Most people interested in health and nutrition know that iodine is essential for healthy thyroid function and that deficiency of this mineral can lead to hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). It can be tricky to say which one is suffering from based on symptoms alone as symptoms are similar both in deficiency and hypothyroidism, so if you are experiencing any number of these symptoms, it might be worth getting your thyroid function checked either with your GP or our Orassy doctor here:

  • Unexpected Weight Gain.
  • Fatigue and Weakness. …
  • Hair loss or brittle hair …
  • Dry, Flaky Skin. …
  • Feeling Colder Than Usual. …
  • Changes in Heart Rate. …
  • Trouble Learning and Remembering.

However, iodine is also used for digestive processes and in the reproductive system. Only once these needs are met, can the remaining iodine makes its way to the thyroid.

Eating high amounts of green leafy and cruciferous vegetables can be very healthy for our bodies, but too much can block the absorption of this important mineral – that is why it is very important to incorporate foods high in iodine into our diets. Good sources of iodine are unrefined sea salt, seaweed and sea food; eggs also contain some iodine, but in much lower amounts.

If you are wondering if you are deficient in iodine, there is a very simple test to find out that you can do at home. All you need is Lugol’s iodine liquid, which you can get from any health food store and a brush (unless you don’t mind getting your fingers dirty).

Apply one drop of iodine onto your skin and spread it until there is no moisture left. What you want is a small patch the size of a £2 coin. Make a note of the time when you applied the drop. If the stain on your skin remains visible for over 12 hours, you are good, you are not deficient – however if the patch disappears in under 12 hours, that means your body needs more of this mineral.  How quickly it goes away will indicate how deficient you are.

So – what to do if you find out you need extra iodine? You can include more of the above-mentioned foods in your diet or go for oral supplementation, but you can also simply apply more Lugol’s iodine liquid onto your skin, this time on a much larger area for your body to absorb it transdermally. Continue with this routine until the patch remains visible for 12 hours or more.