Statistics show that nearly 74% of “healthy” adults consume inadequate quantities of iodine. An estimated 800 million to 2 billion individuals worldwide are affected by iodine deficiency disorders (IDD), which can be difficult to detect. An often-overlooked signs of IDD is weight gain.
The Underlying Cause of Unexplained Weight Gain
Iodine is a mineral that is essential for optimal health. Because we do not store iodine in our bodies, it’s important to consume it regularly to maintain appropriate levels. Without a sufficient supply of iodine, your thyroid cannot produce the hormones necessary for your body to function.
Your thyroid keeps your metabolism running efficiently, so when its performance is compromised, metabolism slows and your body’s ability to burn fat declines. The root issue for those experiencing inexplicable weight gain, or struggling to lose weight, may be IDD.
In addition to unwanted weight gain, IDD can cause…
- Low energy
- Cardiovascular disease
- Psychiatric disorders
- Cognitive decline
Why Iodine Deficiency is On the Rise
Rates of iodine deficiency have multiplied rapidly over the past forty years. In the 1920s, after a successful public health campaign concerning the effects of iodine deficiency, table salt makers began iodizing salt. However, when scientists uncovered the link between heart disease and salt intake, many people cut their salt use dramatically, causing iodine levels to plummet.
The problem is compounded by the fact that, as recent a FDA report indicates, many table salt brands no longer contain sufficient quantities of iodine. Clearly, to combat rising rates of iodine deficiency, new dietary sources of iodine are needed.
The Best Source of Iodine Comes From the Sea
Unless your iodine levels have decreased to the point of a severe deficiency, rather than the more subtle drops that can lead to IDD, the best way to insure an adequate supply of iodine is not to supplement, but rather to eat an iodine-rich diet.
The oceans contain most of the iodine on this planet. If you eat seafood, that can be an excellent source of iodine. If not, seaweed is by far the most concentrated source of iodine. Kelp and bladderwrack in particular can store astonishing quantities of iodine. Humans can easily access those stores, as the iodine contained in seaweed is the most biologically available form.
Eat Seaweed to Boost Iodine Levels
There are three common varieties of edible seaweed: brown, red, and green. Brown seaweed offers the highest iodine content, while red and green typically yield slightly less—the exact concentrations vary depending on the water from which the seaweed originates. Brown seaweeds include kelp and wakame, while fans of sushi will be most familiar with nori, a kind of red seaweed.
Experts say that eating one gram of brown seaweed will give you between five and 50 times the recommended daily intake of iodine. That means, experts say, that eating a single two-tablespoon serving of brown seaweed weekly will keep your iodine levels in the ideal range. A kelp noodle dish or seaweed salad in your meal lineup may help you reap health benefits as your body responds to a boost in iodine.