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Updated: Jul 6, 2020

Iodine (October 2019)

I recently listened to a webinar on Iodine by Dr Sarah Bath of University of Surrey and hosted by NutriWebinar and it was fascinating.  Since this mineral does not get mentioned enough I decided to write about it!

What is Iodine?

Iodine is an essential component of the thyroid hormone. The thyroid hormone is critical for growth, development and metabolism and for a baby’s brain development during pregnancy.

The roles of iodine make it a critical nutrient for the first 1000 days of life.

Why talk about Iodine?

There is poor public knowledge about iodine in the UK and the dietary sources and there are concerns about deficiency amongst pregnant and breastfeeding ladies and vegans in particular.

How much Iodine do we need (don’t get too hung up on this part!)

Infants 6months – 1 year: 60mcg/day

1-3 years: 70mcg/day

4-14: 100-130mcg/day (depending on age)

Adults: 150 mcg/day

Pregnant and Breastfeeding: 200mcg/day (breastfed babies get their iodine from breastmilk, however mum needs to make sure she has sufficient iodine intake in her own diet)

Where is Iodine found in the diet? (See pics – these are not portion sizes for children)

Cows milk – 100ml: 25-50mcg**

Yogurt – 150g: 50-100mcg**

Cheese – 40g: 15mcg

Fish: Haddock – 120g: 390mcg, Cod – 120g: 230mcg

Eggs – 1 egg (50g) – 25mcg

Seaweed – although it is possible to consume excess iodine from seaweed (particularly if consuming brown seaweed such as Kelp). Eating seaweed more than once a week is not recommended especially during pregnancy.

**value varies according to season – higher in winter

Plant-based, milk-alternative drinks that are fortified with Iodine – check labels

There are some groups who may not be getting enough iodine:

1) Pregnant and breastfeeding ladies because their requirements for iodine are higher.

2) Those with low or no intake of milk and fish (particularly vegans and those with cows’ milk protein allergy)

What about supplements?

Some little ones, breastfeeding ladies and vegans may need a supplement containing iodine to help meet needs but check with a healthcare professional first. Be sure to take one with potassium iodide or potassium iodate and to not exceed your daily requirement. Plus do not use seaweed or kelp supplements as an iodine source.

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