In most developed countries, taking iodine supplements isn't a common practice, but in impoverished countries, a lack of iodine can lead to serious health consequences.
For most of us, we pay little attention to iodine because it's found in a many of our food products, mostly through salt.
Seafood, kelp, and seaweed also contain an abundance of iodine.
those of you who are worried about your iodine intake, possibly because
you're vegetarian or on a low salt diet, iodine diet supplements may be the
best choice to bump up your iodine levels.
Iodine is important for helping your body create thyroid hormone, which helps regulate the body's metabolism, growth hormone, and our nervous system.
Lack of iodine can cause conditions like goiter, in which the thyroid gland in the neck area swells to a very large size, fatigue, mental slowing, and weight gain. In children, lack of iodine can cause mental retardation.
For pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, iodine is an overlooked but important nutrient for preventing neurological problems in the baby. Check to see if your prenatal vitamin has iodine in it, and before starting iodine diet supplements, ensure you talk to your physician first.
Even though iodine is abundant in many of our foods, iodine deficiency has steadily been on the rise. This could be from a vegan or vegetarian diet, and a high intake of fluoride, chlorine, and bromine, all of which compete with iodine uptake.
Currently, most health organizations recommend adults intake around 150 micrograms (μg) per day. A recent study found that most adults consume 240-300μg per day.
This study also found that in Japan, iodine consumption was much higher – around 1,000-3,000μg per day. Some researchers have associated this with one of the reasons certain cancers are less prevalent in Japan, especially breast cancer.
Even if you don't have thyroid issues, iodine has benefits and can help you live a longer, more energetic life. Iodine supplements can treat dry, scaly skin, help make your hair stronger and shinier, and can help increase and maintain your energy levels throughout the day.
By directly boosting your thyroid hormone production, iodine diet supplements can also help you lose weight. Many new users of iodine report feeling more energetic and gradual weight loss, all within the first week or less.
Some studies have linked iodine intake with lower rates of breast cancer and fibrocystic diseases, but this has not been fully proven.
There are three main types of iodine diet supplements that are sold commercially – Nascent Iodine, Lugol's Solution, and natural sources, such as kelp or algae supplements. Potassium Iodide is also available, but there are better options for iodine supplementation.
Nascent Iodine is iodine available in an atomic form, not molecular, meaning it is absorbed better than other forms. This type of iodine has an electromagnetic charge which gives you a bigger energy release when consumed, and your body recognizes it as the same type of iodine released by the thyroid gland.
Most nutritionists and health experts recommend this type of iodine as the most useful and helpful form. One drop usually contains 400-800μg, depending on the manufacturer.
Nascent Iodine by LL's Magnetic Clay Baths is the top recommended brand for Nascent Iodine.
Lugol's Solution Iodine is an older form of iodine supplementation and is a combination of molecular iodine and potassium iodide.
Lugol's Solution Iodine is much cheaper than Nascent Iodine, and requires less dosages. However, some users have found that Lugol's can be tough on their digestive system and cause an upset stomach. Most users start out with one drop and gradually increase to two or three per day. Lugol's is also available in tablet form, known as Iodoral.
Kelp, seaweed, blue-green algae, and spirulina supplements all contain high levels of iodine. Usually, these supplements come in tablet or powder form.
In addition to their iodine content, these marine plants also pack powerful antioxidants and a unique chemical makeup, making them a great addition to anyone's diet or supplement regimen.
Like traditional iodine supplements, users of these natural supplements report increased energy, concentration, weight loss, and better skin and hair. Nature's Way Kelp is a good, budget brand.
Although studies have been done to show the safety and usefulness of high levels of iodine, overdose is possible.
While no exact level of iodine has been determined as causing an overdose, it's generally not recommended to take more than 1,000-1,500μg per day.
Symptoms over too
much iodine include abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, thirst,
or a metallic taste in your mouth. Throat pain can also occur.
An iodine overdose can lead to an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). Symptoms of overactive thyroid include weight loss, increased appetite, increased sweating, heat intolerance, nervousness, tremors, fatigue, or difficulty concentrating.
Rarely, an iodine overdose can cause the exact opposite – an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), which can cause weight gain, fatigue, and depression.