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What Is Iodine? What are it’s Functions?

Iodine (I) is a vital trace mineral that the body cannot produce on its own and must be received through food or supplements. It is added to vitamins and some salt seasonings, and it is naturally present in some foods. The thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine, which help to create proteins and regulate enzyme activity as well as appropriate metabolism, are made from (I).

How Much Iodine Do I Need? What Are The Recommended Amounts?

The needs for (I) in adults are 140 micrograms (g) per day. By consuming a varied and balanced diet, the majority of people should be able to acquire all the iodine they require. If you strictly adhere to a vegan diet and don’t consume any fish, eggs, cow’s milk, or other dairy products, you might want to think about eating iodine-fortified foods or thinking about taking an iodine supplement.

Some plant-based beverages (such as soy or oat) are also iodine-fortified. (I) content can be determined by reading the label. Consult a healthcare practitioner for guidance if you are thinking about taking a supplement.

RDA: The element I has a recommended dietary allowance of 150 micrograms (mcg) per day for adult males and females aged 19 or older and 220 and 290 mcg per day for pregnant and lactating females, respectively.[1,2]


UL: The highest daily dose most likely to avoid having negative side effects in the general population is known as a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL). The element I intake guidelines recommend 1,100 mcg per day for individuals aged 19 and older, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers.

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What Happens If There Is Excess Of I?

The way your thyroid gland functions can alter if you take large doses of I for extended periods of time. Weight gain is just one of the many symptoms that might result from this.

Avoid taking too much (I) if you take supplements because doing so could be dangerous. Supplemental (I) intake of 0.5 mg or less per day is unlikely to be harmful.

What Are The Sources Of Iodine? What Food Contains This Beneficial Element

The amount of I in soil and the ocean changes, which will have an impact on how much of the mineral is present in food. Sea vegetables and foods with animal proteins are the main sources of (I), with fortified foods like bread, cereal, and milk coming in second.

  • Seaweed (nori, kelp, kombu, wakame)
  • Fish, shellfish (cod, canned tuna, oysters, shrimp) (Source)
  • Table salts labelled “iodized” (Source)
  • Dairy (cheese, milk) (Source)
  • Beef liver
  • Chicken
  • Fortified infant formula
  • Eggs

Deficiency Of Iodine: The Possible Disorders And Their Symptoms


I control metabolism, the process by which food energy is transformed into energy that supports cellular growth and function. Therefore, normal growth and development can be hampered by an iodine shortage. 

Iodine deficiency in adults of less than 10 to 20 mcg per day can result in hypothyroidism, which affects normal metabolic processes like controlling body weight, heart rate, and body temperature. Goiters, a bump or swelling in the neck, frequently accompany hypothyroidism. Additional indications of hypothyroidism include:

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

People at risk for iodine deficiency include those who do not use iodized salt or supplements containing iodine, pregnant women, vegans who do not eat any animal foods, and those living in areas with low levels of iodine in the soil (e.g., mountainous regions).

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Toxicity In Case Of Excess Consumption of Element I

Most healthy individuals can tolerate high (I) consumption without any issues. However, some individuals with autoimmune thyroid disease or those who have a history of chronic iodine shortage may be sensitive to additional iodine, leading to iodine deficiency diseases like hypothyroidism and goitre.

A high metabolism that encourages weight loss, a rapid or irregular pulse, hand tremors, restlessness, weariness, and perspiration are all symptoms of hyperthyroidism, which can be brought on by too much iodine. Iodine-induced hyperthyroidism can occasionally be brought on in sensitive people by even a small excess of dietary iodine over the RDA.

High consumption of seaweed has been linked to a higher risk of developing several thyroid cancers, especially in postmenopausal women, according to some epidemiologic studies, but the precise mechanism is yet unknown. (I) poisoning and iodine-induced hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are particularly dangerous for young children, newborns, the elderly, and people who already have thyroid disorders.