Iodine Nutrition Guide: Best Food Sources, Absorption, Deficiency, Types + Supplements

Iodine Nutrition Guide: Best Food Sources, Absorption, Deficiency, Types + Supplements

Iodine is an essential mineral found naturally in some foods as well as added to some salt seasonings and supplements. The body needs iodine to make thyroid hormones, which help keep cells healthy, control the body’s metabolism and support many other important functions.

In this blog post, you will learn:

👉🏼 Why do we need Iodine?

👉🏼 What are the best food sources of Iodine?

👉🏼 How much Iodine should you consume each day?

👉🏼 What can help improve Iodine absorption – and what decreases absorption?

👉🏼 Who is at risk of Iodine deficiency?

👉🏼 When should you consider Iodine supplementation?

👉🏼 What are the different types of Iodine supplements – and which one is right for you?

Are you worried about nutritional deficiencies? Are you looking to optimise your diet and transform your health? Head to Consultations to see how I can help you start your journey to the healthiest version of yourself today!

Why do we need Iodine?

The body needs iodine to make thyroid hormones including thyroxine and triiodothyronine, which help with creating proteins and enzyme activity, and work to support a normal metabolism. Without sufficient iodine, these thyroid hormones do not work properly and can lead to an under-active or overactive thyroid gland. Iodine also plays a key role in thyroid hormones for bone and brain development during pregnancy and infancy.

What are the best food sources of iodine?

Iodine isn’t naturally found in the body so it’s important to ensure your diet includes sources of it. Dietary sources include cow’s milk and dairy products, eggs, fish, shellfish and seaweed. Iodine can also be found in plant foods such as grains, but the levels vary depending on the amount of iodine in the soil where they are grown. 

How much iodine should we consume a day?

The UK recommended daily allowance (RDA) for iodine is 140 micrograms (for adults) which most people should be able to get from their diet. 

How can we maximise iodine absorption?

Iodide is quickly and almost completely absorbed in the stomach so eating a well balanced diet that includes sources of iodine will ensure it is fully absorbed by the body. 

Who is at risk of iodine deficiency?

Iodine deficiency has multiple adverse effects on growth and development, but did you know that iodine deficiency is one of the most common yet preventable world health problems? The deficiency can be a result of insufficient iodine intake or inadequate thyroid hormone production.

Whilst anyone can develop an iodine deficiency, certain groups of people are more likely to be at risk of an iodine deficiency, including:

  • Pregnant women
  • Those following a strict vegan diet. It’s suggested that vegans consider adding fortified foods (i.e. foods where a nutrient is added in to them) into their diet, or consider taking a supplement. Some plant-based milks such as soya and oat are fortified with iodine, depending on the brand, as well as salt. The best thing to do is to check the label and speak to a nutritionist! 

Should you consider an iodine supplement?

Most people should get their RDA of iodine from eating a varied and balanced diet. However, if you are following a strict vegan diet or do not eat any fish, eggs or dairy products, you may want to consider food fortified with iodine or consider taking a supplement. 

Your doctor may also recommend you taking an iodine supplement if your levels are naturally too low or affected by low thyroid hormone production

As with any supplement, always seek medical advice before purchasing or taking an iodine supplement. 

What should you look for in an iodine supplement?

High intakes of iodine or taking it for long periods of time can cause the same symptoms as a deficiency and in some cases change how your thyroid gland functions. As iodine supplements have the potential to interact with several types of medications it is important to always seek medical advice before taking an iodine supplement.


Everyone’s nutritional requirements will be different, which is why I take a personalised approach with all of my 1:1 clients and tailor each nutrition plan (and supplement recommendation) to their unique needs and goals.

 This is just a small insight into the types of things I discuss with my 1:1 clients. If you’re looking to optimise your nutrition, transform your health and elevate your quality of life, please get in contact via Consultations or book a FREE 15-minute call and let’s chat about how I can help. 

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