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Iodine

Iodine helps make thyroid hormones, which help keep cells and the metabolic rate (the speed at which chemical reactions take place in the body) healthy.

Good sources of iodine

Good food sources of iodine include:

  • sea fish
  • shellfish

Iodine can also be found in plant foods, such as cereals and grains, but the levels vary depending on the amount of iodine in the soil where the plants are grown.

How much iodine do I need?

Adults need 140 micrograms (μg) of iodine a day.

Most people should be able to get all the iodine they need by eating a varied and balanced diet.

If you are following a strict vegan diet and do not eat any fish then you may want to consider taking an iodine supplement. Some types of plant-based milk are also fortified with iodine. If you are considering taking a supplement seek advice from a healthcare professional.

The Vegan Society has more information about iodine and vegan diets.

What happens if I take too much iodine?

Taking high doses of iodine for long periods of time could change the way your thyroid gland works.

This can lead to a wide range of different symptoms, such as weight gain.

If you take iodine supplements, do not take too much as this could be harmful.

Taking 0.5mg or less a day of iodine supplements is unlikely to cause any harm.

What does the Department of Health and Social Care advise?

You should be able to get all the iodine you need by eating a varied and balanced diet.

If you take iodine supplements, do not take too much as this could be harmful.

Taking 0.5mg or less a day of iodine supplements is unlikely to cause any harm.