Iodine: an Essential Nutrient for Thyroid and Immune Health, Developing Children and More
Iodine is an essential nutrient for thyroid hormone synthesis as well as many extrathyroidal body tissues and organ systems, including the thymus, salivary glands, skin, breasts, brain, and gastrointestinal tract.
"Lactating mammary glands... concentrate iodine almost to the same degree as does the thyroid, in a 40-fold increase over serum levels. The thymus, seat of the T-cell adaptive immune system, absorbs inorganic iodine." (1)
In the USA, the current RDA for Iodine is 150 mcg/ day, the bare minimum intake to prevent Goiter. It's worth noting that the USA RDA are orders of magnitude less than that consumed on average by the Japanese and other countries throughout the world.
Related Product: Liquid Iodine Concentrate
There are two forms of Iodine, molecular or elemental iodine, I2 , and the potassium salt form called iodide, or KI potassium Iodide. It's been thought that different tissues concentrate these different forms of iodine.
Iodine uptake occurs via the sodium/iodine symporter, or NIS, which is found in the thyroid, stomach, salivary gland, mammary glands, pituitary, pancreas, testis, ovary, adrenals, heart, thymus, lungs, and colon (2). The NIS is regulated by TSH.
Iodine and the Immune System
Iodine is found in high concentrations in the thymus gland and various immune cells; and several studies have linked the structure-function relationship with iodine and immune function (3,5). Italian scientists reported that 2 mg/week of iodine supplementation helped to restore a normal immune response, as evaluated by skin testing, to over 600 young children (4).
Iodine, Fertility and Pregnancy
Iodine is required for a healthy pregnancy, deficiency is linked with miscarriages and reproductive failures (5).
1) Donald W Miller, J. (2006). Extrathyroidal Benefits of Iodine. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, 11(Winter), 1–5.
2) Braverman, L. E. (2003). Diseases of the Thyroid (Second). Springer.
3) Venturi, S., Nutrition, M. V., 2009. (2009). Iodine, thymus, and immunity. Nutrition, 25(9), 977–999.
4) Maran, L, Venturi, S. (1986). [Iodine and delayed immunity]. Minerva Medica, 77(19).
5) Bilal, M. Y., Dambaeva, S., Kwak-Kim, J., Gilman-Sachs, A., & Beaman, K. D. (2017). A Role for Iodide and Thyroglobulin in Modulating the Function of Human Immune Cells. Frontiers in Immunology, 8, 2–13.