Iodine is most known for its relationship to the production of thyroid hormones. Not well known is that iodine also functions as a key antioxidant that protects cell membrane fatty acids from free radical attack. This is important for all cell membranes, however, in the context of disease risk, it is especially important for protection against breast cancer and prostate cancer (1,2).

The Japanese population consumes between 1000-3000 micrograms (mcg) per day (1), which is derived largely from seaweed and less from fish. It turns out that seaweed and fish are natural sources of both omega-3 fatty acids and iodine, which is one of the reasons why a traditional Japanese diet is so healthy and associated with minimal disease risk. Iodine naturally complexes with cell membrane fatty acids to create what is called an iodolipid, which is resistant to free radical attack compared to fatty acids without iodine (2).

In the United States, the upper limit recommendation for iodine is only 1100 mcg per day, with most Americans taking in between 135-340 mcg per day. The 1000-3000 mcg level consumed by the Japanese is a clear sign that people can tolerate more than 1100 mcg without concerns. This amount of iodine is likely to be problematic for only people with hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s disease (1). Be aware that some people with Hashimoto’s cannot tolerate any iodine supplementation.

Read more.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Seaman provides entertaining presentations that are highly educational about current health care issues. He can tailor the information to suit the needs of any audience ranging from students in 3rd grade, to television audiences, to small or large organizations, to doctors in grand round presentations.

Know more: