Expert Nutritionist | Claire Russell Reg. Clinical Nutritional Therapist

ONLINE, Newcastle West, LIMERICK, Youghal, CORK, Ireland


Iodine: An Essential Micronutrient

Iodine is a vital mineral required by every cell in the human body. While only small amounts are needed, its deficiency can lead to various health problems. This blog explores the role of iodine in the body, its potential benefits, and considerations related to supplementation.

Key functions of iodine:

Thyroid hormone production:

Iodine is crucial for the synthesis of thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism and energy production in all cells.

Breast health:

Iodine is concentrated in breast tissue and may play a role in protecting against cancer cell development.

Overall health:

Adequate iodine levels contribute to proper growth and development, brain function, and immune system health.

Where do we get iodine?

Dietary sources of iodine include:

  • Seaweed
  • Dairy products
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Iodized salt

Iodine deficiency and its consequences:

Iodine deficiency is a global health problem, especially in developing countries. It can lead to:

  • Goiter (enlarged thyroid gland)
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • Developmental problems in children

Iodine supplementation:

While iodine deficiency remains a concern globally, many developed countries have addressed it through iodized salt programs. However, some individuals may still benefit from supplementation, particularly those with:

  • Underlying thyroid conditions
  • Limited dietary intake of iodine-rich foods
  • Specific health concerns addressed by iodine therapy under medical supervision

Potential benefits of iodine supplementation (research is ongoing):

  • Reducing the risk of certain cancers, like breast and thyroid cancer
  • Supporting healthy thyroid function
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Protecting against environmental toxins

Important Iodine considerations:

  • Consult a healthcare professional such as Claire Russell Nutritionist Limerick, Cork or ONLINE, before taking iodine supplements, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions or are taking medications.
  • High doses of iodine can be harmful and should only be taken under medical supervision.
  • Choose reputable brands and follow recommended dosages.

Iodine is an essential mineral with diverse roles in the body. While dietary sources are often sufficient, supplementation may be beneficial for certain individuals. Consult a healthcare professional to determine your individual needs and avoid potential risks associated with excessive intake.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Always consult a qualified healthcare professional, such as Claire Russell Nutritionist Limerick, Cork & ONLINE,  or your GP for personalised guidance and Nutritional advice.



Iodine: A Balancing Act for Thyroid and Breast Health: Exploring the Benefits and Controversies

Iodine, a trace element found in soil, water, and various food sources, plays a vital role in human health. While its importance for thyroid function is well-established, recent research delves deeper into its potential implications for breast health, sparking both excitement and controversy. This blog delves into the intricate world of iodine, exploring its physiological roles, potential benefits for diverse health conditions, and the ongoing debate surrounding its therapeutic use.

Iodine’s Journey: From Soil to Cell:

Iodine enters the body through dietary intake, primarily from seafood, dairy products, and iodized salt. Once absorbed, it travels through the bloodstream and is actively transported into specific tissues, with the thyroid gland and breast tissue being prominent destinations.

The Thyroid Connection:

Within the thyroid gland, iodine serves as a key building block for the production of thyroid hormones, T3 and T4. These hormones act as master regulators, influencing metabolism, energy production, and virtually every cell in the body. Iodine deficiency can lead to a cascade of problems, including goiter (enlarged thyroid), hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), and impaired brain development in children. Conversely, adequate iodine intake ensures optimal thyroid function, promoting overall well-being and preventing these health issues.

Beyond the Thyroid: Iodine and Breast Health:

Intriguingly, research suggests that iodine may have a protective role against breast cancer. Breast tissue also actively concentrates iodine, and studies indicate that higher iodine levels are associated with reduced breast cancer risk. One proposed mechanism involves the potential of iodine to inhibit the growth and proliferation of cancer cells. However, further investigation is necessary to fully understand the complex interactions between iodine and breast health.

Navigating the Iodine Controversy: Supplementation and Potential Risks:

While the potential benefits of iodine are promising, the use of high-dose iodine supplementation (exceeding recommended daily intake) remains a controversial topic. Concerns surround potential side effects and limited clinical evidence for its efficacy in treating non-deficiency-related conditions.

One major concern is the Wolff-Chaikoff effect, a temporary inhibition of thyroid hormone production that can occur with high iodine intake. This temporary “shut-down” might be beneficial in certain therapeutic contexts, but it highlights the importance of individual assessment and careful monitoring during supplementation.

Furthermore, high-dose iodine can interact with certain medications and exacerbate pre-existing thyroid conditions. Therefore, consulting a healthcare professional before considering iodine supplementation is crucial, especially for individuals with pre-existing health conditions.

Optimizing Iodine Utilisation: Selenium and Co-factors:

Maximizing the benefits of iodine requires a holistic approach. Selenium, another essential nutrient, plays a crucial role in activating thyroid enzymes and protecting the thyroid from oxidative damage. Studies suggest that optimal iodine utilization and potential health benefits depend on a synergy between iodine and other nutrients like magnesium, zinc, B vitamins, and vitamin C.

Research and Emerging Evidence:

Several ongoing research efforts are shedding light on the intricate relationship between iodine and various health conditions. Some studies explore the potential benefits of iodine supplementation for cognitive function, immune health, and even reducing the harmful effects of heavy metals. However, further research with larger and more robust designs is necessary to draw definitive conclusions and establish clear guidelines for therapeutic interventions.


Academic Insights and Resources:


Iodine, a seemingly simple element, weaves a complex narrative within the human body. While its importance for thyroid function is undeniable, the emerging potential for breast health and other health benefits requires further exploration. However, navigating the often-controversial landscape of iodine supplementation necessitates individual assessment, careful consideration of potential risks and benefits, and collaboration with a GP, or healthcare professional, or a Registered Clinical Nutritional Therapist such as Claire Russell Therapy, located in LIMERICK, CORK and ONLINE

Contact Claire today 087 716 8844