Iodine supplement information and review of deficiency, what is the proper daily dosage
June 15 2018 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D. 

Iodine is required for the production of thyroid hormones, which are necessary for normal brain development and cognition and a chemical element necessary for normal growth and development of the brain and body. Either low or high intake may lead to thyroid disease. Because the body does not make it, it must be obtained from the diet -- from sources like seafood, dairy products, plants grown in iodine-rich soil and iodized table salt.
   As a result of collaborative efforts with international organizations and the salt industry, many developing and developed countries practice universal salt iodization (USI) or have mandatory salt fortification programs. As a consequence, the prevalence of iodine deficiency decreased dramatically.

Iodized salt, seaweed, seafood and saltwater fish are good sources of iodine.

Radiation exposure
Some experts think that taking iodine supplements could reduce the risk for thyroid cancer from exposure to radiation. I still need to study this topic more to know if it is accurate.

In normal adults, the daily production rate of the two biologically active thyroid hormones, tetraiodothyronine (which is better known as thyroxine and has four iodine atoms) and triiodothyronine (which has three), is approximately 100 g and 30 g, respectively. All of the thyroxine, but only about 20 percent of the triiodothyronine, is produced by the thyroid gland; the remainder of the triiodothyronine is produced through the extrathyroidal deiodination of thyroxine. A minimum of approximately 70 g of iodine is therefore needed to produce these two hormones in the thyroid gland each day. A seaweed called bladder wrack has a high content of iodine. Since the introduction of iodized salt, supplements are unnecessary and not recommended for most people. For strict vegetarians who avoid salt and sea vegetables, 50 to 150 mcg per day is commonly supplemented. This amount is adequate to prevent deficiency and higher amounts are not necessary.

What if any benefits are there in taking a Kelp iodine 225 mcg supplement daily?
    I do not see any benefit in taking it unless there is clear deficiency.

Iodine deficiency, lack of or shortage
Humans obtain iodine from their diets. The amount in food or water depends upon the amount of iodine in the local soil. Deficiency is not common in the United States, but can occur. Inadequate intake of dietary iodine can lead to an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter) or other iodine deficiency disorders, the world's leading cause of mental retardation in children. There are several countries where iodine deficiency is still a significant problem. For instance, China still has a way to go to eradicate it because of difficulties in fortifying salt in some remote regions. In these villages, iodine deficiency can cause neck goiters and mental retardation; more than 700 million Chinese live in iodine-deficient regions.
   Endemic goiter and cretinism associated with iodine deficiency have been depicted in paintings and statues since ancient times. Only during the past three decades, however, have these disorders been recognized as the leading cause worldwide of intellectual impairment. Development of the central nervous system for normal intellectual functioning depends on an adequate supply of thyroid hormones which require iodine for biosynthesis.
   It is estimated that more than 2 billion people worldwide have insufficient iodine intake, with those in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa particularly affected. Iodine deficiency leads to inadequate production of thyroid hormone. In nearly all countries, the best strategy to control iodine deficiency is iodisation of salt. When iodisation of salt is not possible, iodine supplements can be given to susceptible groups. Introduction of iodised salt to such regions might transiently increase the proportion of thyroid disorders, but overall the small risks of iodine excess are outweighed by the significant risks of iodine deficiency.

What is your position of supplemental Iodine / Iodide such as Lugol's solution or Iodoral.
    A. Since iodine deficiency is not common, there is no point in supplementing with these products unless there is a proven deficiency on lab tests. There should be a good reason for a doctor to check levels and this should not be done routinely unless a medical reason makes the doctor think there could be low levels.

Iodine and its role in cancer and tumors
Send to Thyroid. 2001. Iodine and cancer. Among thyroid carcinomas the most frequent types are the differentiated forms (follicular, papillary or mixed papillary-follicular), whereas anaplastic thyroid carcinoma and medullary thyroid carcinomas are rare. Animal experiments have demonstrated a clear increase in incidence of thyroid epithelial cell carcinomas after prolonged iodine deficiency leading to a situation of the thyroid gland by thyrotropin and possibly other growth factors. However, the overall incidence of differentiated thyroid carcinoma is generally not considered to be influenced by the iodine intake of a population, whereas the distribution of the types of thyroid carcinoma seems to be related to the intake of iodine, with fewer of the more aggressive follicular and anaplastic carcinomas and more papillary carcinomas in iodine rich areas.  The incidence of other cancers, such as breast cancer, may be influenced by the iodine intake, but too few studies are available at present. The overall incidence for a relationship between iodine and cancer is poor and future studies are warranted.

Testing for blood levels
I am wondering about Iodine and how important it is in our diets why is it that most doctors do not test or check to see if we are lacking this important element?
   There are hundreds and thousands of important vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, nutrients, and food substances that are important for health and it is not necessary to check levels of them all and it is impractical and too expensive. Rather, one should look at how the person is doing overall, any symptoms or signs that indicate disease. Most people do not have an iodine deficiency unless their diet is very restricted. Those living in the United States, Canada, Japan, and certain other countries eat more iodine than is really necessary. The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council has recommended a daily intake of 150 to 300 micrograms of iodine per day. If you live in the United States your daily dietary iodine intake is probably between 200 and 700 micrograms per day, because extra iodine has been added to bread, milk, salt, and other foods that you consume frequently. Low iodine levels can be suspected if there is low thyroid function. Deficiency in this mineral is common in many rural areas in the world leading to goiters.

Children with mild deficiency may benefit from supplementation
Iodine supplements may improve mental function in children with even mild deficiencies in the nutrient. Severe iodine deficiency has long been known to cause mental impairment, stunted growth and other problems in children. Such deficiency remains a major problem in parts of the world -- typically where the soil is iodine-poor, people eat little seafood and salt is not iodized. But there has also been a recent re-emergence of milder iodine deficiency in certain countries, including New Zealand and Australia -- thought to be due to factors like declining use of iodized salt and changes in dairy-product manufacturing that have lowered iodine levels. Researchers in New Zealand randomly assigned 184 mildly iodine-deficient children to take either a tablet containing 150 micrograms of iodine or a placebo pill every day for 28 weeks. At the end of the study, children in iodine group showed an overall improvement on two standard cognitive tests that gauge problem-solving abilities. And they outperformed children who received the placebo. Iodine is necessary for the body to produce thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism. The traditional view was that since these hormone levels are still within normal range when a person is mildly iodine deficient, the lack of iodine may have no health effects. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, October 2009.

Consequences of iodine fortification
In Denmark, introduction of iodine-fortified salt resulted in an initial rise, then a subsequent fall, in cases of overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism. Before implementing a nationwide program to distribute iodine-fortified salt, Denmark was an area of mild to moderate iodine deficiency, Dr. Charlotte Cerqueira, from Glostrup University Hospital, measured dispensing of antithyroid medication before and after Denmark started an iodine-fortification program. Of 5 million Danes, 4,281 started using antithyroid medication in 1997. The researchers measured antithyroid medication use again after the program began voluntarily in 1998, and became mandatory in 2000.In the region of the country with moderate iodine deficiency, the number of antithyroid medication users increased 46 percent during the 4 years after fortification. This was most common among residents younger than 40 years and older than 75 years. In the mildly-deficient region of Denmark, antithyroid use increased by 18 percent during the first 4 years, and only among residents 59 years of age and younger. After 6 years of iodine fortification, the rates of antithyroid use began to decline to the level they were prior to the start of fortification. Transient iodine-induced hyperthyroidism has been reported in the early phases of almost all iodine fortification programs, says Dr. Charlotte Cerqueira. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, July 2009.

Excess, side effects, risk, danger
Side effects with excess dosages could include dizziness, drowsiness, headache, muscle aches, gastrointestinal discomfort, changes in bowel habits, nausea, joint pains, breathing trouble, swelling of the face, swelling of the throat, metallic taste, burning mouth, sore teeth and gums and thyroid dysfunction.

Is it true that too much supplemental iodine is lethal? I hear a lot that too much of a supplement can harm or even kill you, I was wondering if there are any "safe" iodine supplements, My wife I believe has a severe iodine deficiency so I'm going to get her blood checked. But if it is severe I'm just wondering how much needs to get through her system without being broken down by stomach acids to do any good?
    This mineral is usually well absorbed. In rare cases excess use for prolonged periods or purposeful overdose may cause death but this is very rare.

Iodine levels and lifespan, longevity
Thyroid. 2018. Urinary Iodine Concentrations and Mortality Among U.S. Adults. Global salt iodization to overcome iodine deficiency has been successful, but have led to excessive iodine consumption in some populations, thereby increasing the risks of iodine-induced thyroid dysfunction, as well as the comorbidities and mortality associated with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Higher all-cause mortality among those with excess iodine intake, compared with individuals with adequate iodine intake, highlights the importance of monitoring population iodine status.

Radioactive Iodine treatment
The main advantage of radioactive Iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism is that it tends to have a much higher success rate than medications. Depending on the dose of radioactive iodine chosen, and the disease under treatment (Grave's versus toxic goitre, versus hot nodule etc), success rate in achieving definitive resolution of the hyperthyroidism may vary from 75-100%.

Radioactive Iodine side effect
A major expected side effect of radioactive iodine in patients with Graves disease is the development of life long hypothyroidism requiring daily treatment with thyroid hormone. Occasionally, some patients may require more than one radioactive treatment, depending on the type of disease present, the size of the thyroid, and the initial dose administered. Many patients are initially unhappy at the thought of having to take a thyroid hormone pill for the rest of their lives. Nevertheless, as thyroid hormone is safe, inexpensive, and easy to take, and is identical to the thyroid hormone normally made by our own thyroid, this therapy is generally extremely safe and very well tolerated by the vast majority of patients.
   The long-term risk of developing a tumor in the thyroid gland or autoimmune thyroiditis, a progressive inflammatory disease of the thyroid, is increased after exposure to radioactive iodine therapy in childhood.

Tincture of iodine benefit
Tincture of iodine (3% elemental iodine in water/ethanol base) is an essential component of any emergency survival kit, used both to disinfect wounds and to sanitize surface water for drinking (3 drops per liter, let stand for 30 minutes).

Food containing iodine - Low Diet - Source
Iodine is found in seafood, iodised salt, dairy foods, and some vegetables. Iodine is found in foods as iodide. Our bodies need it to make thyroid hormones. The two main thyroid hormones, thyroxine and tri-iodothyronine, are synthesized from the amino acid, tyrosine, and from iodide.

Iodine compounds are important in organic chemistry and very useful in medicine. The artificial radioisotope 131I, with a half-life of 8 days, has been used in treating the thyroid gland. The most common compounds are the iodides of sodium and potassium (KI) and the iodates (KIO3). Iodides, and thyroxin which contains iodine, are used internally in medicine, and as a solution of KI and iodine in alcohol is used for external wounds. Potassium iodide finds use in photography.

Pregnancy and neonatal period requirement
The requirement for iodine by the mother during pregnancy is 250-300 microg per day. During lactation the iodine requirement is 225-350 micrograms. During the neonatal period the requirement of the infant is 90 microg a day. Pregnant women and young infants, but especially the second group, are more sensitive to the effects of an iodine deficiency than the general population because their serum thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine are increased and decreased, respectively, for degrees of iodine deficiency that do not seem to affect thyroid function in the general population.

Allergy - Allergic Reaction
The term iodine allergy is misleading since iodine is an essential trace element present throughout the body. No one is allergic to iodine. Patients who report iodine allergy usually have had either a prior contrast reaction or a shellfish allergy.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis
Like most autoimmune diseases of humans, Hashimoto's thyroiditis results from the combination of a genetic predisposition and an environmental trigger. A body of clinical and epidemiologic evidence points to excessive ingestion of iodine as an environmental agent. In genetically determined thyroiditis in animals, iodine enrichment has been shown to increase the incidence and severity of disease.

There has been an increase in the prevalence of overt hypothyroidism, subclinical hypothyroidism, and autoimmune thyroiditis with increasing iodine intake in China.

Questions and reports, testimonials
What type of iodine treatment is best for hypothyroidism? tablet, solution?
   Iodine deficiency disorder is rare in industrialized countries due to enrichment of table salt and cattle feed. Iodine deficiency is common in developing countries. Hypothyroidism in Western countries is most likely not due to low iodine intake or iodine deficiency. Iodized salt provides several hundred micrograms per teaspoon. The minimal recommended daily allowance (RDA) for iodine is 80 to 100 micrograms, with the average American diet containing between 200 and 700 micrograms.

I have noticed that the baby food sold at the health food stores (Whole Foods) contains no salt, and therefore, I assume, no Iodine. How do you suggest my 15month old grandson obtain sufficient Iodine in his diet if I make his baby food?
   I am not an expert in the topic of iodine requirement of babies or infants. Iodine is found in small amounts in various foods, including milk, grains, meat, and seafood. Iodine deficiency is rare in the United States. However, if you wish, you could add a small amount of iodized salt to the baby's food a couple of times a week.

What are your thoughts about Ioderal? I might be clinically hypothyroid, but labs within normal range, a complicated and loaded issue for internists.
   It is not common to be iodine deficient in the USA, therefore there should be a very clear reason to taken iodine tablets. I am not specifically familiar with Ioderal products.

I'm interested in taking an iodine supplement 225 mcg for my enlarged thyroid. is this safe?
   This is a decision you and your doctor need to make since it depends on your overall health, other supplements and medications you are taking, your diet, blood studies and thyroid hormone levels, and other factors.

My daughter and I have had our thyroids removed years ago, both for different reasons. My alternative Dr. put me on 12.5 mg. of iodine complex. My armour thyroid medication is working more efficiently so that I can take less medication. My daughter's thyroid removal was due to an auto-immune problem. She is taking Synthroid from a different Dr.. Could iodine work as well for her?
   I can't see how iodine pills can have an influence when a thyroid gland is not present.

I was following the iodine testicle painting protocol for about 4 days and my throat swelled up and started hurting (swollen glands), I stopped taking it about 7 days ago but the swollen throat and pain have not gone away.

I purchased this product because I feel tired and my blood work is good according to my test. I asked my doctor to test me for my my thyroid a few years back and she told me it was a little off not to worry. I started walking for exercise and I got stuck at 220 pounds and the scale would not move and I have a healthy menu. I gained a hundred , 24 pounds in the last 18 years and I want to just get rid of it .Again I was stuck and walking my self to death and the scale just moves back and forward .While walking I just got this strong feeling my thyroid is off more than what I was told a few years back. I started taking this product last week two pills a day. In the first week my scale finally moved in the right direction 3 pounds less and I have energy. I wake up with energy to hit the exercise track daily and I feel so much better. I feel more alert like my brain woke up from sleeping in a fog and I sleep less with more energy. I love this product and I cant wait to see the results after 30 days. My weight started out at 244 and half before I got stuck at 220 but the scale just stopped moving before I ordered the Iodine sea kelp.

Other products online
buy Iodine supplement 150 mcg pill, from sea kelp.
Sea kelp is a natural food source of essential iodine, which is one of the few minerals designated as essential. Some individuals on a low salt diet may not be getting enough of this important mineral from their food. One tablet per day provides 150 mcg. of iodine. This is equivalent to 100% of the Daily Value for adults and children over the age of 12.

Life Extension, Sea-Iodine, 1000 mcg, 60 Veggie Caps
Buy Iodine 1000 mcg or 1 mg

Supplement Facts Life Extension, Sea-Iodine, 1000 mcg, 60 Veggie Caps
Serving Size: 1 Vegetarian Capsule


Amount Per Serving %Daily Value
Iodine (from Sea-Iodine Complex
Blend (organic kelp and bladderwrack
extracts, potassium iodide)]

Buy Iodine supplement