Have you been feeling more tired of late, struggling to lose weight, or just not feeling like yourself?
It could be worth ensuring you are getting sufficient iodine in your daily diet.
The mineral iodine is essential for healthy thyroid function and overall health. Iodine is most commonly found in seafood, iodised table salt, fortified bread and previously in dairy products. If you follow a vegan or plant predominant diet it's important to ensure you are getting enough.
How much iodine do you need?
Age in years Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) - Iodine per day
1 to 8 90 ug
9 to 13 120 ug
14 to > 70 150 ug
Pregnancy 220 ug
Adapted from National Health and Medical Research Council
Why do we need iodine?
The thyroid gland requires iodine to produce hormones that are essential for growth and development, metabolism, and mental function. An iodine deficiency can impair thyroid hormone production, a condition known as hypothyroidism. Fatigue and muscle weakness, among other symptoms, are common symptom of hypothyroidism.
How can I obtain sufficient iodine on a plant based or vegan diet?
One option is to choose iodised salt. About 1/2 teaspoon of iodised salt provides around 120 ug to 150 ug iodine. Sea salt and other specialty salts are not usually iodised, so it's important to check the label if you're not sure. It's worth noting that some people may need to reduce salt intake for health reasons, so this may not be the best option for everyone.
Another great vegan source of iodine is seaweed. Sea vegetables are naturally rich in iodine and can be found in many forms. It is important to not over consume seaweed, as too much iodine can actually be harmful. Kelp is particularly rich in iodine and easy to exceed the RDI, so wakame, dulse and nori are a better options.
Vegan Iodine sources include:
Sea Vegetables Serve size to provide approximately 150ug iodine
Wakame 2 - 3 teaspoons
Dulse 1 - 2 teaspoons
Nori. 1 - 2 teaspoons
Adapted from Smyth (2021)
Testing and Supplements:
If you are concerned about your iodine intake or lack of energy, a urine test can determine your iodine status. It's important to note, that healthy thyroid hormone production also requires selenium and tyrosine among other nutrients. Brazil nuts and firm tofu provide good amounts of these nutrients.
Iodine can also be taken as a supplement, however I would recommend first testing your iodine levels as recommended above.
If you want support to improve your nutrition and energy, book in for a free 15 minute phone consultation to see how I can help.
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