History of Iodine

Iodine, a chemical element symbolised as ‘I’ on the periodic table, was discovered in 1811 by French chemist Bernard Courtois. Its name originates from the Greek word ‘iodes’, meaning ‘violet’, which is a nod to the element’s violet vapour. Historically, iodine was used primarily as a medical treatment for thyroid-related conditions, owing to its critical role in thyroid function.

By the 1920s, the discovery of endemic goitre (swelling of the thyroid gland due to iodine deficiency) led to the introduction of iodized salt in the United States and other parts of the world. Over the decades, iodine has found its way into various applications, including supplement manufacturing where its role remains as crucial as ever.

Scientific Makeup of Iodine

Iodine is a halogen, belonging to group 17 of the periodic table alongside elements such as fluorine and chlorine. It is unique due to its ability to exist in multiple oxidation states, which allows it to form an array of organic and inorganic compounds.

In the human body, iodine is primarily found in the thyroid gland, where it plays a critical role in the production of thyroid hormones, namely thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones are instrumental in regulating the body’s metabolic activities.


Benefits of Iodine

Iodine offers numerous health benefits due to its critical role in the body’s physiological processes. Its primary benefit lies in supporting the healthy function of the thyroid gland. As an essential component of thyroid hormones, iodine helps regulate the body’s metabolism, influencing growth, energy production, and nervous system development.

Studies have demonstrated that iodine can enhance cognitive function, particularly during early development. A 2014 review found that children with improved iodine status showed better cognitive performance than those with an iodine deficiency. Additionally, iodine plays a key role in pregnancy, supporting the neurological development of the foetus.

Iodine is also beneficial for skin health. It aids in skin repair, promotes hydration, and can help alleviate conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Its antibacterial properties make it useful in combating infections and promoting wound healing.

When combined with other vital ingredients like Selenium, it can enhance immune function, demonstrating the synergistic benefits of supplementing with iodine.

Forms of Consumption

Iodine can be consumed through a variety of delivery methods, each with its unique advantages and considerations.

1. Iodized Salt: This is the most common source of iodine globally, introduced to prevent iodine deficiency disorders. However, it might not provide sufficient iodine for individuals with particular dietary needs.

2. Dietary Supplements: Iodine supplements are an effective way to ensure adequate intake, especially for those with specific health conditions or dietary restrictions. They come in various forms, including tablets, capsules, and liquid drops.

3. Seaweed: Naturally rich in iodine, seaweed is a good source of iodine, especially for those following a vegan or vegetarian diet.

4. Iodine-enriched Foods: Some foods, like bread and dairy products, are often fortified with iodine.

At Supplement Factory we have leveraged advancements in technology to produce innovative delivery forms for iodine supplements. From traditional capsule forms to modern liquid supplements, we create high-quality, bespoke products designed to meet the specific needs of your brand and its audience.


Safety and Dosages

Iodine’s safety profile is generally well-established, with toxicity being rare. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults is 150 micrograms (µg) per day. Pregnant and breastfeeding women require higher amounts—220 µg and 290 µg respectively—to support foetal and infant development.

Overconsumption of iodine can lead to iodine-induced hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Thus, it is crucial to adhere to recommended dosages and consult a healthcare professional before starting any iodine supplementation, particularly for individuals with existing thyroid conditions.

Tolerable Upper Intake level for Iodine by Age

Age (Years)UL (μg Iodine/day)


Use and Legality in the UK, EU, US and Globally

Iodine use in supplements is legal and highly regulated in many parts of the world, reflecting its status as an essential nutrient. In the UK, EU, and US, iodine is recognised as a vital component of dietary supplements, with strict guidelines in place to ensure safe consumption levels. For instance, the European Food Safety Authority has set a tolerable upper intake level of 600 µg/day for adults.

Globally, many countries have adopted universal salt iodization programs to combat iodine deficiency, a leading cause of preventable intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The World Health Organization recommends a daily iodine intake of 150-200 µg for adults, with different recommendations for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and children.

As a leading manufacturer, Supplement Factory is well-positioned to produce high-quality, iodine-based supplements for your brand, adhering to all regulatory standards across various markets. Explore our manufacturing services to see how we can help your brand deliver the benefits of iodine to consumers worldwide.