Micronutrient series: Iodine

Iodine – mineral

Iodine is an essential micronutrient for the human body, especially for pregnant women. Moreover, Iodine is an important component of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) produced by the thyroid gland.

Your thyroid hormones regulate many functions in the body such as metabolism and sufficient bone and brain development during pregnancy and infancy.

Iodine deficiency is quite uncommon in the United States, however, deficiency impairs thyroid hormone production and has negative effects throughout life, particularly early in life as it impairs cognition and growth.1

Additionally, severe iodine deficiency in pregnant women can permanently harm the fetus by causing stunted growth, intellectual disability, and delayed sexual development.2 Less severe iodine deficiency can cause lower-than-average IQ in infants and children and decrease adults’ ability to work and think clearly.2

Thus, it is important to know what the RDA is for iodine and what foods you can typically get it from. Below is a table of the RDA for iodine.

RDA for Iodine

AgeMaleFemalePregnancyLactation
Birth to 6 months110 mcg*110 mcg*
7–12 months130 mcg*130 mcg*
1–3 years90 mcg 90 mcg 
4–8 years90 mcg 90 mcg 
9–13 years120 mcg 120 mcg 
14–18 years150 mcg 150 mcg 220 mcg290 mcg
19+ years150 mcg 150 mcg 220 mcg290 mcg

*Adequate Intake. *Mcg = micrograms. Source: National Institutes of Health

Selected Food sources for Iodine

Foods containing IodineApproximate
Micrograms (mcg)
per serving
Percent DV*
Seaweed, whole or sheet, 1 g16 to 2,98411% to 1,989%
Cod, baked, 3 ounces9966%
Yogurt, plain, low-fat, 1 cup7550%
Iodized salt, 1.5 g (approx. ¼ teaspoon)7147%
Milk, reduced fat, 1 cup5637%
Fish sticks, 3 ounces5436%
Bread, white, enriched, 2 slices4530%
Fruit cocktail in heavy syrup, canned, ½ cup4228%
Shrimp, 3 ounces3523%

The above is an abbreviated list of foods. For full list click here. *Daily Value

Stay tuned for our next blog post in the micronutrients series on Vitamin B6.

Want to learn more? Click here to learn how our expert nutritionist can help you achieve your goals!

Author: Jon Esposito MA, CSCS, CISSN, USAW

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