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Jan 4, 2021 | Nutrition

Seaweed and Iodine Deficiency

Iodine deficiency disorder (IDD) occurs when insufficient iodine is consumed in one’s everyday diet. People with dietary restrictions, such as vegetarians, might find it difficult to meet the recommended daily iodine intake due to limited food choices. Pregnant and lactating women are also IDD high risk groups since higher amount of iodine is needed to share with the baby. Read more on the blog post about the function of iodine and iodine requirement here [hyperlink to the iodine post]. Symptoms of insufficient iodine consumption are often similar to over consuming the micronutrient. These are main symptoms of IDD related to thyroid gland functioning:

  • Swelling in the front of the neck (Goiter) – Thyroid gland grows big working too hard trying to make enough thyroid hormone
  • Unexpected weight gain – lack of thyroid hormone and abnormal metabolism speed
  • Weakness
  • Hair loss
  • Dry skin
  • More sensitive to cold temperature
  • Slower heart rates
  • Poor learning and memorizing ability

To find out how much iodine do you need a day, read our blog here.

Iodine in food

The main food sources of iodine are seafood, dairy, eggs, iodised salt, and some bread. To address this common deficiency, the government has been encouraging salt manufacturers to fortify their products with iodine. It is also mandatory to fortify iodine in bread manufacturing by using iodised salt with the exception of organic and gluten free bread. However, the reality is that many are opting for more ‘natural’ salt which is not iodine fortified, people are not consuming enough bread (around 4 slices a day) to get adequate iodine. With the rise of ‘iso baking’ during the COVID pandemic, iodised salt may not be used in homemade sourdough or artisan bread. We have formulated a reduced sodium Rainbow Seaweed Salt for this exact purpose.

Vegans, vegetarians, child bearing age, pregnant and breastfeeding women might find it hard to meet the recommended daily iodine requirement. This is when seaweed comes in the spotlight!

Seaweed is a natural food from the ocean relatively high in iodine and other nutrients. The iodine content varies from seaweed species while kelp carries most. To ensure enough intake within a safety range, nori and dulse are common types of algae packed with moderate amounts of the trace element that could be used as a health and flavour booster in diets.

Here is the iodine content of common food sources. As you can see, Alg Seaweed range contribute to your daily iodine requirement making easy to help you meet your 150ug a day!

FoodIodine per serving (μg)RDI% (150μg)
Alg Rainbow Seaweed Flakes / 2.5g278186%
Alg Rainbow Seaweed Seasoning 3g6745%
Alg Rainbow Seaweed Salt 1g3322%
Iodised salt / 1g4530%
Table salt (non-iodised) / 1g<1<1%
Seaweed (dried nori) / 5g11073.3%
Raw oysters / 3oz137.591.7%
Regular Milk / 250ml (1 cup)55.7537%
Yoghurt 200g4832%
Commercial bread made with iodised salt / 2 slices (50g)35.4523.6%
Organic bread without iodised salt / 2 slices (50g)19.1512.7%
Boiled Egg / 70g (1 large)3322%
Cheddar cheese / 1oz6.84.5%
Beef, pork, lamb<1.5<1%
Note: The iodine content actually consumed might vary due to the source of food and cooking process; Data from Nutrition Australia, Australian Food Composition Database.

Written by: Sarah Leung