Iodine and Thyroid Health

Iodine and Thyroid Health

The amount of iodine we’re consuming isn’t at the forefront of our minds daily. However, if our bodies aren’t getting a proper intake of this mineral, it can lead to health complications involving our thyroid over time. When it comes to the welfare of our bodies, knowledge is power - and making sure we know the best options for our diet and lifestyle can be crucial, especially for vegans.

If you're plant-based It’s essential to consume enough vegan iodine to support healthy thyroid and hormone function in the body. Poor thyroid health can lead to unwanted side effects and symptoms, such as swelling of the neck, fatigue, and cognitive impairment.

In this article, we’ll discuss how iodine intake and thyroid health are linked and the most at-risk groups for iodine deficiencies. 

It’ll become evident that the effects of an unhealthy thyroid can wreak havoc on the body, but there’s no need to despair - we have the scoop on the best vegan iodine sources and supplements to ensure optimal thyroid health.

The relationship between iodine and thyroid health

The amount of iodine we’re incorporating into our diets is directly related to the health of our thyroid. The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland at the front of our neck, is responsible for producing hormones that support many essential body functions. 

These hormones play a role in regulating our metabolism and promoting healthy brain and bone development. Without them being released into our bloodstream and transported through our body, our brain and bone growth, among other things, could be negatively affected.

But to produce these hormones, the thyroid gland needs help from one key player - any guesses? That’s right - iodine! 

Iodine is a mineral found naturally in the earth’s soil, water, and some of our food sources. Because our body is incapable of producing iodine on its own, it’s on us to make sure we’re consuming enough.

Side effects of an iodine deficiency

Why is it so important to do everything to avoid an iodine deficiency? The side effects of thyroid disease include:

  • Swelling in the neck (also known as a goiter)
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Irregularities in weight
  • Thinning hair
  • Stunted growth
  • Dry skin
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Lower IQ
  • Lower body temperature
  • Depression

Some of these side effects can become permanent for young children or anyone suffering from an iodine deficiency long-term. This is why we must take all the steps to stay on top of our iodine intake and protect our thyroid. 

Who is at risk for an iodine deficiency?

According to their age and stage of life, some groups require more iodine in their daily diets than others. It’s important to know which category we fall into to keep track of how much we’re getting and if it’s enough. The table below shows the discrepancies:

Life Stage

Recommended Amount of Iodine (per day)

Birth to 6 months

110 mcg

Infants 7-12 months

130 mcg

Children 1-8 years

90 mcg

Children 9-13 years

120 mcg

Teens 14-18 years

150 mcg


150 mcg

Pregnant teens and women

220 mcg

Breastfeeding teens and women

290 mcg

Data from the National Institutes of Health (1)

For more information regarding your recommended amount of iodine and the reason these discrepancies exist, check out our other article: (to be linked) 

While many obtain a sufficient amount of iodine without thinking twice, a few groups, in particular, are most at risk for lacking the iodine needed to support thyroid function. This group includes:

  • Pregnant women
  • Lactating women
  • Anyone choosing sea salt versus iodized salt 
  • Vegetarians
  • Vegans

For the first three categories of at-risk people listed, more food options can be added to their diets to promote higher iodine levels. This includes various fish and dairy products, though further iodine supplementation may be necessary for peak results. 

For those on a vegan diet interested in taking control of our daily iodine intake, it’s necessary to stay informed about vegan iodine sources and the best vegan iodine supplements.

Vegan iodine sources

Some vegan iodine food sources include the following:

  • Kelp
  • Nori
  • Wakame
  • Dulse
  • Iodized salt

All of these vegan iodine sources, except iodized salt, are seaweed. Seaweed is considered one of the highest natural sources of vegan iodine. 

However, implementing enough into our diet to make a meaningful difference in our iodine intake is not always effective or practical.

This is why vegan iodine supplements are considered beneficial for anyone needing more iodine. Generally taken in a capsule with a drink of water, vegan iodine supplements are a great way to keep track of exactly how much our bodies are getting.

Luckily, FuelOrganics offers a high-quality Vegan Iodine containing kelp powder, which is nutrient-dense, rich in essential minerals, and most importantly, a leading source of iodine.

Final thoughts on iodine and thyroid health

Anyone concerned about their iodine intake can get tested by visiting their doctor for a urine, blood, or iodine test patch.

Although iodine deficiencies can provide a real threat to our thyroid and general health, we can rest assured that there are ways to avoid this. 

Whether through iodine-rich foods, vegan iodine supplements, or a combination of the two, we all can receive the amount of iodine we need to keep those thyroid glands pumping. 

For more information on iodine and how much you should be getting, check out other articles:

How Much Iodine is Too Much?

Trusted Sources

  1. Iodine. Fact Sheet for Consumers. National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements.
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