Our bodies need a lot to stay healthy. We need vitamin C, vitamin D, fiber, and the list goes on. Another important mineral we need is iodine. Iodine is an extremely essential mineral needed for the body to function properly. The thyroid gland uses iodine to make thyroid hormones. These hormones are key players in our metabolism, our growth, and our development. Our body also does not make this mineral, so it is considered essential and necessary in our diets.
Iodine deficiency is relatively common among pregnant women and can cause brain damage in infants and newborn babies. Iodine plays a substantial role in brain development, so insufficient iodine can lead to mental retardation and irreversible damage to the brain and its development. Additionally, iodine cannot be stored for a long time, so although we do not need much, we must get sufficient iodine in smaller doses. The use of iodized salts (iodine added to table salt) and supplements have helped pave the way to sufficient iodine levels in the body.
What Are the Different Types of Iodine Supplements?
Two different forms of iodine are common: elemental iodine and ionic iodide. Elemental iodine should never be ingested alone or applied to the skin alone as it is corrosive and harmful. Ionic iodide is the form of iodine found in nature and can be ingested and put on the skin safely. In supplements, you will normally see iodine as potassium iodide or sodium iodide as this creates an iodide salt, an ionic iodide safe for ingestion and application.
Iodine Supplement Benefits
Although we may not need a lot of iodine in our bodies, it is necessary for our overall health. The following are benefits of iodine in the body:
- Proper thyroid health
- Weight management
- Normal brain development
- Prevents permanent brain damage and mental retardation in infants and children
- Reduces risk of goiters (enlargement of the thyroid gland)
- Treats thyroid cancer
- Aids in healthy cognitive function
- Helps treat infection
- Treats exposure to harmful radiation
These benefits illustrate the essential role iodine plays in the body. Without iodine, we may suffer from inactive thyroids, hormonal imbalances, weight gain, goiters, brain delays, brain damage, and mental deficits.
Should I Take Iodine Supplements?
Although iodine is essential, iodine toxicity can cause health issues like nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, stomach pain, and may lead to a coma. You should consult with your doctor before taking iodine supplements, especially if you have a thyroid condition.
Taking iodine supplements usually is not necessary, especially in developed countries. As a result, iodine supplements are typically only administered based on urine testing for iodine levels. If you suffer from one of the following conditions, you should consult a doctor as you may be iodine deficient:
- Unintentional weight gain
- Hair loss
- Trouble swallowing
- Goiter (enlarged thyroid gland)
- Painful or tender thyroid gland when touching
- Feelings of extreme coldness
Do Iodine Supplements Really Help?
Iodine supplements are usually not necessary unless you have been tested for an iodine deficiency and have low iodine levels. In this case, iodine supplements can be very beneficial. Iodine supplements have been proven to help treat goiter, fibrocystic breast disease, thyroid disorders, exposure to radiation, wound healing, and skin healing.
Iodine has also been proven to reduce the amount of thyroid hormone in the body and destroy microorganisms like bacteria and fungi in the body. Iodine is also often used to purify water.
Best Iodine Supplements
1 Body Thyroid Support with Iodine
This product has very high ratings by a large number of consumers. It has been shown to increase energy levels, enhance focus and mental clarity, and support healthy weight loss. It is formulated with many vitamins like zinc, copper, selenium, and iodine, and contains herbs and adaptogens like ashwagandha as well.
J. Crow’s Lugol’s Iodine Solution
This product comes highly rated by consumers and is in liquid form for easy use and consumption. It is often used to purify water and has the lowest heavy metals rating.
Life Extension Sea Iodine
This product contains 1000 mcg of sea iodine from organic sea algae. It comes highly recommended by consumers and is a good vegetarian option for iodine supplements.
Iodine Supplement Alternatives
Iodine is typically available through dietary sources and can provide you with sufficient iodine levels. Iodized salt, or table salt fortified with iodine, is common in the United States and helps to provide iodine to the body. The following are dietary sources of iodine you should aim to include in your diet:
- Most seafood in general
- Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
- Bread and cereal (often fortified)
- Green beans
Iodine And Your Health
Iodine is essential for your overall health. Without iodine, our thyroid health suffers, and our brain development is halted. Although we do not require large quantities of iodine, we should still aim to get sufficient iodine from dietary sources, the best being from seafood and seaweed. In some cases, iodine levels may be checked by a doctor, and supplements may be administered if needed.
Iodine is especially important for pregnant women as they need this mineral for proper brain growth and development for the fetus. Iodine deficiencies during pregnancy often result in mental retardation and life-long brain/mental deficits. Iodine is also used for treating radiation exposure and is used for the purification of water sources. Making sure you get sufficient iodine in your diet is very important, and if you experience any symptoms of iodine deficiency, consult with your doctor.