advertisement



Supplements & Herbs


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Iodine

iodine inside

What is iodine?
Iodine is a non-metallic mineral which humans require in trace amounts for proper development and growth. It exists in most soils, and is taken up by plants which are in turn ingested by humans and animals. Most of the body's stores of iodine are located in the thyroid gland, which requires iodine for the synthesis of thyroid hormones.

Why is iodine necessary?
Iodine is used by the thyroid gland to produce hormones which regulate all key metabolic functions including blood cell production and nerve and muscle function. Because our body heat is primarily derived from muscle metabolism, these hormones also regulate body temperature. Topically applied iodine is also useful to help prevent wounds from becoming infected, and iodine tablets dissolved in water provide an inexpensive way to purify water in emergency situations.

What are the signs of a deficiency?
Signs of iodine deficiency include an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), and weight gain, as well as symptoms of hypothyroidism such as fatigue and intolerance of cold. Chronic iodine deficiency can lead to health problems such as thyroid gland dysfunction, and neurologic, gastrointestinal, and skin abnormalities. Iodine deficiency in pregnant or nursing mothers can result in deficiency during fetal and child development, and is the most common cause of preventable brain damage in the world.

How much, and what kind, does an adult need?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), adults 18 and older should get 150 mcg daily; pregnant women 18 and older, 220 mcg; and lactating women, 290 mcg.

How much does a child need?
The NIH recommends a daily intake of:

  • infants 0-12 months, 50 mcg
  • children 1-8 years, 90 mcg
  • children /young teens 9-13,120 mcg
  • teens 14-18, 150 mcg.

How do you get enough iodine from foods?
Good dietary sources of iodine include iodized salt; dairy products (animals secrete dietary iodine into milk and animal feed contains iodine); and seafood including fish, shellfish, seaweed, kelp, sardines and canned tuna. Plants grown on iodine-rich soil are also good sources. If you are eating a healthy, balanced, varied diet, you're probably getting enough iodine and don't need to use iodized salt.

Are there any risks associated with too much iodine?
Signs and symptoms of acute iodine poisoning include burning of the mouth, throat, and stomach; fever; nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; a weak pulse; and coma. Excessive iodine intake can be toxic to those with kidney disease or tuberculosis, and may increase the risk of thyroid papillary cancer. There is an unhealthy practice of using iodine tablets to "boost" thyroid function, and toxicity can result. You should never take iodine tablets without a physician's recommendation to do so.

Updated by: Andrew Weil, M.D., and Brian Becker, M.D., on January 10, 2013


advertisement

Are you getting the supplements you need?
Everyone's dietary needs are different based on a number of factors including lifestyle, diet, medications and more. To find out which supplements are right for you, take the Weil Vitamin Advisor. This 3-step questionnaire requires just minutes to complete, and generates a free, no-obligation vitamin and nutritional supplement recommendation that is personalized to meet your unique nutritional needs.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here