Iodine is an element that plays an essential role in the functioning of a healthy thyroid.  It is used for the production of thyroid hormones. It is particularly important in women who are pregnant as it is needed to ensure the development of a baby's brain during pregnancy and early life. 

Adults need 150mcg of iodine per day.

Iodine and hypothyroidism

If you have hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and are taking levothyroxine you do not have a functioning thyroid to absorb iodine and therefore you do not require iodine supplements. 

Iodine and hyperthyroidism

If you are being treated for hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), taking an iodine supplement is unnecessary and can worsen the condition.

However, unless instructed by your doctor to follow a low iodine diet, thyroid patients can have iodine-containing foods (milk, eggs, cheese, fish etc) within the recommended daily as part of a balanced diet.

For further information about the importance of dietary iodine please see the following resources:

Iodine Facts by the British Dietary Association (BDA) 

UK Iodine FAQs about iodine in the diet, questions relating to iodine and thyroid disorders and importance of iodine in pregnancy. 

UK Iodine advice about iodine supplements and why kelp and seaweed supplements should not be used as a source of iodine 

UK Iodine Group

The BBC Radio 4 series 'In their Element' featured a programme about 'Awesome iodine

Jayne V Woodside, Karen Mullan. Iodine status in the UK - An accidental public health triumph gone sour

Clin Endocrinol. 29 Nov 2020 

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