Why Do You Need Iodine?


You’ve probably heard of iodine and may have wondered why you need it. The answer is: for just about everything. Unfortunately, iodine has been a sadly neglected mineral in our diets since the 1940s, and it was considered only necessary for preventing goiter.

But research shows that all tissues of the body require iodine.  It’s pretty well known that iodine helps fuel the thyroid – our metabolism’s ‘gas pedal’, but it’s less widely reported that it also protects breast tissue and prostate cells, helps regulate hormones, and detoxifies dangerous iodine competitors like chlorine, bromide, and fluoride – all common chemicals in daily life.

Everyone needs iodine each day, but if you find yourself easily fatigued, gaining weight easily, or getting sick frequently, I’d recommend starting off with a higher level. Just make sure your iodine comes from varied sources, including molecular iodine, sodium iodide, and potassium iodide, because each type targets specific concerns.

Signs of Iodine Deficiency

Iodine regulates metabolism, the conversion of energy obtained from food into energy to help cells function and grow. A deficiency of iodine can therefore prevent normal growth and development. This is especially dangerous in pregnant women and infants. In adults, an iodine deficiency of less than 10-20 mcg a day can lead to inadequate thyroid hormone production, called hypothyroidism, which disrupts normal metabolic functions like regulating heart rate, body temperature, and body weight. Signs of hypothyroidism include:

  • Fatigue, lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin and hair

Integrative practitioners often suggest 50 mg per day for 3 months followed by 6.25 or 12.5 mg daily thereafter for optimal health.  However, when working with higher doses of iodine, I’d encourage you to discuss it with your healthcare practitioner to find a dose that is right for you.

Related:   The Power of Zinc Lozenges

With all that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best sources of iodine in your diet…


Milk is well known for its calcium content which makes it ideal for strengthening the bones. However, this isn’t the only reason to try and get more milk in your life, as it is also high in iodine. A single cup of milk will provide you with an impressive 56 micrograms of the mineral which is 37% of your DV.

There are other good reasons to drink milk too. Milk also happens to be an excellent source of protein, not to mention healthy saturated fats. It might also play a role in a range of other hormones and be able to increase testosterone and growth hormone when consumed in larger quantities prior to sleep.

Canned Tuna

Fish provide among the very best sources of iodine that you can get in your diet. Tuna in particular is a great source and for just three ounces of canned tuna, you’ll get an impressive 17 micrograms of iodine or 11% of your DV.

And like many other items on this list, you’ll also benefit from a range of other nutrients and advantages when you eat tuna. For example, it is well known that tuna is an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acid.

Baked potatoes

Baked potatoes are a great option if you want a fibrous carb that only hits you with a limited number of calories. In order to get all the nutrients from potatoes, baking is considerably preferable to other forms of cooking.

Related:   Omega-3 fatty acids are very important.

You’ll get plenty of vitamin C this way, as well as potassium and of course you’re also going to get a supply of iodine. Specifically, you’ll get roughly 40% of your DV, which adds up to around 60 micrograms per medium potato.

These are just a few foods that will help support your iodine needs.

Craig Gustafson

InnoVision Health Media reports on health content that is supported by our editorial advisory board and content published in our group of peer reviewed medical journals.

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