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Nutrition: Ensure a healthy iodine supply with these foods

Nutrition: Ensure a healthy iodine supply with these foods


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Which foods provide enough iodine

According to experts, the iodine content of domestic agricultural products is not sufficient to ensure sufficient iodine intake in Germany with food. Certain foods provide enough iodine in your diet. The vital trace element is indispensable especially for the build-up of thyroid hormones.

According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), current data show that the iodine supply of the population in Germany is still not optimal. According to the experts, sustainable and continuous measures are necessary to ensure an adequate iodine supply for the German population and to prevent iodine deficiency.

Germans do not consume enough iodine
The iodine supply of the German population could be improved by the measure recommended since the mid-1980s to use iodized table salt in the food industry and in the food trade as well as in private households.

The increasing use of iodized animal feed, which led to higher iodine levels in milk and milk products, also contributed to the improvement of the situation.

But the Germans still don't get enough iodine with their food. The BFR recommends eating certain foods regularly.

Demand is higher for some groups of people

The need for iodine, which is indispensable for the function of the thyroid gland and therefore for the metabolism, varies individually and also depends on various factors.

These include age, environmental influences such as smoking and high consumption of plant-based foods that contain iodine-inhibiting substances (various types of cabbage, beans, etc.).

The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends age-dependent iodine intake of 40 to 80 micrograms per day for infants, 100 to 200 micrograms per day for children under 15 years of age and 180 to 200 micrograms per day for adolescents and adults to cover iodine requirements.

Pregnant and nursing women have an increased need. Daily intake of 230 or 260 micrograms is recommended. It may make sense for them to take iodine tablets after consulting the gynecologist.

People who have a vegetarian or vegan diet and people who have to follow a special diet are at higher risk of being under-served and should therefore pay special attention to adequate iodine intake.

This also includes consumers who have to avoid fish or milk products due to a cow's milk or fish allergy or a lactose intolerance.

It should also be noted that a certain amount of iodine intake should not be exceeded. "According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the long-term intake of a maximum of 600 micrograms of iodine per day is not a health risk for adults," writes the BfR.

However, a maximum intake of 500 micrograms per day has been set in Germany for adult people who are more sensitive to iodine and who may develop hyperthyroidism if they take excessive (excessive) iodine.

Pay attention to the consumption of iodine-containing foods

Iodine is found in both plant and animal foods, although the iodine content can vary considerably within a food category.

According to the BfR, an adequate iodine supply is possible if attention is paid to the consumption of iodine-containing foods. These include:

  • the daily consumption of milk and milk products
  • eating sea fish 1 to 2 times a week
  • the consistent use of iodized salt in the home as well
  • the preferred purchase of foods made with iodized salt (pay attention to labeling!)

The experts point out that the iodine content in dried algae and seaweed products can be particularly high. However, caution is required here. According to the BfR, the iodine levels fluctuate so much, depending on the type of algae, that the maximum tolerable intake of 500 micrograms of iodine per day for adults can be exceeded even with consumption of one to ten grams per day.

"Due to the non-standardized iodine content, the targeted consumption of algae is not an adequate means for a needs-based iodine intake," says the BfR. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


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