Even though it is only found in small quantities in the body, iodine is essential for good health .
In this article, we will answer the following questions:
What is the role of this trace element?
What are the daily needs of children and adults?
What are the risks in the event of a deficiency?
What foods are rich in iodine?
What is iodine?
Essential throughout life, iodine (I) is a trace element . A trace element is defined as a substance without any nutritional value. This is only present in the human body in trace amounts. However, its importance is great for the proper functioning of the body because it is involved in a number of metabolic reactions. This is the case for iodine.
Benefits and properties of iodine
Iodine is mainly involved in the synthesis of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 . From a chemical point of view, these are essentially distinguished by the number of iodine molecules necessary to synthesize them, 3 for the first, 4 for the second.
These hormones produced by the thyroid gland influence the regulation of heart rate, thermoregulation and the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. They also participate in many metabolic mechanisms, in the proper functioning of cells and the nervous system.
Finally, thyroid hormones are very important during growth (from fetus to puberty) due to their involvement in:
- The formation of the nervous system at the fetal stage;
- Cellular development;
- Regulation of basic metabolism;
- Muscle development;
This is why a deficiency (hypothyroidism) can have serious repercussions on fetal development and general health.
What are the daily iodine requirements for adults and children?
Daily iodine requirements vary depending on age, sex and physiological state. According to ANSES (National Agency for Food Safety), the nutritional references for the population (RNP) are:
- Children 1 to 3 years old: 80 mcg/d;
- Children aged 4 to 6 years: 90 mcg/d;
- Children aged 7 to 9 years 120 mcg/d;
- Over 10 years: 130 µg/d;
- Adults aged 18 and over: 150 mcg/day for both women and men;
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women: 200 mcg/day.
Iodine intake is particularly decisive in pregnant women and for the development of the fetus, as well as during breastfeeding.
Insufficient iodine intake for many French people
The national individual study on food consumption 2006-2007 (INCA 2) was conducted by ANSES. This concerns many aspects, in particular iodine. It highlights that:
- Average iodine intakes in adults are mostly below the RNP which is 150 µg/day. However, these remain higher than the minimum daily requirement which is 107 µg/day;
- The deficit is less marked among men than among women;
- Daily iodine intake is insufficient for 43% of women of childbearing age.
For the youngest, the various studies carried out since the mid-1980s tend to demonstrate that there is no deficiency. Intakes are even slightly higher than recommended values due to high consumption of dairy products.
On the other hand, from the age of 10, eating habits change. Daily iodine intake is less well covered in most pre-adolescents and adolescents.
This observation is not specific to the French. In fact, almost one in two young Europeans have an iodine deficiency .
Iodine deficiency: what are the health risks?
An iodine deficiency can have serious consequences at any age.
During pregnancy , a diet low in iodine increases the risk of miscarriage, malformations and intellectual deficit. It has also been shown that even a slight deficiency before pregnancy can also have irreversible repercussions on the development of the fetus.
In early childhood , insufficient iodine intake can harm the child's psycho-neuro-intellectual development. This can result in anomalies, both in the child's growth and in the development of his intellectual faculties.
In older people and adults, a deficiency of this trace element can cause hypothyroidism. The reduction in the synthesis of T3 and T4 hormones synthesized by the thyroid then has more or less severe consequences for health. An iodine deficiency can therefore influence mood, cell metabolism, heart rate, kidney function or even the regulation of body temperature.
Iodine excess and thyroid dysfunction
Iodine requires a relatively precise dosage because excesses are also harmful.
An excess of iodine is rare but it increases the activity of the thyroid or blocks its functioning. If the functioning of the thyroid is blocked, chronic excess reactions similar to a lack of iodine.
For Vegans and vegetarians, ANSES particularly warns against the consumption of certain algae known for their high iodine content because their iodine content varies enormously depending on the production conditions or even the type of preparation.
It is therefore necessary to avoid overconsuming seaweed at the same time as taking the supplement.
How to meet your daily iodine needs?
Iodine is a trace element that cannot be synthesized by our body . To benefit from the benefits of iodine, you must ingest it.
What foods are richest in iodine?
Foods rich in iodine are not very numerous . Among these, we find:
Products from the sea which are the main sources:
- Shellfish: from 200 to 400 µg/100g;
- Cod: 256 µg/100g;
- Shrimp: 100 µg/100g;
- All fish contain it in varying proportions (from 15 to 50µ/100 g on average)
- Algae (see below)
'Terrestrial' animal products whose content varies greatly depending on their origin and production conditions:
- Eggs: between 10 and 60 µg/100g;
- Milk, cheese and dairy products: 25 to 70 µg/100g;
Note that commonly consumed Sea Salt is paradoxically low in Iodine because it is eliminated during the evaporation of water. It is therefore necessary to use Iodized Salt (supplemented with Iodine) to have a significant content (and variable depending on the option chosen by the Salin, see the label of the product concerned).
This volatile nature of Iodine also explains why the sea air is loaded with it!
For Vegans and vegetarians, which plants are richest in iodine?
As part of a plant-based diet, the sources of iodine are as follows:
- Algae and marine algae (kombi, samphire etc.)
- Iodized table salt: be careful, overconsumption of salt can be responsible for cardiovascular diseases, so it is a delicate source to optimize.
These two categories of products have the disadvantage of possibly very high contents and difficult to dose to avoid deficiencies and excesses.
- Food supplements rich in iodine are a very safe option because they allow adequate precision for precisely adapted daily doses, at all ages and in complete safety.
Our food supplements rich in iodine
Supplementation is an alternative if food alone is not enough to cover daily needs. The use of iodized food supplements is particularly recommended for risk groups. This concerns, for example, children, but also pregnant women or women who wish to become mothers.
This is the reason why two of our food supplement formulas are rich in iodine.
The first is the Multivitamin and Mineral : a formula increasingly popular with nutrition professionals with a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals essential to your daily life.
Each capsule covers the needs of 17 essential active ingredients, including 100% of the adult RDA for iodine, with just one capsule per day.
The second is Veg a Kid . With its exclusive formulation, including an adapted dosage of Iodine (limited to 30µ grams per capsule), vitamins (B12, D3, E, etc.) and minerals, your child's essential daily micro-nutrient needs are covered from 1 year.