Vital Nutrient Spotlight: Iodine
The list of nutrients that play an important role in keeping your skin healthy is long indeed, but some nutrients stand out as being truly vital while also being largely overlooked. Iodine is one such nutrient.
In the body, iodine is integral for processes that range from fetal/infant development to thyroid hormone production. Each cell in the reproductive organs and the skin has “iodine receptors”, which means that iodine molecules fit neatly into the space offered by the cell. It is critically important at all stages of life, has an impact on weight gain and daily energy levels, and unfortunately, most people in America are actually deficient. The good news is that it isn’t hard to get more iodine in your life, potentially reaping big health rewards.
One common symptom of iodine deficiency is chronically dry skin. When skin is constantly dry, it can't heal itself efficiently; we start to see premature wrinkles, collagen breakdown, inflammatory skin conditions and a dull looking complexion. A straightforward way to address this is to add iodine-rich foods, such as seaweeds, to your diet. Why seaweed? Because as it turns out, seaweeds are the most concentrated natural sources of iodine on the planet. One sheet (serving) of dried kelp can deliver about 2000% of the minimum RDA of iodine, while cod, yogurt, and eggs are also good sources.
The molecular size of iodine is incredibly small, so small that it can penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream; this is known as transdermal absorption. Because of that, you can use seaweed-based products on your skin to deliver a dose of iodine directly to your skin cells. With a balanced combination of topical application and dietary consumption, your entire body will have all the iodine it needs to be it's healthy best, which may help with a range of problems including irregular menstruation, hair loss, fatigue, and weight loss/gain.
Some people express concern about getting “too much” iodine, which is admittedly possible, but it is also possible to drink too much water… A great point of reference is the Japanese culture. While the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for iodine in the U.S. is ~150 i.u. per day, the NCBI has reported that the seaweed-rich diet of the average Japanese person delivers 1000-2000 i.u. per day! Anyone with a pre-existing thyroid disorder should use great caution but for the rest of us, it is extremely likely that an increase in iodine intake will translate to some improvement in health.