Iodine is a well-known mineral that occurs naturally in the earth’s soil and ocean waters, and it is also present in saltwater and plant-based foods. Most commonly, it is available as iodized salt.
Our thyroid gland uses iodine to make thyroid hormones that help control growth, repair damaged cells, and support a healthy metabolism. Hence it is imperative to have iodine in the diet. Iodine deficiency is a legitimate concern, and your doctor might suggest supplementation. Here are the benefits of iodine.
Benefits of Iodine
1. Iodine for thyroid
The Thyroid gland absorbs iodine from the foods converts into hormones It, in turn, regulates hormone production to control metabolism, and heart rate. Without iodine , the thyroid gland fails to produce essential hormones. It results in a condition called hypothyroidism(1), which not only disrupts the functions of thyroid but also the functions of other vital organs.
2. Necessary for metabolism
Iodine helps the body to break down food into nutrients via the thyroid gland and other mechanisms. It is a vital part of metabolism and helps convert food into substances that our body can actually use.
3. Iodine helps your brain stay sharp
There have been established links between cognitive decline and iodine deficiency. The latter is one of the world’s most prevalent and easily-preventable causes of brain-damage. (2) More than 1.5 billion people around the globe suffer from Iodine deficiency due to which their mental ability gets affected. (3) Adequate salt consumption via food can help overcome Iodine deficiency.
4. Beneficial for skin
Iodine is a great source to deal with cuts, scrapes, and bruises. Iodine is a great sterilizing substance that can kill unhealthy organisms, bacteria, and viruses. Moreover, iodine aids in the formation of healthy and radiant skin. By keeping dry skin at bay, it regulates the moisture levels in the skin.
Besides it also keeps a check on hormones that might cause acne. It might also delay the signs of aging by slowing down the formation of wrinkles and fine lines.
Povidone-iodine is a non-irritating antiseptic solution that works by slowly releasing iodine into the skin to kill fungi, bacteria, and viruses that might cause or aggravate infections and wounds.
5. Iodine for weight loss
Iodine supplements help with weight loss. Potassium iodine, the natural form of iodine, is quite good in helping you shed weight and stay lean(4).
6. Iodine for toenail fungus
Since iodine kills bacteria and fungi, it can be used as a tincture if you suffer from toenail fungus. It is quite effective in eliminating any skin ailment, and you may see results in as little as a couple of weeks.
[Read: Say Goodbye to Ingrown Toenails]
7. Disinfects water
If you do not have access to potable water due to traveling or some other issue, two percent liquid iodine tincture added to water in five-drop increments per one quart of clear water, or ten drops per quart in case of cloudy water is a way to disinfect the water. Iodine tablets may also be used in this regard.
8. Highly essential during pregnancy
Iodine is absolutely essential during pregnancy. Iodine intake during pregnancy is linked with brain development in fetuses. Pregnant women or infants must be given iodine supplementation based on the doctor’s recommendation.
If you are pregnant, consult your gynecologist about iodine supplementation. Iodine intake might require monitoring while breastfeeding as well.
9. Helps improve birth weight
The overall level of iodine in a pregnant mother may impact a baby’s weight and overall development. According to a study(5) of pregnant women with goiters, 400 mg of iodine taken daily for 6-8 weeks was helpful in correcting goiters related to iodine deficiency. It results in an overall improvement in birth weight in newborns.
10. Iodine for skin tags
You may use liquid iodine to remove skin tags. First, protect the area surrounding the skin tag by applying petroleum jelly or coconut oil to the area. Next, soak a Q-tip in iodine, and spread the liquid across the tag. Finally, cover the area with a bandage, until the iodine has died. Repeat this treatment twice a day until the tag drops off.
How to use iodine?
- Iodine may be consumed in its natural form, as iodized table salt, dairy, seafood (Fish and Shrimp), prunes, meat, some bread, and eggs. Alternatively, you may consume iodine supplements, after consulting with your doctor.
- Finally, for external issues, a tincture of iodine or liquid iodine may be used.
- If you are a pregnant or breastfeeding mother, consult your doctor to know the recommended dosage amount.
Side effects and myths
Iodine is quite safe for most people, when consumed orally in recommended amounts, or when applied to the skin using approved products. However, iodine may cause some side effects. Common side effects include a runny nose, headache, metallic taste, stomach pain, and diarrhea.
Iodine is a supplement that is extremely vital for our health and well-being. From infants to grown-ups, everyone benefits from this mineral. However, it might be safe not to overdo iodine consumption, as that may lead to health issues like high blood pressure. All in all, it is an essential mineral important for our good health.
1. Other Than Seafood, What Foods Have Iodine?
Eggs, dairy products (milk, cheese, and yogurt), and bread.
2. How Much Iodine Do You Need?
The ideal iodine dosage varies from person to person. Consult your physician to find out how much iodine you can consume.
3. Does iodine help lose weight?
Healthy iodine intake improves thyroid function. It improves metabolism, which in turn promotes weight loss.
4. What are the symptoms of low iodine?
Unexpected weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, skin damage, slow heart rate, memory problems, swollen neck, irregular periods, and pregnancy complications are some of the common symptoms of iodine deficiency in the body.