(Article medically reviewed by Dr. Zac Hyde M.D)
Iodine is a mineral found in certain foods and is responsible for metabolism and other important functions in the body.
Getting enough iodine can boost prostate health, increase testosterone, maintain thyroid health, boost immunity, improve brain function, improve erections, virility, and much more.
If you’re a man looking to improve your life and avoid a slew of serious health problems, keep reading to see how iodine benefits men of all ages.
Iodine is Good for Prostate Health
Iodine is an essential element for prostate health.
With fewer men getting enough iodine in their diets these days, there has been a significant increase in men with prostate issues.
The body’s endocrine system is regulated in part by iodine to function. Iodine concentrates in the body’s glands like the prostate.
When iodine levels are low, the normal structure of the prostate is compromised and cysts can begin to form.
If the iodine deficiency continues, these cysts can turn into solid nodules and can eventually lead to hyperplasia, which is precursor to prostate cancer.
Increasing iodine intake can help ensure a healthy prostate.
Research shows that prostate cancer rates are much lower in countries where iodine-rich foods are consumed on a regular basis…
Like in Japan, vs countries with lower iodine consumption, like the United States.
In fact, iodine consumption in Japan is 25 times higher than in the US and has 29% fewer incidents of prostate cancer.
Iodine supplementation was found to decrease the size of an enlarged prostate by lowering PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels, a key indicator of prostate health, with just at 5 mg dose of daily iodine solution.
It also seems to slow the growth of cancer cells, even when the immune system is weakened.
Iodine Increases Testosterone Levels
Nearly half of all iodine is stored in the glands like the testicles, thyroid and pituitary glands.
All of these glands are important for the production of testosterone, which is important for sexual, bone, and muscle health.
A deficiency in iodine production can actually lead to an increase in estrogen production, known as the “female” hormone that no man wants an abundance of.
An increase in estrogen can lead to enlarged breasts in men and can cause sexual issues related to erections and virility.
Low levels of testosterone have also been connected to increased rates of prostate cancer and even breast cancer in men.
Increasing levels of iodine through supplementation can help the entire endocrine system, regulating levels of testosterone that are so critical to a man’s health.
Iodine is Vital to Thyroid Health
Iodine deficiency is the number one cause of a condition called hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid doesn’t create enough thyroid hormone for the body’s processes to function properly.
Thyroid hormones affect every cell in the body and are critical for our overall health.
If someone has insufficient levels of iodine, it can lead to numerous health issues.
When thyroid-stimulating hormone is secreted by the thyroid…
It increases the thyroid’s uptake of iodine and stimulates the release of additional thyroid hormones called T4 and T3.
These thyroid hormones help to regulate the body’s metabolism.
Without having sufficient levels of iodine, the body can’t produce these hormones–can that can be a source for numerous problems in many of your body’s important systems.
Hypothyroidism has a long list of symptoms that can be tied back to low levels of iodine.
Symptoms can include constipation, weight gain, slow heart rate, high cholesterol, sensitivity to cold, fatigue, dry skin, joint pain, forgetfulness, depression, and more.
It’s important to get the correct amount of iodine to regulate your thyroid, and ultimately your entire body’s function.
Iodine Benefits for Men – Stronger Immunity
Iodine also plays a role in boosting your immune system to promote your body’s overall health and natural protection against pathogens that can cause disease.
It’s been found to play a role in removing chemical and biological toxins.
It also can suppress autoimmunity, a condition where the immune system begins to attack itself and can lead to several chronic conditions.
And finally, it promotes the body’s ability to fight invading viruses and bacteria, especially within the gut, and can reinforce the adaptive immune system and T-cell function.
Animal studies have demonstrated just how important iodine can be in boosting immunity.
One particular study looked at the effects of iodine on dairy cows’ ability to fight off infectious disease with supplementation.
The study concluded that it improved the cows’ immune response…
Which led to increased activity of the adaptive immune system (how the body kills off invading pathogens), and boosted the cows resistance to infectious disease.
Interestingly enough, health benefits could even be passed along to people who consumed their milk because iodine was found to help reduce lipid oxidation.
People have been using iodine for its antimicrobial properties for centuries.
It’s ability to break down cell walls of invading pathogens has been well-documented, but not well understood.
Regardless, it is clear that iodine has strong anti-viral, anti-biotic, and anti-parasitic properties with its use against viruses, bacteria, spores, fungi, and even antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Iodine Benefits – Better Brain Function
Have you ever felt that your brain is a little more sluggish than other people’s?
Maybe you’ve always had trouble remembering things or you feel like your brain is just not firing off as quickly as it should.
An iodine deficiency starting as early as childhood could be one of the reasons why.
For some time, a severe iodine deficiency has been known to cause mental impairment, particularly in children (source).
It’s an important part of a child’s cognitive development and is a leading cause of brain damage that can affect a person for the entirety of their life.
Its deficiency has been linked to lower motor skill performance, ADHD and lower overall IQ scores.
For this reason, proper amounts of iodine are critical during the first 2 years of a child’s life.
An iodine deficiency from childhood can affect people throughout adulthood.
Iodine has also been found to protect the brain from the harmful effects of free-radicals by binding to fatty acids and stopping oxidation, which can help prevent many diseases and boost your overall health.
Iodine Speeds Up Metabolism
Looking to shed a few pounds?
As we discussed earlier, iodine regulates thyroid hormone which helps to regulate your metabolism–how your body converts food into energy and heat.
When your thyroid isn’t functioning properly, it can lead to unexpected weight gain–no matter how perfect your diet is or how much you exercise.
And this weight gain can impact the appearance and size of your penis and your testosterone to estrogen ratios.
Supplementing with iodine is a proven way to change how your body uses its energy and can help you lose weight.
It has the ability to reverse the effects of a slow metabolism by stimulating your body to make more thyroid hormone.
It also has antioxidant properties that help your body defend itself from many serious diseases, including cancer.
Iodine Benefits – Detoxes the Body
It’s no secret that toxic chemicals from the foods we eat, the air we breathe, and the chemicals we surround ourselves with every day can have a serious impact on our health.
Chemicals like fluorine, chlorine, bromine and heavy metals can wreak havoc on your thyroid’s health, which we’ve already established is vital for almost every function in your body.
It’s virtually impossible to avoid these chemicals in the modern world we live in, but iodine can flush these toxins from your body.
Iodine Can Prevent Hair Loss
One thing that most men become self conscious of as they age is hair loss.
Your receding hairline or that bald patch in the back of your head could be related to a deficiency in iodine.
And you guessed it!
It once again goes back to the thyroid and the role it plays in regulating functions throughout the body.
Hypothyroidism caused by low levels T3 and T4, can affect the hair root and its ability to grow hair.
When the hair root is affected and hair falls out, it’s not replaced by new hair. It’s not something that happens overnight.
Rather, it’s a gradual process where you may notice your hair thinning. In fact, you may lose between 200 – 300 hairs a day.
The good news is that hair loss can be slowed or stopped with natural remedies and supplementation, including adding an iodine supplement or iodine-rich foods to your diet.
If an iodine deficiency is the cause of your hair loss, iodine supplementation is the best solution.
Iodine for Healthier Teeth and Bones
Another one of the major iodine benefits for men is maintenance of your teeth and bones.
The thyroid gland needs plenty of iodine to produce the thyroid hormones that help to promote bone growth and maintain healthy teeth.
In the case of your teeth, iodine also plays a vital role in the formation of enamel, the hard outer layer that protects them from acids in your diet.
Enamel is primarily composed of calcium and phosphate, and iodine is used by your body to get these minerals into your teeth.
In men who lack iodine, this process breaks down…
And over time, the enamel will become weak and prone to decay, leading to dental cavities and other oral health problems.
In addition to its role in tooth development, iodine is also extremely important for bone health.
Your bone is constantly being remodeled and reshaped throughout life, with old bone being broken down and replaced by new bone tissue.
Iodine intimately is involved in this process as well.
Specifically, it functions by regulating the activity of osteoblasts and osteoclasts, the cells responsible for bone formation and breakdown.
I’m not going to bore you with all the details, so I’ll just summarize with this..
If you want to avoid osteoporosis as an aging man, you need more than just calcium supplements.
You also need adequate levels of iodine to get the calcium, phosphate and other minerals and into your teeth and bones so they can function properly.
Iodine Benefits for Men – Stronger Erections
Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be caused by thyroid issues.
ED can be a touchy subject for men who pride themselves in their sexuality, but it’s a common occurrence when there’s a thyroid problem.
In fact, according to one study published in the International Society for Sexual Medicine…
79% of the subjects suffering with erectile dysfunction also had some sort of thyroid issue (source).
A hyperactive or a hypoactive thyroid can affect sex hormones that can make it hard (or in this case, not so hard) to achieve an erection.
Other types of sexual dysfunction, like premature ejaculation or delayed ejaculation are also common.
It can also make a man tired, fatigued, and just not in the mood for any type of sexual activity.
There are several prescription medications that a man can take to improve their ED, but these work by targeting other systems in the body to cause an erection.
Iodine, either through diet changes or supplementation, may take care of the thyroid issue and improve your erections in a more natural way.
While hormone issues caused by a hypo or hyperactive thyroid certainly aren’t the only cause of erectile dysfunction, it’s important to know that it can be a potential cause.
How Men Can Get More Iodine In Their Diet
Below is a list of 25 foods high in Iodine that you can include in your diet to bring your iodine levels up.
As you’ll see when you read the list below, foods taken from the ocean such as seaweed, tuna and shellfish are some of the best sources of iodine.
But it’s important that you don’t overdo it with the fatty fish because you can bank on the fact that these sea creatures will contain high levels of mercury.
I personally eat foods like tuna a couple of times a month at the most.
Shellfish like shrimp and lobster can be eaten more frequently because they operate lower on the food chain.
They are also low fat, and mercury is stored in the fat tissue, so these typically aren’t a problem.
Here’s the list…
- Seaweed (nori): 1 sheet (2 grams) contains 16-43 mcg of iodine.
- Cod: 3 ounces (85 grams) contains 99 mcg of iodine.
- Yogurt: 1 cup (245 grams) contains 75 mcg of iodine.
- Milk: 1 cup (245 grams) contains 56 mcg of iodine.
- Shrimp: 3 ounces (85 grams) contains 35 mcg of iodine.
- Tuna: 3 ounces (85 grams) contains 17 mcg of iodine.
- Turkey breast: 3 ounces (85 grams) contains 34 mcg of iodine.
- Baked potatoes: 1 medium potato (150 grams) contains 60 mcg of iodine.
- Navy beans: 1 cup (182 grams) contains 64 mcg of iodine.
- Eggs: 1 large egg (50 grams) contains 24 mcg of iodine.
- Prunes: 5 prunes (40 grams) contain 13 mcg of iodine.
- Lima beans: 1 cup (156 grams) contains 16 mcg of iodine.
- Cheese: 1 ounce (28 grams) contains 4-7 mcg of iodine.
- Salt (iodized): 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 grams) contains 71 mcg of iodine.
- Tuna salad: 1 cup (145 grams) contains 17 mcg of iodine.
- Cranberries: 1 cup (100 grams) contains 400 mcg of iodine.
- Sardines: 3 ounces (85 grams) contains 45 mcg of iodine.
- Scallops: 3 ounces (85 grams) contains 23 mcg of iodine.
- Strawberries: 1 cup (150 grams) contains 13 mcg of iodine.
- Chicken breast: 3 ounces (85 grams) contains 14 mcg of iodine.
- Beef: 3 ounces (85 grams) contains 8 mcg of iodine.
- Spinach: 1 cup (30 grams) contains 1 mcg of iodine.
- Bread (white): 1 slice (25 grams) contains 10 mcg of iodine.
- Ice cream: 1/2 cup (70 grams) contains 30 mcg of iodine.
- Lobster: 3 ounces (85 grams) contains 35 mcg of iodine.
You can read more about foods high in Iodine here.
Iodine Benefits for Men – Conclusion
As you can see, iodine plays a role in regulating thyroid function, which affects just about every system and cell in your body.
From your immune system, to your metabolism, to your sexual function, your overall health is undeniably connected to the levels of iodine in your body.
Many of us aren’t getting enough iodine in our diets.
Luckily, it’s easy to fix the problem once you know you have a deficiency.
Iodine rich foods such as fish, seaweed, milk, yogurt, and cheese can help you get more iodine in your diet.
However, if you’re a man with low-t or erection issues, you should follow the testicle painting protocol outlined in this blog post.