Seaweed is the best solution to Britain’s ongoing iodine crisis
The nutrition market has changed beyond recognition over the last decade or so, with healthiness taking more and more precedence with each passing year. More than ever, people want to know what they are eating, where it has come from and how it can contribute to their daily diet.
That being said, there are still nutritional concerns in the UK which continue to fly under the radar, including iodine.
Iodine is one of the most important nutrients for our health, yet the UK suffers from higher levels of iodine deficiency than most other developed countries. As one of the very few plant sources of iodine, seaweed is paramount to tackling iodine deficiency in an age when plant-based diets, veganism and other health niches are on the rise.
What is the scale of iodine deficiency in the UK?
The UK is one of just two high-income countries with iodine deficiency issues and has a worse rate than some developing countries. The issue is particularly prevalent in women and girls. In fact, a study by Lancet showed that the percentage of teenage girls and pregnant women that had an Iodine deficiency was 69 and 62% respectively . Further, a study in the Journal for Nutritional Health & Food Science  showed that 60% of females over 55 also had an iodine deficiency.
As lifestyle and dietary trends like veganism continue to grow, iodine deficiency is becoming an even greater concern. Of course, the majority of people adopt a plant-based diet to improve their health but it is important to recognise that without meat, fish or dairy products, there are some nutrients that are not readily available in most plant-based products.
In the UK, the most common sources of iodine are cow’s milk, eggs and sea fish. As more and more people move away from these food groups, consumers have found themselves at greater risk of deficiency. And the rise in veganism is more than just a trend. In the last 10 years, the number of people following a vegan diet in the UK has increased by a massive 360%, and according to national supermarket chain Sainsbury’s - they expect this to be a 400% rise by 2025.
Why is iodine important?
The public need to be made more aware of the importance of iodine in the diet. Some plant-based alternatives to milk like soy, almond and hemp are making the effort to fortify products with iodine, but there is still a lot of work to do to tackle deficiency in the UK and offer viable solutions which fit the needs of today’s nutritional requirements.
Iodine is key to our health in a number of ways, particularly for pregnant women. Iodine helps to support the development of children, as well as contributing to cognitive function, thyroid health, skin maintenance, energy yielding metabolism and a functioning nervous system.
Seaweed is the natural plant-based source of ESSENTIAL Iodine
Recent research has shone a light on the increased risk of iodine deficiency suffered by those who follow a vegan diet. One study carried out by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) found that although vegan diets offered many health benefits – including high fibre intake and lower cholesterol levels – they also meant a greater risk of iodine deficiency symptoms.
While the results showed that iodine deficiency was an issue in both vegan and mixed diets, vegan participants were particularly at risk. In fact, a third of vegans who took part in the study had iodine levels lower than 20 micrograms per litre. This is the limit defined by the World Health Organisation.
The role of plant-based iodine supply has never been more important, and seaweed is the only natural plant-based source of ESSENTIAL iodine.
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 capsules provides a significant and natural source of iodine. Just one gram (2 capsules) of our Scottish Organic seaweed provides as much iodine as three whole mackerel.