Iodine is an integral part of the thyroid hormones, which are needed for typical development and development, especially of the brain and central nerve system. An absence of iodine in the diet plan is the single most common reason for preventable mental retardation worldwide. [1]


Iodine was first discovered by Barnard Courtois, a French chemist in 1811 while drawing out potassium and sodium from seaweed ash. When he inadvertently included sulfuric acid, a violet colored cloud progressed from the mass. The resulting gas was condensed into dark crystals-the first occurrence of observed strong iodine. [2]

Occurrence and distribution

Iodine is never found in nature uncombined, and it is not focused sufficiently to form independent minerals. It is present in seawater, but sparingly, as the iodide ion, I −, to the extent of roughly 50 mg per metric lot (0.0016 ounce per heap) of seawater. It is also formed in seaweeds, oysters, and cod livers. Salt iodate (NaIO3) is contained in crude Chile saltpetre (sodium nitrate, NaNO3). The human body consists of iodine in the compound thyroxine, which is produced in the thyroid gland.

The only naturally occurring isotope of iodine is stable iodine-127. An incredibly beneficial radioactive isotope is iodine-131, which has a half-life of eight days. It is used in medication to keep an eye on thyroid gland operating, to deal with goitre and thyroid cancer, and to locate tumours of the brain and of the liver. It is likewise utilized in examinations to trace the course of substances in metabolism. Numerous iodine substances are used as contrast mediums in diagnostic radiology. In aqueous option even minute amounts of iodine in the existence of starch produce a blue-black colour. [3]

Realities About Iodine

Iodine is an essential element needed for life. It is best understood for the essential function it plays in thyroid hormonal agent production in human beings in addition to in all vertebrates. Iodine deficiency can cause major illness, consisting of goiter (bigger thyroid gland), intellectual special needs and cretinism.

As a pure element, iodine is a shiny purple-black nonmetal that is strong under standard conditions. It sublimes (modifications from a solid to a gaseous state while bypassing a liquid form) quickly and releases a purple vapor. Although it is technically a non-metal, it exhibits some metal qualities.

Iodine is categorized as a halogen– a subset of really chemically reactive elements (Group 17 on the table of elements) that exist in the environment as compounds rather than as pure aspects. The other halogens consist of fluorine (F), chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br) and astatine (At). The term halogen suggests “salt-producing.” When these components respond with metals, they produce a wide range of salts, such as calcium fluoride, sodium chloride (common table salt), silver bromide and potassium iodide.

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Iodine gas

Iodine can sublimate into a violet-pink gas.

Iodine is an essential element needed for life. It is best known for the vital function it plays in thyroid hormonal agent production in people along with in all vertebrates. Iodine shortage can lead to severe health issue, consisting of goiter (enlarged thyroid gland), intellectual special needs and cretinism.

As a pure component, iodine is a lustrous purple-black nonmetal that is solid under basic conditions. It sublimes (modifications from a strong to a gaseous state while bypassing a liquid form) easily and produces a purple vapor. Although it is technically a non-metal, it shows some metal qualities.

Iodine is categorized as a halogen– a subset of really chemically reactive aspects (Group 17 on the table of elements) that exist in the environment as compounds instead of as pure components. The other halogens include fluorine (F), chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br) and astatine (At). The term halogen means “salt-producing.” When these aspects react with metals, they produce a wide array of salts, such as calcium fluoride, sodium chloride (common table salt), silver bromide and potassium iodide.

Iodine is the least reactive of the halogens along with the most electropositive, implying it tends to lose electrons and form positive ions throughout chain reaction. It is also the heaviest and the least plentiful of the stable halogens. There are 30 known isotopes of iodine, however only one is naturally happening (I-127).

Iodine has a number of industrial applications and can be found in a range of pharmaceuticals, disinfectants, inks and dyes, catalysts, photography chemicals and animal feed supplements. It plays an especially prominent function in medicine. For instance, iodine substances are typically used as decontaminating and wound-cleansing options and as internal contrasting agents in imaging strategies such as computed tomography (CT) scans, radiography and fluoroscopy. The radioactive isotope iodine-131 is also utilized to treat cancer in the thyroid gland.


About 99.6 percent of the Earth’s mass is a mix of 32 chemical aspects, according to the World Iodine Association (WIA). The remaining 0.4 percent is divided among 64 elements– all of these in trace amounts. Iodine is the 61st element in regards to abundance, making it not only one of the least abundant nonmetallic elements in the world however likewise one of the rarest components required for life.

Although iodine is not especially plentiful, it can be discovered in trace amounts almost everywhere: water, soil, rocks, plants, animals and human beings. Seawater is the largest reserve of iodine, holding about 34.5 million loads. However the concentrations are so low– balancing in between 50 to 60 parts per billion (ppb)– that direct extraction is not feasible. Rivers include less iodine, at around 5 ppb, according to Lenntech Water Treatment Solutions of Denmark.

Most of the world’s industrial iodine is gotten from brines (water strongly filled in salt) connected with gas wells in Japan and from caliche ore mined in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. In the United States, iodine is stemmed from deep well salt water in northern Oklahoma.

Truths in summary

  • Atomic number (variety of protons in the nucleus): 53
  • Atomic symbol (on the periodic table of the elements): I
  • Atomic weight (typical mass of the atom): 126.90447
  • Density: 4.93 grams per cubic centimeter
  • Stage at space temperature: Solid
  • Melting point: 236.7 degrees Fahrenheit (113.7 degrees Celsius)
  • Boiling point: 363.9 F (184.4 C)
  • Number of isotopes (atoms of the same aspect with a different number of neutrons): 37 recognized isotopes; one steady (I-127)

Who understood?

The very first iodized salt was offered in Michigan in 1924. Before this, most people living along the coasts still got plenty of iodine simply by being near the ocean and the coastal soil. People living further inland, nevertheless, were frequently iodine-deficient, leading to a higher occurrence of goiter. Once the connection between iodine shortage and goiter was established, public health officials started trying to find methods to minimize the problem– ultimately leading to iodized salt.

Iodine is a great test for starch as it turns a deep blue color when it can be found in contact with it.

Photography was the very first business use for iodine. In 1839, Louis Daguerre created a technique for producing images, called daguerreotypes, on thin sheets of metal.

Even animals can develop goiters due to iodine shortage. It is not rare to see goiters in dogs, cattle, goats, birds and fish.

Iodine is a component of nuclear fallout, the recurring radioactive material that falls from the sky after a nuclear blast. Individuals in a radioactive area remain in risk of inhaling or ingesting iodine, which is extremely harmful in large dosages. [4]

Uses of iodine

Iodine is thought about an essential mineral for our bodies. It’s particularly important during pregnancy, and direct exposure in the womb may even assist prevent certain health conditions later on in life.

The following is a list of a few of the most essential uses and how they benefit the body.

1. Promoting thyroid health

Iodine plays an important function in thyroid health. Your thyroid gland, which lies at the base of the front of your neck, helps regulate hormone production. These hormones manage your metabolism, heart health, and more.

To make thyroid hormonal agents, your thyroid uses up iodine in percentages. Without iodine, thyroid hormonal agent production can reduce. A “low” or underactive thyroid gland can cause a condition called hypothyroidism.

Offered the broad availability of iodine in western diet plans, thyroid health isn’t typically impacted by low iodine levels in the United States.

You can get enough iodine from your diet plan by eating dairy products, strengthened foods, and seawater fish. Iodine is also readily available in plant foods that grow in naturally iodine-rich soil. You likewise can get the mineral by seasoning your food with iodized salt.

While iodine promotes overall thyroid health, too much iodine can have a negative effect on the thyroid gland. That’s why you should not take iodine supplements without your physician’s recommendation.

2. Lowering risk for some goiters

A goiter is a bigger thyroid gland. Your thyroid might become bigger as a result from either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is an overactive thyroid gland.

Non-cancerous thyroid nodules (cysts) can also trigger thyroid gland enhancement.

Sometimes a goiter develops as a direct action to iodine deficiency. This is the most typical cause of goiter worldwide, though it’s not as common a cause in the United States and other countries with access to iodine-rich foods.

Iodine-induced goiters may be reversed by including iodine-rich foods or supplements in the diet plan.

3. Handling overactive thyroid gland

Your medical professional may recommend an unique type of iodine called radioactive iodine to treat an overactive thyroid gland. Likewise called radioiodine, this medication is taken by mouth. It’s used to destroy additional thyroid cells to help reduce extreme amounts of thyroid hormonal agent.

The threat with radioactive iodine is that it can destroy too many thyroid cells. This can decrease the amount of hormonal agent production, causing hypothyroidism. For this reason, radioactive iodine is typically just recommended after anti-thyroid drugs have actually stopped working.

Radioactive iodine is not the exact same thing as iodine supplements. You need to never ever take iodine supplements for hyperthyroidism.

4. Treating thyroid cancer

Radioiodine may likewise be a possible treatment option for thyroid cancer. It works in similar method as hyperthyroid treatment.

When you take radioactive iodine orally, the medication destroys thyroid cells, including malignant ones. It may be utilized as a treatment following thyroid surgery to make sure all cancerous cells have been gotten rid of from the body.

According to the American Cancer Society, radioactive iodine treatments substantially improve the chances of survival for individuals with thyroid cancer.

5. Neurodevelopment during pregnancy

You require more iodine in pregnancy. That’s since iodine intake during pregnancy is linked to brain advancement in fetuses. One evaluation found that babies whose birth mothers had an iodine deficiency during pregnancy were more likely to mature with lower IQ’s and other intellectual hold-ups.

The advised day-to-day consumption of iodine during pregnancy is 220 mcg. By comparison, the suggested quantity in non-pregnant adults is 150 mcg a day.

If you’re pregnant, ask your doctor about iodine supplementation, particularly if your prenatal vitamin does not have iodine (lots of do not). Iodine supplements may also be needed if you’re deficient in the mineral.

You’ll likewise need to continue monitoring your iodine consumption if you’re breastfeeding. The suggested daily quantity of iodine while nursing is 290 mcg. That’s since the iodine you take up from diet and supplementation is moved by means of breast milk to your nursing baby. This is an important brain developmental duration, so infants require 110 mcg daily until they’ve reached 6 months of age.

6. Improving cognitive function

The very same neurological benefits of iodine during pregnancy might extend to healthy brain function during childhood. This likewise includes a minimized danger of intellectual impairment.

It is most likely your kid gets all the iodine they need through their diet, but if you have any concerns about their iodine intake, talk to their pediatrician.

7. Improving birth weight

Just like brain advancement, iodine during pregnancy is connected with a healthy birth weight. One research study of pregnant ladies with goiters discovered that 400 mg of iodine taken daily for 6 to eight weeks was valuable in fixing goiters connected to iodine shortage. In turn, there was a total improvement in birth weight in babies.

While iodine intake can impact an infant’s birth weight and total development, it is very important to keep in mind that the above study concentrated on ladies in developing areas who were currently lacking in iron.

Unless your doctor has actually determined you are iodine deficient, taking supplements aren’t likely to impact your infant’s weight at birth. In fact, taking iodine needlessly can cause health issues.

8. May aid deal with fibrocystic breast illness

It’s possible that iodine supplements or medications can assist treat fibrocystic breast illness. This non-cancerous condition is most common in females of reproductive age, and it can trigger painful breast lumps.

Although there is some assure that iodine might help with fibrocystic breast cysts, you shouldn’t try self-treatment. Just take iodine for this condition if your physician particularly advises it. Otherwise, you could be at risk of adverse effects from iodine toxicity.

9. Decontaminating water

Iodine is simply one method of water disinfection. This may be specifically handy if you don’t have access to drinkable water due to traveling or results from a natural disaster.

Two percent liquid iodine cast may be added to water in five-drop increments per one quart of clear water. If the water is cloudy, include 10 drops per quart.

Iodine tablets might also be used, however the instructions can vary by producer.

In spite of the function iodine can play in sanitizing drinking water, there’s also some concerns that it can increase total iodine consumption in human beings and cause negative health effects. Overall iodine consumption should not go beyond 2 mg each day.

10. Protection from nuclear fallout

In the case of nuclear emergencies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests using potassium iodide (KI) to safeguard the thyroid gland from radiation injuries. These are available in tablet and liquid solutions.

While not entirely foolproof, the sooner KI is taken, the better the thyroid is believed to be secured in the event of this type of emergency situation.

There are serious risks associated with KI, consisting of intestinal upset, swelling, and allergy. You’re likewise at increased threat for thyroid disease. Your risk for problems is higher if you already have thyroid illness.

11. Dealing with infections

Iodine can be utilized topically in a liquid type to help treat and prevent infections. It works by eliminating germs around mild cuts and scrapes.

Topical iodine ought to not be used on newborns. It needs to also not be used for deep cuts, animal bites, or burns.

Follow directions on the packaging for dose information, and do not utilize for more than 10 days unless directed by your doctor. [5]

Tools to enhance iodine levels

1. Bear in mind salt

Changing to sea salt is one method to guarantee you aren’t overdoing it on iodine. While sea salt does contain a small amount of naturally-occurring iodine, it’s insufficient to make a significant distinction in your total iodine levels therefore this should not be something to depend on if you are seeking to include more iodine into your diet.

2. Concentrate on iodine-rich foods

Sea veggies like seaweed, dulse, and kelp are an often neglected food medication that is loaded with iodine. Kelp’s iodine levels are sky-high, with some ranges having up to 2,984 micrograms it has the highest iodine material of any sea veggie. Kombu, a specific variety of kelp, has the highest iodine material.

Some other higher sources of iodine consist of:.

  • Cod (3 oz.) – 158 mcg
  • Oysters (3 oz.) – 93 mcg
  • Egg (1 cooked) – 26 mcg

3. Supplements

The recommended intake of iodine varies for each individual however in general men and women should be getting 150 mcg of iodine daily and pregnant ladies 220 mcg per day. If you identify that supplements is needed, work with your medical professional to determine the right dosage for you. [6]

Indications of Shortage and Toxicity


Iodine controls metabolism, the conversion of energy gotten from food into energy to help cells function and grow. A deficiency of iodine can for that reason prevent regular development and advancement. This is particularly hazardous in pregnant ladies and babies, in which miscarriage, stillbirth, stunted development, and cognitive disabilities (difficulties with reading, composing, talking, problem fixing, social skills) can happen. In grownups, an iodine deficiency of less than 10-20 mcg a day can result in insufficient thyroid hormone production, called hypothyroidism, which interferes with typical metabolic functions like regulating heart rate, body temperature, and body weight. A swelling or swelling in the neck, called goiter, often accompanies hypothyroidism. Other signs of hypothyroidism consist of:.

  • Tiredness, lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Level of sensitivity to cold
  • Irregularity
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Weight gain

Individuals at risk for iodine shortage consist of those who do not use iodized salt or supplements containing iodine, pregnant women, vegans who do not eat any animal foods, and those residing in areas with low levels of iodine in the soil (e.g., mountainous areas).


High iodine consumptions are typically well-tolerated in most healthy individuals and do not trigger problems. This has actually been observed in countries such as Japan and Korea that consume iodine-rich seaweed routinely. However some individuals with autoimmune thyroid disease or who have a history of chronic iodine shortage can be conscious getting extra iodine, inducing conditions of iodine deficiency like hypothyroidism and goiter. Excess iodine can also result in excessive thyroid hormone production, causing hyperthyroidism; indications of this condition are an increased metabolism that promotes weight-loss, fast or irregular heart beat, hand tremors, irritation, tiredness, and sweatiness. In some cases even just a slight boost in dietary iodine above the RDA can trigger iodine-induced hyperthyroidism in delicate individuals.

Some epidemiologic studies have actually shown that high seaweed consumptions are related to an increased threat of specific kinds of thyroid cancer, especially in postmenopausal women, however the exact system is uncertain.

Excess iodine consumption may come from use of high-dose supplements or overindulging certain seaweeds and salts that contain iodine. Extreme iodine poisoning is uncommon, however symptoms include fever; stomach pain; queasiness; vomiting; a burning experience of the mouth, throat, and stomach; and even coma. [2] Kids, infants, the senior, and those with existing thyroid illness are particularly vulnerable to iodine toxicity and iodine-induced hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

Did You Know?

In the U.S., individuals acquire the majority of their dietary iodine from iodized salt and milk.

Iodine supplements can connect with specific blood pressure medications and diuretics, consisting of lisinopril, spironolactone, and amiloride, causing a harmful buildup of potassium in the blood called hyperkalemia.

Iodine is an active ingredient on the other hand agents that an individual might take previously having an X-ray or computed tomography (CT scan). It helps to soak up the rays so that clearer images of the body’s organs can be seen. [7]

Recommended consumption

The recommended consumption of iodine from the age of 14 years is 150 microgramsTrusted Source (mcg) for both males and females. During pregnancy, it is 220 mcg, rising to 290 mcg while breastfeeding.

Food is the best source of iodine.

The amount of iodine in a food depends upon just how much iodine there is at the source of production.

The amount of iodine in the soil where crops are grown, or where an animal is raised for meat will impact the amount of iodine in the food. Produce from the sea is an excellent source of iodine.

Levels of iodine in food differ according to where it comes from. In fruit and vegetables, it can range from 10 mcg per kg of dry weight to 1 gram.

Because of this variation, the iodine content in foods is often approximate. [8]

Excessive amounts of iodine can be harmful

Having too much iodine, for instance by means of supplements, can trigger a few of the same problems as iodine deficiency (such as goitre). The level of iodine thought about to be too much, and the signs experienced, can vary from person-to-person, depending on underlying health conditions.

If you believe you’re not getting enough iodine in your diet talk to your physician or an accredited practising dietitian prior to beginning on any supplements. [9]


Moderate Interaction.

Beware with this mix.

Amiodarone (Cordarone) communicates with IODINE

Amiodarone contains iodine. Taking iodine supplements together with amiodarone might increase the levels of iodine in the blood. Too much iodine in the blood can cause negative effects that impact the thyroid.

Lithium engages with IODINE

Big quantities of iodine can decrease thyroid function. Lithium can also decrease thyroid function. Taking iodine in addition to lithium may decrease thyroid function excessive. Do not take big quantities of iodine if you are taking lithium.

Medications for an overactive thyroid (Antithyroid drugs) communicates with IODINE

Iodine can increase or reduce thyroid function. Taking iodine in addition to medications for an overactive thyroid might change the impacts of these medications. Do not take iodine supplements if you are taking medications for an overactive thyroid, unless suggested by a healthcare provider. [10]


Iodine is a necessary nutrient. Individuals with access to iodized salt, seafood, and particular veggies are able to get enough iodine from their diet plan.

In some cases, you may need iodine supplements to help reduce your danger for iodine shortage, or as a treatment for certain medical conditions, such as underactive thyroid or goiter.

Talk to your doctor about your particular iodine needs. [11]


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