By Louise O'Connor, Naturopath + Wellness Coach.
The best iodine supplement provides a balanced intake of iodine along with important supporting nutrients such as zinc and selenium.
Iodine: A Mighty Mineral for Your Thyroid
Iodine is an essential nutrient required by the thyroid to produce key thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). In fact, the three and four indicate the number of iodine molecules contained within each thyroid hormone.
The body is not able to make iodine either so a steady supply of this nutrient must be obtained from the diet, or when necessary from a high quality iodine supplement.
When there is insufficient iodine intake the body struggles to produce sufficient thyroid hormones. This can have far-reaching effects on your health as the thyroid hormones keep your body humming.
A drop in thyroid hormone activity causes your metabolism to slow down which affects every organ and body system. The symptoms include weight gain, fatigue, mood changes, thyroid hair loss and for many people they feel the cold more than normal.
Learn the Facts About Iodine Intake
Iodine supplements are effective for preventing and treating an iodine deficiency. They are generally considered safe when taken as recommended.
The key is balanced intake as iodine is usually only required in small quantities. Not too much and not too little is the rule of thumb when it comes to optimal intake.
The claim that iodine supplements may be dangerous is misleading. It really depends on the dose and if the important supporting nutrients are taken in conjunction with the iodine.
The two critical nutrients to support iodine activity in the body are zinc and selenium.
Zinc and Selenium Play Important Supporting Roles to Iodine
As mentioned above the thyroid normally manufactures and releases two key hormones T4 and T3. While T4 does have some benefits, it is considered the 'storage' form as it is converted to T3 by the body when the body requires a greater thyroid response.
When T4 is converting efficiently through to more potent T3 it is usual to notice improvements in low thyroid symptoms. Zinc and selenium are critical for conversion of T4 to more potent T3.
Research also demonstrates that selenium can aid in reducing thyroid autoantibodies. Thyroid antibodies raised in thyroid autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
How Much Iodine is Safe to Take?
Iodine is often expressed in trace, or microgram amounts on the label of a nutritional product. A microgram measurement is routinely abbreviated as ‘mcg' or ‘µg'.
It is important note that 1,000 micrograms equals one milligram. When an iodine supplement contains milligram amounts it indicates it has high amounts of iodine.
The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the US Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) have both set the recommended safe upper level of intake of iodine for adults at 1,100 micrograms per day. This is the equivalent of 1.1 milligrams daily.
Adults should avoid prolonged use of doses higher than 1,100 micrograms per day without proper medical supervision. It is unusual to see acute iodine toxicity.
Cases of acute iodine poisoning are rare and are usually caused by excessive iodine intake. For example, multiple grams, not microgram amounts are taken.
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