Iodine for Health by Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD

There is growing evidence that Americans would have better health and a lower incidence of cancer and fibrocystic disease of the breast if they consumed more iodine. A decrease in iodine intake coupled with an increased consumption of competing halogens, fluoride and bromide, has created an epidemic of iodine deficiency in America.

People in the U.S. consume an average 240 micrograms (µg) of iodine a day. In contrast, people in Japan consume more than 12 milligrams (mg) of iodine a day (12,000 µg), a 50-fold greater amount. They eat seaweed, which include brown algae (kelp), red algae (nori sheets, with sushi), and green algae (chlorella). Compared to terrestrial plants, which contain only trace amounts of iodine (0.001 mg/gm), these marine plants have high concentrations of this nutrient (0.5—8.0 mg/gm). When studied in 1964, Japanese seaweed consumption was found to be 4.5 grams (gm) a day and that eaten had a measured iodine concentration of 3.1 mg/gm of seaweed (= 13.8 mg of iodine). According to public health officials, mainland Japanese now consume 14.5 gm of seaweed a day (= 45 mg of iodine, if its iodine content, not measured, remains unchanged). Researchers have determined that residents on the coast of Hokkaido eat a quantity of seaweed sufficient to provide a daily iodine intake of 200 mg a day. Saltwater fish and shellfish contain iodine, but one would have to eat 15—25 pounds of fish to get 12 mg of iodine.  Read more here >>>

Food Data Chart – Iodine

Our bodies must have an adequate intake of iodine to form the hormones produced by the thyroid gland. These hormones regulate our bodies’ metabolic rate. If the dietary level of iodine is inadequate, the gland, which is in the neck, swells and produces goitre. Unless treated, this condition can cause mental retardation and stunted growth in children, and hair loss, slowed reflexes, dry, coarse skin and other effects in adults. Foods produced in regions where soils are low in iodine, such as Tasmania in Australia, the Thames Valley in the U.K., and the north-west region of the U.S.A., are deficient in this element. Goitre caused by iodine deficiency can be prevented by supplementing the diet with added iodine. This is commonly done by adding sodium iodide to table salt to produce iodized salt. For some people, iodized salt can be an important source of iodine, and a change to a low-salt diet should make allowance for the decrease in iodine intake. Some foods, such as cabbage, sprouts and other brassicas contain natural anti-thyroid substances. In circumstances where both large quantities of these foods are eaten and the levels of dietary iodine are marginal, goitre could develop.


Excessive amounts of iodine can also lead to goitre. This has occurred where foods, such as seaweeds, which are rich in iodine, are commonly eaten. Although excessive iodine intake is not common, it should be noted that, in addition to food, many cough medicines and milk contaminated with an iodine containing sanitizing agent also contribute to iodine intake. But it is unlikely that any harmful effects would occur with habitual intakes up to 300 micrograms per day.

(micrograms per 100 grams of food)
Salt (iodized)
Dairy products
Bread and cereals

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