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Iodine for Kids: Why It Matters and How to Give Your Child Enough

Key points:

  • Iodine for kids is an important nutrient for healthy brain development and staying active.
  • Kids are at risk of iodine deficiency, especially when they start to eat solid foods.
  • Iodine supplements can help boost your child’s intake.
Iodine for kids: little girl hugging a bunch of green, leafy, vegetables

As a parent, you’re always concerned about your kids’ health and wellbeing. It’s hard to keep track of what they should eat to stay healthy, especially when it comes to micronutrients. One important micronutrient you should keep an eye on is iodine. But how much do you know about iodine for kids?

In this post, we’ll tell you about iodine, why it’s important for kids and how you can ensure your kids get enough. 

What Is Iodine?

Iodine is an essential mineral that the body needs in small quantities to function well. When a nutrient is “essential”, it means that the body can’t produce it so you have to get it from your diet.

The first thing you think of when you hear about iodine might be table salt labeled “iodized salt”. But iodine isn’t only found in table salt. In fact, the salt itself doesn’t contain iodine. The World Health Organization recommends adding iodine to table salt to prevent dietary deficiencies.

When it comes to your child’s health, we don’t think iodine is a mineral — it’s a gem (if you know what we mean). Iodine is a nutrient kids need to stay active and maintain other normal body functions. Let’s see why iodine is important.

Iodine for Kids: Why It’s Important

Iodine for kids: little girl hugging an adult woman

Children need iodine from before birth to adulthood. During pregnancy, iodine helps with brain development. Children born to mothers who had an extreme iodine deficiency during pregnancy can suffer from a disease called cretinism

Cretinism is a condition that affects your child’s brain. It causes intellectual development disorder. School-age children with cretinism have problems with learning and can lag compared to their peers. 

After birth, your child needs enough iodine for other important body functions. For instance, you need iodine to produce thyroid hormones in the thyroid gland — a small organ located in front of the neck below the Adam’s apple. It produces chemicals called thyroid hormones, which control how the body produces energy, heart rate, and body temperature.

The thyroid gland depends on iodine to make thyroid hormones. Without iodine, your child may suffer from a condition known as hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism comes about when the thyroid gland can’t make enough hormones, and iodine deficiency is one of its causes.

Here are the symptoms of iodine deficiency to look out for:

  • Often feeling tired and weak
  • Reduced playfulness
  • Dry skin
  • Always feeling cold
  • Learning and memory problems
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Goiter, which is a swelling on the neck

If you don’t correct it early enough, severe iodine deficiency can lead to permanent iodine deficiency disorders such as intellectual development disorder. Consult your healthcare provider if you notice the signs of iodine deficiency.

How Much Iodine Do Kids Need?

Like any other nutrient, too much or too little can affect your child’s health. Your child needs enough iodine and not too much or too little. Too much iodine can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, pain in the abdomen, fever, and a lot of other symptoms.

Here are the WHO recommendations for dietary allowances (RDA) of iodine:

  • Pregnant and lactating women:  250 mcg/day
  • Infants to six years : 90 mcg/day
  • Children aged 6-12 years : 120 mcg/day
  • Adults and adolescents : 150 mcg/day

Sources of Iodine

Iodine for kids: little girl drinking a glass of milk

Let’s start from the beginning. In prenatal life, or before birth, your child usually receives iodine through the placenta. It’s good to ensure that your iodine levels are high enough during pregnancy by sticking to a well-rounded diet or through supplementation. Note: Please consult with your healthcare provider about general nutrition, including iodine levels, while you’re pregnant.

During the first few years of life, your child gets iodine from breast milk. As long as the mother’s iodine levels are high enough, the iodine from breast milk is sufficient for your child’s daily requirements, and no supplements are needed.

As your child transitions to food, the diet becomes the only source of iodine. This is the period when your child is most vulnerable to iodine deficiency. Most children take time to adapt to the new diet. Their digestive systems also take time to get used to processing these new foods.

Regardless, you need to know which foods are rich in iodine so you can provide a balanced diet early on.

Dietary sources of iodine include:

  • Cow’s milk 
  • Dairy products
  • Seaweed such as Nori
  • Seafood such as tuna, salmon, swordfish, shrimp, cod, and seaweed
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Nuts
  • Bread
  • Bananas

Each of these foods has a different iodine concentration. Depending on your child’s developmental stage and needs, you may want a food with a high iodine concentration.

Apart from the foods listed here, some processed foods such as certain yogurt products or iodized salt are fortified with iodine to boost iodine intake. Food fortification is when certain vitamins or minerals are added to food during processing to improve the nutritional value. Always check the nutritional labels to see which foods are fortified with iodine. Also, make sure you limit salt intake as it may trigger other health conditions.

Why Iodine Supplements for Kids Matter

Under normal circumstances, your children can meet their iodine requirements from dietary sources alone. But how practical is this?

For one, most kids are picky eaters. What if your child doesn’t fancy most of the foods rich in iodine?

Even if they do, they still need to eat enough of these foods, and their bodies need to be able to absorb the nutrients. With too many obstacles in the way, children are at risk of iodine deficiency.

Iodine deficiency will take a heavy toll on your child’s health and quality of life. It doesn’t have to get there. Iodine supplements are available to help boost your child’s iodine intake.

Studies show that iodine supplements can improve children’s iodine status and reduce the prevalence of diseases caused by iodine deficiency

What to Look for in an Iodine Supplement

If you choose to give your child iodine supplements, there are two things you should consider. First, read the product labels carefully to ensure that they contain the correct doses for children. Too much iodine is harmful to your child’s health, so avoid products meant for adults.

Second, only go for products from reputable manufacturers. Because the FDA regulates dietary supplements differently from prescription drugs, some products may not meet the required standards. You don’t want to compromise on the quality of supplements you give to your children, so only buy from trusted brands.

For high-quality, natural, kids’ supplements, choose a brand like Llama Naturals. At Llama Naturals, we produce the best natural health-supporting supplements, from vitamins to probiotics. Our award-winning gummies are made from organic fruit and vegetables with no added sugar. Yet they still taste absolutely delicious. 

For Good Health, Ensure Your Kids Get Enough Iodine

Mother and son holding jars of Llama naturals

Iodine is a nutrient kids need for good thyroid function. Without iodine, your child may suffer from serious health conditions like intellectual development disorder. Though it’s possible to get iodine from the diet, children are at risk of iodine deficiency, especially when they start eating.

Luckily, iodine supplements can boost your child’s iodine levels. Iodine supplements can help your child get enough of this nutrient. Enough iodine levels in the body will help your child stay healthy and remain active. 

Ensure you purchase only high-quality supplements from trusted brands. If you’re looking for high-quality kids’ supplements, Llama Naturals has created a full line of healthy gummy vitamins. Our whole-fruit gummy vitamins are made from real fruit and vegetables, slow-cooked to retain their goodness. 

Llama Naturals’ whole fruit gummies are not only healthy — kids love them. Plus, they contain no added sugar. Choose Llama Naturals to help your children get the nutrients they need for a healthy life.

Llama Naturals is a plant-based nutrition brand that has created the World’s First Whole Fruit Gummy Vitamins that are made with no added sugar and whole-food vitamins. They are USDA Organic, Vegan, Gluten-Free, free of common allergens, and are slow-cooked on low heat to retain rich phytonutrients & fruit flavor. It’s a win-win gummy vitamin that you and the family will love.