What Are the Benefits of Iodine Supplements?


Quick Answer

Iodine supplements can help support the normal function of the thyroid, which is a gland located in the neck that produces the hormones that control the rate of many bodily activities. Iodine can also be applied to the skin to kill bacteria, prevent mouth sores caused by chemotherapy, and treat diabetic skin ulcers. While iodine has many health benefits, high doses can have adverse health effects, notes WebMD.

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Full Answer

Iodine is a chemical that the body needs but cannot create. Iodine occurs naturally in a wide variety of foods, including seaweed, fish, milk, eggs, corn, prunes, raisins and lima beans, but many choose to take it in supplement form. If the thyroid gland does not have enough iodine, the thyroid begins to work harder, which can cause it to become enlarged, according to WebMD. An enlarged thyroid is known as a goiter, a condition that causes the neck to swell. Consuming too much iodine can cause the thyroid to malfunction. The recommended daily limit of iodine for adults is 150 micrograms. Pregnant and breastfeeding women require a slightly higher dose of 220 to 250 milligrams since an iodine deficiency during pregnancy can lead to mental retardation for the baby and high blood pressure for the mother.

WebMD also notes that insufficient iodine can cause infertility in women and can increase a person's risk of developing thyroid cancer. Lack of iodine has also been linked to the onset of other cancers, including ovarian, prostate, breast and endometrial cancer.

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