iodine nooroots nootropic supplement

Iodine: Nootropic Spotlight

Expert Writer and Contributor 
About the Author

Ellen holds a Batchelors of Science in Health Sciences and was awarded a Master of Science from UCL. She is the clinical specialist at Co-Labb.

About the Contributor
Mus was awarded a Master of Science degree in Medical Biotechnology and Business Management from the University of Warwick. 


A scientific discipline each has its own way of perceiving the world. Biology tells you you’re 70% water, Chemistry tells you you’re 60% oxygen, Physics tells you you’re 99.99% empty space. Naturally, depending on the type of scientist you are, your approach to science and worldview vastly differs.

Chemistry doesn’t get as much attention as it counter parts Biology and Physics. Can you name a famous Chemist? If I asked if you could name a famous Biologist, most people would say Charles Darwin. And for a Physicist, probably Stephen Hawkins or Albert Einstein. However, this was not always the case.

At the turn of the 19th century, as Napoleon waged war throughout Eurasia, there was a serious shortage of gunpowder. All of sudden, desperation swept through the military ranks of Parisian society as France found herself in a dire need for gunpowder - otherwise she would face almost certain defeat on the battlefield.

Napoleon wasted no time in putting France’s brightest minds to work. Although, this was no job for a Biologist or Physicist - only a Chemist’s mind could find a solution.

Patriotism run deep in France during this era. Revolution was in the air. And in the midst of 1811, during the heights of the barbaric Napoleonic wars, a Frenchman rose to the occasion. Bernard Courtois was experimenting using seaweed as an alternate method to manufacture gunpowder when something odd happened.

An unusual, misty vapour began rising from seaweed ash as he treated it with sulphuric acid. By accident, Bernard had just isolated Iodine and in doing so, established a completely new chemical element.

If you're looking to start taking Iodine as a supplement, you can learn more about our Mood & Wellbeing Nootropic Supplement at nooroots. If you have any questions after reading this post, you can either visit our support resources or simply contact us via our online form.



  • What is Iodine?
  • Iodine Deficiency
  • Iodine Benefits
  • Iodine Mechanism of Action
  • Iodine Side Effects
  • Recommended Dosages of Iodine
  • Best Natural Food Sources of Iodine 


Iodine: A Health Guide to Safe and Effective Supplementation


iodine nooroots nootropic supplements


What is Iodine?

Iodine is an element that is used by the thyroid to make essential human hormones1. This plays a huge role in controlling our metabolic rate and can affect fertility and foetal development.

Iodine can’t be made in our bodies, but luckily it is readily available from the ocean, particularly from seaweed!



Iodine Deficiency

A lack of iodine can negatively affect our health in several different ways. Iodine deficiency can affect our cognitive function, also known as our “thinking skills”.

Scientists aren’t sure exactly why it has this effect, but it is thought to be related to neurotransmitters and gene expression. Because of its important role in thyroid hormone regulation, iodine deficiency can particularly affect brain development in children and babies2. Additionally, having enough iodine is critical to support optimal fertility3.


Iodine Benefits

Iodine has several really important benefits that act on different parts of the body. For example, it acts as a:
  • Metabolism regulator: This element plays a really important role in regulating thyroid hormones that control our metabolism. Iodine supplements can even be used to treat some thyroid disorders and protect the thyroid during radiotherapy1,4!
  • Brain booster: Iodine contributes to normal cognitive function and supports healthy brain development in infants and children3.
  • Fertility promoter: Iodine works to support fertility and is essential to optimise this process5.


Iodine Mechanism of Action

Although there is clear evidence of the benefits of iodine in our diet, scientists are still trying to work out exactly how it works its magic.

We know for certain that it is involved in thyroid hormone synthesis and that it can increase or decrease the amount of these hormones in our body.
Iodine has some fascinating effects on our brains. Structures in the brain, such as the hippocampus, are affected by having too little iodine. Iodine supports cell migration and differentiation in the hippocampus and  this is disrupted when iodine is low. This can cause a reduction in hippocampal weight and density.

Additionally, low iodine causes a change in the way our hippocampus is activated during cognitive tasks, indicating that it is not functioning optimally. These changes have been seen on the brain scans of people with iodine deficiency6.

Similarly, iodine seems to have an effect on the chemicals in the brain, the neurotransmitters7,8. Low iodine can cause low levels of serotonin and GABA, leading to an increase in anxiety or even depression. 
In foetal and childhood development, iodine is thought to play an important role in brain development2,8. This is again thanks to its impact on thyroid hormone creation. Studies have shown that supplementation in children with mild iodine deficiency can improve their information processing, fine motor skills and problem solving9–11.
It is clear that having enough iodine is so important for our brain development and regulating our metabolism. This is going to help us feel our best and boost our cognitive performance!


Iodine Side Effects

As with any supplement, there is always the possibility of side effects at very high doses. However the negative side effects from iodine only happen after prolonged high doses. This may cause:
  • Thyroid problems12
  • Sore teeth and gums
  • Burning in your throat and mouth
  • Upset stomach


Recommended Dosages of Iodine

The Nutrient Reference Value (NRV) for Iodine is 150μg (micrograms). The safe upper limit (SUL) for Iodine is 1,000μg (micrograms).


Learn More About NRV and SUL  

The NRV and SUL are two values assigned to vitamins and minerals that are designed to provide guidance on how much of a specific nutrient can be consumed. 

NRV can be defined as the amount of a specific nutrient needed to adequately meet known nutritional deficiencies. Whereas the SUL is the highest level of nutrient intake that is likely to pose no risk of bad health effects for almost all individuals in the general population.

It is very safe to consume levels of nutrients greater than the NRV as long as the intake is below the SUL. 

At nooroots, we take both these values into consideration when performing research and product development. We work with our scientists and partners to select a nutrient level that is both safe and effective. 


Best Natural Food Sources of Iodine

 Here are the top 10 foods rich in Iodine:

  1. Seaweed (Nori, Kelp, Kombu, Wakame)
  2. Shellfish (Cod, Tuna, Oyster, Shrimp) 
  3. Iodized Table Salt
  4. Diary (Milk, Cheese, Yoghurt)
  5. Egg Yolk
  6. Beef Liver
  7. Chicken
  8. Fruits (Strawberries, Cranberries, Pineapple) 
  9. Nuts (Cashews, Peanuts)
  10. Potato

*data sourced from Harvard, Healthline




Combining sciences can reveal interesting truths about the world. Aaron Ciechanover famously quoted: “Biochemistry is the science of life. All our life processes - walking, talking, moving, feeding - are essentially chemical reactions. So biochemistry is actually the chemistry of life, and it's supremely interesting.”

Perhaps there is some unintended irony here considering Iodine was discovered during a quest to create gunpowder.

Nevertheless, there is something magical about Chemistry. Like Bernard observing a simple coloured vapor rising to the heavens, such a sight can also bring a state of mad joy to a class of primary schoolers. Peering deep in to the mystic purple vapours, Science has demonstrated Iodine to regulate metabolism, act as a brain booster to aid normal cognitive function and promote fertility.

Guidelines for recommend dosages are 150 micrograms. The safe upper limit for Iodine intake has been established at 1000 micrograms.

If you're looking to start taking Iodine as a supplement, you can learn more about our Mood & Wellbeing Nootropic Supplement at nooroots.


Learn more about the other vitamins, minerals and plant extracts we use to give your brain a daily boost 



  1. Chung HR. Iodine and thyroid function. Ann Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2014;19(1):8-12. doi:10.6065/apem.2014.19.1.8
  2. Melse-Boonstra A, Jaiswal N. Iodine deficiency in pregnancy, infancy and childhood and its consequences for brain development. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010;24(1):29-38. doi:10.1016/j.beem.2009.09.002
  3. Zimmermann MB. Iodine Deficiency. Endocr Rev. 2009;30(4):376-408. doi:10.1210/er.2009-0011
  4. Zbigniew S. Role of Iodine in Metabolism. Recent Pat Endocr Metab Immune Drug Discov. 2017;10(2):123-126. doi:10.2174/1872214811666170119110618
  5. Mathews DM, Johnson NP, Sim RG, O’Sullivan S, Peart JM, Hofman PL. Iodine and fertility: do we know enough? Hum Reprod Oxf Engl. 2021;36(2):265-274. doi:10.1093/humrep/deaa312
  6. Hernández M del CV, Wilson KL, Combet E, Wardlaw JM. Brain Findings Associated with Iodine Deficiency Identified by Magnetic Resonance Methods: A Systematic Review. Open J Radiol. 2013;03(04):180-195. doi:10.4236/ojrad.2013.34030
  7. Redman K, Ruffman T, Fitzgerald P, Skeaff S. Iodine Deficiency and the Brain: Effects and Mechanisms. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2016;56(16):2695-2713. doi:10.1080/10408398.2014.922042
  8. Fuzi SFA, Loh SP. Iodine: A Critical Micronutrient in Brain Development. In: Mohamed W, Yamashita T, eds. Role of Micronutrients in Brain Health. Nutritional Neurosciences. Springer; 2022:49-67. doi:10.1007/978-981-16-6467-0_4
  9. Fitzgerald PCE. The Effect of Iodine Supplementation on Cognition of Mildly Iodine Deficient Young New Zealand Adults. Thesis. University of Otago; 2012. Accessed May 10, 2022.
  10. Zimmermann MB, Connolly K, Bozo M, Bridson J, Rohner F, Grimci L. Iodine supplementation improves cognition in iodine-deficient schoolchildren in Albania: a randomized, controlled, double-blind study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;83(1):108-114. doi:10.1093/ajcn/83.1.108
  11. Gordon RC, Rose MC, Skeaff SA, Gray AR, Morgan KM, Ruffman T. Iodine supplementation improves cognition in mildly iodine-deficient children. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90(5):1264-1271. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28145
  12. Farebrother J, Zimmermann MB, Andersson M. Excess iodine intake: sources, assessment, and effects on thyroid function. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2019;1446(1):44-65. doi:10.1111/nyas.14041
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