Trace Minerals – Iodine
(by Marcus Heng, Guardian Pharmacist)
What is Iodine?
Iodine is an essential trace mineral that is required to generate thyroid hormones in the body. These hormonescontrols many important bodily functions, including metabolism regulation, the health of bones and the heart.
What are good sources of iodine?
Rarely does iodine appear by itself as a supplement due to the minute amounts required and potential for toxicity. Foods like seaweed, aquatic shellfish and fish are great sources of iodine. Eggs, milk and iodized salts also contains a moderate amounts of iodine, if you are allergic to seafood.
How much iodine should I take?
A healthy adult requires about 150µg of iodine a day, whereas in pregnancy or breastfeeding, the requirement can increase to about 250µg a day.
What are the signs of iodine deficiency?
Inadequate intake can lead to hypothyroidism and enlarged thyroid cells, which may form goitre. Growth can be stunted and in infants or children, mental retardation (cretinism) and mortality can occur.
Is there any danger with excessive iodine intake?
The thyroid gland is adapted to a large range of iodine intake; however, an overload of iodine may increase the risk of hyper or hypothyroidism, depending on the condition. Acute overdoses are very rare and only happen with doses of a few grams of iodine. Such doses may cause a life-threatening condition called a thyroid storm, which causes cardiovascular issues, anxiety, nausea and vomiting.