Apr 3, 2023 | Blog

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IODINE is an essential nutrient without which your body cannot effectively produce THYROID HORMONES. Therefore, in this discussion we explore what are the TOP 8 IODINE-RICH FOODS, and are you eating enough every day?’

If your thyroid hormones are not OPTIMALLY balanced you may suffer with stubborn LOW THYROID symptoms including fatigue, hair loss, weight-loss resistance, depression, menstrual pain and constipation.

The Recommended Daily Allowance or RDA is 150-300 mcg and represents the BARE MINIMUM amount to maintain thyroid and bodily function.

However, this may NOT be sufficient for YOUR body.

MANY thyroid conditions need significantly higher amounts than the RDA.

In fact, food sources alone may not suffice.

 It is often difficult to get enough iodine from most standard American diets, which is why there is a place for ADVANCED SUPPLEMENTATION, especially since so many people are deficient.

The good news is that the problem of insufficient dietary IODINE can be solved if you know the best foods to eat as well as the best way to supplement.




Recognizing which SPECIFIC FOODS are adequate sources of iodine is an important step in assuring we are nutritionally SUFFICIENT.

But first, an equally important thing we need to understand is ‘How much?’

In other words…


How much iodine you should be consuming DAILY?

As is typical in the world of nutrition, the answer to that depends on who you ask.

To consider our DAILY intake, let’s discuss the Recommended Daily Allowance, or the RDA.

The RDA is the government’s daily recommendation given for (any) nutrients.

Unfortunately, the RDA is not a perfect recommendation for everybody.


The RDA doesn’t consider individual variability in terms of nutrient requirements nor does it account for the QUALITY of the food and the fact that there is poor nutrient quality due to processing, refining and modern farming techniques that deplete the soil.


So, the RDA is inadequate for a large number of the population.

The RDA (on the low end) for IODINE in adults is just about 150 mcg (That’s MICRO grams, not MILLI grams) to give your body baseline amounts.

The recommended iodine dose is much higher if you are PREGNANT OR LACTATING.

This is almost double what your body needs on the high end (300 mcg pregnant vs 150mcg non-pregnant).

And remember, this is just the RDA which is the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM.

Most people, especially women, need more iodine than this recommended amount.

In fact, the best results occur when people SUPPLEMENT with around 300-400mcg each day.

Is this taking too much? Not likely, because your body store it for future use.

Your body can draw from this storage as necessary if you do not consume enough on any given day.

Iodine is predominately used in the thyroid gland but there are other tissues, such as breast tissue, which also require iodine.

Even though the 150 to 300mcg range is sufficient for some, there are others who take considerably more than that on a daily basis.

We recommend shooting for AT LEAST the 150 to 300mcg range because it allows you to still consume some iodine with food which will help build up your stores of iodine as well as provide your body with what it needs day to day.

So, let’s start by investigating some of the best FOOD SOURCES of this extremely important, and often DEFICIENT mineral.





Seaweed is a good source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

It is also one of the best natural sources of iodine. However, the amount can vary significantly based on seaweed type and its preparation. Each gram of seaweed has anywhere from 16-1900 mg.

Some varieties contain nearly 2,000% (20 times!) the daily allowance in one gram.

Three popular varieties include kombu kelp, wakame and nori.

KOMBU KELP is the highest of the three.

Anything in the ocean, generally, has a higher iodine content. Ocean water tends to concentrate in certain aspects like seafood and seaweed.

So, think OCEAN = IODINE.

There’s only one problem with this high source of IODINE.

Most people do NOT eat it!


  1. MILK

90+ mcg in one cup.

So, 3 cups would get you to your RDA.

Dairy products are major sources of iodine, especially in American diets.

YOGURT is also a good dairy source of iodine. One cup of plain yogurt provides approximately half of the daily recommended amount.

The amount of iodine in CHEESE varies depending on the type.

COTTAGE CHEESE is one of the best sources of iodine. One cup of cottage cheese provides NEARLY 70 mcg, while one ounce of cheddar cheese provides only about 12 mcg.

Unfortunately, BOTH the LACTOSE and the CASEIN, which are the sugar and protein components of dairy are INFLAMMATORY for thyroid patients.


  1. COD

3oz. – 99mcg

Cod is a pleasant tasting white fish that is delicate in texture and has a mild flavor. It is low in fat and calories but offers a wide variety of minerals and nutrients, including IODINE.

Typically, fish low in fat has the HIGHEST iodine amount.

For instance, 3 ounces (85 grams) of cod has up to 66% of the RDA.

Like most things, the amount of iodine in cod can vary depending on whether the fish was farm-raised or wild-caught, as well as the region where the fish was caught.



Organ meats are generally very nutrient dense.

Many health experts consider things like LIVER to be SUPERFOODS!

2.5 OZ. Gives you 32 mcg.

So, 10 OZ. would give you 300+.

Again, who eats that much organ meat daily?



1.5g contains 71 mcg

Celtic or Himalayan Pink Salt does NOT contain this amount. However, they DO have more nutritional value because they contain so many more MINERALS.

Currently, both iodized and uniodized salt are sold in the United States.

The addition of iodine in table salt began in the US in the early 1920s to help decrease the occurrence of goiters, or swelling of the thyroid gland.

However, table salt also contains SODIUM.

So, in the last few decades, iodine intake has decreased in the US. This is likely due to the push of major health organizations to restrict daily sodium intake to prevent or treat high blood pressure.

Nevertheless, consuming 1/2 teaspoon of iodized salt per day provides enough iodine to prevent a deficiency.


  1. SHRIMP.

3oz. 35 mcg. (Over 20% of the daily recommended intake)

10 times that would be 300 mcg goal, that’s 30 oz!

Shrimp is a low-calorie, protein-rich seafood that is a very good source of iodine.

Additionally, shrimp provides key nutrients such as vitamin B12, selenium and phosphorus.

Shrimp and other seafood are great sources of iodine since they absorb the iodine that is present in seawater.


  1. TUNA

3 oz = 17mcg

Tuna is also a low-calorie, high-protein, iodine-rich food. Furthermore, it is a good source of potassium, iron and B vitamins.

As discussed earlier, fish higher in fat offer lower amounts of iodine. Since tuna is a fattier fish, the amount of iodine found in tuna is lower than leaner fish varieties, such as cod.

Still, tuna is a relatively good source of iodine, as three ounces provide 17 mcg, or just over 10% of the recommended daily intake.

Tuna is also a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to lower your risk of heart disease.

However, there is a problem with tuna, which is HEAVY METAL POISONING so you don’t want too much.


  1. EGGS

On average, one large egg contains 24 mcg of iodine, or 16% of the daily value.

PASTURED, ORGANIC eggs have more nutrition, so always buy higher quality.

For fewer than 100 calories, one whole egg provides a lean source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals (the majority of these nutrients, including iodine, come from the yolk)


Is Everyone Deficient? Should Everyone Take Iodine?

Like virtually ANY substance, including important minerals, there are always individuals that, because of their current state of health, do not respond well to too much iodine.

That’s said it’s important to understand whether you are truly reacting negatively to the iodine molecule or if you are just experiencing DETOXIFICATION, the body ridding itself of unwanted toxins.

It can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between a direct, unwanted (but mild) effect of a food and a true allergy, which is relatively rare.

There are a large number of people who are avoiding iodine because they think it’s bad for them when it may not be.

These people may experience something called BROMODERMA.

Bromoderma happens when the body eliminates MOLECULES KNOWN AS bromides. When this happens, you will have a skin detox reaction up through the skin which looks like acne or whiteheads.

Even though it may seem bad, it’s actually not an allergy and is a good thing.


Do I Need To Supplement with Iodine?

Even though the ideal way to get iodine is through your diet, it may not be possible to do this.


First, many people avoid salt, an easy source of iodine.

Second, because of the large amount of food that you would be required to consume every day just to keep your levels normal.

You also have to consider that many people don’t, for example, enjoy seafood or are on restricted diets.

Unless you are being very deliberate about it, it may be difficult to reach even the low end of the RDA for some people.

And, in case you forgot, the RDA only represents the SMALLEST amount that is recommended for day-to-day needs.

It does NOT account for increasing your dietary consumption to help build up a reservoir of iodine for later use.

So how are you supposed to make up the difference?

Advanced Nutritional Supplementation

In terms of safety, it’s usually best to start out with a lower dose of supplemented iodine (in the 150 mcg to 300mcg range) and then add slowly over time.



IODINE is incredibly important as far as nutrients go because it is required for your thyroid to function.

Whenever possible you should try to get iodine from WHOLE FOOD SOURCES.

You can do this by consuming healthy foods that are naturally high in iodine.

If you feel that you are consuming a diet high in iodine then it may not be necessary for you to use an iodine supplement but if you don’t think that you can OR if you are pregnant or lactating then ‘supplementing’ with iodine is an appropriate and necessary option.

When supplementing with iodine you should look for supplements that allow you to attain AT LEAST the minimum daily amount. In other words, ones that contain anywhere from 150 to 300mcg of iodine per serving, about the RDA.

Again, you may also require even higher doses of iodine.

This is why it is important to work with a FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE health care provider experienced with OPTIMIZING THYROID FUNCTION.