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How come Iodine is an Essential Part of YOUR diet

Iodine is essential for thyroid hormone production and we cannot synthesis it in our bodies alone. Iodine is also essential for metabolism, hormone function and growth. In pregnancy, it is also vital for foetal development. As a population we tend to have a sufficient intake and children are reaching their daily targets, however young girls in their teenage years and early twenties tend to have below the recommended daily intake.

How much iodine is needed daily?

If you are eating a diet with regular dairy products and fish, then you should be reaching your daily targets.

Male and females adults should aim for 150micrograms (mcg) a day (suggested by the European Food Safety Authority) and if you are pregnant or breastfeeding then it is ideal to aim for 200mcg daily.

If you are planning a pregnancy, then ideally ensure you have plenty of food sources containing iodine to ensure a healthy first few weeks of pregnancy. These are the most important stages of feotal production.

Where can we find sources of iodine in our diet?

If you eat both dairy and fish, you are unlikely to be deficient. However, if you have allergies or avoid either of these food sources then here is a list of some other food sources that may be helpful-

  1. yogurt

  2. seaweed

  3. cheese

  4. cow's milk

  5. scampi

  6. cod

  7. haddock

  8. eggs

  9. plaice

  10. salmon

  11. meat and other white meat

  12. nuts

  13. bread

  14. fruit and veg

  15. fortified milks

What happens if I don't have enough?

A deficiency is rare, but if you are vegan or vegetarian it maybe worth ensuring you eat food sources higher in iodine. can help with some more information if you feel it maybe relevant.

If you were to be deficient, then a swollen thyroid gland could be seen, but this rare. With in pregnancies, a low iodine intake could lead to developmental problems, such as a reduced IQ or problems reading.

On the other side of the scale it is possible to take too much if you are supplementing. So please ask your GP if you are worried.


If you are pregnant or planning a family it is ideal to ensure you are taking in the sufficient amounts of iodine. As a developing young lady it is also important to ensure you are eating a varied diet to ensure proper development and growth.

Supplementation is definitely not required unless prescribed by your healthcare professional. If you are vegan or vegetarian if maybe worth ensuring a good amount of fortified milks are included, as well as seaweed and nuts.

The British Dietetics Association (BDA) has so much more information available if you wanted more information.

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