Getting Enough Iodine
I cannot have either dairy or seafood because of severe food allergies. Therefore, from what other sources can I obtain iodine?
Thanks for your great question, Carol. You probably know that iodine is a necessary component of hormones that are produced by your thyroid gland. It is important for growth, muscle function, metabolism, reproduction, nerve function, blood cell production and regulation of body temperature.
Even though you can't eat seafood or dairy, you can still get enough iodine from other sources, including fortified or processed foods, iodized salt, kelp or other seaweeds (if you are not allergic to them along with seafood) or even from vegetables grown in soil rich in iodine.
The Recommended Daily Allowance for most adults for iodine is 150 micrograms (220 mcg. during pregnancy and 290 mcg during lactation). This is a very small amount. To give you an idea of how small, you can satisfy this RDA for iodine with about a half a teaspoon of iodized salt.
If you eat a lot of processed foods, many of which are made using iodized salt, you may be getting even more iodine than you need. Believe it or not, even red food coloring contains iodine!
If you avoid processed foods and don't consume a half-teaspoon of iodized salt each day, then you might consider taking a kelp supplement (unless seafood is included in your seafood allergy!) to be sure of getting enough. These are readily available in capsule form from many reputable sources. You should let your physician know, though, if you are pregnant, nursing, have a thyroid condition or are sensitive to iodine.
Be aware that excessive iodine intake can interfere with your thyroid function in the same way that inadequate intake will, so don't overdo it. The Upper Level for iodine has been established at 1100 micrograms per day. There is even some concern among nutritionists that with the advent of iodized salt, and the increased consumption of salty, processed foods, we may be consuming too much iodine.
For more information, you can click on this link to our Iodine page.
Iodine Sources and Functions
If you are concerned about your iodine levels and your thyroid function, be sure to consult with your doctor about the appropriate tests that can be done to ease your mind about this issue.
I hope this helps, and thank you so much for visiting our healthy eating website! We hope you will come back often, and let us know how you are doing.
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