Iodine On My Mind

Health Information

News for your health!
Iodine requirements, sources of iodine, and recommendations

The RDA established for iodine is based on the minimum daily amount needed to prevent goiter.  Goiter is the enlargement of the thyroid in response to extremely low iodine intake. 

Iodized salt is the mainstay for prevention of goiter, therefore anyone who is not using adequate amounts of iodized salt in his diet will most likely be deficient in iodine because iodine occurs in such small quantities in food.

Since the thyroid gland is the most effective iodine-trapping organ in the body, the appearance of a goiter will be one of the very last signs of iodine deficiency.  Before a goiter occurs there will likely be many other signs and symptoms of iodine deficiency such as fibrocystic breast disease, ovarian cysts, skin problems, atherosclerosis, decreased mental status, depression, and fatigue.

Adults should start with 12.5 mg/day for a week, then increase each week by 12.5 mg/day until they are taking 50 mg/day for 90 days.  After that, the amount could be decreased to 25 mg/day.  It is important that the inorganic form of potassium iodide be taken rather than an organic form.

Certain Iodoral tablets contain 12.5 mg.  A bottle of 180 will last 45 days taken 4 tablets (50 mg) per day.  At 50 mg/day and $35/bottle lasting 45 days, the cost averages $.77/day.

Lugol's 5% solution contains 12.5 mg per 2 drops.  Lugol's solution may be less convenient for some, but it is usually less than half the price.  Each 1 oz bottle usually contains 600 drops which will last 75 days taken 8 drops (50 mg) per day.  It is also very convenient for children who can take 1 drop per day (6.25 mg).  At 50 mg/day and $22/bottle lasting 75 days, the cost averages $.29/day.

Supplement sources

Your local health food store will likely have iodine tablets or Lugol's solution.

Here are some online sources: (Lugol's solution) (Iodoral tablets) (Iodoral tablets) (Iodoral tablets)

Food sources

The iodine content of most foods depends on the iodine content of the soil. Seafood is rich in iodine because marine animals can concentrate the iodine from seawater. Certain types of seaweed (e.g., wakame) are also very rich in iodine. Processed foods may contain slightly higher levels of iodine due to the addition of iodized salt or food additives, such as calcium iodate and potassium iodate. Dairy products are relatively good sources of iodine because iodine is commonly added to animal feed in the U.S. In the U.K. and northern Europe, iodine levels in dairy products tend to be lower in summer when cattle are allowed to graze in pastures with low soil iodine content (6). The table below lists the iodine content of some iodine-rich foods in milligrams (mg). Because the iodine content of foods can vary considerably, these values should be considered approximate (30).

Food Serving Iodine (mg)
Salt (iodized) 1 gram .077
Cod 3 ounces* .099
Shrimp 3 ounces .035
Fish sticks 2 fish sticks .035
Tuna, canned in oil 3 ounces (1/2 can) .017
Milk (cow's) 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) .056
Egg, boiled 1 large .012
Navy beans, cooked 1/2 cup .032
Potato with peel, baked 1 medium .060
Turkey breast, baked 3 ounces .034
Seaweed 1/4 ounce, dried 4.5 mg

*A three-ounce serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards.  If you eat each of the above daily, other than the seaweed, your total intake of iodine would only be 0.457 mg. 

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 May 13;105(19):6954-8. Epub 2008 May 5.  Iodide accumulation provides kelp with an inorganic antioxidant impacting atmospheric chemistry.  K├╝pper FC, Carpenter LJ, McFiggans GB, Palmer CJ, Waite TJ, Boneberg EM, Woitsch S, Weiller M, Abela R, Grolimund D, Potin P, Butler A, Luther GW 3rd, Kroneck PM, Meyer-Klaucke W, Feiters MC. Scottish Association for Marine Science, Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory, Oban, Argyll PA37 1QA, Scotland, United Kingdom.

Brown algae of the Laminariales (kelps) are the strongest accumulators of iodine among living organisms. They represent a major pump in the global biogeochemical cycle of iodine and, in particular, the major source of iodocarbons in the coastal atmosphere. Nevertheless, the chemical state and biological significance of accumulated iodine have remained unknown to this date. Using x-ray absorption spectroscopy, we show that the accumulated form is iodide, which readily scavenges a variety of reactive oxygen species (ROS). We propose here that its biological role is that of an inorganic antioxidant, the first to be described in a living system. Upon oxidative stress, iodide is effluxed. On the thallus surface and in the apoplast, iodide detoxifies both aqueous oxidants and ozone, the latter resulting in the release of high levels of molecular iodine and the consequent formation of hygroscopic iodine oxides leading to particles, which are precursors to cloud condensation nuclei. In a complementary set of experiments using a heterologous system, iodide was found to effectively scavenge ROS in human blood cells.




In priority order:

Iodine: 50 mg/day 

Aloe Vera: 2 capsules/day (Beta-mannan from

Selenium: 200 mcg/day (SelenoExcell Selenium Yeast by Natural Factors)

Magnesium: 400 mg/day (magnesium asporotate)

B-complex: 1/day (B-Right by Jarrow Formulas)

Vitamin C: 750 mg/day

Vitamin B3: 100 mg/day (as niacin)

Vitamin B2: 100 mg twice a day (riboflavin)

Vitamin D3: 5000 IU/day (by Bluebonnet)

Omega 3: Barlean's Omega Swirl Fish Oil, Lemon Zest

Vitamin E: 200 IU/day (by NOW Foods, Vitamin E-200 IU Mixed Tocopherols/Unesterified 200 IU
250 Softgels; from health food store or; it is alcohol form of E, unesterified and doesn't have to be unesterified in body.  Also  200 IU is better for women.  Mixed tocopherols are as important as alpha form and far better in vivo (and in vitro) as an antioxidant.  Best selling product and so veggie oils in soft gel are fresher and not rancid.)

Sea Salt (1/2 tsp per large glass of water twice a day, and use for all salt needs; Celtic Sea Salt, or Real Salt by Redmond Trading Company in Heber City Utah; alternate between good sea salts to get different mineral contents)

CoQ10 100 mg/day (Coenzyme Q10 by Natural Factors)

Lifetime Life's Basics Plant Protein Powder Greens (once per day)