Why Iodine Is an Essential Mineral

Why Iodine Is an Essential Mineral

Last update: 08 May, 2015

Iodine is an important mineral for your body. Many studies state that it is a mineral that many people lack as it has to come from your diet.

There is only a small amount of iodine in food, unless it is included in products, such as iodized salt. Generally it is found in food like seaweed.

Iodine helps you to burn fat and prevent thyroid problems. It is absorbed in the intestinal tract and then transported to the thyroid glands via the blood stream, where the thyroid hormones are synthesised.

The benefits of iodine

  • A good level of iodine helps to keep a balanced level of thyroxine, the thyroid hormone. This helps to prevent ill health, such as goiter or hyperthyroidism.
  • It helps your metabolism to function properly, which is needed for the nervous system to work correctly.
  • It is required for synthesising carbohydrates and cholesterol.
  • It gives you energy and is required for healthy cells.
  • It burns excess fat.
  • It helps to keep your nails and hair healthy and strong.

Symptoms of a lack of iodine

A low level of iodine can cause several symptoms:

  • Goiter
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Feeling cold
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Dry hair and skin
  • Constipation.

Where iodine can be found

Fish and seafood


Iodine can be found in the ocean, so eat fish or seafood at least three times per week. Fish and seaweed contain vitamins A, B complex, D and E as well as fatty acids like omega 3 which are all great for your health.

In your diet try to include salmon, shrimp, prawns, cod or sole.



Kelp is a great source of iodine and should be included in your diet every now and then. Seaweed, onions, beetroot, spinach, cucumbers and garlic are also highly recommended. They have antibacterial properties as well as being rich in iodine.



Some cheeses are a good source of iodine. For instance, cheddar cheese –  if you eat 100 grams of this cheese, you will get 39 mg. of iodine.



Many grains, such as wheat and rye are rich in iodine. For example, If you eat 100 grams of cornflour, you will get 80 mg. of iodine.

Iodine warnings

To find out if you need extra iodine in your diet, you will need to consult your doctor. For example, its not a good idea to eat seaweed every day. High doses of iodine can damage your body, making you susceptible to suffering from hyperthyroidism. Some medications should not be combined with iodine, such as those associated with manic-depressive disorders. You should always consult your doctor if you have any concerns. However, a balanced diet including lots of fruit, vegetables and grain will be beneficial to your health.