Iodine - The Forgotten Nutrient

If you’re not familiar with the nutrient iodine, then fear not. It’s not one to get lots of media attention but none the less isn’t to suggest that iodine is not important. Iodine is an absolutely pivotal micronutrient which is required to support the production of the thyroid hormones T4 and T3 alongside playing a crucial role in cognitive function in children. Low levels of iodine can impact the rate of neurological development and can contribute to impaired thyroid function.

For adults in the UK the recommendations for iodine consumption are 140µg per day. During pregnancy iodine is particularly important as it plays a pivotal role in the neurological development of the foetus, although in the UK there are currently no differences between the recommendations for the general population and the pregnant population.

Iodine can be particularly difficult to obtain on a plant-based or vegan diet since the main sources include dairy milk and white fish. However, you can find iodine in plant sources such as seaweed, prunes and potatoes. Additionally, iodised salt can be used to increase iodine consumption.

Due to the popularity of plant based and vegan diets, there is a greater concern of iodine deficiency and therefore ensuring you’re consuming seaweed weekly, prunes and potatoes is important for ensuring adequate iodine status. What’s more is that very few plant based milks are fortified with iodine, although if you’re looking for those who do fortify then these brands include Oatly and M&S soya milk.
If you are on a plant based or vegan diet you may be questioning whether you should be supplementing with iodine. Should this be the case please seek personalised professional advice as many supplements containing iodine come from kelp which is particularly high in iodine and may pose risk of toxicity.

If you’re not on a vegan diet, ensuring you’re consuming 1-2 portions of white fish per week and a daily source of dairy is ample to provide the necessary iodine recommendations.

Don’t forget we’re here to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need! Our Filet of Hake, Smoked Haddock Kedgeree and Brixham Fish Pie are all great dishes for increasing your iodine intakes.