Should we take iodine supplements?

Should we take iodine supplements?

Image Credit: miheco / flickr

I’ve had a question regarding iodine for some time. As far as I know there are few options:

– iodised salt
– seaweeds
– supplement

I believe sodium-intake should be minimized, so that’s a no. I’ve also read about many pollutants in seaweeds these days. Is supplementing currently the best way to go?



Iodine intake will depend on your overall diet. Healthy adults need 150 micrograms a day. Iodine is also found in vegetables grown near costal areas but actual amounts of iodine are of course not listed on whole vegetables. I would not rely on coastal veggies as a complete iodine source, however, they do contain some. You are spot on with other sources of iodine coming from iodized salt, seaweed, and supplements.

A majority of folks get their iodine from iodized salt. A 1/4 tsp of iodized salt gives about 45% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for iodine, however, it does have 590mg of sodium, making it not the best choice as the only source of iodine. Sea vegetables such as nori, dulse, and alaria are excellent sources of iodine and do not appear to be polluted. In fact, some research suggests sea vegetables may be beneficial for preventing breast cancer. It is also worthy to note that too MUCH iodine may be as bad as too little. Not a seaweed lover? Don’t enjoy (or cautious) of iodized salt? No problem, a supplement is just fine. You may also be interested to learn about the iodine content in beans! That’s right, Eden brand beans offers a healthy way to get iodine, adding kombu to their cans.

Vegans, especially pregnant vegans, are at risk for iodine deficiency and should consider taking supplements or including iodine rich foods in their diets. Lastly, overconsumption of raw cruciferous vegetables may block the thyroid’s absorption of iodine. As a note of caution: always best to consult with your doctor about supplements right for you.

See Dr. Greger’s optimal nutrition recommendations for more info.

Image credit: miheco / flickr

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