Iodine is another micronutrient critical for overall health. The Vegan society summarizes the importance of Iodine as follows,
“Iodine deficiency during pregnancy and early infancy can result in preventable brain damage and severe motor impairments. In adults low iodine intake (or very high intakes) can cause hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism can manifest as low energy levels, dry or scaly or yellowish skin, tingling and numbness in extremities, weight gain, forgetfulness, personality changes, depression, anaemia, and prolonged and heavy periods in women. Goiter, an enlarged thyroid gland visible between the Adam’s apple and the collar bone, is often present. Hypothyroidism can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome and Raynaud’s phenomenon. Hypothyroidism can lead to significant increases in cholesterol levels and homocysteine levels is implicated in about 10% of cases of high cholesterol levels. Correcting hypothyroidism can lead to a 30% drop in cholesterol and homocysteine levels.
An iodine intake of less than 20 micrograms (mcg) per day is considered severe deficiency, 20 -50mcg/day is considered moderate deficiency and 50-100mcg/day is considered mild deficiency.”
A 2003 study on iodine presence in vegan diets raises concerns about the low content of iodine in soil and, as a consequence, in plant-based diets:
Seaweeds are known to have higher iodine content, but be careful: consumption of more than 100g/year can increases the likelihood of toxicity (iodine consumption in excess of 1000 micrograms a day can also cause thyroid disorders).
Be aware of your iodine consumption to secure proper intake and reduce the risk of health related problems. Supplementation is always a route is seaweed is not your thing.
Be smart and Go Vegan!