Are you getting enough of this important nutrient?
According to World Health Organization (WHO) and The International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD) iodine deficiency is on the rise, especially in women of childbearing age. (1) In fact 1/3 of all pregnant women are deficient in iodine, according to the June 2014 report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). (2).
So why is this a big deal?
- Infant, children and adults all need iodine in order for their thyroid gland to function properly.
- It's critical for neurological function as well as fetal and infant brain development.
- It's detected in every organ and tissue in your body.
- It's needed for an efficient metabolism.
- A deficiency of iodine in pregnant women has been linked to miscarriages, still births and is a leading cause of mental retardation in children (3).
- Iodine can help protect us from environmental toxins as well.
Why the decline in iodine levels?
According to Dr Christiane Northrup:
- The use of bromine in products. It’s found in baked goods, plastics, soft drinks, medications, pesticides and more. Bromine basically displaces iodine which leads to iodine deficiency. (look for breads that say No-Bromine or Bromine Free on their label)
- Bread makers stopped using iodate conditioner when making bread.
- People are eating less iodine rich foods like eggs, fish and sea vegetables.
- There is less iodine in the soil and that means less in the foods it’s grown in.
- Most people consume most of their salt from processed foods.
- Many people have substituted iodized salt for sea salts or have cut back on salt due to worries of high blood pressure.
- Fluorinated and chlorinated drinking water interfere with iodine absorption and metabolism. That’s why it’s so important to drink filtered water.
How much iodine should you be getting?
The US Institute of Medicine’s (IOM’s) recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of iodine is as follows:
Adults and adolescents - 150 mcg/day
Pregnant women - 220 mcg/day
Lactating women - 290 mcg/day
Children aged 1 - 11 years - 90 - 120 mcg/day
Infants - Adequate intake is 110 - 130 mcg/day
FYI - If you are pregnant or nursing, it’s likely your prenatal supplement doesn’t have enough iodine. Only a small percentage contain the amount you need everyday. So eat more iodine rich foods or talk to your healthcare provider.
Once again, breastfeeding is best!
Researchers from a study from November 2013 published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology determined that infants assimilate additional iodine quite efficiently when they are breastfed by mothers taking iodine supplements. (5)
According to Christiane Northrup M.D. , “Giving one dose of 400 mg iodine as oral iodized oil to the mother, preferably shortly after she gives birth, will provide enough iodine for her baby for six months.”
Best Sources of Iodine.
Sea vegetables, including nori, kombu, wakame, and arame, which have the highest concentrations of iodine of any food available.
- 1 tablespoon of Kelp contains about 2000/mcg of iodine,
- 1 tablespoon of Arame contains about 730/mcg of iodine,
- 1 tablespoon of Hiziki contains about 780/mcg of iodine,
- 1 one inch piece of Kombu contains about 1450/mcg of iodine,
- 1 tablespoon of Wakame contains about 80/mcg of iodine.
I recommend sprinkling these into soups or salads.
Check out Maine Coast Sea Vegetables (www.seaveg.com), which are sustainably gathered and processed from the pristine waters of the Maine coast.
Fish (make sure that it is clean fish). Wild caught Salmon is best.
Organic yogurt - one serving holds more than half of your daily needs. 1 cup contains approximately 90/mcg of iodine
Organic Eggs – one egg each contains 27 mcg.
Organic cows milk - 4 oz contains about 28.06 mcg
Organic Strawberries – 1 cup contains about 12.96 mcg
Cranberries - About 4 ounces of cranberries contain approximately 400/mcg of iodine. I recommend buying fresh organic berries or juice.
Many beans are a great food source of iodine and navy beans may top the list. Just 1/2 cup of these beans contain about 32/mcg of iodine.
Potatoes - Leave the skin on and one medium-sized baked potato holds 60/mcg of iodine.
If you find this information useful please feel free to share it with your friends and loved ones. And please leave a comment down below!
1. Caldwell, KL. Iodine status in pregnant women in the National Children’s Study and in U.S. women (15-44 years), National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2010, Thyroid, 2013. Aug;23(8):927-37.
2. American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement. Iodine deficiency: Pregnant, breastfeeding women need supplementation, AAP News 2014; 35:6 11]
3. Council on Environmental Health. Iodine Deficiency, Pollutant Chemicals, and the Thyroid: New Information on an Old Problem, Pediatrics, 2014. May 26. pii: peds. 2014-0900.
4. The Endocrine Society 94th Annual Meeting. Miscarriage, Stillbirth Rates Higher With Mild Thyroid Dysfunction, Abstract Oro4-1. Presented June 23, 2012.
5. Bouhouch, R. et al. Direct iodine supplementation of infants versus supplementation of their breastfeeding mothers: a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial, Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 2014. Vol. 2, 3:197-209.
Pere Berbel, María Jesús Obregón, Juan Bernal, Francisco Escobar del Rey, Gabriella Morreale de Escobar. Iodine supplementation during pregnancy: a public health challenge. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Nov;18(9):338-43. Epub 2007 Oct 24.