Iodine is a chemical element which is essential for life. Not getting enough Iodine can result in Iodine deficiency which has severe repercussions.


  • Has a positive effect on one’s IQ [3]
  • Iodine deficiency is linked to low IQ levels [2][4][5][6]
  • Low Iodine in pregnant mothers lowers a child’s IQ [5][6]

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What Is Iodine?

Iodine is an essential element used by almost all life for a variety of different biological functions. It is even used by certain bacteria to assist with enzyme function. Not getting enough Iodine in your diet can lead to iodine deficiency.  This is a very serious condition that affects close to two billion people throughout the entire world. This can lead to an assortment of symptoms including mental retardation, extreme fatigue, depression, and weight gain. [1] In fact, iodine deficiency is the leading cause of preventable mental retardation worldwide.[2] Since this discovery, multiple studies have been conducted to determine if Iodine supplements can be used to increase fluid intelligence and raise one’s IQ.

Iodine Dosage Information

The Iodine dosage you should consume greatly depends on your age. WebMD provides the following recommendation for dietary supplementation.

  • Ages 1-8: 90mcg/day
  • Ages 9-13: 120mcg/day
  • Ages 14+: 150mcg/day
  • Pregnant Women: 209mcg/day

WebMD recommends that you avoid prolonged use of doses exceeding 1100mcg per day. In children, doses should not exceed 200mcg per day for ages 1-3, 300mcg for ages 4-8, 600mcg per day for ages 9-13, and 900mcg for those under 18.

How Does Iodine Work?

Iodine is required to synthesize thyroid hormones. These hormones act on nearly every cell in the body, playing an important role in many bodily and neurological functions:

  • Helps to regulate the amounts of serotonin, norepinephrine, and GABA in the brain
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Increases the basal metabolic rate
  • Effects of protein synthesis
  • Helps regulate bone growth

Safety and Side Effects of Iodine

Even though at suggested doses Iodine is regarded as being very safe for long-term use there is a chance for serious side effects in predisposed people.

Common side effects associated with Iodine include nausea, runny nose, and diarrhea.

Some people have a predisposed sensitivity to Iodine. These people may experience allergic side effects that include swelling of the lips and face, bleeding or bruising fever, or joint pain.

High iodine intake is associated with an increased risk of thyroid problems. Because of this, anyone taking medication for an overactive thyroid should never take iodine. Names for some of these medications include Methimazole, Tapazole, and Thyro-Block.

Where Can I Buy Iodine?

Iodine may be difficult to find locally however it is readily available online. Our Buyer’s Guide (in progress) compares prices of Iodine amongst different online retailers. You can get it for cheap here.

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Iodine FAQ

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about Iodine. If you have a question that’s not on this list, send it to us at [email protected] and we will answer it for you.

Should I Use Iodine?

Iodine is not one of the more powerful nootropics. It will not increase your memory, make you more focused, or give you more mental energy. However, there is a strong, proven relationship between Iodine and IQ. If you are looking for a simple way to make sure your IQ is at its best then Iodine supplements are a great investment. Even a better investment if you don’t think you are getting enough Iodine in your diet.

What Are Some Notable Iodine Studies?

An excellent article was published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2004. The article examined the relationship between Iodine intake and Intelligence Quotient in children.  The study was conducted on 1221 schoolchildren in Spain. It examined IQ levels, the prevalence of goiter, and urinary iodine levels. The study concluded that increased dietary iodine enough to raise urinary iodine output by 150ug/liter would increase IQ by several points at a minimum. [3]
Cited Studies

1.  Felig, Philip; Frohman, Lawrence A. (2001). “Endemic Goiter”. Endocrinology & metabolism. McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 9780070220010

2.  McNeil, Donald G. Jr (2006-12-16). “In Raising the World’s I.Q., the Secret’s in the Salt”. New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-04.