Welcome to More Than Healthy as we continue to share our weekly health tips. This is Tip #89, Is iodine important for health? To watch this week’s Video Tip, click this link. To listen to the audio podcast, click on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
I’m sure you have heard of iodine, but you may not know that it’s an essential trace mineral. Any vitamin or mineral prefaced by “essential” means the body can’t make it, so we must get it with food or supplements.
I love learning about all these vitamins and minerals that impact our health. So often we don’t know how important they are for our health. We take for granted that we are getting all that we need from our food or that our body just makes it, not thinking twice about what we may be lacking.
What is iodine good for in your body?
Iodine is a very important trace mineral. Our cells need iodine in order to convert food into energy. It also supports central nervous system development.
Iodine is crucial for thyroid health, as it specifically supports the thyroid gland in your neck. The thyroid uses iodine to make the thyroid hormones thyroxine (better known as T3) and triiodothyronine (better known as T4). These hormones assist with the creation of proteins, enzyme activity, and regulating normal metabolism. They also control your rate of heartbeat, digestion, and other functions.
Without enough iodine, these thyroid hormones do not work correctly and your thyroid gland is forced to work harder. This can lead to hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid).
Complications from hypothyroidism include heart problems, peripheral neuropathy, birth defects, and infertility. Complications of hyperthyroidism include irregular heartbeat, blood clots, stroke, eye disease, thinning bones, and fertility problems.
What are the symptoms of low iodine?
The health benefits of iodine are so crucial to our well-being that it is really important to catch iodine deficiency as early as possible.
Some of the symptoms of iodine deficiency can include:
- Swelling of the thyroid glands in the neck
- A visible lump (goiter) on your neck
- Weight gain
- Fatigue and weakness
- Dry skin
- Feeling colder than usual
- Slowed heart rate
- Learning and memory difficulties
- Heavy or irregular menstrual cycles
- Thinning hair
More severe conditions can include:
- Thyroid autoimmune disease
- Thyroid or other cancers
- Pregnancy-related high blood pressure
Mothers can even pass their iodine deficiency onto their children, which can cause learning disabilities. It’s interesting to note that iodine deficiency is more common in women.
This is why it is really important to catch low iodine early and then work to treat it with food and supplementation as quickly as possible.
How much iodine do I need?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance for iodine is 150 micrograms (mcg) each day for men and women over 19 years old. The RDA increases to 220 mcg for pregnant women and 290 mcg for lactating women.
What foods are high in iodine?
The best foods for iodine are:
- Seaweed (nori, kelp, kombu, wakame)
- Fish and shellfish (cod, canned tuna, oysters, shrimp)
- Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt)
- Beef liver
In the U.S., most people get the majority of their dietary iodine from milk and iodized salt. We always caution our clients to avoid basic table salt. Be sure to pick a good sea salt. There’s a lot more to salt than you might realize – check out our blog post on this topic in Tip #42. You don’t want just to use cheap table salt.
There are also breads and pastas that are iodized-enriched, but we feel like the little benefit you get from the extra iodine isn’t worth eating a heavily processed food.
Can you get too much iodine?
Like most minerals, you don’t want to get too much iodine. Studies show that in countries like Japan and Korea, where they eat an iodine-rich diet regularly, healthy people don’t have a problem eating a lot of iodine. However, some people with autoimmune thyroid disease or who have a history of chronic iodine deficiency can be sensitive to receiving extra iodine.
Excess iodine can lead to too much thyroid hormone production, causing hyperthyroidism, which can lead to unexplained weight loss, fast or irregular heartbeat, hand tremors, irritability, fatigue, and sweatiness.
It’s always a balancing act with these vitamins and minerals. It’s much more common to be deficient than to have too much iodide. But it’s important not to go overboard on a particular supplement too quickly, as it may cause other issues.
Can I take an iodine supplement?
We always prefer to treat most deficiencies first with food. But, if there is no way you can increase those foods in your diet, we will recommend supplements that we’ve used and feel good about. Optimal Health Systems (OHS) has an iodine supplement that we recommend for our clients who find the foods on this list just aren’t going to work for them.
How do you know if you are iodine deficient?
If you don’t know if you’re deficient in iodine, then a great way to find out is with hair analysis testing, an amazingly informative service we offer at More Than Healthy. With just a few strands of your hair, you receive a full report looking at toxins, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, electromagnetic frequency exposure, chemicals, radiation, parasites, immune factors, and foods you should avoid.
A More Than Healthy Hair Analysis also includes a 15-minute consultation with Carla to review the results. She will recommend 3 or 4 things you can start doing immediately to help improve your health.
Go to our website to learn more. You can schedule a local hair analysis or order it online to be mailed to you today.
Is iodine important to your health?
Do you have any questions about the health benefits of iodine? Please reach out – we always try to respond. You can find us on social media @morethanhealthyliving.
We’d love to become your health coaches as you work to become “more than healthy” and achieve optimal health. Thanks for joining us, and we’ll see you next week.
Note: Remember, we’re not doctors. We’re sharing with you what’s worked for us on our health journey. You will want to consult your doctor before significantly changing your diet and supplementation.