Iodine is a mineral that must be obtained through the diet and is primarily needed for the production of thyroid hormones. These hormones play a crucial role in a large number of bodily functions and maintain a healthy metabolism. Imbalances in thyroid hormones can have a number of negative impacts on your health, such as weight gain, fatigue and depression, to name a few. As well as its role in thyroid health, iodine is also necessary for supporting healthy brain development in babies and young children.
Iodine is found naturally in the earth’s soil and oceans, so has to be ingested through eating things like fish and seaweed, and also some plant foods, such as cereals and grains. Although, levels may vary depending on the amount of iodine in the soil the plants are grown in.
If you are vegan or vegetarian, or don’t eat many iodine rich foods, it can be difficult to get adequate amounts of iodine through diet alone. Pregnant women and young children also require higher quantities of iodine. As such, if you fall under any of these categories you may benefit from taking an iodine supplement. Here, we take a closer look at the importance of iodine for thyroid health and for children’s development.
Iodine for thyroid health
The thyroid gland, located at the front of your neck, is part of the endocrine system and extracts iodine from the blood to produce thyroid hormones. These play a role in regulating nearly all bodily functions, including metabolism, heart, muscle and digestive function, brain development, bone maintenance and the immune response.
Iodine deficiency can lead to a condition called hypothyroidism, which is characterised by an underactive thyroid gland and a reduction in the production of thyroid hormones. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain and fatigue.
On the other hand, insufficient iodine may lead to hyperthyroidism, a term used to describe an overactive thyroid. This can cause anxiety, weight loss, fatigue and difficulty sleeping. Both hypo and hyperthyroidism can lead to an enlarged thyroid gland, known as a goiter, which can negatively impact thyroid function. Goiters most commonly develop due to a lack of iodine in the diet. Taking an iodine supplement can help prevent low levels of iodine in the blood and support good thyroid health
However, it’s important to note that too much iodine can have a negative impact on thyroid health. If you are already on thyroid medication, it can also interfere with its effects. We recommend speaking to your doctor before taking an iodine supplement to ensure you aren’t causing yourself more harm.
Iodine for children
Iodine supports healthy brain and bone development in babies and children. Therefore, it is especially important that mothers ensure they are getting enough during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. The recommended daily intake for pregnant women is 220mcg and 290mcg for breastfeeding women. Iodine supplements can help ensure you meet this requirement, which can be difficult to meet otherwise. According to one study, babies born to mothers with an iodine deficiency were more likely to have lower IQs.
But it doesn’t just stop here. Young children need plenty of iodine during the first years of their lives. It is recommended that infants under 6 months need 110mcg a day. This is because during this time, their brains are developing at a rapid rate and need the right nutrients to support this growth. However, young children are much fussier eaters and generally don’t like iodine rich foods that much. But a lack of iodine can lead to a number of intellectual disabilities.
If you think you don’t get enough iodine in your diet, or would like to support the development of your child, our iodine supplement can be extremely beneficial. These vegan-friendly tablets provide a high dose of potassium iodide to support a healthy thyroid and proper nervous system and brain development.