Is iodine safe for children to take?
Q. Hello Terry, “My 10-year-old son has some behavioral issues and I have increased his intake of omega-3s, but I’ve also read that iodine deficiency can also contribute to some of what he is experiencing. Is iodine safe for children to take? I know it’s important for adults, but don’t know as much about iodine and children.” — Josephine C., Ontario, Canada
A. Dear Josephine, I think iodine is incredibly useful for everyone – children through adult. Iodine deficiency is the number one preventable cause of intellectual disability worldwide. Many pregnant women are deficient in iodine, which subsequently causes iodine deficiency in the developing fetus.
Because we do not consume iodine on a regular basis, and we are more frequently exposed to iodine’s competitors, I think it is necessary to supplement. Iodine performs many functions in the body and deficiencies can affect mood, attention span, language development, physical development, and IQ. In fact, a study done in 2005 found that children that were iodine deficient, in comparison to children who were iodine sufficient, had an IQ that was 12.5 points lower.
Each cell in the body has receptors for iodine. Some of the body’s tissues have a preference for a certain type of iodine, so I think it’s best to use three forms of iodine: potassium iodide, sodium iodide, and molecular iodine. I believe an appropriate dose for your son would be 500 mcg – 1000 mcg per day.
I know it can be difficult to get children to swallow capsules, so you may want to find a form that is chewable and has a tasty flavor.
I also think diet is incredibly important when it comes to a child’s development – both physically and cognitively. I would start removing dairy products (with the exception of cream, butter, and eggs), sugar, soft drinks, and all grains from your son’s diet. His diet should consist of animal proteins from beef, bison, lamb, poultry, and fish, with non-starchy vegetables and fruits. He can also eat nuts, seeds, and berries. While I understand this takes a huge effort on his and your part, it can make a real difference. For more information, you can review my diet here or watch my webinar. For additional information, I also recommend checking out the following websites: www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com and www.drperlmutter.com. You should also read the books, Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter and Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis.
For additional support you may also want to consider adding a specialized Echinacea extract from Echinacea angustifoliae. There are compounds in this special extract called echinacosides that can trigger feelings of calm and relaxation. I would give your son 20-40 mg of this extract per day. Also, I do think omega-3s are important for children, especially when it comes to behavioral issues. The omega-3s I prefer are from salmon, naturally bound to phospholipids, as this is much closer to nature and how people were meant to absorb and use these nutrients. This is the way you’d get your omega-3s by eating fish – which means a big difference in stability and ability to transport omega-3s to where they are needed most. Therefore, you only need a small amount compared to the handfuls of fish oil capsules or spoonsful of fishy tasting oils.
Terry . . . Naturally