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Iodine
Iron
Iodine
Iodine is a trace mineral.
How it works
Iodine helps to metabolise excess fat and is needed for a healthy thyroid. Infact, about 64% of the body’s iodine is found in the thyroid gland in the neck, where it is used to make the two thyroid hormones tri-iodothyronine and thyroxine. These hormones regulate the speed of the body's metabolism, including the rate at which calories are burnt. Iodine is also necessary for maintaining connective tissue in the body that make up tendons and ligaments, holds tissues together, and which is crucial for the development of a growing foetus. It is also important for the intellectual development of the child.
Scientific studies have shown an improvement in both the associated pain and formation of benign cysts in women suffering with benign swelling and lumpiness of the breasts when iodine intakes are increased.
Research has also shown it may play a role in helping to improve the action of a sluggish thyroid gland and therefore may also help to improve weight problems.
The mineral selenium helps to convert iodine into the thyroid hormones and Vitamin A is also important for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Glucosinolate progoitrin found in cruciferous vegetables (especially in cabbage and turnips) prevent iodine absorption. Peanuts and soya beans also block the action of iodine in the thyroid gland.
Natural food sources
Natural sources of iodine can be incorporated into your regular diet, by eating 2-3 servings of the following fish per week: canned salmon, cod, haddock, lobster, mussels and smoked mackerel.
Recommended Daily Amounts (RDA)/ Safe Upper Levels (SUL) - Adult intake
The adult RDA for iodine is 150mcg a day. The guidance provided on SUL for long term supplementation is no more than 500mcg per day as a supplement or 940mcg from all dietary intake.
Precautions
High intakes of iodine can lead to toxicity in the thyroid gland. Pregnant women should avoid high intakes of iodine, and acne sufferers may find the condition worsens when taking high levels of iodine supplements.
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Iron
Iron is an important mineral. Its chemical names include ferric citrate, ferrous fumarate, ferrous gluconate, ferrous peptonate and ferrous sulphate.
How it works
Iron is found in the largest amount in blood, where it forms part of the haemoglobin that gives blood its colour and helps to transport oxygen around the body to all cells. Two thirds of the body's total store of iron is present in haemoglobin; the remainder can be found in the liver, spleen, bone marrow, and muscles.
Iron deficiency can cause a form of anaemia, and this is most often caused by insufficient intake. Scientific research has indicated that it can improve concentration, especially amongst those with poor dietary intake. Scientific evidence also suggests that iron may help to ease the pain often associated with monthly menstruation. Symptoms of tiredness and fatigue can also be associated with poor intakes of iron in the diet. Women who are trying to conceive may benefit from taking iron supplements, especially if their diet supplies little or no meat and their pregnancies are close together, as would anyone following a restricted diet low in natural sources of iron.
Vitamin C can help the iron found in plant sources, such as nuts and seeds, to be absorbed effectively into the body. However, tannin found in tea can bind with iron and reduce its absorption via the digestive system into the blood. The fibrous phytate substances in cereals, especially bran, and spinach have a similar effect, as can excess intakes of calcium.
Natural food sources
Beef, canned crab, canned sardines, dried apricots, sesame seeds and venison are all good natural food sources of iron. Supplements containing organic iron, such as ferrous gluconate, ferrous fumerate, ferrous citrate, or ferrous peptonate, are absorbed best by the body.
Recommended Daily Amounts (RDA)/ Safe Upper Levels (SUL) - Adult intake
The adult RDA for iron is 14mg, whilst the guidance SUL for long-term supplementation is 17mg.
Precautions
Prolonged high intakes of iron are toxic and can be harmful to young children especially. Iron supplements should be stored safely and well out of the reach of young children.
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