Iodine is one of those minerals that doesn’t get discussed very often.
It plays a vital role in our thyroid helping to make hormones that are important for our metabolism and cell function and vital for the development of a baby’s brain during pregnancy.
The daily recommended intake for males and females 15 years and older is 140 micrograms per day. In pregnancy and during breastfeeding this increases to 200 micrograms of which 150 micrograms can be taken via a non-seaweed based supplement and the rest should be obtained from the diet.
In the UK deficiency used to be a very rare occurrence, however the amount of iodine we get from our diet is dependent on levels found in the soil, which can vary over the course of the year and from place to place. We also get much of our iodine from dairy due it being including in cattle feed and disinfectants used during milking. However, with an increase in the number of people eating a vegan diet awareness of iodine is needed to prevent deficiency.
Historically seaweed has not been recommended as a source of iodine to avoid people consuming kelp which can contain too much iodine because consuming excessive amounts of iodine can also cause harm. However, seaweeds such as nori are safe to consume in small amounts and there has been an increase in seaweed products on the UK market.
One such product that I discovered at Exeter Food Festival is Sea Spoon a company based in Wiltshire which has a license to harvest their seaweed from the South Coast of Devon. Their Seaweed Boost contains dulse, sea spaghetti, sea lettuce and sea greens. They recommend adding ½ a teaspoon to your food 3-4 times a week. Just 2 mg provides 130micrograms of iodine and they are fully aware that they don’t want to be giving their costumers too much.
If you have any medical issues with your thyroid or thyroid hormone levels including thyroxine, you should consult your doctor. However, for others that don’t consume large amounts of dairy, fish, shellfish or eggs it is safe to include small amounts of seaweed in your diet (just not kelp or hijiki, the latter of which contains arsenic). If you are vegan or don’t consume any dairy or white fish you should consider taking an iodine supplement which doesn’t contain kelp (the amount of iodine in kelp supplements can vary to that stated on the packet). If in doubt ask a registered dietitian to take a look at your dietary intake of iodine.
This is not a sponsored post, but if you are interested in trying Sea Spoon their website is: