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How healthy is your thyroid?

Are you feeling tired all the time, do you have dry skin, weight gain, depression or have you lost your libido? Well it could be your thyroid and low iodine levels. It is thought that 1 in 20 people in the UK will experience a thyroid disorder in their lifetime, yet many people with such disorders don’t even know they have them (Forth for Life, 2020).


The role of the thyroid gland and hormones.

  • The thyroid gland produces hormones called triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).

  • When the body does not produce enough of these hormones, things start to slow down.

  • T3 and T4 regulate the body's metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

  • The hormones also play a part in protein synthesis (when cells make protein)

  • They regulate bone growth and play a part in brain development of a foetus.

UK facts and at risk-groups.

The National Diet and Nutrition Survey, a rolling programme that assesses the nutrition of the UK population, found that;

  • 15% of females aged 18 - 64, had low iodine intake below the lower reference nutrition intake (LRNI).

  • 27% of boys aged 11 - 18 years, had low iodine intake below the lower reference nutrition intake (LRNI).

  • 14% of girls aged 11 - 18 years, had low iodine intake below the lower reference nutrition intake (LRNI).

The rise in the consumption of plant-based milks, veganism and vegetarianism , particularly in younger populations, is a factor that is reducing the amount of iodine in the diet.


Sources of iodine

  • Milk

  • Dairy products

  • White fish

  • Eggs

Recommended intake

  • Adults - 150 mcg per day

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding - 200 mcg per day

  • 1 - 3 years - 70 mcg per day

  • 4 - 6 years - 100 mcg per day

  • 7 - 10 years - 110 mcg per day

  • 11 - 14 years - 130 mcg per day

  • 15 - 18 years - 140 mcg per day

What does that look like?

One egg or a glass of milk contains 1/3 of your daily requirement. One yogurt will give you half of your daily dose, whilst one piece of cod or haddock per week can keep your levels topped up nicely.

Vegan dietary patterns

Plant-based milks are slowly being formulated with iodine. New to the market is the Oatly brand, cheaper alternatives are Asda's own oat milk. Nuts and seeds can contain iodine, but contents vary due to where they are grown, as iodine content in soil can vary. Other food sources can include fortified vegan products, check the label. Seek professional guidance if you want to consider a supplement.

Want to check how healthy your thyroid is?

A simple test at home, using a finger-prick sample, can check your thyroid hormone status. Zara Prowse Nutrition, an affiliate of Forth for Life, has 15% off tests NOW.

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