Before you begin taking iodine supplements, it pays to do a little research into this trace mineral and whether or not a supplement is necessary for you as an individual. If you use iodized salt, you are in effect already taking a supplement. Some multi-vitamins may also contain iodine.
Importance of Iodine
Iodine, like other trace minerals such as selenium, is vital for processes essential to life. Its importance cannot be overstated. Iodine benefits your body by supporting your thyroid gland. Your thyroid gland produces hormones which regulate your metabolic rate. Iodine is a chemical component of these hormones.
Your butterfly-shaped thyroid gland is located on the front of your throat. Of all the hormone-secreting glands in your body, it is the only one which stores its hormone in large quantities, usually about 100 days' worth. It would take some time before you would notice symptoms of an iodine deficiency such as unusual weight gain or constant fatigue.
Taking Iodine Supplements
Since iodine is a trace mineral, you do not need to take a large dose to meet your daily recommended dosage. You need only 150 mcg a day to fulfill this requirement. If you are pregnant or nursing, you can up that dosage to 200 mcg.
If you take iodine supplements, there are several cautions of which you need to be aware.
- Iodine should never be taken if you use the prescription drug lithium.
- Iodine should not be supplemented if you take the anticoagulant drug Warfarin or Phenprocoumon as taking iodine supplements may increase risk of side effects from taking these medications.
- If you have a pre-existing condition such as bronchitis or other respiratory conditions, consult with your doctor before adding iodine to the list of nutritional supplements that you take.
Why You May Consider a Supplement
Most Americans get adequate salt in their diet, especially if you use iodized salt, considering that a teaspoon contains over 300 mcg of iodine. However, there are a few facts about salt and iodine that may surprise you.
For example, many gourmet cooking sites recommend the use of sea salt during cooking for added flavor and texture. However, sea salt may not contain iodine. If your diet contains salty snack foods or processed foods, you may not be getting all of the iodine you think you are. Typically, these products will not contain iodized salt.
Likewise, if you are pregnant, you may want to talk to your doctor about taking a supplement in order to prevent brain disorders in your developing fetus caused by a dietary deficiency. Also, if you are a vegetarian or vegan, you may need to supplement your diet with some extra iodine. Your iodine intake may be deficient if you are on a salt-restricted diet due to high blood pressure,
In some cases, your diet or other supplements which you take may affect whether or not you need additional iodine. If you are taking sea kelp tablets or their antioxidant or diuretic properties, you are already getting plenty of iodine and probably would not need a supplement.
New Concerns Regarding Iodine
While you may think you are getting adequate iodine in your diet, there is another factor you may want to consider. A 2008 study published in the journal, Environmental Science & Technology, found that 53 percent of iodized salt samples tested had less than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended amount of iodine.
This fact raises concerns about the need for iodine supplements. As manufacturers produce healthier foods with less sodium and less salt, perhaps you may need to re-evaluate your need for additional iodine in your diet.
Iodine was first added to salt in 1924 by the Morton Salt Company, back during a time when goiters, a symptom of iodine deficiency, were common. Reports of iodine deficiencies bring the health community full circle as once again iodine comes to the forefront. When considering a supplement, take a good look at your diet. You may find that it needs some extra help.