Scientific research has now confirmed that vegetarians and in particular vegans may be significantly at risk of developing iodine deficiency.
Iodine is an essential trace element and is required for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland and production of thyroid hormones. The body cannot manufacture Iodine, so intake must be derived from the diet.
Most of the common dietary sources of Iodine are animal based such as seafood, eggs, and dairy, which is what makes vegetarians and vegans at-risk groups for developing Iodine deficiency.
Iodine deficiency can cause a number of symptoms such as goiter(enlargement of the thyroid gland), fatigue, hypothyroidism, constipation, muscle weakness, painful joints, elevated blood cholesterol levels, coarse thinning hair, puffy face, weight gain, cold intolerance, depression, brittle nails and low basal body temperature.
If one study from 2003 is anything to go by, then it looks as if the majority of vegans may be flirting with sub-optimal iodine status and/or deficiency.
The study found that:
One fourth of the vegetarians and 80% of the vegans suffer from iodine deficiency (iodine excretion value below 100 microg/l) compared to 9% in the persons on a mixed nutrition. 
Sea Vegetables & Iodine
Sea vegetables are an excellent source of minerals and trace elements in general, some of which are nearly impossible to obtain from other land plant-food sources.
Most land plant-food sources contain little to no levels of iodine at all, which is probably why the research has found iodine deficiency to be so common in vegans.
Poor soil conditions may be another factor why land plant-food sources are often so deficient and low in various minerals and trace elements.
I believe the best choice of sea vegetable to be Kelp and other brown seaweed species. Kelp contains a special type of fiber known as alginates or algin, which can bind to any toxic heavy metals such as mercury and any radioactive elements if present.
It is for this precise reason why Kelp is considered such a powerful food for detoxification of toxins due to its rich alginate fiber content, which can safely aid in the removal of toxic heavy metals and radioactive elements.
Most individuals could likely benefit by adding a small quantity of sea vegetables to their diet to provide a bioavailable dietary source of the mineral Iodine and to boost overall mineral/trace element intake.
Individuals who have existing thyroid disease should urge caution when consuming iodine-rich sea vegetables as large amounts of iodine has the potential to increase thyroid hormone production or in the case of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, excessive iodine consumption can potentially aggravate this condition.
Many thyroid disorders such as low thyroid may actually be caused by iodine deficiency, so often individuals notice a massive improvement in thyroid health when consuming iodine and mineral rich sea vegetables.
However, there are multiple other causes of thyroid disorders such as estrogen dominance, hypothalamus/pituitary dysfunction, high reverse T3, chronic stress/adrenal gland dysfunction, chlorine, fluoride or bromine exposure and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis(autoimmune).
Nutritional balancing expert Dr Lawrence Wilson recommends the manufacturer Natures Way for Kelp Capsules.
Kelp Capsules can be purchased from Amazon below.
 Iodine deficiency in vegetarians and vegans. – Institute of Preventive and
Clinical Medicine, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia
The information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, cure or treat any disease, implied or otherwise.