The Essential Nutrient That Women Aren't Getting Enough Of

The Essential Nutrient That Women Aren't Getting Enough Of

International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8th March every year in order to raise awareness against gender bias, take action towards equality and celebrate women’s achievements. This year, we want to take the opportunity to raise awareness around the essential nutrient that women in particular aren’t getting enough of – that nutrient is iodine.
What is iodine?

Iodine is an essential nutrient that the body needs to produce the thyroid hormones. If we don’t get enough from our diet, then our body can’t produce these hormones at the level that it needs to. This can lead to an underactive thyroid, which has all kinds of unwanted side effects including weight gain, feelings of tiredness, dry skin – and that’s just to name a few.

Despite having such an important role in our thyroid health, iodine remains somewhat undervalued, so much so that around 1.9 billion people worldwide remain deficient in it[i]. Iodine deficiency is particularly common among women, with studies finding that 84% of women don’t get enough[ii].

The impact of iodine deficiency for women

While iodine is essential for both men and women, it plays a greater role in women’s health generally, as well as there being specific times during a women’s life when it’s needed in higher amounts.


Iodine is so important for normal foetal and child development that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend that women get an extra 100µg per day during pregnancy and breast feeding, in addition to the recommended 150µg daily[iii]. This is because of the impact that iodine has on brain development, with children born to iodine deficient mothers more likely to have a lower IQ[iv].

Pregnancy Essential Nutrition

Not only is iodine important for a healthy pregnancy, scientific research suggests that it plays just as important a role in falling pregnant to begin with. This is because along with the unwanted side effects that come with hypothyroidism, it can also impair ovulation and impact fertility in women[v]. One study concluded that overall, women who didn’t get enough iodine were significantly less likely to fall pregnant than the women who did get enough[vi].


Making sure that you have enough iodine in your diet may also help to ease symptoms associated with the menopause. This is because the group most at risk of hypothyroidism is middle-aged women – the same age at which many women also start to go through the menopause. This can result in hypothyroidism going undiagnosed, as it shares lots of similar symptoms with menopause, some of which can be seen in the table below.

 Symptom Hypothyroidism Permimenopause Menopause


x x x

Low energy

x x x

Weight gain

x x


x x


x x x

Digestive issues

x x x


What are good sources of iodine?

Our bodies cannot produce iodine, so it’s essential that we get it from our diets. The most common dietary sources of iodine include white fish and dairy products - which continue to decline in popularity alongside the rise in plant-based eating. The only good, natural and plant-based source of iodine is seaweed, so incorporating it into your diet is a great way to ensure you’re getting enough.

Understandably, not everybody knows how to incorporate high quality seaweed into their meal plans. That’s why Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful® seaweed capsules are perfect for anybody trying to increase their iodine intake and improve their wider wellness. Just one capsule provides enough iodine to meet your recommended daily intake and makes it easy and convenient for you to feel the wonderful benefits of seaweed for yourself.

Discover the full range here.


References -
[i] Pearce, E.N., Lazarus, J.H., Moreno-Reyes, R. and Zimmermann, M.B. (2016) Consequences of iodine deficiency and excess in pregnant women: an overview of current knowns and unknowns. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 104(3), pp. 918-923.
[ii] Candido, A.C., Morais, N.S., Dutra, L.V., Pinto, C.A., Franceschini, S.C. and Alfenas, R.C.G. (2019) Insufficient iodine intake in pregnant women in different regions of the world: a systematic review. Archives of Endocrinology and Metabolism, 63(3).
[iii] Andersson, M., Benoist, B., Delange, F. and Zupan, J. (2007) Prevention and control of iodine deficiency in pregnant and lactating women and in children less than 2 years old: conclusions and recommendations of the Technical Consultation. Public Health Nutrition, 10(12), pp. 1606-1611.
[iv] Bath, S.C., Steer, C.D., Golding, J., Emmett, P. and Rayman, M.P. (2013) Effect of inadequate iodine status in UK pregnant women on cognitive outcomes in their children: results from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). The Lancet, 382(9889), pp.331-337.
[v] Rao, M., Wang, H., Zhao, S., Liu, J., Wen, Y., Wu, Z., Yang, Z., Su, C., Su, Z., Wang, K. and Tang, L. (2020) Subclinical hypothyroidism is associated with lower ovarian reserve in women aged 35 years or older. Thyroid, 30(1).


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