Iodine Health Benefits


If you’re on this page, I’m guessing you’re looking for some iodine health benefits. Iodine is the most popular mineral supplement in the United States, and is crucial to human health. I am a proponent of it because it helps stave off cancer and heart disease by reducing inflammation. Interested? Read on!

With Iodine deficiency becoming an increasingly common problem and with certain populations, such as vegans, at a higher risk of Iodine deficiency than others, it is important to understand the Iodine health benefits. So what are some of the health benefits of Iodine? The fact is that there are many health benefits of Iodine.

Iodine Health Benefits

Iodine is an essential mineral. Your body needs it to function properly but cannot make it on its own. Instead, you need to consume it.

Most people get all the iodine they need from food. It’s mainly present in foods such as fish, seaweed, and dairy. It’s widely available in the form of iodized salt. It also exists in the Earth’s soil, but the content varies from one area to the next. As such, the iodine content of produce varies.

Iodine is essential for thyroid functioning. Your thyroid needs it to produce hormones essential for metabolism. A deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism, meaning that your thyroid isn’t working as well as it should, and it can lead to issues such as fatigue, joint pain, and fertility problems. The mineral is also important for women who are pregnant and young children, because it plays a role in proper bone and brain development.Many people get all the iodine they need from food. Some, however, need a supplement to help ensure they meet their requirements.
Health Benefits
Iodine’s most important role is to ensure proper thyroid function. It helps to regulate the production of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Getting enough iodine is essential for preventing low thyroid hormone production and hypothyroidism.

Other health benefits of iodine include:

Proper Development during Pregnancy

Women who are pregnant need more iodine in their diet. Iodine is essential for the proper brain development of babies. Research has found that babies born to women who do not get enough iodine during pregnancy are more likely to have intellectual delays and lower IQs than children born to mothers who get enough iodine during pregnancy.

Women who are breastfeeding also have higher iodine needs, because they supply their infants with the mineral through breast milk. The mother getting enough ensures the infant gets what they need, too, to ensure proper brain development.

Improved Cognitive Function in Children

The same brain-developing benefits of iodine for developing babies and infants extends into early childhood. Children who don’t get enough iodine are at an increased risk of intellectual disabilities.
Healthy Birth Weight

Getting sufficient iodine during pregnancy may contribute to a healthy birth weight. One study on pregnant women with goiters showed that increasing iodine intake can correct goiters and lead to an improvement in birth weight.

Lowering the Risk of Goiters

A goiter is an enlarged thyroid, and it often occurs as a result of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). The most common cause is a lack of iodine in the diet. It may also occur as a result of certain conditions, such as Hashimoto’s or Grave’s disease s. In rare instances, a goiter may develop as a result of a genetic defect, injury, or tumor. Getting enough iodine can help to prevent the development of dietary-related goiters.

May Treat Fibrocystic Breast Disease

Fibrocystic breast disease is a noncancerous condition that causes painful lumps in the breasts. It typically occurs in women of reproductive age, but it may also affect some women after menopause. Some research indicates that iodine may help reduce the pain and other symptoms, but more research is needed to support this.

May Help Treat Thyroid Cancer

Radioactive iodine may help to treat people with thyroid cancer. Your thyroid absorbs nearly all of the iodine you take in. Taking radioactive iodine destroys thyroid cells, including cancerous ones, not removed by surgery. It may also help increase the lifespan of people who have differentiated thyroid cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
Health Risks
Getting enough iodine is essential for ensuring proper thyroid function. Getting too much, however, can lead to problems as well.

Iodine Toxicity

Getting too much iodine can lead to iodine toxicity. Symptoms range depending upon how much you take, and they can range from nausea and vomiting to a weak pulse and delirium.


In some instances, excessive amounts of iodine can lead to an overactive thyroid, also called hyperthyroidism.


While ensuring you consume enough iodine can help prevent goiters from developing, too much iodine may actually cause them to form.

Thyroid Cancer

High amounts of iodine in your diet may increase your risk of thyroid inflammation and thyroid cancer.

Medication Interactions

Iodine supplements may interact with certain medications. Taking supplements while also taking anti-thyroid medications such as methimazole may cause your body to produce too little thyroid hormone. Potassium iodide supplements with ACE inhibitors may also cause you to have too much potassium in your blood, leading to hyperkalemia. Hyperkalemia can lead to serious heart-related problems.
How Much You Need
The amount of iodine you need varies on your sex and age:

Birth to 6 months: 110 micrograms
7 months to 1 year: 130 micrograms
Children up to 8 years: 90 micrograms
Children 9 to 13: 120 micrograms
Teens and adults: 150 micrograms
Women who are pregnant: 220 micrograms
Women who are breastfeeding: 290 micrograms
In general, most people get all the iodine they need from food. Some of the best sources include:

Fish and shellfish
Fortified foods
Iodized salt
If you think you don’t have enough iodine in your diet, speak with your doctor. Your doctor can test your levels and determine if you need a supplement. While most supplements are available over the counter, a doctor may prescribe a stronger version in more severe cases.

What Is Iodine Used For?

iodine | chemical element | Britannica

Iodine is an important part of thyroid hormones. These hormones help your body regulate weight, internal temperature, and energy levels. They also play a role in skin, hair, and nail growth.

Iodine may play a role in physical functions besides thyroid hormone production, but the evidence is not completely clear.

Your thyroid gland makes the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Both of these contain iodide (a form of iodine).

Iodine is consumed by mouth and is quickly absorbed in the stomach and small intestine. It travels through the bloodstream. From there, iodine receptors (located in the thyroid) bind to it and take it in.

The T4 hormone contains four molecules of iodide, while the T3 thyroid hormone contains three molecules of iodide. After the thyroid gland produces T4, it releases it into the bloodstream. T4 is then converted to T3, which interacts with most cells of the body.

The active T3 thyroid hormone functions in virtually every cell and organ in the body by regulating metabolism, energy use, growth, and repair.

Iodine Deficiency

Iodine Uses: Benefits, Side Effects, Recommendations, and More

Iodine deficiency leads to problems with thyroid hormone production. This results in symptoms of thyroid disease.If you have low iodine levels, symptoms of thyroid dysfunction can develop within a few weeks. They include a variety of conditions:

Hypothyroidism (Low Thyroid Function)

Iodine deficiency prevents your body from making enough thyroid hormones, which causes hypothyroidism.This can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Weight gain
  • Diminished energy
  • Sleepiness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Feeling cold all the time
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Problems with blood sugar

Childhood Hypothyroidism

Dietary iodine deficiency is among the leading preventable causes of cognitive (intellectual) and developmental disabilities in many parts of the world.

Children who are deficient in iodine may experience the same effects as adults as well as additional symptoms. The effects can be subtle and gradual including slow physical growth, mood problems, trouble concentrating, and learning difficulties.


With hypothyroidism, your body doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones. It can cause weight gain, decreased energy, trouble concentrating, menstrual irregularities, and more. Children may have these symptoms in addition to slow growth, mood problems, and learning difficulties.


An iodine deficiency results in low thyroid hormone levels. In response, your pituitary gland makes excess thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) to make up for these low levels.

TSH normally stimulates the thyroid gland to produce and release T4 and T3. However, too much TSH overstimulates the thyroid gland.

The thyroid gland then becomes enlarged but still can’t function adequately without enough iodine. This change is described as goiter.

Congenital Hypothyroidism

Iodine deficiency in infants is detected by newborn screening tests. The condition may cause babies to experience trouble eating, weak muscle tone, or heart problems. Sometimes, it may not cause any symptoms at all.

While there are other causes, newborn babies born to mothers with low iodine intake during pregnancy can develop congenital hypothyroidism.

The condition can improve if infants get enough iodine in their diet after they are born. If they don’t, they are at risk for developing learning deficits and limits in physical growth as a result of inadequate thyroid function.

It has been suggested that iodine deficiency may also be associated with breast disease, stomach problems, and bone problems, but these concerns have not been verified.


In some situations, your iodine might not function the way it should if goitrogens interfere with iodine absorption in the thyroid gland.

Goitrogens are foods and other substances that compete with iodine uptake in your thyroid gland. This can prevent proper production of thyroid hormones.

Some goitrogens include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and strawberries. If you have normal thyroid function and iodine intake, you don’t need to worry about these foods causing an iodine deficiency.Goitrogens and Your Thyroid Health

Side Effects

In general, moderate iodine consumption from iodized salt or the food in your diet shouldn’t cause problems. Extra iodine is easily eliminated through the urine.

However, you can consume more iodine than your body can handle by using supplements that contain high doses of iodine. Chronic iodine overdose has been associated with goiter, hyperthyroidism, thyroiditis, and thyroid cancer.

In rare instances, iodine toxicity can occur as a result of consuming heavy doses of iodine supplements.Children who eat a whole bottle of vitamin pills or adults with kidney failure using supplements may not be able to properly eliminate excess iodine. Symptoms can include stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea.9

Iodine Allergies and Sensitivity

Iodine: Health benefits and risks

Allergies and sensitivities to iodine have been reported. There are three types of iodine reactions:

  • Skin sensitivity: Topical iodine (used directly on the skin) can cause skin redness and pain. This reaction is generally self-limited and typically resolves on its own within a few hours.
  • Allergies: Allergies to ingested iodine remain a somewhat controversial topic. Seafood allergies have been attributed to iodine in the past. Now medical experts believe that seafood allergies are caused by another component of seafood, not iodine.
  • Contrast (injected) iodine: Contrast material injected for imaging studies often contains iodine. Often, people experience allergic reactions to contrast injection. Whether iodine plays a role in this reaction is unclear. Medical experts currently believe iodine is not the reason behind allergic reactions to contrast dye, but questions remain.

Allergic reactions have been reported when iodine is ingested in seafood or injected for imaging studies. However, some medical experts question whether these allergies are due to iodine or another component.

Iodine is a mineral your body needs for producing thyroid hormones. These hormones have important roles in regulating body weight, maintaining energy, and growing hair, skin, and nails.

Iodine deficiencies can lead to hypothyroidism, where the thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones.Common sources of iodine include salt, supplements, and foods like vegetables and seafood. Consult your physician before taking any supplements.

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