Choosing the Best Iodine Supplements – Top 10 Brands

Best Iodine Supplement Brands

Our body and physiology has a variety of essential nutrients needed for healthy living and survival. We need macronutrients such as protein, carbohydrates and fats for energy and we need vitamins and minerals to help us function properly. These are all essential nutrients we need on a regular basis for our overall health, and while we require different quantities of each, they are all necessary. Most of our essential nutrients we can acquire from a healthy diet, especially those who emphasize healthy and natural foods such as vegetables and fruits.

However, every diet plan tends to have a deficiency in one way or another, in the case of those who are vegans and vegetarians, use no salt in their diet or are pregnant, a common and potentially harmful deficiency to have that is not commonly discussed is iodine.

Iodine is an essential mineral, and while a large percentage of the population tends to get plenty of iodine from regular consumption of table salt, there are many individuals who suffer from iodine deficiency and need iodine supplementation for improved health and to ensure they are getting enough of this essential mineral.

In this guide, we will break down and examine exactly what iodine is, how and why it can be beneficial as a dietary supplement, any side effects or issues to be aware of, and the best products on the market today.

What Is Iodine?

Iodine is considered an essential mineral and has several different functions within human physiology. It plays a key role in cognition, fetal development and is a required nutrient for our thyroid to function effectively. Iodine is an essential part of key hormones that interact with the thyroid, namely thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The thyroid and its corresponding hormones play a key role in protein synthesis, enzymatic activity and metabolism, and their importance is magnified during pregnancy as the thyroid and thyroid-related hormones are critical for skeletal and central nervous system development in the fetus.

As an essential mineral or nutrient, iodine is a substance the body does not create naturally but rather must come from the diet. Iodine is not generally found naturally in most foods, but is usually added in the processing stage, with common table salt being the most prevalent example and commonly used source of iodine in the diet. Iodine is found most commonly in nature in the ocean, thus the foods or dietary sources most commonly associated with iodine are foods that have been concentrated by the ocean and sea life, with seaweed being the most common example.

Iodine deficiency is found far more commonly in developing countries that do not use a high degree of seaweed and fish in their common diet, however in first world countries iodine deficiency can be seen in populations who do not eat a large amount of salt or meat, for example vegans, vegetarians, or those on a salt-reduced or minimal salt diet.

Production of Iodine

As mentioned above, iodine occurs naturally in the Earth’s oceans, but it is very rarely found in the Earth’s crust.

Every year round 19,000 ton rollers of iodine are produced from natural sources.

What Is Its Biological Role?

Iodine’s primary role is to support thyroid function [2]. The thyroid is a very small but very important gland in the base of your neck. This gland produce hormones that have an effect on your body’s metabolism, energy levels, menstrual cycle, ovulation, weight, cognitive function, and more.

The thyroid uses these hormones to help you wake up and get going in the morning, digest your breakfast, keep you alert and focused, help regulate ovulation and menstruation, and prevent you from accumulating more fat than you should. Thyroid hormones cannot be produced without iodine.

If there is not enough iodine, the thyroid will typically swell in an attempt to glean for iodine from the rest of the body so that it can restore proper function. This is a condition known as goiter that typically presents itself as a swollen neck along with other symptoms.

In pregnant women, iodine also plays a major part in the neural development of the fetus. Iodine deficiencies in pregnant women have been linked to problems with cognitive development, sometimes severe.

What Foods Contain Iodine?

Certain foods specifically have iodine added to them, because it can be difficult to find a significant dietary source of iodine. A major example of this practice is iodized table salt. Not all table salt is iodized, only those varieties labelled as such.

It seems as if most brands iodized their table salt anyway, and you can pick up bags of it from most supermarkets for literally pennies.

If any reason you are trying to keep your salt intake low, perhaps because of hypertension, then there are a few foods that proved to be particularly rich in iodine, including:

  • Fish and shellfish;
  • Kelp;
  • Eggs; and
  • Dairy products

if you already have your diet in line with reasonable bodybuilding and / or athletic goals then the chances of you developing iodine deficiency are incredibly low, so this probably isn’t something that you’re going to need to pay considerable attention to.

To summarize, the vast majority of people we will be able to source adequate amounts of iodine by using iodized table salt.

Generally, however, most Americans will get almost all their iodine from using iodized salt. Some example of foods that naturally contain iodine are eggs, fish, and sea vegetables such as kelp.

Benefits of Iodine

The health benefits of iodine supplements are immense for populations who may have an iodine deficiency, though for those with enough iodine in their regular diet it will have fairly minimal positive or negative effects. Those with an iodine deficiency need iodine for its role in active thyroid hormones T3 and T4. A lack of sufficient T3 and T4, especially to a high degree, can result in reduced cognition or a severe deficiency in utero. In addition, for anyone who may be pregnant, the thyroid is an especially important component to developing a healthy fetus and infant, and iodine plays a key role in that process.

One of the most important components of iodine is understanding its role with the thyroid gland. The thyroid secretes hormones and iodine is a necessary nutrient for this gland to perform that task for the body successfully. Without enough iodine, the thyroid gland has to work harder to maintain adequate production of key hormones; this excess work can lead the thyroid to become enlarged, which can lead to a goiter, which looks like a swollen neck and is in fact an enlarged thyroid gland.

For women, having enough iodine is key, and iodine deficiency can cause issues or a loss of ovulation, and severe iodine deficiencies can result in infertility, autoimmune disease of the thyroid and more.

Finally, iodine’s role in healthy cognition can be overlooked at times but is of vital importance. Iodine deficiency is a common world health problem, though much less so in more developed countries. That being said, iodine deficiency is considered one of the most preventable causes of impaired cognition and related conditions, thus if you have an iodine deficiency a suitable iodine supplement is critical.

Who Can Benefit from Iodine and How?

In short, just about everyone who doesn’t get enough iodine in their regular diet. This would specifically apply to populations with the potential for clinical iodine deficiency, or populations who consume minimal to no salt, seafood or seaweed products.

This could include vegetarians and vegans who avoid eating processed foods or a healthy meat eater who avoids fish and processed foods. In addition, those who do not or cannot add additional salt to their diet, and for all of those populations anyone who avoids consumption of seaweed-oriented products such as sushi.

Having said this, research has shown that more than two thirds of households around the world use iodized table salt[1].

Add to this the fact that consuming elemental iodine is actually toxic and the need for supplemental iodine consumption is certainly cast into a great deal of doubt.

If you are suffering from an iodine deficiency or are a nursing mother then you will of course be best served by speaking to your doctor or physician regarding adding extra iodine to your diet.

How Can it Help Bodybuilders and People Who Work Out?

While most Americans are not clinically iodine deficient, many do barely scrape by in terms of adequate intake. As a result, they may experience minor symptoms of iodine deficiency and sub-optimal thyroid function that may hamper an intensive gym routine or reduce your results.

For instance, it may sap you of the energy you need to really give it your all in the gym. Or, it may prevent you from seeing results even if you do go all in when you work out. This is because part of the thyroid’s job is to prevent accumulation of body fat and water retention.

If you are barely getting enough iodine you may be experiencing these effects and simply mistaking them for a plateau in your fitness regime.

Use of Iodine and Potential Side Effects

As with any supplement or health-related product, it is always advised to consult with a medical professional on if it is the right choice for you, and it is also always advised to follow the recommended dosing strategy by the product.

When taking an iodine supplement, if the dosage and/or overall consumption is in line with the recommended dose, there are no side effects generally speaking. However, once you begin to increase dosage amounts beyond that level, you may begin to see possible side effects such as diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, and an upset stomach. These are essentially your body’s way of telling you you’ve had too much and it doesn’t need the excess.

Chronic over-use or excessive supplementation of iodine is generally not a safe proposition unless the user has a diagnosed iodine deficiency that requires additional iodine over time. Over-consumption of iodine over time can cause issues with the thyroid, thus any extreme amounts of iodine supplementation or prolonged use over time should be medically diagnosed and recommended.

If you are unsure what the proper dosage is, consult with your medical professional and check the product packaging for the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) as well. The iodine RDA will vary depending on age, gender and in general your activity level as well.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/16/health/16iodine.html?fta=y

Note: We recommend speaking to a doctor before taking any supplements.

Isn’t Salt / Sodium Bad for Me?

If you are exercising on a regular basis, breaking a sweat, and drinking plenty of water then your sodium requirements are going to be considerably higher than that of an otherwise sedentary individual.

It is also worth considering that most bodybuilders and athletes will be consuming a diet that is far lower in added salt than the typical Westerner who will be consuming lots of processed foods which tend to be particularly high in sodium.

Neither salt nor sodium are bad in their own right; however, as with many things in life it is excess and neglect which can lead to negative effects.

So you is essential for transporting water molecules into cells, so if you are deficient in sodium and you will be more susceptible to Charlie horses or muscle cramps while training; anyone who has ever trained calves with a lot of intensity while not adequately hydrated will know exactly just how excruciatingly painful this can be!

How and When Should I Take Iodine Products?

The consumption of iodine need not be a complicated affair, and as we have already covered above you can very easily sourcing more than enough by simply sprinkling a little iodized table salt onto your meals each day.

If you would like to add extra iodine to your diet by consuming shellfish then this is unlikely to cause any adverse side effects in otherwise healthy adults.

What’s more, the vast majority of bodybuilders and other types of athletes are already going to be eating plenty of eggs, milk, and other milk products such as whey protein powder, all of which act as sources of iodine to prevent deficiency and ensure optimal thyroid function.

How Much Iodine Do You Need?

The recommended daily intake [3] for children varies as they age. For adults, the daily recommended amount is about 150mcg per day. For women who are pregnant or breastfeeding that number doubles, as a preventive measure to ensure the child receives an adequate supply of iodine for proper development in this sensitive stage.

Are There Risks Associated With Consuming Too Much Of It?

High levels of iodine in the body can negatively affect the thyroid just as much as low levels. This can result in goiter, and occasionally thyroid cancer.

Consuming very high doses of iodine all at once can also produce its own set of unpleasant symptoms, such as: burning of the mouth, throat, and stomach; nausea, vomiting, or other digestive discomforts; as well as a weak pulse or coma.

Are There Risks Associated With Consuming Too Little Of It?

Low levels of iodine in the body can cause hypothyroidism because the thyroid is unable to synthesize enough thyroid hormone. Symptoms of this can include fatigue, goiter, anxiety, brain fog, dry skin, and more.

It is also possible for low iodine levels to cause an autoimmune form of thyroid disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack and destroy the thyroid. Iodine deficiency in embryos or infants can cause stunted physical, cognitive, and sexual development.

It really is surprising how widespread the effects of iodine are within our bodies, especially for a substance our bodies are incapable of producing for themselves. Luckily, iodine deficiencies are becoming less common as more and more foods are being fortified with iodine to offset it’s relatively rarity in whole foods we would normally consume.

Dietary supplements of iodine are sometimes difficult to dose, but between increasing your intake of iodine-rich foods and choosing processed foods with iodine when available, you should have no problem reaping the benefits of this particular part of human physiology.

How to Pick a Good Iodine Product

Most iodine products will have little variability in their ingredients, generally it will either a synthetic solution or some manner of seaweed or derivative, therefore you’ll have to identify which version of iodine is the right choice for you and look for that option. Iodine comes in capsule forms, powders to mix with drinks, drops and more. It is also often combined with other ingredients, which is a factor to consider.

Be sure when selecting a product to review any additional ingredients aside from iodine, such as additional supplements, fillers, artificial additives etc. as these may carry their own side effects or dilute the quality of the product.

Finally, as with any good product decision, look for reputable brands that are backed by strong scientific backgrounds, as well as offering a strong value. A good rule of thumb in terms of comparing price and value is to evaluate the price per dose rather than overall dose, as most products will have varying sizes.

Top 10 Recommended Iodine Products

We have put together a list of our top 10 recommended iodine supplements. Each one has a short breakdown of its highlights, primary ingredients and usages, as well as a brief profile for the company who makes the product.

Check out all 10, and look for the best option that not only comes highly recommended but fits your individual needs and desires for a iodine supplement. We hope you enjoy and find the best product for you!


1. Nature’s Way Kelp

Natures Way Kelp

Nature’s Way Kelp is an excellent source of natural iodine, found in one of the most iodine-rich foods available in kelp, a form of seaweed. It is an all-natural iodine source with zero additional fillers, preservatives or other extras, making it one of the best options for natural iodine on the market today.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 600mg kelp (whole thallus)
  • 300mcg iodine
  • 35mg sodium
  • Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, vegetarian friendly
  • Comes in convenient capsule form

Company Profile:

Nature’s Way, originally founded by Tom Murdock, has been in the natural supplement business and industry for over 40 years. They are known for delivering products with herbal remedies ad natural supplements to their customers. Inspired by their founder’s personal success with natural remedies, they have continued to produce all-natural products that are always non-GMO.

Why We Recommend It:

Nature’s Way Kelp is an excellent option for all-natural iodine from nature’s top iodine source in seaweed or kelp. At 300mcg of iodine and 600mg of total kelp in each convenient capsule, this is arguably the best source of natural iodine available.

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2. J.Crow’s Lugol’s Solution

J Crows Lugol’s Solution

J.Crow’s Lugol’s Solution is an excellent liquid-based iodine solution, that delivers 1200 drops in a small and conveniently sized 2 ounce container. The iodine is derived from crystals rather than traditional seaweed or kelp, making it a unique option for iodine supplementation.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • Per drop of solution, there is 1mg of iodine and 1.5mg potassium iodide.
  • Comes from mined crystals rather than seaweed or kelp
  • Has a long shelf life
  • Comes in a convenient 2 ounce container

Company Profile:

J.Crow’s is a company that focuses on providing all-natural and holistic health products to their customers. Initially founded by Doctor D. C. Jarvis, they have a variety of products such as iodine and other healthy and holistic products designed for health and wellness.

Why We Recommend It:

This is an excellent source of iodine in a unique and convenient liquid formula, making it ideal to mix with drinks. Mined from crystals rather than traditional seaweed sources, it packs a powerful dose of iodine into each serving, and never expires.

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3. Zhou Thyroid Support with iodine

Zhou Thyroid Support With Iodine

Zhou Thyroid Support with Iodine delivers one of the most varied and balanced formulas for thyroid and iodine support, including iodine sourced from Atlantic kelp and potassium iodide. The wide scope of ingredients makes it a great option for a total health supplement with additional iodine added in.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • Comes in vegetarian capsules
  • Iodine is sourced from Atlantic kelp and potassium iodide
  • 150mcg iodine
  • 150mcg vitamin B12
  • 200mg magnesium
  • 300mg L-Tytrosine
  • 240mg Schisandra powder
  • 200mg Ashwagandha powder
  • Many more ingredients as well

Company Profile:

Zhou Nutrition supplies clean and healthy products such as green tea and their thyroid support product with all-natural ingredients and innovative blends. They also have a money-back guarantee and are in their manufacturing and products which are both FDA approved and non-GMO.

Why We Recommend It:

This is one of the most balanced and wide-ranging iodine options available, with a solid dose of iodine but also a wide range of additional ingredients as well for a total health product designed to benefit the thyroid. If you are looking for pure iodine this is not the ideal choice however.

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4. Pure Encapsulations Iodine

Pure Encapsulations Iodine

Pure Encapsulations Iodine is a simple and effective iodine capsule, that delivers a reasonably potent amount of 225mcg of iodine per dose, all in vegan-friendly and convenient capsules. If simplicity and effectiveness are your goals for an iodine supplement, then this is the way to go.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 1225mcg of iodine per capsule
  • Comes in vegan-friendly cellulose capsules
  • Zero additional ingredients, fillers or otherwise

Company Profile:

Pure Encapsulations is a supplement company that specializes in creating hypoallergenic and research based products for their customers. They take care to manufacture their products in GMP certified facilities, and uphold high quality standards for all of their products.

Why We Recommend It:

This is one of the best options on the market for a simple, straightforward and effective supplement that only delivers iodine. The dosage is effective yet moderate, and with no additional fillers it is ideal for pure iodine supplementation.

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5. Benevolent Liquid Iodine

Benevolent Liquid Iodine

Benevolent Liquid Iodine is an excellent iodine choice for those who are not fans of pills or prefer an iodine supplement that can be blended or mixed with other drinks. It is one of the fastest-absorbing options as a sublingual liquid drop, and a potent option as well.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 150 mcg of iodine as potassium iodide per drop
  • Comes in liquid form
  • Only other ingredients are vegetable glycerin and deionized water
  • Potent and fast absorbing

Company Profile:

Benevolent Nourishment specializes in highly potent and effective nutritional products. They take pride in their FDA registered, organic, kosher facility and guarantee satisfaction with their products.

Why We Recommend It:

Benevolent Liquid Iodine is a solid product for liquid iodine, with the only drawback being the relative difficulty in finding a precise dose, as it can be difficult with liquid supplements to measure dosage. That being said, it is a  quality supplement that is effective for iodine supplementation.

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6. Life Extension Sea-Iodine

Life Extension Sea Iodine

Life Extension Sea-Iodine is one of the most potent forms of iodine supplement available on the market today. Their special iodine formula delivers over 1000 micrograms per capsule, which is ideal for those with a deficiency in iodine, though it may be too much for the casual user.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • Sea-Iodine Complex Blend: 1000mcg of organic kelp and bladderwrack extracts, and potassium iodide
  • Comes in vegetarian capsule form
  • Non-GMO
  • Highly bioavailable, comes from all-natural sources
  • Very high iodine dosage

Company Profile:

Life Extension has been a leader in the field of the same name and the corresponding health products for over 35 years. They have long been an innovator in the field have produced many products that were among the first on the market for improved life extension. They have a high standard of quality control and use science to create quality products.

Why We Recommend It:

This is one of the stronger iodine supplements on a per dose basis. The high dosage is also highly bioavailable due to the all-natural sourcing, making this an excellent product for those who need high amounts of iodine, and likely too strong for the average user.

7. Dr. Mercola Iodine

Dr Mercola Iodine

Dr. Mercola Iodine is a potent and very simple iodine supplement, with 1.5mg of iodine per capsule, all in the form of potassium iodide. It is not naturally sourced thus it is less bioavailable than some more natural options, however it does deliver a solid total dosage.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 5mg, or 1500mcg of iodine per capsule, as potassium iodide.
  • Uses special Licaps capsules for improved absorption
  • Very potent amount of iodine but not as bioavailable without natural sourcing

Company Profile:

Dr. Mercola is a popular brand based on the online videos, blogs, website and more from Dr. Mercola himself. The brand specializes in producing healthy products ideal for holistic options and solutions to achieving a high degree of health and overall wellness.

Why We Recommend It:

This is a solid iodine supplement that delivers a potent dose of iodine in the form of potassium iodide, though it is less potent than many other options as it does not utilize natural sources. It is effective however, and can be a solid option for additional iodine.

8. RLC Labs iThroid

Rlc Labs Ithroid

RLC Labs iThroid is one of the strongest iodine sources on the market, delivering 12,500 micrograms of iodine in each capsule, though as potassium iodide and free iodine it is less potent or bioavailable as more natural sources.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 5mg iodine as potassium iodide
  • 5mg iodine as free iodine USP
  • 5mg potassium from potassium iodide USP
  • Free of common allergens
  • Non-GMO
  • Comes in vegetarian capsules

Company Profile:

RLC Labs is a specialty company that creates products specifically designed to benefits the thyroid and adrenal glands. They work with many physicians around the world, and continue to innovate and manufacture effective products, especially for hypothyroid treatment.

Why We Recommend It:

This is a very good and effective supplement, and it is one of the strongest per capsule options. It does not have the all-natural effect that some other products may have, however the dose is still rather strong and thus should generally be used only for those with a real deficiency.

9. Optimox Iodoral

Optimox Iodoral

Optimox Iodoral is one of the most potent and high-dosage options on the market for iodine supplementation. It is not ideal for those looking for a moderate iodine supplement, however for those with a deficiency this can be an effective supplement.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 5mg total iodine
  • 5mg iodine
  • 5mg potassium iodide
  • Comes in tablets for easy consumption

Company Profile:

Optimox is best known for their iodine product Iodoral, though they also make products that include multivitamins for men and women. Their slogan is “Better Health Through Nutrition”, and they make a variety of products for improving overall health for their customers.

Why We Recommend It:

This is one of the most potent products on the market for iodine supplementation, and though it is not ideal for those looking for a casual iodine addition to their diet, for those with a sever deficiency this may be a good fit.

10. Global Healing Center Detoxadine

Global Healing Center Detoxadine

Global Healing Center Detoxadine is a liquid form of iodine that uses nascent iodine from salt deposits as its primary source. While the initial iodine count seems high, salt forms of iodine tend to be less potent and easier to absorb.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • Contains 1950mcg of nascent iodine
  • Comes in liquid drops
  • Kosher certified
  • Sourced from mined salt deposits

Company Profile:

Global Healing Center has been in business for over twenty years and was founded by Dr. Edward F. Group III. They sell a variety of products for overall health and wellness as well as other informational products such as books and DVD’s.

Why We Recommend It:

This is a potent product, though not as potent as it may seem as this form of iodine is more easily absorbed. Coupled with the challenges of accurately dosing a liquid form of iodine, this can be an effective supplement but difficult to accurately measure the exact amount of iodine.

References:

[1] Dr. Axe, Josh. Are You Eating Enough Iodine-Rich Foods?. Draxe.com, 2016.

[2] Medline Plus. Iodine In Diet. National Library of Medicine, 2015.

[3] Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institute Of Health. Iodine- Consumer Fact Sheet. US Department of Health and Human Services, 2016.

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Carl Putman

Written by Carl Putman

Carl Putman is a strength and conditioning coach at the collegiate level and writer on fitness, health and supplements. Over the past decade, he has worked with a wide variety of clients ranging from professional athletes and world champions to youth and general population, as well as tactical practitioners. He is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Organizational Leadership. Based in Florida, he continues to train and coach as well as write with a passion for making a positive impact for his clients and readers.