Holli Ryan RD, LD/N
Iodine is an essential trace mineral, or micromineral, meaning we require smaller amounts of it compared with macrominerals, such as calcium.
The primary role of iodine in mammalian biology is to support the synthesis of thyroid hormones.1,2 Iodine also plays an important role in fetal neurodevelopment/cognitive development in children.3,4 Iodine has also been shown to support normal breast tissue in women.4
Who is at risk of not getting enough iodine?
- Residents of developing countries5
- Vegetarians and vegans5,6
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women4,5
Those who are deficient, at risk of deficiency or whose diet may be lacking should focus on including more whole food sources of iodine and consider supplementing to ensure adequate intake. Thank you to the Vegan Liftz community for including Life Extension’s Sea-Iodine™ in your ‘Best Vegan Iodine Supplements’ Buyers Guide.
Food Sources of Iodine5,6
Seafood and Sea Vegetables
Fish and Shellfish
Salt as a Source of Iodine
In addition to the list above, iodized salt is a major source of iodine. Seafood contains the highest amount of iodine by weight compared to other foods. However, unfortified sea salt only contains a small amount of iodine. For cooking, chefs and consumers may choose sea salt or Himalayan salt as an alternative to table salt (iodized salt) for flavor, texture and their small amount of mineral content aside from sodium. Notably, these options do not have as much iodine as iodized salt.
Iodine in Plants
When it comes to fruits, vegetables and legumes as a source of iodine, the amount varies due to the quality of the soil, which depends on the region and growing practices.5,6 Other important minerals, such as the macromineral magnesium, are also affected by variations in soil quality.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
About the Author: Holli Ryan is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist, health and wellness advocate, and blogger/writer based in South Florida. She is a Florida International University graduate and member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her focus as a dietitian is disease prevention and management of health through nutrition education and customized suggestions. Holli believes that quality dietary supplements are an essential tool that have a variety of applications, from maintaining good health to managing chronic disease.
- Niwattisaiwong S, Burman KD, Li-Ng M. Iodine deficiency: Clinical implications. Cleveland Clinic journal of medicine. 2017;84(3):236-244.
- Triggiani V, Tafaro E, Giagulli VA, et al. Role of iodine, selenium and other micronutrients in thyroid function and disorders. Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2009;9(3):277-294.
- Zimmermann MB. The role of iodine in human growth and development. Seminars in cell & developmental biology. 2011;22(6):645-652.
- Chittimoju SB, Pearce EN. Iodine Deficiency and Supplementation in Pregnancy. Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2019;62(2):330-338.
- NIH, Iodine Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Published by U. S. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-HealthProfessional/ Last updated: 05/01/2020. Accessed: 05/13/2020.
- Higdon J, Drake VJ, Delage B, Pearce EN, Iodine. Published by Linus Pauling Institute.
https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/iodine#summaryLast updated: 08/2015. Accessed: 05/13/2020.