Iodine helps to make the thyroid hormones. These hormones help to 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, don't 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: 18/02/2015

Next review due: 18/02/2017