- Iodine is an essential trace element used by nearly every bodily system to ensure optimal well-being and functionality.
- Along with regulating thyroid hormone levels, iodine also might support your efforts to prevent cancer, strengthen the immune system and support a healthy pregnancy.
- Sourced from the sea, iodine can be found in a variety of seafood and wild-caught fish, as well as brown seaweed kelp and other sea vegetables.
A leader among elements
Located in almost every tissue and organ in the human body, iodine is an essential trace element needed by just about every bodily system – not only to promote optimal health and well-being, but also to support your efforts to help stave off certain types of cancer and other diseases.
Although our bodies rely on iodine, it’s not something we can make ourselves – so we rely on obtaining it through a well-balanced diet comprised on iodine-rich plants and animals. Consuming seafood, wild-caught fish, and sea plants such as kelp and seaweed are but a few ways that we can obtain the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) of 150 mcg per day for men and women age 14 and older.
Keeping hormones in balance
Most experts will agree that iodine’s primary responsibility is to regulate thyroid function. It achieves this objective by supporting production of hormones such as thyroxine (T4 hormone) and triiodothyronine (T3) that affect the body’s Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR) – and ultimately impact everything from heart rate, digestive enzyme activity and proper central nervous system development to food absorption and transformation into energy, blood pressure and sleep cycle regulation.
What are iodine’s other contributions?
Along with supporting endocrine balance, iodine plays a key role in supporting the immune system. It starts by increasing the activity of antioxidants to shore up the protective forces, serves as a scavenger of free hydroxyl radicals, and also support facilitation of the self-destruction of dangerous cells. For cancer patients, iodine’s uncanny support to spare healthy cells while annihilating mutated cells is especially important. And while we’re on the topic of cancer, by supporting balanced hormone levels, iodine’s anti-carcinogenic support allows it to support your fight to help prevent thyroid cancer. Some experts also feel that it may support your efforts to decrease the likelihood of breast, prostate, endometrial and ovarian cancers.
In addition to its immune system advantages, iodine also supports your efforts to help salivary and sweat production; reduce turgidity, fibrosis and breast tenderness; supports relief from fibrocystic disease; and fsupports healthy skin, teeth and hair. When the body receives enough iodine through diet and/or supplementation, hair is shiny and lustrous, and skin is smooth, supple and free of irritation. Speaking of the skin, iodine can also be applied topically to kill germs, as well as to treat cutaneous sporothichosis, a fungus-triggered skin condition.
Of great importance for those in their child-bearing years is iodine’s contribution to a healthy pregnancy. It not only helps prevent high blood pressure for the mother, it also suports healthy brain development for the fetus – supporting to preclude motor-function and learning challenges, as well as cretinism or other mental disabilities.
Best sources of iodine
Landlubbers beware: the sea is the optimal source for iodine-rich foods. From brown seaweed kelp, nori, kombu and wakame to cod, haddock, halibut and deep-water whitefish, ocean-based plants and animals are the best go-to options for readily available iodine.
In addition to iodized salt, here are some additional alternatives (in alphabetical order):
- Canned tuna and sardines
- Eggs (cage-free)
- Lima beans
- Raw, unpasteurized dairy products
- Swiss chard
- Whole-grain products
If your diet happens to be lacking in marine plants and/or fish, supplementation may be a viable consideration. Iodine supplements come in several forms, including potassium iodide or sodium iodide that may also be present in multi-vitamins. As with all supplements, be sure to consult with your physician or an experienced holistic practitioner to determine if this is an appropriate dietary regimen for you.
What’s the bottom line?
Vital for support of thyroid hormone regulation, iodine has a direct support of the body’s Basic Metabolic Rate. As such, it directly supports blood pressure, sleep regulation, food absorption and use as energy, and proper central nervous and skeletal system development – to name but a few. This essential trace element also helps support the immune system, supports your efforts to destroy malignant cells, encourage brain development, and facilitate a healthy pregnancy for both mother and child. Gleaned mainly from seafood and sea plants, iodine can also be found in green leafy vegetables, eggs, raw dairy products and legumes. If you feel your diet may be lacking, you may wish to speak with a medical professional about iodine supplementation.