Iodine's Another Reason to Eat Fish Element is essential for thyroid function

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Iodine is an
essential element that we need in very tiny amounts.

The body obtains
iodine from food and stores it in the thyroid, where it is used
for manufacturing the thyroid hormone. Once its job is done, the
remaining iodine is filtered by the kidneys and removed.

Both vitamin
A and selenium are important for the body’s efficient absorption
of iodine; if there is not enough of these nutrients in your diet,
you may be making too little thyroid hormone.

A lack of iodine
in the diet can impair the workings of the thyroid gland and cause
lethargy, weight gain, cold extremities and poor concentration.

How Much
Do I Need?

The recommended
dietary allowance (RDA) of iodine is:

  • Children
    ages one to eight: 90 micrograms (mcg)
  • Children
    ages nine to 13: 120 mcg
  • Teens to
    adults: 150 mcg
  • Pregnancy:
    220 mcg
  • Breastfeeding:
    290 mcg

Most multivitamin
supplements provide from 100 to 150 mcg of iodine, which is particularly
important during pregnancy for the mother and her developing baby.

The upper daily
limit of iodine for adults is 1,100 mcg. Too much iodine can overstimulate
the thyroid and cause anxiety, insomnia and weight loss.

Where Do
I Find It?

Fish, shellfish
and seaweeds are our only major sources of iodine; the amounts in
other foods depend on the iodine content of the soil in which crops
are grown or on which animals graze.

Most table
salt has added iodine, though as people are becoming more aware
of the dangers of excessive salt, this may become a less valuable
source. Processed and packaged foods have higher iodine contents
because of the added iodized salt. If you use sea salt it will contain
some iodine, but most of the iodine is lost during the drying process.

Kelp, a type of seaweed, contains a very high amount of iodine.
Taking kelp as a supplement can therefore increase your risk of
iodine toxicity and can interfere with the activity of your thyroid
gland.

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June
5, 2010

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