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Iodine in
Iodine Mineral
Alternative names

Diet - iodine

Iodine is a trace mineral and an essential nutrient found naturally in the body.


Iodine is needed for the normal metabolism of cells. Metabolism is the process of converting food into energy. Humans need iodine for normal thyroid function, and for the production of thyroid hormones.

Food Sources

Iodized salt -- table salt with iodine added -- is the main food source of iodine. Seafood is naturally rich in iodine. Cod, sea bass, haddock, and perch are good sources. Kelp is the most common vegetable seafood that is a rich source of iodine. Dairy products and plants grown in soil that is rich in iodine are also good sources.

Side Effects

Lack of enough iodine (deficiency) may occur in places that have iodine-poor soil. Many months of iodine deficiency in a person's diet may cause goiter or hypothyroidism. Without enough iodine, the thyroid cells and the thyroid gland become enlarged.

Deficiency happens more often in women than in men, and is more common in pregnant women and older children. Getting enough iodine in the diet may prevent a form of physical and mental retardation called cretinism. Cretinism is very rare in the U.S. because iodine deficiency is generally not a problem.

Iodine poisoning is rare in the U.S. Very high intake of iodine can reduce the function of the thyroid gland.


These are the recommended daily allowances:

Infants -- 40 - 50 micrograms.
1 - 3 years -- 70 micrograms
4 - 6 years -- 90 micrograms
7 - 10 years -- 120 micrograms
11+ years -- 150 micrograms
Pregnant women -- 175 micrograms
Breastfeeding women -- 200 micrograms
A 1/4 teaspoon of iodized table salt provides 95 micrograms of iodine. A 6-ounce portion of ocean fish provides 650 micrograms of iodine. Most people are able to meet the daily recommendations by eating seafood, iodized salt, and plants grown in iodine-rich soil. When buying salt make sure it is labeled "iodized."

Other useful Minerals information: Iron | Copper | Phosphorus

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