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Iodine is an essential component of the thyroid hormonal agents, which are required for regular development and advancement, particularly of the brain and central nerve system. A lack of iodine in the diet is the single most common reason for avoidable mental retardation worldwide. [1]


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

Incident and circulation

Iodine is never found in nature uncombined, and it is not concentrated adequately to form independent minerals. It exists in seawater, but sparingly, as the iodide ion, I −, to the extent of roughly 50 mg per metric load (0.0016 ounce per heap) of seawater. It is also formed in seaweeds, oysters, and cod livers. Sodium iodate (NaIO3) is included in crude Chile saltpetre (salt nitrate, NaNO3). The human body contains iodine in the compound thyroxine, which is produced in the thyroid gland.

The only naturally taking place isotope of iodine is steady iodine-127. An exceptionally beneficial radioactive isotope is iodine-131, which has a half-life of eight days. It is employed in medication to keep an eye on thyroid gland operating, to treat goitre and thyroid cancer, and to locate tumours of the brain and of the liver. It is also used in examinations to trace the course of substances in metabolism. A number of iodine compounds 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 hormone production in humans in addition to in all vertebrates. Iodine deficiency can result in major health problems, including goiter (bigger thyroid gland), intellectual impairment and cretinism.

As a pure component, iodine is a glossy purple-black nonmetal that is solid under basic conditions. It sublimes (changes from a strong to a gaseous state while bypassing a liquid form) quickly and releases a purple vapor. Although it is technically a non-metal, it displays some metal qualities.

Iodine is categorized as a halogen– a subset of very chemically reactive aspects (Group 17 on the table of elements) that exist in the environment as substances rather than as pure components. The other halogens include fluorine (F), chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br) and astatine (At). The term halogen suggests “salt-producing.” When these elements react with metals, they produce a wide variety of salts, such as calcium fluoride, sodium chloride (common 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 required for life. It is best known for the essential function it plays in thyroid hormonal agent production in humans in addition to in all vertebrates. Iodine deficiency can result in serious health problems, consisting of goiter (bigger thyroid gland), intellectual disability and cretinism.

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

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

Iodine is the least reactive of the halogens in addition to the most electropositive, suggesting it tends to lose electrons and form positive ions throughout chain reaction. It is likewise the heaviest and the least plentiful of the steady halogens. There are 30 recognized isotopes of iodine, but only one is naturally taking place (I-127).

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

Trace element

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

Although iodine is not especially abundant, it can be found 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 lots. However the concentrations are so low– balancing in between 50 to 60 parts per billion (ppb)– that direct extraction is not practical. Rivers consist of less iodine, at roughly 5 ppb, according to Lenntech Water Treatment Solutions of Denmark.

Most of the world’s industrial iodine is acquired from salt water (water strongly saturated 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 derived from deep well brines in northern Oklahoma.

Facts in summary

  • Atomic number (number of protons in the nucleus): 53
  • Atomic sign (on the periodic table of the components): I
  • Atomic weight (typical mass of the atom): 126.90447
  • Density: 4.93 grams per cubic centimeter
  • Phase at room temperature: Strong
  • Melting point: 236.7 degrees Fahrenheit (113.7 degrees Celsius)
  • Boiling point: 363.9 F (184.4 C)
  • Variety of isotopes (atoms of the same component with a different number of neutrons): 37 recognized isotopes; one steady (I-127)

Who understood?

The very first iodized table salt was sold in Michigan in 1924. Before this, the majority of people living along the coasts still got plenty of iodine simply by being near the ocean and the seaside soil. Individuals living additional inland, nevertheless, were often iodine-deficient, resulting in a greater incidence of goiter. As soon as the connection in between iodine deficiency and goiter was established, public health authorities began searching for methods to alleviate the problem– ultimately causing iodized salt.

Iodine is an excellent test for starch as it turns a deep blue color when it comes in contact with it.

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

Even animals can establish goiters due to iodine deficiency. It is not unusual to see goiters in pet dogs, cattle, goats, birds and fish.

Iodine is a component of nuclear fallout, the recurring radioactive product that falls from the sky after a nuclear blast. Individuals in a radioactive area remain in danger of inhaling or consuming iodine, which is extremely hazardous in big dosages. [4]

Uses of iodine

Iodine is considered an important mineral for our bodies. It’s particularly important during pregnancy, and exposure in the womb might even help prevent particular health conditions later on in life.

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

1. Promoting thyroid health

Iodine plays a crucial function in thyroid health. Your thyroid gland, which lies at the base of the front of your neck, assists manage hormonal agent production. These hormonal agents manage your metabolic process, heart health, and more.

To make thyroid hormones, your thyroid takes up iodine in percentages. Without iodine, thyroid hormonal agent production can reduce. A “low” or underactive thyroid gland can lead to a condition called hypothyroidism.

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

You can get enough iodine from your diet by eating dairy items, fortified 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 total thyroid health, too much iodine can have a negative result on the thyroid gland. That’s why you should not take iodine supplements without your physician’s suggestion.

2. Reducing threat for some goiters

A goiter is a bigger thyroid gland. Your thyroid may end up being enlarged as a result from either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is an overactive thyroid gland.

Non-cancerous thyroid blemishes (cysts) can also cause thyroid gland augmentation.

In some cases a goiter establishes as a direct response to iodine deficiency. This is the most typical reason for goiter worldwide, though it’s not as common a cause in the United States and other nations with access to iodine-rich foods.

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

3. Handling overactive thyroid gland

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

The danger with radioactive iodine is that it can destroy too many thyroid cells. This can decrease the quantity of hormonal agent production, causing hypothyroidism. For this reason, radioactive iodine is typically only recommended after anti-thyroid drugs have actually failed.

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 alternative for thyroid cancer. It works in similar way as hyperthyroid treatment.

When you take radioactive iodine orally, the medication ruins thyroid cells, consisting of malignant ones. It may be used as a treatment following thyroid surgery to ensure all malignant cells have been gotten rid of from the body.

According to the American Cancer Society, radioactive iodine treatments significantly enhance the chances of survival for people with thyroid cancer.

5. Neurodevelopment during pregnancy

You need more iodine in pregnancy. That’s since iodine consumption during pregnancy is linked to brain development in fetuses. One review discovered that babies whose birth mothers had an iodine shortage during pregnancy were most likely to mature with lower IQ’s and other intellectual hold-ups.

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

If you’re pregnant, ask your doctor about iodine supplementation, especially if your prenatal vitamin doesn’t have iodine (numerous do not). Iodine supplements might also be essential if you lack the mineral.

You’ll likewise need to continue monitoring your iodine consumption if you’re breastfeeding. The advised everyday quantity of iodine while nursing is 290 mcg. That’s because the iodine you take up from diet plan and supplements is transferred through breast milk to your nursing baby. This is an important brain developmental period, so infants require 110 mcg each day until they have actually reached 6 months of age.

6. Improving cognitive function

The very same neurological advantages of iodine during pregnancy might reach healthy brain function throughout youth. This likewise consists of a minimized threat of intellectual impairment.

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

7. Improving birth weight

As with brain development, iodine during pregnancy is associated with a healthy birth weight. One research study of pregnant ladies with goiters discovered that 400 mg of iodine taken daily for 6 to 8 weeks was helpful in fixing goiters associated with iodine shortage. In turn, there was an overall improvement in birth weight in newborns.

While iodine intake can impact a child’s birth weight and total development, it is necessary to note that the above study concentrated on women in developing areas who were currently lacking in iron.

Unless your medical professional has determined you are iodine deficient, taking supplements aren’t likely to affect your child’s weight at birth. In fact, taking iodine needlessly can trigger health concerns.

8. May assistance treat fibrocystic breast illness

It’s possible that iodine supplements or medications can assist deal with fibrocystic breast disease. This non-cancerous condition is most typical in women of reproductive age, and it can trigger unpleasant breast lumps.

Although there is some promise that iodine may help with fibrocystic breast cysts, you shouldn’t attempt self-treatment. Only take iodine for this condition if your doctor specifically recommends it. Otherwise, you could be at risk of adverse effects from iodine toxicity.

9. Sanitizing water

Iodine is just one method of water disinfection. This may be especially handy if you do not have access to drinkable water due to traveling or effects from a natural catastrophe.

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

Iodine tablets may likewise be used, however the instructions can differ by maker.

Despite the role iodine can play in disinfecting drinking water, there’s likewise some issues that it can increase total iodine intake in humans and lead to unfavorable health effects. Overall iodine consumption shouldn’t exceed 2 mg each day.

10. Security from nuclear fallout

In the case of nuclear emergency situations, the Centers for Illness Control and Avoidance recommends using potassium iodide (KI) to secure the thyroid gland from radiation injuries. These are offered in tablet and liquid solutions.

While not totally foolproof, the faster KI is taken, the much better the thyroid is thought to be protected in the event of this type of emergency.

There are serious threats related to KI, including intestinal upset, swelling, and allergic reaction. You’re likewise at increased risk for thyroid illness. Your risk for problems is greater if you currently have thyroid disease.

11. Treating infections

Iodine can be utilized topically in a liquid kind to assist treat and avoid infections. It works by eliminating germs around moderate cuts and scrapes.

Topical iodine needs to not be utilized on newborn babies. It needs to likewise not be used for deep cuts, animal bites, or burns.

Follow directions on the product packaging for dose info, and do not use for more than 10 days unless directed by your physician. [5]

Tools to enhance iodine levels

1. Bear in mind salt

Switching to sea salt is one way to guarantee you aren’t overdoing it on iodine. While sea salt does consist of a small amount of naturally-occurring iodine, it’s not enough to make a significant distinction in your total iodine levels for that reason this shouldn’t be something to depend on if you are seeking to incorporate more iodine into your diet.

2. Concentrate on iodine-rich foods

Sea vegetables like seaweed, dulse, and kelp are an often ignored food medicine 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 particular variety of kelp, has the highest iodine material.

Some other greater sources of iodine include:.

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

3. Supplements

The suggested intake of iodine varies for each individual however in general men and women need to be getting 150 mcg of iodine each day and pregnant ladies 220 mcg each day. If you identify that supplements is required, deal with your doctor to identify the right dosage for you. [6]

Indications of Shortage and Toxicity


Iodine manages metabolic process, the conversion of energy obtained from food into energy to assist cells function and grow. A shortage of iodine can for that reason avoid typical development and advancement. This is especially unsafe in pregnant ladies and infants, in which miscarriage, stillbirth, stunted growth, and cognitive problems (difficulties with reading, composing, talking, issue fixing, social abilities) can happen. In adults, an iodine deficiency of less than 10-20 mcg a day can result in inadequate thyroid hormonal agent production, called hypothyroidism, which disrupts normal metabolic functions like controling heart rate, body temperature, and body weight. A swelling or swelling in the neck, called goiter, typically accompanies hypothyroidism. Other indications of hypothyroidism consist of:.

  • Tiredness, sleepiness
  • Weakness
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Irregularity
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Weight gain

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


High iodine consumptions are generally well-tolerated in a lot of healthy individuals and do not cause problems. This has actually been observed in countries such as Japan and Korea that consume iodine-rich seaweed regularly. But some individuals with autoimmune thyroid illness or who have a history of persistent iodine deficiency can be conscious getting extra iodine, inducing conditions of iodine shortage like hypothyroidism and goiter. Excess iodine can likewise result in too much thyroid hormonal agent production, triggering hyperthyroidism; indications of this condition are an increased metabolism that promotes weight reduction, quick or irregular heartbeat, hand tremblings, irritability, tiredness, and sweatiness. Often even just a minor boost in dietary iodine above the RDA can trigger iodine-induced hyperthyroidism in delicate individuals.

Some epidemiologic research studies have shown that high seaweed consumptions are related to an increased threat of particular kinds of thyroid cancer, particularly in postmenopausal women, but the exact system is uncertain.

Excess iodine consumption might come from use of high-dose supplements or eating way too much specific seaweeds and salts which contain iodine. Serious iodine poisoning is uncommon, but symptoms include fever; stomach pain; nausea; throwing up; a burning sensation of the mouth, throat, and stomach; and even coma. [2] Children, babies, the elderly, 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., people get most of their dietary iodine from iodized salt and milk.

Iodine supplements can engage with certain blood pressure medications and diuretics, including lisinopril, spironolactone, and amiloride, triggering a hazardous accumulation of potassium in the blood called hyperkalemia.

Iodine is an active ingredient on the other hand representatives that a person might take in the past having an X-ray or computed tomography (CT scan). It assists to take in the rays so that clearer images of the body’s organs can be seen. [7]

Recommended intake

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

Food is the very best source of iodine.

The quantity of iodine in a food depends on 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 quantity of iodine in the food. Produce from the sea is an excellent source of iodine.

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

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

Extreme amounts of iodine can be harmful

Having too much iodine, for example by means of supplements, can trigger a few of the very same issues as iodine deficiency (such as goitre). The level of iodine considered to be too much, and the symptoms experienced, can vary from person-to-person, depending upon underlying health conditions.

If you believe you’re not getting sufficient iodine in your diet plan speak to your doctor or an accredited practicing dietitian prior to starting on any supplements. [9]


Moderate Interaction.

Be cautious with this combination.

Amiodarone (Cordarone) interacts with IODINE

Amiodarone consists of iodine. Taking iodine supplements along with amiodarone might increase the levels of iodine in the blood. Too much iodine in the blood can trigger negative effects that impact the thyroid.

Lithium interacts with IODINE

Large quantities of iodine can reduce thyroid function. Lithium can likewise decrease thyroid function. Taking iodine in addition to lithium might reduce thyroid function excessive. Do not take big quantities of iodine if you are taking lithium.

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

Iodine can increase or decrease thyroid function. Taking iodine along with medications for an overactive thyroid may alter the results of these medications. Do not take iodine supplements if you are taking medications for an overactive thyroid, unless recommended by a healthcare provider. [10]


Iodine is an important nutrient. People with access to iodized salt, seafood, and particular vegetables are able to get enough iodine from their diet.

Sometimes, you might need iodine supplements to help reduce your threat for iodine shortage, or as a treatment for certain medical conditions, such as underactive thyroid or goiter.

Talk to your medical professional about your particular iodine requirements. [11]


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