Vitamins and minerals - Iodine 

  • Overview

Iodine 

Iodine helps make the thyroid hormones. These hormones help keep cells and the metabolic rate healthy.

Good sources of iodine

Iodine is a trace element found in seawater, rocks and some types of soil. Good food sources include sea fish and shellfish.

Iodine can also be found in plant foods such as cereals and grains, but the levels vary depending on the amount of iodine in the soil where the plants are grown.

How much iodine do I need?

Adults need 0.14mg of iodine a day.

Most people should be able to get all the iodine they need by eating a varied and balanced diet.

What happens if I take too much iodine?

Taking high doses of iodine for long periods of time could change the way your thyroid gland works. This can lead to a wide range of different symptoms, such as weight gain.

What does the Department of Health advise?

You should be able to get all the iodine you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. If you take iodine supplements, do not take too much because this could be harmful.

Taking 0.5mg or less a day of iodine supplements is unlikely to cause any harm.


Page last reviewed: 26/11/2012

Next review due: 26/11/2014

Ratings

How helpful is this page?

Average rating

Based on 190 ratings

All ratings

Add your rating

Comments

The 6 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

polyhedron said on 16 December 2012

The presence of iodine in milk has historically been partly due to the use of iodine-based teat disinfectants (iodophor) prior to milking. This is then absorbed by the skin and contributes to future milk.

There appears to have been a movement away from iodophors - which would likely result in lower iodine content of milk. It is unclear if this has been taken into account in this article. At least one goat milk dairy uses only chlorine-based disinfectants as that is more gentle on the teats. (Yes - I emailed and asked.)

So User627171's comment is sensible.

It almost defies belief that this article does not mention iodised salt. This is available and may be used without you realising.

Some processed foods are made using iodised salt (especially those imported from Germany).

Without knowing about this, you cannot even start to think about assessing your iodine intake.

Iodine and thyroid is a complex area and not able to be answered properly in this short response. Even if I felt able to!




Report this content as offensive or unsuitable

Tranquility25 said on 20 August 2012

I suffer from an underactive thyroid, even though I haven't been diagnosed, I know I have it because of my weight, slow body function and heart problems. I wanna know if I can cure it as it's putting me in life threatening situations like even though I'm obese, I don't eat and I almost starved in the past. I have a bad phobia of needles, I'm suppose to have a blood test to check my thyroid function so I can get treatment but I wanna be cured, I wanna get rid of this horrible illness and I wanna cure myself naturally without exposing my body to chemicals.

Report this content as offensive or unsuitable

Victases said on 18 April 2012

The International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders reported in August 2011 that a national study in the UK showed that more than two thirds of schoolgirls in the UK have low iodine intakes. In February 2012 they concluded that of 193 countries worldwide the UK is in the top ten of iodine-deficient countries with the greatest number of school-age children with insufficient iodine intake in 2011.
Iodine deficiency during pregnancy can lead to irreversible brain damage in the foetus, which is the major concern. Goitre in non-reproducing people is basically a cosmetic condition that is readily remedied What is the Dept of Health doing about iodine deficiency?

Report this content as offensive or unsuitable

User627171 said on 24 December 2011

"In the UK, iodine can also be found in cows' milk." This is ambiguous. Does it mean iodine is found, or iodine might be found, in cows' milk? Is the amount affected by whether or not the cows have an organic diet: is non-organic feedstuff supplemented?

Does it matter too much if you ingest less than the daily amount for a day or two, or can the amount be averaged over a week, say?

Report this content as offensive or unsuitable

Victases said on 31 October 2011



Surely this advice is woefully out of date. The work around the world by the ICCIDD has resulted in WHO advising :-

adults 150 micrograms I per day
during pregnancy 250 micrograms per day

Iodine deficiency in females has been diagnosed by urine I analysis in over 10 centers in the UK in 3 pieces of work.

The major sources of iodine in the UK diet are firstly milk and dairy products and cereals/bread. The iodine in milk is largely adventitious.

Iodine deficiency during pregnancy causes irreversible brain retardation.
The implications are clear intentional supplementation is called for.

Report this content as offensive or unsuitable

Victases said on 31 October 2011

Surely this advice is woefully out of date. The work around the world by the ICCIDD has resulted in WHO advising :-

adults 150 micrograms I per day
during pregnancy 250 micrograms per day

Iodine deficiency in females has been diagnosed by urine I analysis in over 10 centers in the UK in 3 pieces of work.

The major sources of iodine in the UK diet are firstly milk and dairy products and cereals/bread. The iodine in milk is largely adventitious.

Iodine deficiency during pregnancy causes irreversible brain retardation.
The implications are clear intentional supplementation is called for.

Report this content as offensive or unsuitable

Foods to avoid in pregnancy

Find out which foods to take care with in pregnancy. Includes cheeses, eggs, meat and the latest on nuts