack of iodine can be one of the main causes of an underactive thyroid, prompting feelings of being run down, lacking in energy, weight gain, aching muscles and brittle fingernails. It makes sense, therefore, to make use of Vitamin Sea.

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