Also called iodide, iodine is a type of mineral that’s naturally found in the earth’s soil and ocean waters. Many salt water and plant-based foods contain iodine, and this mineral is most-widely available in iodized salt.
It’s important to get enough iodine in the diet. It regulates hormones, fetal development, and more.
If your iodine levels are low, your doctor might recommend supplementation. You shouldn’t take supplements without checking with your doctor first.
Read on to learn more about the uses and side effects of iodine, plus recommended daily amounts by age.
Iodine is considered an essential mineral for our bodies. It’s particularly important during pregnancy, and exposure in the womb may even help prevent certain health conditions later in life.
The following is a list of some of the most important uses and how they benefit the body.
Iodine plays a vital role in thyroid health. Your thyroid gland, which is located at the base of the front of your neck, helps regulate hormone production. These hormones control your metabolism, heart health, and more.
To make thyroid hormones, your thyroid takes up iodine in small amounts. Without iodine, thyroid hormone production can decrease. A “low” or underactive thyroid gland can lead to a condition called hypothyroidism.
Given the wide availability of iodine in western diets, thyroid health isn’t typically impacted by low iodine levels in the United States.
You can get enough iodine from your diet by eating dairy products, fortified foods, and salt water fish. Iodine is also available in plant foods that grow in naturally iodine-rich soil. You also can get the mineral by seasoning your food with iodized salt.
While iodine promotes overall thyroid health, too much iodine can have a negative effect on the thyroid gland. That’s why you shouldn’t take iodine supplements without your doctor’s recommendation.
Non-cancerous thyroid nodules (cysts) can also cause thyroid gland enlargement.
Sometimes a goiter develops as a direct response to iodine deficiency. This is the most common cause of goiter worldwide, though it’s not as common a cause in the United States and other countries with access to iodine-rich foods.
Iodine-induced goiters may be reversed by adding iodine-rich foods or supplements in the diet.
Your doctor may recommend a special type of iodine called radioactive iodine to treat an overactive thyroid gland. Also called radioiodine, this medication is taken by mouth. It’s used to destroy extra thyroid cells to help reduce excessive amounts of thyroid hormone.
The risk with radioactive iodine is that it can destroy too many thyroid cells. This can decrease the amount of hormone production, leading to hypothyroidism. For this reason, radioactive iodine is usually only recommended after anti-thyroid drugs have failed.
Radioactive iodine is not the same thing as iodine supplements. You should never take iodine supplements for hyperthyroidism.
Radioiodine may also be a possible treatment option for thyroid cancer. It works in much the same way as hyperthyroid treatment.
When you take radioactive iodine orally, the medication destroys thyroid cells, including cancerous ones. It may be used as a treatment following thyroid surgery to make sure all cancerous cells have been removed from the body.
According to the American Cancer Society, radioactive iodine treatments significantly improve the chances of survival for people with thyroid cancer.
You need more iodine in pregnancy. That’s because iodine intake during pregnancy is linked to brain development in fetuses. One review found that babies whose birth mothers had an iodine deficiency during pregnancy were more likely to grow up with lower IQ’s and other intellectual delays.
The recommended daily intake of iodine during pregnancy is 220 mcg. By comparison, the recommended amount in non-pregnant adults is 150 mcg a day.
If you’re pregnant, ask your doctor about iodine supplementation, especially if your prenatal vitamin doesn’t have iodine (many do not). Iodine supplements may also be necessary if you’re deficient in the mineral.
You’ll also need to continue monitoring your iodine intake if you’re breastfeeding. The recommended daily amount of iodine while nursing is 290 mcg. That’s because the iodine you take up from diet and supplementation is transferred via breast milk to your nursing infant. This is a crucial brain developmental period, so infants need 110 mcg per day until they’ve reached 6 months of age.
The same neurological benefits of iodine during pregnancy may extend to healthy brain function during childhood. This also includes a reduced risk of intellectual disability.
It is likely your child gets all the iodine they need through their diet, but if you have any questions about their iodine intake, talk to their pediatrician.
As with brain development, iodine during pregnancy is associated with a healthy birth weight. One study of pregnant women with goiters found that 400 mg of iodine taken daily for six to eight weeks was helpful in correcting goiters related to iodine deficiency. In turn, there was an overall improvement in birth weight in newborns.
While iodine intake can impact a baby’s birth weight and overall development, it’s important to note that the above study focused on women in developing areas who were already deficient in iron.
Unless your doctor has determined you are iodine deficient, taking supplements aren’t likely to impact your baby’s weight at birth. In fact, taking iodine unnecessarily can cause health issues.
It’s possible that iodine supplements or medications can help treat fibrocystic breast disease. This non-cancerous condition is most common in women of reproductive age, and it can cause painful breast lumps.
Although there is some promise that iodine might help with fibrocystic breast cysts, you shouldn’t attempt self-treatment. Only take iodine for this condition if your doctor specifically recommends it. Otherwise, you could be at risk of side effects from iodine toxicity.
Iodine is just one method of water disinfection. This may be especially helpful if you don’t have access to potable water due to traveling or effects from a natural disaster.
Two percent liquid iodine tincture may be added to water in five-drop increments per one quart of clear water. If the water is cloudy, add ten drops per quart.
Iodine tablets may also be used, but the instructions can vary by manufacturer.
Despite the role iodine can play in disinfecting drinking water, there’s also some concerns that it can increase total iodine intake in humans and lead to adverse health effects. Total iodine intake shouldn’t exceed 2 mg per day.
In the case of nuclear emergencies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of potassium iodide (KI) to protect the thyroid gland from radiation injuries. These are available in tablet and liquid formulas.
While not completely foolproof, the sooner KI is taken, the better the thyroid is thought to be protected in the event of this kind of emergency.
There are serious risks associated with KI, including gastrointestinal upset, inflammation, and allergic reaction. You’re also at increased risk for thyroid disease. Your risk for complications is higher if you already have thyroid disease.
Iodine can be used topically in a liquid form to help treat and prevent infections. It works by killing bacteria in and around mild cuts and scrapes.
Topical iodine should not be used on newborn babies. It should also not be used for deep cuts, animal bites, or burns.
Follow directions on the packaging for dosage information, and do not use for more than 10 days unless directed by your doctor.
|Age||Daily recommended amount in micrograms (mcg)|
|birth–6 months||110 mcg|
|infants between 7–12 months||130 mcg|
|children 1–8 years old||90 mcg|
|children 9–13 years old||120 mcg|
|adults and teens, 14 and older||150 mcg|
|pregnant women||220 mcg|
|nursing women||290 mcg|
Possible side effects from too much iodine include:
In more severe cases, iodine toxicity may lead to coma.
You shouldn’t take iodine if you have a thyroid condition, unless recommended by your doctor.
Young children and the elderly are more prone to iodine side effects.
Iodine deficiency can only be diagnosed via urine tests.
The symptoms of low iodine levels are primarily detected through thyroid symptoms, such as:
Your doctor might recommend iodine supplements if your levels are low. The only way to know for certain is by checking your levels through a urine test. After that point, your doctor may recommend a supplement.
If you are looking for an amazing Iodine supplement you can purchase our Absolve Iodine at www.7thsunalchemy.com/buy
Digestive Enzymes... The Key Supplement for Your Health...
Eating all the right foods doesn’t mean much if your body isn’t digesting them properly.
Have you ever noticed despite eating well and getting exercise, you’re feeling a little sluggish, bloated, in pain, or just overall not feeling awesome?
It could be a cry for help from your gut!
And the culprit could be a lack of digestive enzymes. Your gut might not be getting all the help it needs to break down the nutrients in your food.
By definition, digestive enzymes are macromolecular biological catalysts.
Layman's terms: They are substances in your body's digestive system that breaks bigger things down into smaller things via chemical reactions.
And your digestive system is smart. It knows different foods break down differently.
So, it uses over 20 types of digestive enzymes, and a variety of methods, to deconstruct food into molecules that your body can absorb as nutrients. Each enzyme has one job: it deconstructs only one type of food molecule, like fats, carbohydrates, lactose, proteins, etc.
With age, increased stress, or poor nutrition, your body tends to slow enzyme production – and this means the food you eat doesn’t break down properly.
This is a problem for two reasons:
It's all connected.
Supplements and raw whole food sources!
The great thing about digestive enzymes supplements is your body will still continue to create them on its own.
This means you won’t be depending on them forever, just that the supplement-derived enzymes will give your body's natural digestion a boost when you need it.
There are plenty of reasons to make sure you’ve got your digestive enzymes on track, and if you’re low, a supplement is definitely a great idea.
We just can’t emphasize it enough: Having the proper enzymes in their proper numbers means you’ll get more out of the food you eat!
All those fruits, veggies, and proteins you consume go to good use instead of just, well, sitting there in your gut (and making you gassy).
The tiny cells along the lining of your intestines are what absorb the nutrients in your food.
When food isn’t digested properly, these larger, undigested molecules can start to push and break through the cell walls, which in turn triggers your immune system to kick into gear to fight these “invaders.”
This can cause inflammation in your intestinal lining and elsewhere in your body. Not good.
Another common side effect of food not being deconstructed properly is that the bacteria in your gut can begin to feed on it.
When this bacterium is overfed and overgrown, it can lead to bloating, gas, cramps, diarrhea and other typical IBS symptoms.
What’s more, diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis can also be attributed to inflammation in your gut. Preliminary studies have shown that proper digestive enzymes can also help with food sensitivities and conditions like lactose intolerance.
When we said it’s all connected, we meant it. When you’re not getting the proper nutrients you need or experiencing inflammation inside your body, it can show up on your skin.
For example, fatty acids are a key component of healthy skin, and we get them from food! If your body isn’t getting enough inside, it’s going to show on the outside.
Your stomach is where things start to get going in terms of digestion. Stomach acid, or hydrochloric acid, begins to break down proteins early in this process. It’s helped out later by pancreatic enzymes in your intestines, but if your hydrochloric acid levels are low (hypochlorhydria) then this throws everything else off.
Specifically, low hydrochloric acid levels can cause malabsorption of certain vitamins, like B12, which in turn can contribute to anemia (low iron levels) and symptoms of fatigue. Taking an enzyme supplement can help build up hydrochloric acid if you’re lacking.
Inflammation is often at the root of pain problems. Things like headaches and migraines can be linked to inflammation in your gut, which in turn can be linked to a lack of nutrients.
In particular, the pancreatic digestive enzyme amylase converts carbohydrates into glucose, which is a key molecule that our bodies use for energy. So if everything in your digestion in running smoothly, you’ll likely see a difference across the rest of your body as well.
Neurotransmitters - things responsible for our moods, energy levels, and alertness – need proteins.
In fact, they need amino acids, which are created by the healthy digestion of proteins. If you’re not getting the right amount of protein or don’t have adequate enzymes to break down protein into amino acids, you’re likely in need of a boost.
Proper gut health can have a huge effect on anxiety and can help counter inflammation-born issues in your nervous system, like depression and sleep problems.
When we think of things like serotonin and dopamine, we often think of our brains. But in reality, 90% of our serotonin is created in our digestive tract. If you’re feeling foggy, or need a productivity boost, start with your gut!
When things like Leaky Gut Syndrome trigger autoimmune responses in the body, it can lead to even more serious problems.
While there’s a range of opinions on whether autoimmune disorders are curable, the fact remains that many things, like Celiac Disease, can be attributed to poor digestion.
At the very least, enzyme supplements can ensure that your body has the tools it needs for proper absorption of nutrients and minimizes the risk of inflammation.
Methylation is a biochemical process that refers to the vital cell division and production in our DNA. It’s what’s responsible for all kinds of responses in our bodies, everything from detoxification to inflammation control to energy production.
Our bodies use B vitamins for this process, so when our digestion is lacking, or when an overgrowth of bacteria is present in our digestive tract, this makes it harder for these vitamins to be absorbed.
The bottom line is that gut health = overall health, and the first step to gut health is making sure your body has the tools it needs. Digestive enzyme supplements can be a great way to kick-start your body into healing itself – because everybody needs a little help sometimes.
P.S. I have created an amazing guide to give you my best tips, tricks and hacks for alleviating those uncomfortable stomach issues.
Get your free guide here:
Ayurveda tells us that nature is made of five elements (ether/space, air, fire, water, and earth) and that we, too, have these elements within. It is the expression of these elements that makes each living being unique. Thes are commonly known as our dosha or our primary constitution. There are three doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha) and we can be a one, two or a blend of all three.
Whatever you identify with is the blueprint dosha for your lifestyle, your daily routine, the type and amount of exercise we engage in, and ultimately, how we eat. Though each person may have different food preferences, some excluding specific foods such as animal products, Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of a plant-based diet regardless. This is because plants carry the highest amount of prana, also known as energy or life-force.
Benefiting Your Plant-based Diet With Ayurvedic Principles
A plant-based diet is already in alignment with Ayurveda, and not just because plants are medicinal and pack an energetic punch. In such away that people who adhere to a plant-based are very intentional with how and what they eat.
By promoting self-awareness and conscious decision making, to support what we need in any given moment, Ayurveda is largely a practice of being intentional. This completely parallels conforming to a plant-based diet as you simply have to slow down and be aware when you’re scanning ingredient lists or making recipe substitutions.
In addition to eating plant-based and being intentional, here are some suggestions to enhance your diet using Ayurvedic principles:
1. Eating food that are in season
Due to modern times we have the ability to import all types of food in every season. Its amazingly convenient to not have to wait for the tomatoes and peppers from the garden to ripen to make an epic batch of homemade salsa - but this isn't necessarily a positive thing. The dramatic changes in weather and qualities of each season give rise to plants that bring balance to our physiological state. So, if we aren’t eating what we are growing locally, we could be missing out on the very ingredients that will ward off seasonal illnesses and keep us healthy year round. In spring, leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, and fresh berries are astringent, light, and detoxifying which help us to cleanse and slough off the accumulation of winter. Then summer provides us sweet fruit and all the makings of a good salad which cools us internally, so that we are less likely to experience symptoms of excessive heat, such as anger and inflammation. And finally, when we need grounding and warmth the most, produce like squash and root veggies, along with grains, nuts, and seeds are available to help us sustain the dry, light, and cold feelings fall and winter bring.
2. Consider the Qualities of Your Food
The word “quality” here doesn’t mean good or bad – rather, it is how we would describe it using the Ayurvedic gunas. A guna is a qualifier or descriptive word. There are 20 in total and they are paired in opposites: light/heavy, dry/oily, hot/cold, clear/cloudy, mobile/static, dense/liquid, rough/smooth, hard/soft, sharp/dull, subtle/gross. These are important because if too much of one quality is consumed, a condition with the same quality can manifest. For example, if one is consuming a lot of foods that are astringent or drying, like beans, dried fruit, crackers, or bread, it’s possible that they could develop a dry condition such as dry skin, constipation, or even insomnia or anxiety. The same would be true of someone who is intentionally avoiding healthy oils or fats.
The major concern here is that we become familiar with what we are eating, so that we do not consume foods in a way cause accumulation or lack.
Plant-based diets have a tendency to be inherently lighter and drier than diets that include more meat and dairy, so it’s important to be sure that we’re getting an adequate amount of healthy oils like nuts and seeds, as well as consciously adding heavier foods like cooked veggies, soups, and stews.
3. Focus on Variety
Ayurveda considers all food to have a medicinal effect and to be purposeful with specific timing, but if we are over-consuming even our superfoods, what was once could have served as a remedy could cause a malady. At times, eating a well-rounded plant-based diet can be difficult or inconvenient until you find your groove, but the concern is that the groove could become a rut. Eating a variety of foods will promote a healthy microbiota, along with ensuring you’ll get the full spectrum of macro and micronutrients that our bodies need.
4. Eat For How You Feel and What Your Senses are Telling you
It’s important to stop to check in with how we are feeling both mentally and physically before choosing what we are going to eat. Our instincts and healthy cravings are like status updates from our internal environment, acting as indicators as to what sustenance will be your best medicine in the moment. The meal that serves us best on a day filled with fun and laughter is not likely what will pacify our mood on a bad day.
As you begin to approach your diet from an Ayurvedic perspective, remember to start slowly. Take time to make the changes that don’t feel overwhelming at first and the ones that you feel will work best for you at the time. Observe the ways that Ayurveda can strengthen your connection to nature and support your path to being the best version of yourself. If ever in doubt, there are plenty of knowledgeable Ayurvedic practitioners around the world who can provide seasonal guidance to support your journey.
I hear from people all the time discussing the negative, toxic behaviors of other people they know that pushes them away. These kinds of behaviors can devastate your family and friends over time.
But we have to be real: we've all acted in toxic ways in the past. Things like gossip, thoughtless anger, and a lack of compassion are something I'm sure we've all done in the past.
Do any of these sound familiar?
1. You're outwardly envious of the people around you.
2. Taking things way too personally.
3. Acting like you're the victim.
4. Holding onto pain and negativity.
5. Chronic negativity.
6. Lack of emotional self-control.
7. Being overly judgmental of others.
8. Being cruel to the people around you.
9. Hiding from your personal truth.
10. Constantly needing validation from others.
11. Being stubborn about your beliefs.
12. Demanding perfection.
13. Lacking empathy for others.
14. Cutting corners because you can.
15. Cheating at life.
16. Lacking any kind of compassion for the people around you.
17. Excessive, hurtful gossiping.
18. Angry outbursts without thinking.
Are any of these traits consistent in your life? If they are, it might be time to work them out. It could be time to consider what they actually mean to you, how they impact others, and really challenge these habits head on.