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Iodine Supplements for Thyroid Health: What's the Right Dosage?

By    |   Thursday, 11 Jun 2015 10:00 AM


Iodine is an element needed for thyroid health. The thyroid produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism, ensure healthy reproductive processes in women, and affect mental abilities to think and reason.

The body does not make iodine, so it must come from foods or supplements. Iodine is found in vegetables grown in iodine-rich soil. Other sources of iodine include dairy products, navy beans, shellfish, cod, and dried seaweed, such as kelp.

Beginning in the 1920s, iodine was added to table salt which has improved iodine intake.

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A lack of iodine may result in thyroid imbalances that cause symptoms such as depression and anxiety, slower metabolism, fatigue and exhaustion, muscle pain, dry skin, hair loss and many other conditions. Before table salt was routinely iodized, severe deficiencies were seen in people who had a goiter, a lump in the neck from an enlarged thyroid.

With changes in eating habits, such as eating less salt, supplements can help provide the body with necessary amounts of iodine.

According to the National Institute of Health, adults and teens ages 14 to 18 need 150 mcg (micrograms) of iodine a day. The recommended amount for younger children is 120 mcg for ages 9 to 13, 90 mcg for ages 1 to 8, 130 mcg for infants 7 to 12 months, and 110 mcg for babies up to 6 months.

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The recommended amount for pregnant teens and women is 220 mcg a day, and 290 mcg for breastfeeding moms.

Too much iodine can cause inflammation of the thyroid gland and increase the risk of thyroid cancer. The upper limit for iodine a day is 1,100 mcg for adults, according to the NIH. The recommended dosage for children is 900, ages 14 to 18; 600, ages 9 to 13; 300, ages 4 to 8; and 200, ages 1 to 3. There is no established limit for those under age 1.

Before starting an iodine supplement, keep in mind that it can interact with medications known as ACE inhibitors, causing potassium levels to go too high. Diuretics can also push potassium levels too high. Talk to your doctor before starting iodine supplements in your diet if you are taking medication or other supplements.

Iodine supplements come in several forms, most commonly potassium iodide or potassium iodate. They may be tablets or taken as liquid drops.

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Iodine is an element needed for thyroid health. The thyroid produces hormones that regulate the body's metabolism, ensure healthy reproductive processes in women, and affect mental abilities to think and reason. The body does not make iodine, so it must come from foods or...
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