Adequate amounts of iodine are essential for normal thyroid function. Your body requires iodine to properly produce enough thyroid hormone. When the thyroid doesn’t have enough iodine available for the production of T4 and T3, thyroid cells enlarge and begin to proliferate. If you are iodine deficient, your thyroid gland increases in size (goiter) and becomes unable to produce the right amounts of thyroid hormone, which leads to hypothyroidism.
Deleterious Effects of Iodine Deficiency
Approximately 200 million people in the world have iodine deficiency, which leads to goiters. Pregnant women required a higher intake of iodine to support their thyroid function as well as the baby’s. This is extremely important, particularly in the first trimester when the baby relies on the mother’s thyroid hormone for normal brain development. Infants born in iodine-deficient places around the world have smaller birth size and delayed growth. Your memory and cognition rely on thyroid hormone as well, so low-grade hypothyroidism caused by iodine deficiency would lead to cognition problems. People whose brain functions were affected by low thyroid actually improved their memory and cognition with iodine supplementation. As you realize how important thyroid health is for your total well-being, you want to make sure you have the right amount of iodine (not too much, not too little).
The Analysis of Urinary Iodine
Analysis of urinary iodine (UI) concentrations can determine the approximate amount of dietary iodine consumed. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), UI levels less than 100 mcg/L indicate iodine insufficiency, UI levels ranging from 100-199 mcg/L indicate adequate iodine intake, and UI levels greater than 300 mcg/L indicate excessive iodine intake. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) on urinary iodine for the general population, completed in 2005-2006 and 2007-2008, concluded that since the beginning of the twenty first century, Americans by and large have sufficient iodine nutrition. However, 28.2% of the general population (almost one out of three Americans) have iodine insufficiency (UI < 100mcg/L). Iodine insufficiency is mostlt seen in people between 30 to 50 years old, with women being more likely to be iodine deficient than men. The study critically indicates that certain populations, particularly pregnant women and non-Hispanic Black Americans are more susceptible to iodine deficiency. People in the United States actually have sufficient iodine intake, primarily due to the consumption of iodized salt; however, not all table salt is iodized, nor does everyone eat foods rich in iodine or consume iodized salt. Iodine rich food sources include iodized salt, seafood, seaweed, eggs, and some breads or dairy. If you do not receive enough iodine from food sources, you may want to take an iodine supplement to support your thyroid function.
Correcting Iodine Deficiency With The Right Amount of Iodine
If you do consume enough iodine, be careful not to take too much iodine as it can lead to autoimmune thyroid disorders such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and possibly thyroid cancer. Keep in mind that each person’s needs are different, depending on any medications or how much iodine you lose through sweat. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine recommends iodine intake of 90 mcg/day for children, 150 mcg/day for adults and 220 mcg/day for pregnant women. Furthermore, the American Thyroid Association recommends that pregnant women take iodine supplements of 150 mcg/day.
Avoid Too Much Iodine
Do not take more than 500-600 mcg/day. Beware of supplements with high iodine content like Iodoral, which touts that supplementing your thyroid with high amounts of iodine will boost your metabolism and all the other benefits of a healthy thyroid, without informing you that an excess of iodine is in fact unhealthy. The iodine content of iodoral is 25 to 100 times the maximum daily allowance.
Take a Balanced Iodine Support Supplement
I recommend that you take a combination of both molecular iodine and potassium iodide in the right amounts in order to prevent iodine deficiency and keep your thyroid healthy. Molecular iodine helps clear your thyroid gland from halogens such as fluoride and bromide, useless and toxic contaminants of the environment. Thyrolife Optima contains 140 mcg of iodine, the perfect amount to take daily. The amount is adequate for those who lack iodine or have a thyroid imbalance, yet not in excess for a normal person who wants to maintain a healthy thyroid.