👅 Iodine is a mineral that makes up an essential part of our thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and tri-iodothyronine (T3). We need these hormones for proper regulation of our body temperature, metabolism, growth, and heart rate (among other things).
👱🏽♀️ Although requirements differ from country to country, the WHO recommends a daily intake of 150mcg iodine per day for adult women, and 250mcg/day for pregnant women.
🍤 Ideally we should be getting this through our diet. Iodine is naturally found in fish (haddock, cod, mackerel, salmon), shellfish and seaweed.
🥛In the UK the main dietary source of iodine is cow’s milk, whilst in South Africa (Home ❤️) and the USA table salt is fortified with iodine.
☺️ Most women following a healthy, balanced diet should be able to meet their daily iodine needs through diet, but it’s important to take note of this if you live in the UK and don’t consume cow’s milk. A recent study by University of Surrey researchers highlighted the fact that most commercial plant mills contain little to no iodine, so please choose iodine-fortified plant-based milks or endure that you consume other iodine-rich foods if you don’t consume dairy here in the UK.
😴 When we aren’t meeting our iodine needs through dietary intake, our thyroid is unable to produce sufficient T3 and T4, and we can end up feeling exhausted, unable to concentrate, sluggish, cold, and susceptible to unexplained weight gain.
👶🏻 Iodine is super important for a developing foetus, as a pregnant mother’s thyroid hormones play a role in foetal brain development. In fact, making sure that a mother is iodine sufficient before and during pregnancy is the most important method of preventing irreversible brain damage in newborns.
😭 Severe iodine deficiency can result in something known as goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid due to hypertrophy (cell growth) that happens whilst the thyroid tries to compensate for decreased iodine.