I is for Iodine

If you live in the west and you buy your salt from supermarket shelves you will have seen that many of the brands available for purchase include an additive known as Iodine. But why is it so important that it is added to one of the most generalised cooking ingredients known to mankind, and why is it so necessary to our health and our bodies?

So many people have seen the salt containers containing the word “iodine” or “iodised” but how many of you actually know what this vitally important material does for our bodies?

Today we continue on with our alphabetical series of informative blogs, and focus on ‘Iodine.”

Why is Iodine Necessary for Your Natural Health?

I often advise people to take iodine. Why? The simple reason is that iodine is a trace element that helps to keep our thyroid (thyroxin) hormones aligned, harmonised and fully synthesized. This means our physiology and our health are extremely dependent upon this chemical. In short, it regulates our basal metabolic rate and makes sure our body’s engine system is trucking along at an even keeled and properly regulated pace.[1]

Without Iodine, you and your family could experience hypothyroidism which is common in equatorial regions where there is no access to seafood. But in 2010 The Sydney Morning Herald Newspaper reported on the latest findings of research into Iodine levels in Australian newborns. The findings pointed to an increase in iodine deficiency in Australia.[2] The situation is so concerning that The World Health Organization now ranks Australia as one of 50 nations that is recorded as experiencing widespread deficiency. And all this from a first world country where we have access to natural health, great nutrition and nutritionists and dieticians who are able to guide us in our eating patterns!

The Nutrition Australia website states that the following disorders may arise as a result of iodine deficiency:

  • Goiter
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Cretinism
  • Reduced intelligence
  • Growth retardation[3]

Sourcing Foods rich in Iodine

In inland equatorial regions, some populations find access to iodine extremely difficult. In Australia, iodine is added to many foods and is readily available. Your practitioner can advise you on foods rich in iodine, but in the meantime, here is a list of sources. Make sure you include some of these foods in a balanced diet that is low in processed foods and yellow deep fried foods.

Iodine rich foods include:

  • Bread. Did you know that Australian bakers are required by law to use iodised salt in their baking processes?
  • Fish – particularly tinned
  • Shellfish such as mussels or prawns or even oysters. (The latter have the highest concentration.)
  • Salt. Look for an iodised salt for cooking. The label will clearly state that the salt is fortified with iodine.[4]

So make sure you include iodine in your diet. If you require further information about the correct dose speak with your naturopath or health specialist as soon as possible.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iodine

[2] http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/iodine-deficiency-dumbing-down-australia-20101031-178mr.html

[3] http://nutritionaustralia.org/national/resource/iodine-facts

[4] ibid