A Woman Overdosed On Kelp Trying To Have A Boy Baby, So Definitely Don't Try This At Home

Adding sea kelp to a diet does have proven health benefits, the algae is a good source of many vitamins and minerals, including an incredibly high concentration of calcium. But too much of a good thing can also be dangerous, proved one Chinese woman who overdosed on kelp trying to have a boy, CCTV News reports.

Liu, a 36-year-old woman from the city Wuhan in central China, ate nothing but kelp for two weeks after reading an article online that said eating alkalescent foods would improve chances of a male fetus. The piece claimed that when preparing for conception, seaweed was "perfect alkaline food."

While there is no medical data that links kelp to male birth rates, the thought behind it is that alkaline foods can change the body's pH levels. As Your Chinese Astrology explains, "The alkaline substance released from the mother's vagina is thought to be more male-sperm friendly. So, the mother is suggested to eat more alkalescent food or those contains much sodium and potassium to raise the chance of getting a boy." But according to doctors, what you eat will not affect your consistent pH levels, and your body works very hard to keep it that way.

While the pregnancy forum recommended maintaining a diet rich in kelp and algae for one month, after two-weeks Liu began to feel some negative side effects. After experiencing heavy sweating and palpitations, Liu went to the hospital where she found that over past 14 days she had developed hyperthyroidism. The overactive thyroid gland speeds the body's other processes leading to anxiety, weight loss, excessive sweating, tremors, rapid heartbeat, among other symptoms.

Doctors at New River Hospital in Hubei, told The Paper that the high levels of iodine found in kelp led to Liu's thyroid gland inflammation. Luckily, the illness was detected early enough that she is expected to make a full recovery. Since China's two child policy came into effect as of the first of this year, Liu and her husband, who already have a six-year-old daughter, were reportedly concerned with having a boy to pass on the family name. While hyperthyroidism can affect one's ability to get pregnant, Liu's condition was treated in time to save her from any long-term effects.


Sea kelp is the richest natural source of iodine, and the body does rely on a certain amount of the mineral to make thyroid hormones. However, most people already consume a fair amount of iodine from salt, and kelp's levels are unpredictable. Too much iodine can lead to hyperthyroidism, thyroid cancers, and Grave's disease, so it is best to play it safe with these sea snacks. It is also best to beware colloquial wisdom when trying to influence a baby's gender. Red meat and salty snacks (food that supposedly predicts a boy) can also lead to some serious health problems if consumed in excess.

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