Stylist Magazine. September 1st 2023. Claire Munnings/ Dominique Ludwig
Why is iodine so important?
Iodine plays a pivotal role in our thyroid health and therefore can have an impact on many things in our body, including our metabolism and brain function.
“Iodine is essential for our thyroid gland to function correctly,” explains nutritionist Dominique Ludwig, the founder of Renew Reset Recharge. “The thyroid gland is located in the front of our neck and requires iodine to make the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which help to regulate our metabolic rate, growth and development.”
Our thyroid hormones impact a number of vital processes and readings, including our body temperature, energy levels, growth and even weight. This means that inadequate iodine levels (which can potentially lead to an underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism) can have a knock-on effect on all of these things.
How to eat more iodine
Iodine is a naturally occurring mineral that we can’t produce ourselves, so we rely on consuming the right amount through our diet. Ideally, we’re meant to consume about 140-150 micrograms (μg) a day, rising to around 200μg when pregnant or breastfeeding. Good sources of iodine include:
Seaweed is a great source of iodine and other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The amount of iodine present in seaweed depends largely on what type of seaweed you’re eating, where it’s been grown and how it’s been prepared. Kelp is thought to be one of the most iodine-rich varieties. You can now buy seaweed in a variety of forms – as dried ‘thins’, flakes or crisps, or as supplements.
Iodine can be found in dairy such as yoghurt, milk and cottage cheese, although Ludwig points out that cheddar and hard cheeses contain less iodine than soft cheese as much of the mineral is found in the whey (more of which is discarded when producing hard cheeses).
Bear in mind too that iodine levels in these products can vary at different times of the year. “Seasonal variations to the iodine in cows’ milk can occur as the cows are more reliant on their mineral-fortified feeds in winter than summer,” Ludwig adds.
White and oily fish and seafood all contain good levels of iodine, with cod being hailed as one of the best sources. Look out for lean fish, which contains a higher amount of the mineral when compared to fatty fish.
Yes, your trusty scrambled eggs can also contribute to your iodine intake, with experts estimating that an average egg contains around 25mg of this mineral.
Supplements and fortified foods
In the past – when iodine deficiency was more prevalent – people would use iodised salt as a way to increase their intake, and this can still be purchased in some supermarkets today. There are also a number of other iodine-focused supplements out there designed to help ensure we’re getting the right amount. If you’re considering supplementing your diet, it’s always best to check with a healthcare professional first as iodine supplements aren’t suitable for everyone.
Are we at real risk of iodine deficiency in the UK?
If we’re not following a well-balanced diet we can be at risk of all sorts of nutrient-deficiencies, and iodine is no different.
“Today, globally, iodine deficiency is estimated to affect up to 2.2 billion people and some studies are indicating that iodine deficiency is something that we should, as health professionals, be taking seriously again in the UK,” says Ludwig. “While it was virtually eradicated there is now a real possibility that iodine deficiency could increase due to the reduction in iodine rich-foods in the diet.”
What Ludwig is referring to is the fact our diet patterns have changed considerably in the last decade or so, particularly as more people have tried to limit or cut out dairy and animal proteins from their diet.
About Dominique Ludwig, Nutritionist MSc and Nutritional Therapist mBANT
Dominique Ludwig is an accomplished Nutritionist with over 30 years’ experience as a qualified nutritionist and almost 20 years as a nutritional therapist. The secret weapon of many high-profile clients and A-list celebrities, Dominique has been voted one of the top 15 nutritionists in the UK. She is a triple award winning nutritionist (Most Innovative Nutritionist 2022, Most Outstanding Nutrition Programme 2023, UK and Most Pioneering Weight Loss & Nutrition Programme 2023 – UK ), and is the founder of the Nutrition and Lifestyle Programme Renew Reset Recharge®, a pioneering nutrition, weight management and lifestyle programme that has been carefully created to support gut health and hormone health. To find out more CLICK HERE for details.
Dominique works out of her own busy practice, Dominique Ludwig Nutrition, both virtually or in person in Hampshre as well as Meyer Clinic in Chichester. Dominique has helped over a thousand clients, globally, live healthier lives. She is a regular contributor to The Times, The Sunday Times and Times 2, Sheerluxe, Top Sante, Stylist Magazine, Yours Magazine, Sunday Express and many other magazines and podcasts.
To work with Dominique you can book a short discovery call to find out more. DISCOVERY CALLS