Nov 11, 2011

Fact Sheet: Iodine

I found out the other day that iodine is important and that it's another one of those things that some vegans don't know about.  Although apparently most Australians, regardless of diet, don't know about it.  However it used to be available in milk and meat thanks to cows so they got away with it.  A decrease in the amount of iodine in soil has meant that it's also a problem for omnivores.  Apparently pregnant people need to make sure they have a lot of it.

"It's used by the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormone - one of the important hormones that drives our metabolism." - Lavelle, P 2005

Photo Credit: Medicine Net
A lack of iodine can cause people to be tired, have skin problems and lose their hair.  It also increases your chances of getting thyroid cancer.   

"A lack of dietary iodine can cause an enlarged thyroid gland (goitre) or other iodine deficiency disorders including mental retardation in children." - Better Health Channel

The Australian Government realised this problem and made it so that all bread makers had to use iodised salt instead of regular salt.  Which is fine and dandy, but what if you don't eat bread, or you eat organic or locally made bread?  Well, you can go buy yourself iodised salt and add it to your meals!  I did this but some other vegan sources of iodine include seafood and kelp.

Photo credit: Salt by Kristian Niemi
Nutrition Australia has a handy table that tells you how much iodine you need each day.  In order to make sure that you get this amount, Kathleen Alleaume recommends that "a small pinch per person of iodised salt each day is a simple way to ensure your family’s diet contains iodine".

If you want to find out more information on Iodine, just check out the links, especially the last one by Kathleen Alleaume as there is more than enough information.  I hope that this has been informative and useful!

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