Iodine is absolutely essential to the functioning of your thyroid system. Your thyroid gland controls everything about your body’s metabolism; from your heartbeat to when you get hungry, this gland sets the tempo throughout your body that keeps everything in homeostasis.
Too little iodine can cause hypothyroidism, which is when your thyroid gland becomes under-active and your body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. If this condition persists, you could develop goiter, which is an enlargement of the thyroid gland that results from your body’s misguided efforts to increase the size of this important organ. People with hypothyroidism almost always gain weight, and they may have trouble summoning the energy necessary to handle the day head-on.
Too much iodine, on the other hand, can result in hyperthyroidism, which is when your body produces too much thyroid hormone. As a result, your metabolism increases, and your body burns through vital energy much too fast. That’s why it’s so important to avoid exceeding your daily dose of iodine.
Vegan mothers should be especially wary of hypothyroidism. Not getting enough iodine during pregnancy and while breastfeeding can result in irreversible birth defects. Vegans are even more prone to iodine deficiency than vegetarians, which means you’ll need to supplement with iodine if you want to stay healthy as a vegan.
Just remember that your thyroid gland is a finely-tuned machine. Don’t panic and overdo it with too much iodine. If you want to be extra-careful, you can have your doctor test your blood iodine levels to determine how much of this substance you should consume per day.
SUMMING IT UP: Don’t rely on seaweed and iodised salt alone to keep your iodine levels up when you observe a vegan diet. Get the exact amount of iodine you need each day with Feel.