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Iodine helps make thyroid hormones, which help keep cells and the metabolic rate (the speed at which chemical reactions take place in the body) healthy. These hormones control how fast your cells work.
Because iodine is crucial for a healthy and happy thyroid, and therefore T4 and T3 production and function, this precious mineral has a big role in good mental health. Iodine helps ensure that there’s enough T4 and T3 in the brain to help it activate key neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinepherine, serotonin, GABA, and acetylcholine.
Good food sources of iodine include:
- sea fish
Iodine can also be found in plant foods, such as cereals and grains, but the levels vary depending on the amount of iodine in the soil where the plants are grown.
How much iodine do I need?
Adults need 140 micrograms (μg) of iodine a day.
Most people should be able to get all the iodine they need by eating a varied and balanced diet.
If you are following a strict vegan diet and do not eat any fish then you may want to consider taking an iodine supplement. Some types of plant-based milk are also fortified with iodine. If you are considering taking a supplement seek advice from a healthcare professional.
There is no easy way of knowing how much iodine is in plant foods. Plant foods (apart from
seaweed) may contain a low amount of iodine. The amount of iodine in a plant food varies depending on how much is in the soil the plant is grown in.
Although seaweed is a rich source of iodine, there are several reasons why it may not be the best option. The iodine content of
seaweed is variable, and sometimes too high. Also, some types are contaminated.
Iodised salt is not a good option because public health authorities recommend that we cut down on salt.
Arguably, a non-seaweed supplement is the most reliable way of meeting your body’s need for iodine. The Vegan Society markets a daily vitamin and mineral supplement designed for
vegans called VEG 1, providing reliable intakes of vitamins B12 and D, iodine and selenium. Please discuss the use of supplements with a health professional to help ensure that they are suitable for you.
Another option is to use a plant milk fortified with iodine. Identify this type of product by looking for potassium iodide in the list of ingredients. Currently, most plant milks are not fortified with iodine.
TEN GOOD REASONS WHY IODINE IS A MUST FOR YOUR HEALTH:
1. Iodine Is Necessary for Metabolism and Thyroid Function
Metabolism is the act of converting food into substances your body can use. Iodine is an important part of this process. It helps the body break down food into nutrients via the thyroid gland and other mechanisms. Iodine is the literal “fuel” for the thyroid. Triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) are the main hormones that the thyroid produces.
For these hormones to be created, they need iodine. Good thyroid health also helps your body keep a steady heart rate, regulate temperature, improve digestion, and maintain a healthy weight.
2. Iodine Helps Your Brain Stay Sharp
Iodine deficiency has been linked to cognitive decline in countless studies and is one of the “world’s most prevalent, yet easily preventable, cause[s] of brain damage,” according to the
Organization. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy has been linked to autism in a recent University of Arizona study.
Furthermore, a 2013 Australian investigation published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience found that iodine supplementation improved the perceptual reasoning of slightly deficient children considerably .
3. Iodine Protects the Body From Toxins
Fluoride, chlorine, and bromine are dangerous chemicals found in everything from new car interiors to tap water. They can also severely hinder thyroid function. Maintaining healthy iodine levels can block these “halide” chemicals from accumulating.
Iodine can also protect against xenoestrogens – “chemical mimics” – that can lead to reproductive conditions like ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids. Some
experts point to the possibility that iodine may also help with mercury detoxification.
4. Iodine Protects You From Radiation
In addition to flushing the dangerous “halides” mentioned above, iodine can also protect you from radiation exposure. It is a natural protectant from UV radiation for the eyes, according to a 2004 Austrian study.
Iodine supplementation can also be used to help individuals suffering from long-term radiation exposure. The effects of too much radiation can happen because of accidents, medical devices, and the radiation emitted by TSA scanners at airports.
A 2008 study published in Radiation Research discovered that “terahertz radiation” like that found in airport x-ray scanners is linked to genetic mutation. Adequate amounts of iodine in the body is a must for anyone who travels a lot.
5. Iodine Is a Natural Antiseptic
Maybe you remember that brownish-red solution your mom used to apply when you had a cut? For everything from cleaning wounds to purifying water, iodine is a sterilizing substance that can kill unhealthy organisms, bacteria and viruses.
A 2015 Iranian study found that a low-concentration iodine antiseptic used after oral surgery helped instigate first-stage wound healing in the surgery area, leading to faster recovery and less chance of infection .
6. Iodine Is a Powerful Antioxidant
According to some experts, iodine may be as powerful in this regard as vitamin
C. It can help reduce free radical damage that may lead to gene mutation and disease. It is a great boon for the immune system as it helps clean the blood of harmful pathogens.
A 2013 meta-analysis published by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in the journal Thyroid found that iodine is “an antioxidant as well as an antiproliferative and differentiation agent” which can help clear up free radical damage in many organs of the body. It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory.
7. Iodine Ensures Reproductive Health
Did you know that Japanese women have the lowest rates of breast cancer in the world? A 2003 report published in the journal
Breast Cancer Research postulated that this could be a direct result of eating iodine- and selenium-rich seaweed, which is a staple in the Japanese diet.
Iodine is fuel for reproductive glands as well as the thyroid. Studies suggest that getting enough iodine can help prevent fibrocystic breast disease, preeclampsia, ovarian
cancer, ovarian cysts, vaginitis, polycystic ovary syndrome, and even breast cancer. Enough iodine in the body is also one aspect of a healthy pregnancy.
8. Iodine Helps Prevent Hair Loss
Besides protecting the skin and eyes from UV radiation, adequate levels of iodine can give your skin and hair a healthy glow. This is because iodine is involved in cellular rejuvenation. Healthy iodine levels also help prevent hair loss because of the nutrients supplied to the thyroid gland. Iodine in combination with other essential minerals such as iron, magnesium, and zinc can be a powerful internal tonic for thinning hair.
9. Iodine Maintains Strong Teeth and Bones
Iodine assists in the production of strong teeth and bones by being a key player in calcium absorption. In fact, the connection between low iodine, low calcium absorption, and hypothyroidism has been known by researchers for at least the last hundred years.
One of the functions of the thyroid is the production of calcitonin, a hormone which helps balance blood calcium levels. This mechanism not only leads to maintain strong bones; it also plays a role in healthy functioning of the nervous system, heart and muscles.
10. Iodine Helps Stabilize Your Mood
It is well known that low iodine levels can have an impact on the brain, as mentioned above. More recent research has also linked iodine deficiency to depression and anxiety. A 2004 study conducted by German researchers and published in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience found a link between “alterations of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and mild cases of depression and anxiety.”
TSH is produced by the pituitary gland to signal the thyroid to produce more thyroid hormones. Fluctuations in TSH are often an indication that the thyroid is not getting enough iodine to do its job.
TEN REASON TO MAINTAIN HEALTHY IODINE LEVELS
- Iodine is necessary for metabolism and thyroid function
- Iodine helps your brain stay sharp
- Iodine protects the body from toxins
- Iodine protects you from radiation
- Iodine is a natural antiseptic
- Iodine is a powerful antioxidant
- Iodine ensures reproductive health
- Iodine helps prevent hair loss
- Iodine maintains strong teeth and bones
- Iodine helps stabilize your mood