Anyone interested in maintaining the health of their thyroid probably knows about the beneficial effects of iodine. But while researching the subject, you may have noticed some discussion regarding natural versus synthetic iodine. So what’s the difference between the two, and how do we know which is suitable for us?
Natural iodine comes from food sources such as fish and seaweed, while synthetic iodine is made in a lab. The best option for treating thyroid issues depends on the condition of your thyroid.
Are you interested in learning more about the differences between these two forms of iodine and how it all relates to you? This article will break down everything you need to know about natural and synthetic iodine to understand better how iodine works in all its forms.
Difference between natural and synthetic iodine
Iodine is a mineral our bodies need to ensure the proper functioning of our thyroid hormones. So what’s the difference between natural and synthetic iodine?
Natural iodine exists organically in nature - it can be found in fish, dairy, and marine plants. To increase our general iodine intake, we can consume these natural food sources.
Synthetic iodine is a form of iodine that’s lab-made. While this mineral is nearly impossible to synthesize completely, the potassium iodide that can be made in a lab can be referred to as synthetic iodine.
How our bodies process natural versus synthetic iodine
So now we know the difference between natural and artificial iodine- but how does this difference affect how iodine works in our bodies?
Natural iodine breaks down in the body much slower than synthetic iodine.
Because natural sources like seaweed have iodine in their fibers, these fibers can release iodine gradually, resulting in a sustained absorption of the nutrient within our bodies.
On the other hand, synthetic iodine releases iodine into our systems at a much faster rate. This means our iodine levels initially experience a spike, but this iodine level is not sustained long in our bodies and is quickly excreted.
The graph below shows the differences in how long natural versus synthetic iodine stays in our system.
So which is better? Well, because of the differences in how our bodies process these substances, each has different uses.
Uses for a natural iodine
Consuming natural iodine is an effective way for our bodies to receive the iodine we need to sustain a healthy thyroid.
Because natural iodine is absorbed and released by our body gradually, it stays in our system much longer than synthetic iodine.
Anyone suffering from an iodine deficiency will likely use natural iodine sources due to their consistent and sustained release of iodine necessary for proper hormone function.
Uses for synthetic iodine
Synthetic iodine is used in medical practices to treat certain thyroid conditions.
For example, hyperthyroidism is when our thyroid overproduces hormones and can be treated using synthetic thyroid hormones.
A thyroidectomy, or removal of all or part of the thyroid gland, is another example where the properties of synthetic thyroid hormones are needed for treatment.
Are iodine supplements natural or synthetic?
Supplements can often get a bad reputation for being artificial. People assume that if we are not getting a nutrient from a food source directly, then we aren’t consuming it naturally.
But this isn’t the case - many supplements come from natural sources, and iodine supplements can help too.
Sure, receiving enough iodine from our food alone is ideal, but anyone suffering from thyroid issues or not eating a balanced diet may need to take supplements for extra help.
Many iodine supplements contain natural sources such as seaweed, such as FuelOrganic’s high-quality Vegan Thyroid Plus Iodine supplement. This supplement includes vegetable capsules filled with kelp powder, a leading source of the natural iodine your body needs to sustain proper hormone function.
Anyone interested in maintaining the health of their thyroid or treating a thyroid condition can benefit from an understanding of natural versus synthetic iodine.
While natural and synthetic iodine are two separate substances that our bodies react to differently, they each have essential uses in managing our thyroid health.
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