What is it? Iodine is a trace mineral, which means we need very small amounts of it to stay healthy. Almost all of iodine in the body is stored in the thyroid gland.
Why do we need it? In order to be able to turn food into energy, our bodies need iodine. The mineral also supports healthy thyroid function and production of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency can lead to goitre or hypothyroidism.
How much do we need? Infants need more iodine than children, with those under the age of one requiring 110 to 130 micrograms (µg) of the mineral per day.
- 1 to 8 years of age: 90 µg
- 9 to 13 years of age: 120 µg
- 14 years of age and older: 150 µg
Iodine deficiency is more common during pregnancy, so women who are pregnant or breast-feeding may require more of the mineral each day.
Where is it found? Iodized salt and seafood (fish, kelp) contain the highest levels of iodine, but it can be found in other foods as well, including strawberries, yogurt, cow's milk, eggs, mozzarella, lima beans, soybeans, sesame seeds, and garlic.