I take my job(s) very seriously. Whether I’m in the gym with someone, helping them with their technique on squat thrusts, or I’m in someone’s home helping them identify which foods are the real culprits, I have to be on my game. Everyone’s different, but some truths are universal. So when someone asks me to write about Iodine and Weight Loss–I know I have to be all about the science, not the fads.
So here’s the real skinny on whether Iodine will get you thin. While every body will react differently, these data are collected from dozens of studies, so the truth really will bear out.
Iodine has proven so important that nearly every table salt shaker on the planet has salt with iodine added to it.
Beyond that, however, there’s no good evidence that Iodine Supplements can help with weight loss.
There is one huge caveat–if you’re not getting enough Iodine from your diet, you may indeed need Iodine supplementation for proper weight loss.
What is Iodine?
Okay, some brief chemistry from Mr. Phoenix. Don’t worry, though. There will not be a test. Iodine, like all minerals in our diet, is a self-contained element–it is not a compound molecule like carbohydrates or fat. So, just as with Copper or Iron, you can look on any Periodic Table of Elements and find good old Iodine.
Present mostly in the oceans of the planet, and its role in our bodies is nearly entirely confined to our thyroids and their hormones. The process by which our bodies use Iodine is complex, and doesn’t bear going into (if you want, though, here’s a run down). Suffice to say, only Iodine does these jobs.
Good news is, though, the above article points out that in our entire lives we only need 5 grams of it. That pencils out to around 150 micrograms a day. Keep that number in mind–0.14 mg per day.
How Iodine Works
As I mentioned above, without getting into the messenger RNA, endoplasmic reticula, thyroglobulin, and follicular lumen, here’s the basic process. Iodine makes its way to our Thyroid, where several ionic and cellular processes take place, all with the end result that our Thyroid is able to produce the hormones it needs to.
Those Thyroid hormones are Tetraiodothyronine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3). You may have noticed the root for Iodine in those names. These two hormone combine to dictate nearly every part of our metabolic functions, including how to burn calories and when to do so.
So Can it Help?
In the general sense, yes, Iodine can help with weight loss. But more specifically, you probably don’t need a supplement to get that help. Like I mentioned earlier, we only need about 150 mcg per day. So let’s take a closer look at how you can get it.
Iodine in Nature/Diet
Most people are already aware that most salt has Iodine added to it. But even if you are a sea salt person, or if you’re trying to limit your salt intake, there are still several common foods that can more than meet your Iodine needs. (All figures from the National Institutes of Health.)
- Bread (made with enriched dough): 320 mcg
- Cod: 158 mcg
- Greek Yogurt, ¾ Cup: 87 mcg
- Milk, 1 Cup: 85 mcg
- 1 Hard Boiled Egg: 26 mcg
And as for the aforementioned table salt? Even if you’re cutting it out of your diet, it only takes ½ a teaspoon to get over half of the Iodine you need in a day. Odds are you’re getting that much table salt without even knowing it.
Worldwide, Iodine deficiencies are among the highest of any nutrient. “Wait Sam, I thought I didn’t need a supplement?” Well, I normally hate to generalize, but most of the populations that don’t get enough Iodine are economically disadvantaged people. Vulnerable populations include young women in their reproductive years, some populations in the UK, and some in Europe.
Another cause for concern is if you have any thyroid issues. If you suspect you may have one, consult your doctor. While an Iodine supplement is probably going to help, there are other treatments you may also need.
In the end, the short answer is “Yes, Iodine helps with weight loss.” But before you spend your hard earned money on an Iodine supplement, ask yourself if you could perhaps be eating a little better. The fact is that most people who consume a healthy diet, with a moderate amount of table salt, get more than enough Iodine.
If you feel you may be at risk, however, there’s no risk in taking a bit more! Just be sure you consult with your physician, as any changes to your thyroid can and should be monitored.