What Is Iodine? Everything You Need To Know
Iodine is a mineral that is found in the body and is necessary for healthy thyroid function. A lack of iodine can lead to an iodine deficiency, which can cause life-threatening problems such as goiter, hypothyroidism, and cretinism.
Iodine can be found in food sources such as seafood, dairy products, eggs, and even sea moss. It can also be taken as a supplement. However, despite its importance, very few people get enough iodine in their diet.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss what iodine is, why it is necessary for human function, how to get natural sources of iodine, and whether or not you can take iodine as a dietary supplement.
What Is Iodine & Why Do We Need It?
Iodine is a trace mineral that may be found naturally in both seafood, sea vegetables, and soil. Iodine is an essential mineral; the body needs it to function. However, it can't create iodine on its own, so it must be consumed in foods, beverages, and supplements.
Iodine is important for several reasons. It’s essential for the production of thyroid hormones, which are necessary for regulating metabolism. Iodine is also important for brain development, and a deficiency can lead to cognitive impairments. The best way to get iodine is through seafood or iodized salt, though it can also be found in some plants.
Many countries add iodine to salt because of the high prevalence of iodine deficiencies. The risks of iodine deficiency include:
Goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland): Goiter may cause swelling and tightness in the neck, hoarseness, and dizziness when the arms are raised above the head. In severe cases, goiter may cause shortness of breath, weight gain, and an interactive thyroid gland.
Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid is caused by the thyroid being unable to produce enough hormones. It can cause dry skin, fatigue, cold sensitivity and weight gain.
Cretinism: Congenital hypothyroidism, or cretinism, is a severe thyroid hormone deficiency in newborn children. As a newborn with this condition develops, their growth may be stunted, their neurological function may be impaired, and they may develop physical deformities.
Intellectual disability: Iodine deficiency is the most common preventable cause of brain damage and mental disability. Iodine deficiency has a significant impact on the development of children as well as the cognitive performance of adults.
How Much Iodine Does the Average Person Need?
The amount of iodine a person needs in their diet depends on various factors, including age, gender, and health condition. For most healthy adults, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 150 micrograms per day.
Pregnant women need slightly more iodine, about 220 micrograms per day, while breastfeeding women need 290 micrograms per day.
Infants and young children need less iodine than adults, with the RDA for infants being 110 micrograms per day and the RDA for children being 90 micrograms per day.
However, it is important to note that people with certain health conditions may need more or less iodine than the RDAs suggest. For example, people with hypothyroidism may need to increase their iodine intake to help regulate their thyroid hormone levels.
Iodine consumption also has an upper limit. For healthy adults, the limit is around 1,100 micrograms of iodine per day. This is the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), which is the highest amount of a nutrient that a person can consume without experiencing any negative side effects.
For younger children, the UL is lower. Infants up to 12 months old have a UL of 200 micrograms per day, and children aged one to eight have a UL of 300 micrograms per day.
Iodine poisoning is possible, but it is extremely rare because it cannot usually happen from food consumption alone. Iodine poisoning typically occurs when someone takes too much iodine in supplement form.
Symptoms of iodine poisoning include:
- Stomach pain
- Mouth and throat burning
- Metallic taste in mouth
If you suspect you or someone you know has iodine poisoning, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
How Can We Get Iodine In Our Diets Naturally?
Past generations have ensured iodine sufficiency by using iodized salt, which is readily available in most supermarkets. Iodized salt contains a small amount of iodine that can help to meet the body's needs.
Another good source of iodine is seafood, such as shrimp, tuna, oysters, and cod. However, it is important to limit seafood consumption due to the risk of mercury contamination.
Many people also eat seaweed, which is an excellent source of iodine. In fact, seaweed accounts for most of the Japanese dietary iodine intake.
Foods grown in iodine-rich soils, such as potatoes and carrots may also contain iodine. However, the amount of iodine in these foods can vary depending on the level of iodine in the soil where they were grown.
Chicken, beef liver, dairy, and eggs are also excellent sources of natural iodine. However, these are not viable options for vegans or those who have any sort of meat or animal product restriction. Sea Moss is an excellent vegan source of iodine.
Can We Supplement With Iodine?
Iodine deficiency is a common problem, particularly in developing countries. This is often due to a lack of iodine in the diet. Thankfully, iodine can be easily supplemented through dietary sources or supplements.
There are many different types of iodine supplements available on the market. The most common form is potassium iodide, which is the form most easily absorbed by the body. However, other forms, such as sodium iodide and lithium iodide, are also available. Iodine supplements are generally safe and well-tolerated, but it is important to speak with a healthcare professional before starting any supplement regimen.
Iodine supplementation can be an effective way to prevent or treat iodine deficiency. However, it is important to work with a healthcare professional to ensure that you are taking the right amount of iodine for your individual needs.
Iodine Availability In Sea Moss
Sea moss, also known as Irish moss or red seaweed, is a type of seaweed that is found along the coasts of North America and Europe. In recent years, it has become increasingly popular as a natural health remedy due to its high nutrient content.
Sea moss contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Some people believe that sea moss can help to boost energy levels, improve digestion, and even speed up the healing process. While more research is needed to confirm these claims, there is no doubt that sea moss is a nutrient-packed superfood with numerous potential health benefits.
Additionally, sea moss is rich in vitamins A, C, and E, as well as minerals like potassium and magnesium. Like other sea vegetables, it is an excellent source of iodine, so many individuals who risk iodine deficiency turn to sea moss for this reason as well.
Iodine is an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in human health. It is necessary for proper thyroid function and helps to prevent goiter, hypothyroidism, and other iodine deficiency disorders. Iodine can be found naturally in seafood, seaweed, dairy products, eggs, and some fruits and vegetables.
It is also available in popular supplements like sea moss gel, which is rich in iodine and other essential nutrients.
Looking for the perfect supplement to get iodine and plenty of other nutrients naturally? Sea moss gel may be the perfect solution! Click here to check out our sea moss gel supplements.
Contributors, WebMD Editorial. “Sea Moss: Health Benefits, Nutrients per Serving, Preparation Information, and More.” WebMD, WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-sea-moss.
Harvard School of Public Health. “Iodine.” The Nutrition Source, 19 Oct. 2021, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/iodine/.
Kapil, Umesh. “Health Consequences of Iodine Deficiency.” Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine & Health Sciences, Dec. 2007, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3074887/.
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