Here are the best reasons why iodine should be a part of your beauty and health routine.
Why iodine is so important for health
Iodine is a very special trace element that is often overlooked. In the process, due to its antiseptic properties, has been used for centuries as a rust-colored wound cleanser.
But most important is iodine, because it is an essential component of hormones produced in the thyroid gland. These hormones help control the production and regulation of energy in nearly every cell in the body, making them critical to our health.
Why this is so important? Proper regulation of your thyroid ensures healthy hair, nails and glowing skin, while maintaining your body’s energy and brain metabolism. The thyroid gland is also very good at removing toxins from the body.
A balanced iodine level is important because either too little or too much iodine can have undesirable effects on the thyroid gland, such as hypo- or hyperthyroidism (= under or over function).
How much iodine does the body need?
According to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), adults need 200 micrograms of iodine per day. This is also the dosage found in our iodine product HELP FROM KELP. The representative “Study on the Health of Adults in Germany” (DEGS) of the Robert Koch Institute shows that in Germany about 30 percent of the population fall short of these intake recommendations.
Women need more during pregnancy and lactation. They are recommended to take 230 and 260 micrograms per day, respectively.
|Age||Iodine µg / day|
|Children 1 – 3 years||90|
|Children 4 – 6 years90||90|
|Children 7 – 9 years||120|
|Children 10 – 12 years||120|
|Children 13 – 15 years||150|
|Teenagers 16+ and adults||150|
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has set the daily nutrient intake for iodine at 150 micrograms. This is also the reference value to which dosages on packages of food supplements in Europe must refer.
These reference values do not represent the latest research. However, they are required by law and help you compare different products in Europe.
The best sources of iodine in food
Unfortunately, the human body does not produce iodine itself, so our diet is crucial. Iodine is naturally present in some foods and is also added to table salt labeled as “iodized.”
In Europe, dairy products, including milk, cheese, yogurt and eggs, are the main source – even though these contain comparatively little iodine at around 20 micrograms per 100g. By the way, organic dairy products contain less iodine than conventional dairy products because the iodine is added to the feed. However, organic farmers add less iodine than conventional farmers. You can generally get the recommended amounts of iodine better by eating algae, fish and shellfish.
|Food||Iodine content in µg /100 g|
As a vegetarian or vegan, algae are therefore the only useful source of iodine. A dietary supplement can help to avoid deficiency.
Which type of iodine is best for the body?
Iodine is used in most dietary supplements in the form of potassium iodide or sodium iodide. At Ogaenics, on the other hand, we use kelp containing iodine.
Kelp is the king of the sea. This seaweed (better known as kelp) is a super vegetable that we should include in our diet because it’s basically pure energy! What makes seaweed really special is its iodine content. Many foods contain iodine, but the content in kelp is significantly higher and provides adequate iodine supply without adverse effects on thyroid function.
How and where is the trace element absorbed in the body?
The main pathway for iodine absorption is through the intestine into the bloodstream, from where it is transported to the thyroid gland and some other organs.
Although the thyroid gland is the most important iodine-concentrating organ in the body, other stores are found in other organs such as the stomach, chest, and skin.
Am I getting enough iodine?
Some groups of people have more difficulty consuming enough iodine than others. Are you one of them?
You do not use iodized salt
Are you one of the approximately 88% of households worldwide that use iodine fortified salt or are you more Team “Fleur de Sel”? However, sea salt flakes and other types of salt such as Himalayan salt contain little iodine, which puts you at risk of building up an iodine deficit.
You are pregnant
When you are pregnant, you need more iodine than other women to also provide your baby in the womb with enough iodine. Studies show that many pregnant women do not get enough iodine.
You are vegan:in
If you eat a vegan diet, you are at increased risk for iodine deficiency. A study by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessmentfound that iodine levels were below 20 micrograms per liter (μg/L) in one-third of vegan participants. This is the threshold defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), below which there is severe undersupply. The cross-sectional study aimed to provide initial insights into the current micronutrient supply status of a vegan diet compared to a mixed diet.
You live in the mountains
In the mountains, the lack of iodine in the soil and air contributes to your higher risk of iodine deficiency as well.
You is often cabbage varieties
Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts contain goitrogens. These are substances that inhibit the uptake of iodine into the thyroid gland. Also, if you take a supplement containing sulphoraphans (e.g. broccoli extract) for detoxification, your iodine status may be affected. This can be compensated for by increasing iodine intake, e.g. via dietary supplementation. For most people, however, this is not a problem.
You eat Paleo
A Paleo diet has positive effects on metabolism, but excludes two of the largest sources of iodine, table salt and dairy products. A 2-year randomized trial in postmenopausal obese women now showed that the Paleo diet leads to a higher risk of iodine deficiency than other diets. Therefore, this should be combined with iodine supplementation.
What happens if I don’t get enough iodine?
If you don’t get enough iodine, you can’t make adequate amounts of thyroid hormones. This can cause many problems.
Early symptoms of hypothyroidism are dry and itchy skin. The so-called “brain fog” is also a typical sign. Cold hands and feet, chest pain and swelling around the eyes, problems during the period and a weak libido are also typical. Even hair loss can be a serious sign of iodine deficiency. Slowed metabolism, cold intolerance, weight gain, puffy facial features, and edema are also among them.
Even mild iodine deficiency can cause below-average IQ in infants and children and reduce the ability to work and think clearly in adults.
In pregnant women, iodine deficiency can permanently damage the growing fetus. Stunted growth, mental retardation and delayed sexual development are the consequences.
The first visible sign of iodine deficiency is often a goiter, an enlarged thyroid gland.
What effects does iodine have on health?
Apart from the production of thyroid hormones, we do not yet know the role of iodine very well. But there are some exciting results from science on the benefits of supplementing with iodine, which we would like to briefly present here.
Research shows that access to iodine in the diet was key to the development of the modern human brain. Humans began consuming iodine sources from algae and seafood 2.5 million years ago, although they previously consumed very little iodine.
This need for iodine for cognitive function is still essential today. The proper supply of nutrients for cognitive development and function is therefore critical from fetal growth through the end of life.
Apart from the fact that iodine regulates the moisture balance of the skin, it also supports the healing of scars, cuts, etc.. Basically, it helps repair the skin. It helps regenerate the lower layers of your skin by stimulating cellular function. Early symptoms of hypothyroidism are therefore often dry and itchy skin. Therefore, a good supply of iodine is essential for beautiful, healthy skin.
Immune system support
Iodine is an essential element needed for the function of all organ systems. Despite this, much of Europe is undersupplied with iodine, increasingly including those who eat a plant-based diet. Iodide has now been found in a study to have immunomodulatory effects on human peripheral blood immune cells.
Accordingly, adequate iodide levels can help to optimally saturate cells, strengthen the immune system and improve the transport and elimination of infections, as well as support the reproductive process. However, more research is needed to better decipher how it works.
Many women have nodular areas in the breast, usually in the outer, upper part toward the armpit. These harmless changes are called fibrocystic breast changes and can be very uncomfortable. Iodine seems to help keep breast tissue soft and even.
Iodine may also be a factor in protecting against breast cancer, researchers suggest. The low rate of breast cancer in Japanese women compared to Western women has been attributed to the high intake of iodine from seaweed.
Protection from bacteria
Iodine has been used for centuries as a wound cleanser due to its antiseptic properties. The trace element is able to kill all kinds of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeasts and protozoa. It can even kill 90 percent of most bacteria within 15-30 seconds.
As a bactericidal agent, iodine penetrates bacterial cell walls. Although the exact mechanism is unclear, it is likely to be related to the delay of bacterial protein synthesis, disruption of electron transport, DNA denaturation, or membrane destabilization. This is based on theories that iodine can also protect against infections from the inside. However, this still needs to be better researched scientifically.
IQ of the baby
Studies show that fetal brain development is impaired even with mild to moderate iodine deficiency, especially in the first trimester. Supplementation of iodine should therefore be started early in pregnancy.
Iodine levels in women after pregnancy
A new Norwegian study shows that iodine status is inadequate in pregnant and postpartum women. It takes about 18 months for iodine levels to reach those achieved during pregnancy.
The new study found that iodine status is lowest in women six weeks postpartum, with milk and iodine supplements proving effective in raising iodine levels.
Intake of iodine supplements before and during pregnancy should be from food-based, vegan sources such as seaweed (kelp). Compared to synthetic iodine, this ensures more sustained and safer release of iodine.
Can iodine be harmful?
Yes, if you get too much of it. High iodine intake can cause symptoms similar to iodine deficiency, including goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland). High iodine intake can also lead to thyroiditis and thyroid cancer.
In Germany, according to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, a maximum daily intake of 500 micrograms of iodine is considered safe, even for people who are sensitive to iodine.
What influences iodine intake
Iodine may interact with medications used to treat hyperthyroidism and high blood pressure.
If you suffer from the autoimmune disease Hashimoto, you should also be careful with iodine. The trace element can initially cause the thyroid gland to produce more hormones. But unfortunately, the increased hormone production in people with Hashimoto’s often produces an increased attack on the thyroid gland in the following.
So, if necessary, consult with your doctor in advance to see if iodine is right for you.
This product contains iodine
Weikert, C. et al (2020) Deutsches Ärzteblatt Jg. 117, Issue 35-36, August 31, 2020, pp. 575-82.
Manousou, S et al. “A Paleolithic-type diet results in iodine deficiency: a 2-year randomized trial in postmenopausal obese women.” European journal of clinical nutrition vol. 72,1 (2018): 124-129.
(1) Bilal M. et al (2017) A Role for Iodide and Thyroglobulin in Modulating the Function of Human Immune Cells. Frontiers in Immunology. Iss 8, Page1573
Breast changes/breast cancer
Zava TT, Zava DT. Assessment of Japanese iodine intake based on seaweed consumption in Japan: a literature-based analysis. Thyroid Res. 2011;4:14.
Abelson MB, Lilyestrom LJ. Iodine: An Elemental Force Against Infection. Review of Ophthalmology. 2009; 16(5):80-3
IQ of the baby
Levie, Deborah et al. “Association of Maternal Iodine Status With Child IQ: A Meta-Analysis of Individual Participant Data.” The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism vol. 104,12 (2019): 5957-5967.
Iodine level during pregnancy
Aakre, I. et al(2020) Iodine Status and Thyroid Function in a Group of Seaweed Consumers in Norway. Nutrients Iss 12, 3483.