Healthy Ways to Avoid Iodine Deficiency

Benefits of Iodine for Pregnant Women, Children, and Everyone Else

Iodine deficiency can be prevented with proper nutrition and supplements. There are numerous benefits, especially for pregnant women and children.

During your entire lifetime you will need less than a teaspoon of iodine to ensure good health.  However, your body cannot store iodine, so you have to consume a little bit every day to stay healthy.

States with Iodine Deficient Soils

The Red States are with Iodine Deficient Soils
The Red States are with Iodine Deficient Soils

Pregnancy Problems

There are certain symptoms of iodine deficiency in women that are clearly seen. These symptoms usually come about in women who are pregnant. At this crucial stage in a woman's life, if the woman does not take in adequate amounts of iodine, it may result in certain conditions such as the following:

  • Mental Retardation
  • Varied degrees of hearing and speech difficulties
  • Permanent brain damage
  • Deaf-mutism
  • Short and stunted growth
  • Spasticity
  • Low intelligence levels

These are some of the symptoms of iodine deficiency disorder that a person can experience. Though women are generally much more affected than men. It is therefore, important to prevent iodine deficiency and curb adverse affects to the human body and mind. This can be done by having iodine rich foods that have a high content of iodine. Some of these are seafood, cheese, cow's milk, certain breads, eggs, curds, iodized table salt, strawberries, meats and seaweeds.


Hypothyroidism is one of the most common symptoms in children with iodine deficiency. It is caused when there is an underactive thyroid gland.  Hypothyroidism means that the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormones and therefore the body does not function normally.

These are some of the key symptoms of hypothyroidism:

  • Feeling tired often and easily
  • Feeling cold for no apparent reason
  • Extreme drying of skin
  • Depression
  • Becoming more and more forgetful
  • Constant constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Increase in cholesterol levels
  • Swelling in legs
  • Unexplained pains and aches
  • Hair becomes dry and coarse
  • Severe muscle cramps
  • Inability to concentrate effectively

Iodine and Children

Diets deficient in iodine increase risk of slowed brain development in children (cretinism).  The effect on children includes mental slowness, high cholesterol, lethargy, fatigue, depression, and weight gain.

Goiter is caused by iodine deficiency
Goiter is caused by iodine deficiency

Beware: Too much iodine can be bad for you too!

As little as 1000 micrograms of Iodine in a day is known to cause irritations such as burning of the mouth and throat, stomach ache, and vomiting.

You want to have "just enough" each day.


Goiter is another one of the iodine deficiency symptoms that is contracted when there is inadequate iodine in the body. This manifests in the thyroid gland enlarging and a visibly large goiter taking residence on the body. A goiter can come about due to any underlying condition that may be causing the thyroid levels to grow abnormally. It may be caused by hyperthyroidism (too much hormone production), hypothyroidism (too little hormone production) or even euthyroidism (correct amount of hormone production).

The Complete Thyroid Book, Second Edition
The Complete Thyroid Book, Second Edition

The Complete Thyroid Book is now revised and updated!


Recommended Iodine Intake in the United States

Iodine intake (ag/d)
Age 0-6 months
110 (AI)
Age 7-12 months
130 (AI)
Age 1-8 years
90 (RDA)
Age 9-13
120 (RDA)
Age 14 years and up
150 (RDA)
Pregnant women
220 (RDA)
Lactating women
290 (RDA)
AI, Adequate intake; RDA, recommended daily allowance

Healthy Foods that Provide Iodine

Sea Vegetables - Includes Kelp, Arame, Hiziki, Kombu, and Wakame.

Cranberries - A mere 4 ounces of cranberries contain approximately 400/mcg of iodine.  Cranberries are also rich in antioxidents.

Strawberries - You can get 10% of the daily recommended intake of iodine in a single serving.  One cup of fresh strawberries has approximately 13/mcg of iodine.

Dairy Products - Milk and cheese are good sources of iodine, with one cup of milk containing about 55/mcg.

Potatoes - With the skin, one medium-sized baked potato holds about 60/mcg of iodine.

Iodide Supplements

If you’re not a big fan of many of the iodine foods listed above, then you can always take an iodine supplement. It is typically in the form of Potasium Iodide.

The benefit of potassium iodide is that it blocks the uptake of radio-iodine in the thyroid gland, thus lowering the chances of developing thyroid cancer. This is especially important to those that may be affected by radiation from the nuclear power plant crisis in Japan.

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Comments 3 comments

Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Interesting hub, and one with info I didn't know. We don't think of fruits as an iodine source. Thanks for sharin.

Becky Puetz profile image

Becky Puetz 5 years ago from Oklahoma

I have never really considered how important iodine intake is until reading your article. Apparently, my family is safe in the amount we recieve due to all the fresh vegetables and fruit we take in each day. Thank you for an awesome hub.

tamron profile image

tamron 5 years ago

Lots of great information. I was wondering in a survival situation how you can get salt because salt is accentual to survive. Thanks for the great information on iodine sources. Ping Ya!

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