When we think about mental health, factors such as genetics, environment, and lifestyle choices often come to mind. However, one essential yet often overlooked element that plays a crucial role in mental wellbeing is nutrition. In particular, a critical nutrient that can support brain health and cognitive function is iodine.
Although primarily recognised for its role in thyroid function, iodine also influences various aspects of mental health. In recent years, researchers have been investigating the link between iodine deficiency and mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. This blog post aims to shed light on the connection between low iodine levels and anxiety/depression, highlighting the importance of adequate iodine intake for mental wellbeing.
Iodine and its Significance:
Iodine is a vital nutrient that is primarily known for its role in thyroid hormone production. The thyroid gland depends on iodine to synthesise hormones that regulate metabolism and control various bodily functions. However, iodine is not only crucial for thyroid health; it also has profound effects on the brain and nervous system.
The Impact on Mental Health:
Studies have indicated that low iodine levels can contribute to mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. The thyroid hormones influenced by iodine play a vital role in brain development and neurotransmitter regulation, which directly affect mood and emotional wellbeing. Insufficient iodine levels can lead to imbalances in these hormones, potentially resulting in mental health disorders.
Thyroid Dysfunction and Mental Health:
When iodine levels are inadequate, the thyroid gland struggles to produce sufficient amounts of thyroid hormones which play a vital role in brain development and neurotransmitter regulation, which directly affect mood and emotional wellbeing. This dysfunction can lead to various mental health symptoms, including anxiety, depression, mood swings, and cognitive impairments.
Iodine, Serotonin, and Dopamine:
Serotonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters involved in regulating mood and emotions. Research suggests that iodine is necessary for the synthesis of these neurotransmitters, and low iodine levels can lead to their deficiency. Insufficient serotonin and dopamine levels are associated with anxiety and depression, highlighting the role of iodine in maintaining proper neurotransmitter balance.
The Doctor Seaweed Solution:
Unfortunately, iodine deficiency remains a global health concern, affecting millions of people worldwide. Recognising the connection between adequate nutrition and mental health can empower individuals to prioritise iodine intake and by doing so, take an important step toward supporting mental wellbeing and reducing the risk of mental health disorders associated with iodine deficiency.
As the rise in plant-based diets continues, many of us might not be consuming our RDA of iodine with primary sources being white fish and dairy. If you're unsure whether you could be iodine deficient, click here to take our 20 second iodine quiz to find out.
To make it easy to get enough of what you need, Doctor Seaweed’s range of nutritional supplements are naturally rich in iodine from our sustainably harvested Scottish seaweed. This core ingredient is carefully blended with a plethora of plant-based nutrients to target specific wellness goals. Doctor Seaweed's Focus+ Capsules offer an easy way to consume sufficient levels of iodine all whilst supporting the health of your brain and keeping your eyes in check. One capsule contains organic Scottish seaweed, naturally rich in iodine, alongside plant-based zinc and a B-vitamin complex. This is paired with the exciting addition of a unique plant-based source of Omega 3 DHA in the form of a soft gel capsule. Click here to shop Focus+