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Iodine is a non-metallic trace element that can be found in foods (e.g., seafood, seaweed, iodized salt, and plants grown in iodine-rich soil). In our bodies, iodine serves as an essential nutrient when taken at the recommended daily dose.
How is this product usually used?
Iodine can either be taken by mouth or used on the skin. It is available in chewable tablets or gummies, caplets, capsules, strips, lozenges, powders, and liquids.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of iodine for the maintenance of good health depends on a person’s age and whether or not they are pregnant or breast-feeding. The RDA for adults and adolescents who are not pregnant or breast-feeding and are 14 years of age or older is 150 µg per day. For pregnant women, the RDA is 220 µg per day and for breast-feeding women it is 290 µg per day. The upper tolerable limit for adults over 18 years old is 800 µg per day.
The daily dietary reference intake of iodine is 110 µg to 130 µg for infants under 12 months old, 90 µg for children 1 to 8 years old and 120 µg for children 9 to 13 years old.
Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.
What is this product used for?
Iodine is used as part of maintaining good health. It is also used to help in the function of the thyroid gland and to help prevent iodine deficiency and associated thyroid conditions such as goiter.
Iodine has been found to be effective in the treatment of iodine deficiency, and to protect the thyroid gland against radioactive iodides in radiation emergencies.
Iodine is frequently used topically on the skin to treat minor wounds or disinfect the skin prior to certain procedures.
Iodine has also been documented for the treatment of the following conditions:
- fibrocystic breast disease
- foot ulcers caused by diabetes
- Graves’ disease
- infection of the gum and teeth
- leg ulcers caused by poor circulation
- pinkeye caused by bacteria
- pre-cesarean endometritis
Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.
What else should I be aware of?
Iodine is likely safe for most individuals when used in daily recommended doses. The most common side effects of iodine when taken by mouth include nausea, stomach discomfort, runny nose, headache, metallic taste, and diarrhea. Iodine may also cause an allergic reaction with symptoms such as a rash, hives, swelling of the throat, joint pain, or fever. However, such allergic reaction with iodine is very rare.
Iodine may be unsafe at high doses (i.e., above the daily upper tolerable limit) or with chronic use. At high doses, iodine may cause sore teeth and gums, burning in the mouth and throat, throat inflammation, wasting, swollen glands, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and depression. Thyroid function can be affected when iodine is used continuously over the long-term.
When come in contact with skin, iodine may cause skin irritation and stains. Bandages should not be used to cover iodine-treated areas to avoid iodine burn.
Iodine should be used with caution if you have the following conditions:
- autoimmune thyroid disease
- skin condition called dermatitis herpetiformis
Iodine can interact with the following medications:
- antithyroid medications (e.g., methimazole, propylthiouracil)
- medications or herbs that contain high iodine levels (e.g., amiodarone, bladderwrack, kelp, seaweed)
- medications that increase or decrease thyroid levels
You should see your doctor before taking iodine if you are pregnant or breast-feeding or if you have a thyroid condition, as the daily iodine requirements may change during these periods. Do not take iodine if you have a known allergy to iodine or iodide products.
Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare provider. Tell your health care practitioner about any natural health products you may be taking.
- Health Canada. Licensed Natural Health Products. Multi-Vitamin / Mineral Supplements Monograph. https://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=multi_vitmin_suppl&lang=eng#a72.
- Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Iodine.
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