Iodine intake: the why, where from, and how much
Here you'll discover why we need Iodine, where we can source it from, how much we need to consume and what happens if we have too much of it.
Why do we need Iodine?
Iodine is needed for thyroid hormones, which is needed to maintain the speed at which chemical reactions take place in the body e.g. metabolism. It is also needed for thermoregulation (maintenance of the body’s core internal temperature), and protein synthesis.
Where can I get Iodine from?
There are many sources from which we can source Iodine. Some of these include cereals, grains, cereal products, iodised salt, nuts, fruit, vegetables, and edible seaweeds, such as, nori.
However, there is no easy way of knowing how much iodine is in plant foods. The level of iodine will be affected by the amount of iodine in the soil that the plant is grown in. In addition to this, seaweed is a rich source of iodine, but it may be too high and it might be contaminated. Lastly, it’s not a good idea to rely on iodised salt, because public health authorities suggest that we reduce our intake of salt. For these reasons, The Vegan Society states that a supplement is the most reliable option.
How much Iodine do I need?
Adults need 0.14mg of iodine per day.
What happens if I have too much Iodine?
Taking high doses of iodine for long periods of time could change the way the thyroid gland works, which could lead to a wide range of different symptoms, such as, weight gain.
“You should be able to get all the iodine you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. If you take iodine supplements, don't take too much as this could be harmful. Taking 0.5mg or less a day of iodine supplements is unlikely to cause any harm.”
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