Athletes and Iodine - What to Know
“Iodine and thyroid function is so important for sports performance and yet many athletes are iodine deficient.” So notes this article from Athlete Sanctuary, with a picture of a bowl of seaweed salad helpfully placed at the top of the feature.
We’re talking about the importance of healthy levels of iodine for as long as we’ve been selling our smRt ingredients and products, but it’s always good to hear it from erudite articles. The Athlete Sanctuary mentions that “Thyroid hormones bind to receptors on each cell’s membrane surface and inside the cell at the mitochondria where energy is made. Binding activates the cell’s energy and metabolic functions….Iodine is a key trace mineral stored primarily in the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland produces the key thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), using iodine and other key nutrients such as selenium and tyrosine.” Did we mention that smRt seaweed ingredients are a carefully selected blends of the right seaweds to give you the right balance of iodine and contain healthy amount of other things like selenium?
The article explores a range of symptoms of low iodine levels in athletes and points out that Iodine is primarily lost through sweat - and athletic performance among both professional and amateur athletes wouldn’t be athletic performance without sweating - and some iodine is also excreted in urine. According to Athlete Sanctuary, athletes may lose more iodine through sweat in an hour of vigorous exercise than they do through a whole day of urine output, and perhaps as much as 50% of their daily iodine requirement in sweat alone. So, iodine is really important for athletes to take in during or after exercise.
The article lists an exhaustive range of tips to boost iodine intake, and notes that seaweed is a very good source of it, although we would caution against hoovering up the floating contents of your nearest shoreline as some seaweeds contain excessively high levels of the element. You need to know what you’re doing.
Staying on the theme of athletic performance and iodine, this article from Muscle & Performance sheds light on the importance of iodine to women. The production of oestrogen can limit your absorption of iodine which makes iodine deficiency a significant risk. Furthermore, “And because added dietary iodine has been shown to reduce the size of breast tumours — benign and malignant — and can mitigate the symptoms of fibrocystic breast disease, getting enough of this mineral should be on every woman’s to-do list.”
Echoing the Athlete Sanctuary article above, the Muscle & Performance article also notes that we lose large amounts when we sweat, especially in hot, humid environments. Muscle & Performance also celebrates the humble seaweed as a fantastic source of iodine, but again it advises us on the dangers of going too far the other way, noting that “Seaweed and kelp contain the most iodine of any food on the planet, with just ¼ ounce containing 4,500 micrograms of iodine, about 30 times the RDA”
Finally, if you’re an athlete and a vegan, your need for iodine is even more critical and even harder to to satisfy, as we’ve noted here and here, since meat, fish and dairy products are high in this vital element, Fortunately, though, you’re on the right track if the right seaweeds are on your daily list.
We developed smRt health bars with active people - and especially athletes in mind. Each 35g bar contains 84% of your recommended daily intake of iodine. They taste great, are easily digestible and give you an important energy boost, which means you can avoid the sugary or highly artificial energy hits that you might be used to. We only launched smRt bars this month at the BioFach organic food fair in Germany, but athletes already seem to like them, if a recent post on the instagram account of Irish triathlete Con Doherty is anything to go by.