What is Iodine and What Does it Do?

WHAT DOES IODINE DO?
Iodine is essential for the production of two key hormones which regulate energy in the body T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). These two hormones are produced in the thyroid gland and have far reaching effects on the bodys’ metabolism, affecting digestion, mental function, cholesterol regulation and sleep.  Iodine is also essential for the necessary function of the immune system, as it contains potent anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-viral and anti-cancer properties.

 

AM I DEFICIENT IN IODINE?
Approximately 1.5 billion people, about one-third of the earths population live in an area of iodine deficiency as defined by the world health organisation. Iodine deficiency disorder can result in mental retardation, goiter, poor immune function and infertility.In the developed world iodine deficiency has increased more than four-fold over the last 40 years. Nearly 74% of normal ‘healthy’ adults may no longer be consuming enough iodine 1

 

WHAT ARE THE SOURCES OF IODINE?
Iodine is a relatively rare element and it is found primarily in sea water in small quantities and sea organisms such as seaweed. Iodine is not very abundant in the earths crust. If the soils have adequate iodine levels, the crops grown on that soil will contain adequate iodine also. However with intensive farming practices now being the mainstream form of agriculture, the majority of soils will be deficient in iodine. Salt iodisation has been common practice in the last 50 years, however estimates are that less than 50% of the U.S. population uses iodised sea salt, due to the claims that reducing salt intake reduces the risks of heart disease and high blood pressure.

Dairy based products, fish and eggs have approximately 27-56 micrograms of iodine per serving.

 

WHERE IN THE BODY IS IODINE FOUND
Every cell in the body contains and utilises iodine, it is more concentrated in the glandular system. The thyroid gland contains a higher concentration of iodine than any other organ in the body. Large amounts of iodine are also stored in many other areas, including the salivary glands, cerebrospinal fluid, gastric mucosa, breasts, ovaries and the ciliary body of the eye.

 

HOW MUCH IODINE DO I NEED?
The US recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for iodine is 150-290 micrograms (mcg) for adults, while the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has set the tolerable upper limit at 1,100 mcg. These guidelines may be inadequate to address certain health conditions.

They were first established as sufficient only to prevent goiter. Daily doses for optimal health of 3,000-6,000 mcg have been used without side effects in studies of people with other iodine deficiency-related health conditions such as polycystic breast disease.

By way of comparison, the average daily Japanese consumption of iodine ranges from 5,280 to 13,800 mcg of iodine, with no harmful effects and a host of benefits. The Japanese experience is shedding new light on the importance of iodine, not only for thyroid health, but on other body functions as well. In particular, compelling evidence is emerging about the role of iodine in maintaining breast health, a major concern for millions of women.

By taking seemingly ‘healthy’ steps in your lifestyle, you could inadvertently be lowering your body levels of iodine.

  • Are you exercising regularly? You iodine loss through sweat is substantially more than when not sweating.
  • Are you eating more vegetables than red meat, fish? Vegetarian sources of iodine are much lower and less bio-available compared to animal based sources.

 

For more information regarding iodine, its role in health, and the iodine loading test, please contact clinical Nutritionist, Miles Price on 2881 8131, or miles@lifeclinic.com.hk

*SCIENTIFIC REFERENCES ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

en_USEnglish
zh_HK香港中文版 zh_CN简体中文 en_USEnglish