Iodine Testing Fact Sheet

Iodine is an essential mineral that the body needs primarily for a healthy thyroid gland. The thyroid controls the metabolic rate of the body and produces hormones essential for brain health, heart health and steady energy levels. An iodine deficiency can impair thyroid function and contribute to weight gain, fatigue, depression, and cognitive decline.

The thyroid may get larger and a person’s risk of breast cancer increase when there is a lack of iodine. An iodine test is an easy way to tell if someone lacks sufficient iodine in their body. An iodine deficiency is easy to correct by increasing iodine intake, such by eating more seafood, or taking supplements. Iodine is now added to most table salts, so deficiency is less common today, although discovering an iodine deficiency helps identify the problem early on and correct it before something serious occurs.

Overview of the Test

An iodine test analyzes the blood to discover if the body has a normal amount of the mineral. Doctors also use the iodine test to monitor issues with the thyroid. This may include hyperthyroidism from taking too much iodine, hypothyroidism caused by too little iodine and inflammation in the thyroid.

Evidence and Science behind the Test

Iodine tests are important to catch deficiencies because of the health risks associated with low iodine. A reported published in 1993 discovered that iodine decreased symptoms of fibrocystic breast disease in 70 percent of the people involved.

How is it done?

The iodine test is performed like most blood tests. An elasticated band goes around the upper arm to help increase the size of the veins. A health care professional uses a needle to draw blood from a vein. The blood is collected into a vial, which is then taken to a lab. A lab specialist examines the blood and measures the amount of iodine.

When and How Often?

An iodine test usually happens when an iodine deficiency is suspected. Doctors may use this test if someone has low energy, unexplained weight gain, poor mood, or cognitive issues. It may also be done periodically during treatment for thyroid conditions.


Health insurance usually covers an iodine test when ordered by a physician. Tests may cost around $125 to $170 out of pocket.


Low iodine is rare, with many iodine regulations across the food industries. Men and women should eat at least 150 micrograms per day of dietary iodine, with those who are pregnant or breastfeeding requiring more. The upper limit for iodine is 1,100 micrograms. Consuming less iodine makes people susceptible to an iodine deficiency. Eating more could lead to other health problems.


  • Life Extension
  • Weston A. Price Foundation
  • Fast Living Slow Ageing; Kate Marie and Christopher Thomas; 2009

Last reviewed 26/Feb/2014


Related Posts

The following two tabs change content below.
Whilst wielding a couple of dumbbells in a gym class in 2003, Kate experienced an epiphany around the lack of accepted best practice guidelines when it came to staying well and avoiding disease. Kate realized that she had no chance of slowing her own aging process unless she became better educated about her options.

Latest posts by Kate Marie (see all)