How Much Iodine Do We Need?
I have been looking into iodine for a long time for thyroid health and overall health. Most countries and boards have a minimum or RDA that you should be getting to avoid major problems. For the majority of the population in the U.S., it is 150 mcg a day (from all sources). This RDA does not tell you how much you should be taking for optimum health, but only what the majority of people need to avoid major deficiencies. One of the things we have done to address iodine deficiency is to add iodine to salt, which has helped people gain iodine through their diet in areas that were low in iodine. The average American now gets in the range of 138–353 mcg through their diet. Is this in an optimum rage of iodine? What about the people who get less than this?
This is an important nutrient
Iodine is also very important for pregnant women with the RDA being even higher than for the average adult at 290 mcg. For pregnant women, I would see a doctor, and probably consume higher levels of seaweed as a way of getting more iodine into my diet. This is a major problem in the world as this paper states, "Despite global public health efforts, iodine deficiency remains the leading preventable cause of mental retardation worldwide."
My two big questions?
My dilemma over iodine is that many experts have recommended much higher levels of iodine than the RDA (which is the lowest level you should get). Many also, recommend that you should take your temperature in the morning to see if it is 98.6 as this can be a good sign of if your thyroid is working properly (if your temperature is low). The reasoning goes like this: if you take enough iodine, then your thyroid will work properly and your temperature will be normal. Although higher levels may be good for you, the question always comes up, "How much is the right amount?" and "What is safe for the population at large?".
There are lots of opinions.
There are many opinions on how much iodine to take. I have known many people who have taken iodine in higher amounts than RDA with great success. I have also taken seaweed pills myself for extra iodine with no side effects (which is 'safer', however, some have low levels of arsenic so I would not take too many even of this food source). I had to make a choice about what I was looking for. Was I looking for preventing deficiencies in the masses or something else? I thought about this for a while and decided what I was looking for was a level of iodine that supports the most people without side effects.
How I decide how much to take.
I now was looking for an amount of iodine that was higher than the RDA, that I could be confident would be safe for me, and the general population. I had always recommended people take a seaweed pill (like bladderwrack) for more iodine, but you have to take quite a few pills to get to the amount they eat in coastal areas of the world. One of the best examples of a population that consumes more iodine with little side effects, and has done this for many generation, is Japan. Japan's population consumes 1 to 3 mg of iodine a day.
I would take 3 mg a day.
I would now feel comfortable taking up to 3 mg a day on my own, and more (probably up to 12.5 mg a day) under a doctor's supervision. I like looking at populations that take in larger amounts of a nutrient in their food to see what the effects are on a large population over a long period of time. In Japan, the upper limit for iodine is 3 mg (and at the National Institute of Health, they have 1.1 mg a day as the upper limit.), these recommendations usually have some margin of safety (but consult your doctor). Even these recommendations for upper limits have a large variation, but for myself, I am confident in taking the amount that the Japanese have consumed in their food for a very long time.
If I still have problems, then what?
If I still had problems, I would go to a doctor who specializes in iodine and the thyroid. I would always listen to my body, and I would talk with doctors who are experts in iodine (I know I just said this but most doctors are not experts in iodine, so choose carefully).
*This is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
Copyright 2014 Ollie's Health LLC
We've known Marshall for years and benefited by his research, expertise, and knowledge of nutritional supplements. After suffering a heart attack and two strokes I received and implemented Marshall's recommendations tailored for my case. I believe they were a significant factor in my speedy recovery. I also appreciate his integrity, in which I have complete confidence.
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