Iodine is a chemical element that is essential for many processes that take place in the body, and since we can’t really produce iodine, we must get it through our diet.
If you’re vegan, there are only a few natural ways in which you can obtain iodine.
Not many vegan foods contain iodine, other than sea vegetables and iodized salt. Unless you’re eating adequate quantities of these foods, you may not be getting enough iodine in your diet.
Iodine deficiency is a real issue and the symptoms can range from minor annoyances to major health problems such as heart disease and mental disorders.
If you’re looking for an iodine supplement to prevent these potential complications, then you’ve come to the right page as we have listed out some of the best vegan iodine supplements.
The Best Vegan Iodine Supplements
1 – Future Kind Vegan Iodine (Editor’s Choice)
This iodine supplement by Future Kind contains the safest and most effective form of iodine available in the market.
To be more specific, it contains a special form of potassium iodine sourced naturally, dramatically reducing the risk of any contamination.
It’s also delivered in liquid form, which is typically more effective than most tablets or capsules, as it can be more easily absorbed by our bodies.
Contrary to kelp-based supplements, you won’t find traceable amounts of arsenic, which happens to be present in 1 out every 6 kelp supplements, according to a 2017 Consumer Labs report.
Future Kind’s iodine supplement comes with 60 servings (enough for two months) and is free from any major allergens and GMO’s, as well as artificial colors or preservatives.
Plus, you’re supporting a brand that is 100% vegan and environmentally-friendly.
2 – Zhou Nutrition Iodine (Runner-Up)
Akin to Future Kind, Zhou Nutrition has created a supplement that offers an optimal iodine dosage to avoid potential deficiency and prevent excessive intake.
However, Zhou Nutrition’s supplement contains more than iodine.
It comes with vitamin B12, magnesium, zinc, selenium, L-tyrosine, Schisandra powder, Ashwagandha powder, Bladderwrack powder, as well as Cayenne pepper powder.
In other words, it contains a combination of vitamins, essential minerals, amino acids, and adaptogens to provide you with both mind and body support. As a vegan, it’s useful to have a wide array of vitamins and minerals, especially if you’re not following a well-planned and varied diet.
Zhou Nutrition’s supplement comes, however, with only 30 servings (enough for one month), making it more expensive than Future Kind’s supplement if we look at the cost per serving.
On top of being GMO and gluten-free, their formula is also third-party tested, which should guarantee a lack of harmful contaminants and other chemicals.
3 – Natural Nutra Vegan Iodine
Natural Nutra provides you with an iodine supplement with kelp sourced from pure and pristine ocean waters.
What sets this supplement apart from the aforementioned options is its large number of servings available at a highly affordable price.
For anyone interested in saving the most amount of money by getting the lowest possible price per serving, this formula by Natural Nutra seems the most suitable option for those looking for capsules.
With that being said, this supplement comes with 225 mcg of iodine, which is slightly above the recommended daily allowance (RDA), meaning, it provides you with more iodine than you actually need per day.
To circumvent this issue you may have to consume this supplement once every two days, which would obviously decrease the cost per serving even further, as you would not consume it daily.
If you want to get the best bang for your buck, this is certainly the better choice.
4 – Mary Ruth’s Pure Iodine
Looking for affordable iodine liquid drops? Mary Ruth’s pure iodine formula is hands-down the most affordable option in this list, with 450 servings per container.
But while it’s a “best bang for your buck” type of deal, it’s has a higher amount of iodine than what’s generally recommended by health authorities.
Each serving comes with 250 mcg, which isn’t that drastic, especially if you’re not planning to take the supplement daily.
Mary Ruth’s formula contains a form of iodine called nascent iodine, or atomic iodine, which is an orally administered supplemental form of iodine that is claimed to be in a monatomic state.
More importantly, this type of iodine contains an electromagnetic charge that permits a greater release of energy when consumed. As a result, it’s a form of iodine that the human body can recognize and more easily assimilate.
According to WebMD, this form of liquid iodine can be dangerous if taken in high doses, which would be considered around 900 mcg or more. This supplement contains 250 mcg per serving.
5 – Peak Performance Iodine
This iodine supplement by Peak Performance is highly reviewed on Amazon, and it’s also one of the supplements that sticks to the recommended daily allowance (RDA).
With that being said, you can find solutions that are more cost-effective and offer more value in terms of nutrients (as in more vitamins, essential minerals, and other helpful components).
Zhou Nutrition’s supplement is one such solution.
Peak Performance’s formula is, however, a very clean formula made from organic kelp, cellulose, and water that is tested by an independent third-party member. Even though you can find more affordable solutions, it’s still a solid choice from a brand that has a lot of consumer trust.
6 – Yuve Organic Sea Kelp
Yuve is a brand that specialized in the creation of health products using plants and superfoods.
Their formula is made with Atlantic kelp, a form of seaweed that is naturally rich in iodine, as well as other nutrients. Their kelp is collected off nonindustrial coasts and is free of chemicals.
It’s also free from gluten, GMO and is also NOT tested on animals.
Each bottle comes with 100 servings, and each serving contains 225mcg of iodine, which is a few micrograms above the recommended daily allowance (RDA). With that being said, it’s still not at a level that may be dangerous, at least, according to information available on health authority websites like WebMD.
Still, you can find formulas that have 150mcg of iodine (the same numbers as the RDA), as well as formulas that are more affordable (in terms of cost per serving).
Nonetheless, this supplement is still a fairly good alternative, especially if you’re a fan of the brand.
Is Iodine Important For Vegans?
Iodine is equally important for everyone since it’s necessary for normal thyroid function, which helps regulate metabolism.
With that being said, you can’t have too little or too much, as it can result in abnormal thyroid. An enlarged thyroid gland can result in either hypothyroidism, where your metabolism slows down and cholesterol increases, or hyperthyroidism, where your metabolism drastically increases, resulting in weight loss.
An iodine deficiency can also inhibit brain development in a fetus, so for vegans that become pregnant, it’s important to ensure adequate levels of iodine.
However, not many vegan foods contain iodine other than seaweed and iodized salt. If you’re one to eat seaweed multiple times a week, you’re probably going to get adequate levels of iodine, however, the availability of iodine from seaweed varies and occasionally you may get iodine in excess.
Also, one thing to keep in mind is that a lot of vegan foods such as soy, flax seeds, and raw cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage) contain components (goitrogens) that may exacerbate iodine deficiency when you’re not taking adequate amounts of iodine.
In conclusion — as long as you have a balanced intake of seaweed or iodized salt, you will be fine.
How Much Iodine Should Vegans Take?
According to the American Thyroid Association, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for iodine is at 150mg per day for both men and women.
Iodine is added to salt at a rate of 76 µg per 1/4 teaspoon or 1.5 grams of salt. So there’s a considerable amount of sodium per 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Vegan advocate and American physician Dr. Michael Greger, suggests that using iodized salt in the food you cook is enough to guarantee adequate iodine levels.
You have, however, to be careful and not consume it in excess.
Who Else May Benefit From Taking an Iodine Supplement?
Iodine is important for all demographics and especially those with a more restrictive diet, however, this mineral is incredibly important for these key groups:
- Those with iodine deficiency – According to this study, approximately 2 billion people worldwide suffer from iodine deficiency, and approximately 50 million present symptoms. The effects of this nutrient deficiency can go from being mild (fatigue, weight gain, etc) to extremely severe (heart disease, cancer, mental disorders, etc), and therefore, an iodine supplement may help.
- Pregnant women – This group needs to be particularly careful about potentially having an iodine deficiency since it’s a condition that can impair the brain development of the fetus. If you’re pregnant, you should definitely speak to your doctor about whether or not you should take iodine tablets.
- Vegans on low-salt diets – According to the evidence available, vegans have no issues with iodine consumption, but for those following a low-salt diet, it’s possible that from avoiding iodized salt they may be experiencing iodine deficiency.
If you’re someone within these key groups, please ensure that you actually visit your physician to understand whether or not taking iodine tablets is recommended.
Are There Side Effects to an Iodine Supplement?
Like any other supplement, there are some potential side effects. However, not anyone reacts in the same way, and while one person may feel side effects, another person may not feel anything.
These are some of the most commonly reported side effects:
- Nausea and stomach pain
- Runny nose
- Metallic taste
Most of these side effects are pretty mild, and most people actually don’t feel any negative effects at all. With that being said, taking too much iodine may lead to serious side effects.
The long-term use of these supplements is also not recommended as it’s linked to long-term complications, which is natural, as the supplement is only indicated for short-term use. If you wish to purchase an iodine supplement, we recommend that you speak to your doctor first.
There may be potential reactions with other supplements and medications, so it’s important to speak with a medical expert before proceeding.
What Should You Look For in a Vegan Iodine Supplement?
A vegan iodine supplement will have a number of important characteristics, starting with the fact that it must come from a plant-based source. Most iodine supplements contain kelp, which is one among many seaweeds with an inherent capacity to bioaccumulate iodine.
Amount of Iodine
The content of iodine per capsule is highly important. We know that consuming too little or too much iodine can be detrimental and lead to abnormal thyroid. We also know that the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for both men and women is 150mcg.
This iodine supplement by Future Kind seems to contain the necessary amount of iodine you require to revert an iodine deficiency and to prevent its excessive consumption.
3rd Party Testing
I’ve mentioned that most tablets (or even iodine supplements) are made from kelp. Being a seaweed, it’s likely that kelp contains traceable amounts of arsenic. In fact, there are rare cases in which people taking kelp supplements have developed symptoms of arsenic toxicity.
A 2017 Consumerlabs.com report found arsenic contamination in one of six supplements they tested in the United States. Additionally, they also found too much iodine in many of the supplements.
For that reason, it’s important to ensure that the supplement you’re purchasing has been tested by a reputable, trustworthy third-party laboratory to rule out these issues. Alternatively, and if you want to be on the safe side, you can always opt for a potassium-iodine supplement that isn’t made from kelp.
Type of Supplement
Should you choose capsules, tablets, or iodine drops? While there’s no clear indication that one is superior to another, you’ll still want to consider what type of supplement you want. Liquid iodine, for example, is very effective in terms of absorption, but it’s not as convenient as popping a pill.
Evidence suggests that liquid forms containing molecular iodine are more effective than capsule/tablet form, but in the end, it all comes down to your own preferences.
The cost of a supplement shouldn’t usually override the decision to choose a high-quality supplement, but unfortunately, I know that it’s a major factor in any consumer-based decision. The best way to understand how cost-effective a supplement is by looking at the cost per serving, rather than looking at the overall price of two or more supplements.
For example, you may have one supplement with 60 servings that cost $30 and a supplement with 120 servings that costs $45. Which one is more cost-effective? Yes, the latter because the cost per serving is lower.
If you’re planning to actually purchase an iodine supplement, consider that.
Choosing a good iodine supplement is not abnormally difficult, but you have the consider some of the aspects we’ve laid out above.
It’s important that the dosage (in each serving) does not surpass the recommended daily allowance (RDA), otherwise, prolonged consumption can lead to an excess in iodine which is as dangerous as being deficient.
With that being said, the supplements we’ve listed out in this blog post do not surpass the recommended daily allowance (RDA). However, that doesn’t mean they’re all the same, as they come in different forms, and some do offer more benefits than others in the form of additional vitamins like vitamin B12 and other important minerals.