Iodine supplements

Iodine is one of the minerals that the body must get in through the diet because it cannot produce it on its own; furthermore, iodine is needed to stimulate certain functions in the body. Not getting enough of it results in a chain reaction. However, for many people, getting iodine in through the diet is no difficult task, but there are always exceptions. If a person doesn’t get enough iodine, bad things can happen to the body that should have been prevented in the first place.

Iodine in the body
The most important function of iodine in the body is the role it has in stimulating the thyroid gland. It helps with the formation of the two major hormones that get released from the thyroid gland, called thyroxine and triiodothryonine. These hormones are essential to proper development, affecting the body’s metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins; body temperature; and protein synthesis. Without these processes, due to a deficiency in iodine, many other bodily functions would be indirectly disrupted, including hair growth, skin health, and vitamin A status in the body; a deficiency can also cause goiter (an enlargement of the thyroid gland). In women, ovulation and fertility can also be affected.

Iodine deficiency
There aren’t many foods that naturally have iodine in them, but some foods having iodine added to them. The most common one is table salt. Because of the introduction of iodized salt, there is not much deficiency of iodine seen in the United States today. However, it can happen. Deficiency not only results when iodine consumption is inadequate, but also if the body doesn’t utilize the iodine properly. Either way, an intervention with an iodine supplement is necessary.

Supplementation with iodine

People may wish to supplement with iodine if they are deficient, don’t utilize it properly, or simply wish to have more of it. However, caution is advised when taking an iodine supplement because it is not always safe when administered in an individual receiving thyroid treatments for a poor functioning thyroid; in fact, it can have adverse effects. When thyroid treatments are prescribed for an individual, he or she is given a manufactured thyroid hormone that replaces the existing one; as a result, iodine is not longer needed in the same amount. When an individual takes an iodine supplement, there will be an excess of iodine, since it isn’t being used. It will either cause toxic levels in the bloodstream or affect the thyroid hormone levels. There is a condition for which iodine is used to treat: iodine deficiency hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism and iodine supplementation
Hypothyroidism caused strictly by iodine deficiency is treated with an iodine supplement. This is a condition when the thyroid gland is underactive and doesn’t produce enough hormones.

Other uses of iodine supplements
Iodine can also be used for other problems an individual may be experiencing, but for these, it is not 100% proven effective:

  • Used to treat a fungal skin disease
  • Used to treat fibrocystic breast tissue
  • Used in preventing certain types of cancer, eye disease, diabetes, heart disease, and strokes
  • Used to treat radiation emergency associated with radioactive iodides

Side effects of iodine supplements

Possible side effects in those who are sensitive to iodine might include swelling of the lips and face, severe bleeding and bruising, lymph node enlargement, fever, joint pain, and allergic reactions (hives, difficulty breathing, rash, etc.). Avoiding long term use is the recommended guideline right now because there may be some long term side effects. It is possible that thyroid problems may result from iodine supplementation; the symptoms would include metallic taste, sore teeth and gums, burning in the mouth and throat, increased saliva production, throat inflammation, upset stomach, diarrhea, depression, and more. Talk with your doctor about a complete list of possible side effects.

Medication interactions
It is possible that iodine supplements can interact with certain medications, although this is very rare. Always talk with your doctor before starting on any supplement and inform him or her of any medications you’re currently taking.

Dietary reference intakes (DRIs)
The DRIs for iodine are as follows:

  • Infants 0-6 months    110 mcg (micrograms)
  • Infants 7-12 months    130 mcg
  • Children 1-8 years    90 mcg
  • Males 9-13 years    120 mcg
  • Males 14-70 +    150 mcg
  • Females 9-13 years    120 mcg
  • Females 14-70 +    150 mcg
  • Pregnant women    220 mcg
  • Lactating women    290 mcg

The tolerable upper limit is 1,100 micrograms.

Last updated on Nov 14th, 2010 and filed under Vitamins and Minerals. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed