Iodine - Everything About Needs, Sources And Deficiencies

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Iodine - Everything About Needs, Sources And Deficiencies
Iodine - Everything About Needs, Sources And Deficiencies
Video: Iodine - Everything About Needs, Sources And Deficiencies
Video: 5 Signs and Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency 2023, February


Iodine is one of the trace elements. It is part of the thyroid hormone thyroxine and is therefore of central importance for the functioning of the metabolism. All human organ systems (especially the nervous system) are dependent on iodine. Iodine is also important for maintaining body temperature and the division and growth of cells. An undersupply of iodine can manifest itself as a goiter through an enlarged thyroid gland.

For a long time Austria was regarded as an iodine deficiency area because the local soils are low in iodine. As a countermeasure, iodine, known as iodized table salt, has been added to table salt in Austria since 1963. A sufficient iodine supply is particularly important during pregnancy. Most of the iodine in the body is stored in the thyroid.


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  • Where is iodine found?
  • How much iodine do we need?
  • Too much / too little iodine

Where is iodine found?

A particularly important source of iodine in this country is iodized table salt, as the iodine content in food is subject to great fluctuations. In Austria, iodine is added to table salt in order to improve the iodine supply of the population and to prevent deficiency symptoms: iodized full salt has a total iodine content of 15-20 mg / kg in Austria (source RIS table salt law). Further information is available from the Food Salt Act, Federal Law Gazette No. 112/1963. Uniodinated salts, such as many “reform salts” and sea salt, often contain insufficient iodine. Therefore, pay attention to information such as “iodized”, “enriched with iodine” or “mixed with iodine”.

Good food sources for iodine are sea fish and other marine products (maritime products) such as seaweed and seaweed. The iodine content of food is subject to large regional and seasonal fluctuations, as it largely depends on the iodine content of the soil and the livestock. If the animals are well supplied with iodine, milk and eggs also contribute to covering the iodine requirement. When buying bread, baked goods, cheese and sausage, you should make sure that iodized salt was used in the production.

How much iodine do we need?

The recommended daily intake for adults (25 to <51 years) according to the DA-CH reference values ​​is 200 µg iodine (Austria and Germany) and 150 µg iodine (Switzerland). Pregnant women are recommended an intake of 230 µg iodine daily, breastfeeding women are recommended 260 µg iodine daily (Austria and Germany). In Switzerland, pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to use 200 µg iodine per day.

You can find out more about all age groups or groups of people as well as gender in the DA-CH reference values. For more information, see Covering Your Daily Mineral Requirement.

Supplementary intake of iodine

In certain phases of life or in certain groups of people such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, if there is a fish or cow's milk allergy and lactose intolerance as well as if you have a low-salt or one-sided vegetarian diet, the supplementary intake of iodine can be useful. Be sure to discuss this with your doctor in advance.

Too much / too little iodine

  • An excess of iodine in the diet is not to be feared even when using iodized table salt. Caution is advised with extremely high intake of various algae products, some of which have high iodine levels. Medicines or disinfectants containing iodine can contribute to a chronically excessive intake of iodine. Symptoms of an extreme iodine oversupply can include iodine-induced goiter, thyrotoxic crisis or iodine acne.
  • An iodine deficiency is particularly the result of an insufficient intake through the diet, e.g. when using uniodinated salt. An iodine deficiency can manifest itself as an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter, goiter). An undersupply during pregnancy can lead to developmental disorders of the skeletal and nervous system in the child, which cannot be reversed (iodine-deficiency cretinism). An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) is rarely due to an iodine deficiency.

Further information is available from:

  • Thyroid disease
  • Thyroid hormone (T3) (laboratory value)
  • Thyroid hormone (T4) (laboratory value)

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