What is Iodine?
Iodine is a chemical element that the body needs but cannot make, it must come from diet. It is key in the bodies production of thyroid hormones, and is particularly important during pregnancy as it is essential for normal fetal brain development.
In particular, a plant-based diet can be expected to provide limited amounts of iodine. A recent study made in Germany concluded that healthy adults following diets with reduced consumption of dairy product had significantly lower levels compared with those with mixed diets.
As concluded in a study just published in the British Journal of Nutrition – Milk is one of the best sources of iodine, which is essential for normal brain development, energy metabolism and thyroid function. Vegan alternatives, like rice, almond or soy milks, however, are very low in iodine and can put vegans at risk of a deficiency.
How much do I need?
According to this study “A glass of a milk-alternative drink would only provide around 2 mcg of iodine which is a very small proportion of the adult recommended intake of 150 mcg/day. During pregnancy, that recommendation goes up to 200 mcg/day.”
Most people are not aware of the critical need for iodine. People who consume milk- alternatives should realize that they may need to supplement this vital mineral.
Where is the best place to get Iodine?
The authors of the UK study recommend iodine supplements but caution against using kelp which can have very unpredictable levels that differ from the label claim. The preferred iodine source for supplements is potassium iodide. Potassium iodide is one of the ingredients found in OptiVega® a Comprehensive Vitamin and Mineral supplement designed especially for Vegans and Vegetarians.
Journal Reference: https://sciencedaily.com
Sarah C. Bath, Sarah Hill, Heidi Goenaga Infante, Sarah Elghul, Carolina J. Nezianya, Margaret P. Rayman. Iodine concentration of milk-alternative drinks available in the UK in comparison with cows’ milk. British Journal of Nutrition, 2017