World Iodine Deficiency Day is observed every year on October 21st in order to promote awareness about the importance of iodine for good health.
You may be thinking, iodine? Io-don’t know! But here at Weed & Wonderful we love iodine, so read on, and let us explain everything you need to know about iodine, and just how important it is for our health.
Why is iodine so important to our health?
Iodine is an essential nutrient, which our bodies need for healthy thyroid function and growth and development.
The thyroid is a gland which produces the hormones T3 and T4 – the numbers in the names of these hormones relates to the amount of iodine molecules present. These hormones are responsible for activating lots of different processes within the body, including metabolism.
Because the thyroid needs iodine to function, iodine deficiency can lead to an underactive thyroid (this is medically known as hypothyroidism). There are lots of unwanted side effects associated with an underactive thyroid, including weight gain, tiredness and brittle hair and nails.
Iodine is needed in higher amounts during pregnancy, as it is essential for the normal brain development of the unborn baby. Its role is so important during this time, that iodine deficiency is actually the most preventable cause of mental disability. Research studies have even shown how iodine deficiency during pregnancy can result in the children being born having a lower IQ (1).
What is the scale of iodine deficiency in the UK?
The UK is one of just two high-income countries with concerning levels of iodine deficiency, and even has worse rates than some developing countries. It is particularly prevalent in women and girls, with one study showing that the percentage of teenage girls and pregnant women with iodine deficiency was 69% and 62%, respectively (2). Furthermore, a study in the Journal for Nutritional Health & Food Science showed that 60% of females over 55 were iodine deficient (3).
Our bodies can not produce iodine, so we have to make sure we are getting enough from our diets.
The only good food sources of natural iodine are fish, milk and seaweed. Unfortunately, this means that as more and more people move towards a plant-based diet, iodine deficiency becomes an even bigger concern.
While a plant-based diet is a great step to take in the fight against climate change, often people adopt such a diet for health reasons. While it can offer lots of health benefits, it’s important to recognise that cutting out food groups often means cutting out nutrients. A study supporting this found that vegan participants were particularly at risk of iodine deficiency, compared to participants consuming a mixed diet (4).
Seaweed is the best solution to the ongoing iodine crisis
In light of this year’s World Iodine Deficiency Day, it’s a better time than ever to ask yourself if you’re consuming enough iodine to support your health.
In an age where plant-based eating and vegan diets are on the rise, seaweed is paramount to tackling iodine deficiency - it is the ONLY natural, plant-based source of the essential nutrient.
The diversity of seaweed species means there is a wide range of iodine levels present. We measure every batch of our seaweed to ensure every capsule provides a significant and natural source of iodine. Just one of our capsules provides as much iodine as a portion of white fish.
Our Weed & Wonderful range capsules offer a simple way to introduce the benefits of seaweed into your lifestyle in a super convenient way.