Iodine & Its Supplements – A Complete Guide

Tuna Salad. Tuna is a source of iodine

Iodine is considered to be an essential mineral that the human body requires to function properly because it cannot produce Iodine on its own. Iodine has to be consumed through diet and supplements.

Also read: Low-Iodine Diet Guide | What You Should and Shouldn’t Eat

It is available in several food sources but the iodine content in those are really difficult to identify. Iodine is most commonly available in the form of iodized salt and most often people use salt enriched with iodine to maintain their sufficient intake of iodine.

Iodine is naturally acquired from the earth’s soil and oceans. Salty water and plant-based food are major sources of iodine.

Health Benefits of Iodine

Healthy Brain Development

You would be surprised to know that iodine deficiency is identified as the number 1 cause of mental retardation across the globe. 

Iodine has had such a huge impact because it is an extremely important mineral for healthy brain development. The strongest damage of this deficiency is caused by a baby’s brain which can even result in life-long brain damage.

Iodine is an essential nutrient to have in the system all along but it becomes even more important during pregnancy where thyroid hormones are controlling the growth of the brain. If the deficiency isn’t too severe, it results in kids having below-average IQ.

Once kids start growing, a deficiency in iodine impacts their intellectual and motor performance along with increasing the risk of ADHD.

Treats Infections

Liquid iodine can be applied externally to help treat infections. It kills the bacteria inside the affected area and prevents them from further spreading. You can use it around cuts, scrapes and wounds to prevent further infection.

A word of caution would be to not use topical iodine on infants and on deep cuts as it may have negative effects.

Controls Metabolic Rate

Our body’s base metabolic rate is controlled by the hormones produced by the thyroid glands and iodine plays a key role in this process by helping the thyroid glands produce these hormones. The metabolic rate is essential in the efficient working of our organs. Metabolic rate is also responsible for day-to-day processes like sleeping, absorption of food and converting food into energy.

Hormones from thyroid glands like control heart rate, body weight, and blood pressure. Also, the body maintains its basic metabolic rate through the influence of these hormones.

Further, these hormones also help with protein synthesis. The normal creation and even distribution of proteins are extremely crucial in maintaining a healthy body.

Maintains Healthy Levels of Energy

Iodine ensures that the calories get utilized in an efficient way and does not allow calories to get deposited in our problem areas in the form of fats. 

That’s how Iodine plays a powerful role in maintaining sufficient energy levels in the body.

Helps With Skincare & Haircare

The never-ending list of health benefits of iodine also includes the maintenance of healthy skin and hair. 

Iodine deficiency results in hair loss while healthy amounts of iodine in the body helps with hair growth and improves the strength of your hair strands.

Boosts Immune System

Through hydroxyl radicals, Iodine promotes higher levels of immunity in the body. Similar to Vitamin C, Iodine releases antioxidants throughout the body which acts as a robust mechanism against a number of chronic illnesses.

Sources of Iodine

Invariably, the most amount of iodine comes from food making food the best source of iodine. However, the amount of iodine that’s present in the food depends on how much iodine was present at the source of producing that particular food. 

For example, the amount of iodine present in the ground where the crops were grown or where the animals were raised affects the amount of iodine in your food. Hence, wherever seafood is concerned, the amount of iodine is usually very high.

Some powerful sources of iodine are,

  • Seaweed
  • Iodized salt
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Garlic
  • Lima beans
  • Soybeans
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Oysters
  • Spinach
  • Lobsters
  • White bread
  • Low-fat milk
  • White, enriched bread
  • Whole egg
  • Cheddar cheese

Ideal Iodine Intake Chart

iodine intake chart
Iodine & Its Supplements - A Complete Guide 3

Side Effects of Excess Iodine

Children in their growing up years and senior adults are usually more prone to suffering from the side effects of iodine. Side effects of too much iodine may show up as,

  • Feeling of nausea
  • Constant vomit
  • Diarrhea
  • Sudden fever
  • Burning sensations in the throat and mouth
  • Sharp stomach pain

Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency

In order to find out if you are iodine deficient, you will have to get your urine tested out. The symptoms of low iodine levels in your body are closely linked to thyroid symptoms such as,

  • A goiter that’s visible
  • Painful or tender thyroid gland
  • Difficulty while breathing
  • Difficulty while swallowing
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Feeling of chill even in normal temperatures
  • Excessive hair loss
  • Bouts of depression
  • Sudden weight gain

Sodium Supplements – What You Should Know?

Due to the inclusion of iodine in regular salt and baked items, the level of iodine in the general population has been sufficiently high. However, recent studies uncover trends that iodine levels in the diet have remarkably dropped which gives rise to the need for iodine supplements.

Iodine supplements work for a few of the most important functions of the body. Firstly, for efficient thyroid functioning there is too little or too much iodine and throw off the balance in thyroid hormone levels.

Secondly, during pregnancy, iodine becomes extremely crucial for the healthy development of the baby’s nervous system. Hence every prenatal multivitamin contains elements of iodine.

Iodine supplements are available in two forms – Potassium Iodine and Sodium Iodide.

Potassium Iodide

Potassium Iodide supplements contain a high concentration of iodine. 

It is a commonly used supplement prescribed to people dealing with thyroid issues because they may be iodine deficient. It gets absorbed in the body rapidly and works effectively.

Sodium Iodide

Sodium iodide supplements are used to prevent or treat an existing iodine deficiency in people who have poor nutritional habits or their body is not able to absorb iodine properly. 

It is also prescribed to treat several thyroid disorders.

Minerals are such an important part of our diet please explore this site to learn more about them.