If we were to live in the sea, none of us would need to consider supplementing with this essential nutrient as the world’s supply of iodine originates from the sea, in seafood, sea plants, and along coastlines.
400 million years ago, we emerged from the sea, and it is theorized that humans evolved over thousands of years along coastlines. We understand the available source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids played a key role in our evolution, but how important iodine was?
Although it has many vital functions, and there are definitive conditions associated with its deficiency, iodine remains one of the most controversial of all nutrients.
The question concerning its value in human health is how much is enough and how much is too much?
How much Iodine?
Too little of it can lead to sub-clinical hypothyroidism or frank goitre, when the thyroid enlarges in an attempt to absorb more iodine from the blood. The thyroid gland contains a higher concentration of iodine than any other organ of the body. It is, however, also essential for and found in other organs: the salivary glands, cerebrospinal fluid and the brain (esp. substantia nigra), gastric mucosa, choroid plexus, breasts, ovaries, and the ciliary body of the eye.
Its deficiency is associated with the most common of all auto-immune conditions known as Hashimoto’s, named after Dr Hakaru Hashimoto (1881-1934), the Japanese doctor and medical scientist of the Meiji and Taishō periods. Dr Hashimoto published the first description of the disease which was later named Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
However, taking it is associated with both hypo, hyperthyroidism and Hashimoto’s. The message here is to supplement carefully. When it comes to under-active thyroid and goiter, there is a consensus that one needs to augment the diet with supplemented iodine. However, what is not agreed upon is how much. Some clinicians recommend NOT taking any of it if one has been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and others do, and sometimes in relatively high amounts. The recommended daily intake varies depending on age and sex between 50 mcg to 200 mcg in pregnancy, with 150 mcg per day for adults.
One of the tenets of modern nutrition is that we are all different. However, iodine has a unique variable that supersedes all such tenets, and that is geography; it all depends on where you live as to how likely you are to have iodine sufficiency. The centuries-old German and French poems and tales of the thick-necked Alpine dwellers are a testament to the fact that it is not to be found far from the sea, in the mountains.
The “goitre belt” is a term used to characterise the low iodine in the areas around the Great Lakes of North America. Forget genes, stress, financial status and so on, it is location, location, location that determines your iodine status.
To make matters more complicated, it’s not all about just how much iodine we consume. Another primary tenet of modern nutrition is that nutrients work in synergy, and this helps to explain, in addition to where you live, why some practitioners recommend it and some do not.
You need sufficient levels of selenium and magnesium to utilise iodine effectively. Magnesium deficiency induces oxidative stress which depletes glutathione and selenium levels., Only when your levels of magnesium and selenium are optimal is it suitable to proceed with supplemental iodine. Selenium is the second most important mineral for thyroid hormone production. Commonly seafood provides both selenium and iodine.
There is another reason why there are divergent views on iodine supplementation. An optimal level of it supports thyroid hormone synthesis whereas a high concentration of these supplements inhibits thyroid hormone synthesis or could lead to hyperthyroidism. The inhibition of thyroid hormones occurs via two mechanisms: the inhibition of proteolysis and the Wolff-Chaikoff effect which describes the inhibition of iodination of tyrosine residuals.
Testing for Iodine
There is no accurate test that assesses one’s level of it. Since most of it is stored in tissues, blood tests are not a true reflection of body levels. There is, however, a still useful urine challenge test which needs to be interpreted with the following understanding: the more iodine you have the more you will excrete, the less iodine you have, the less you will excrete.
For this challenge test you need 50mg of it which can be provided in 4 tablets of Biotics Research’s Iodizyme-HP™.
Unless you consume iodine-rich seafood or seaweed you may not be consuming the trace amounts of iodine that you need every day for optimal health. This is especially true in pregnancy when I cannot recall a single client of mine in 30 years of practice who was aware of the importance of this trace mineral for the development of their baby’s cognition and brain. The WHO recommends 250mcg in pregnancy. For this reason, 1 drop a day of Liquid Iodine Forte™ (Biotics Research), which provides 150mcg, and what their diet does not when seafood is off the menu.
Comparison with other iodine supplements
First and foremost, it is a full-spectrum supplement, meaning it contains all the forms of this supplement found in nature, as well as other essential trace minerals. This allows for a more comprehensive approach to supporting overall thyroid health. Other types of supplements, such as potassium iodide, may only contain one form of this supplement, potentially missing out on the benefits of the other forms.
Another advantage of Liquid Iodine Forte is its liquid form. This makes it easier for the body to absorb the iodine and allows for more precise dosing. On the other hand, other supplements may come in a tablet form, which can be difficult for some people to digest.
It’s also important to consider the quality of the supplement you choose. It is manufactured by Biotics Research, a reputable company with a strong commitment to quality control and safety standards. In contrast, some cheaper supplements may contain low-quality ingredients or contaminants that can harm your health.
In conclusion, when choosing this type of supplement, it’s important to consider factors such as form, quality, and the company that manufactures it. It offers a full-spectrum, liquid form, and is manufactured by a reputable company, making it a solid choice for those looking for a high-quality iodine supplement.