Iodine Overdose

Important Information About An Iodine Overdose

An accidental iodine overdose from supplements or medications that exceed one gram can cause a burning sensation in the mouth, stomach and throat, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, weak pulse, diarrhea and coma.

It is safe to say that it is difficult to suffer from an iodine overdose from only consuming food sources without additional supplements.  An average consumed amount of iodine daily for a woman is 210 mcg and 300 mcg at most for a man.  High intakes of iodine that come from food are generally tolerated by most people without any difficulty.

In certain circumstances however, consumption of excessive amounts of iodine can inhibit synthesis of the thyroid hormone.  This leads to the thyroid glad being enlarged and an excessive intake of iodine can cause thyroid papillary cancer or hyperthyroidism. 

It is very important to mention that if you happen to have autoimmune thyroid disease or at some point if your life you have suffered from an iodine deficiency, you are more susceptible to risks of an excessive iodine consumption.  Therefore, monitoring your intake is important to avoid an iodine overdose.


An iodine overdose can bring a number of different symptoms.

  • Abdominal pain
  • Delirium
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Metallic taste
  • Fever
  • Throat pain
  • Mouth pain
  • No urine output
  • Shock seizures
  • Stupor
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting
  • Thirst

Home Care

If you or someone you know may be suffering from an iodine overdose it is important to seek medical attention immediately.  Never attempt to make the affected individual throw up unless you are told to do so by a health care provider or by Poison Control.

You can give the person flour or cornstarch mixed with water or plain milk and continue to do so every 15 minutes.  If the patient is vomiting, suffering from convulsions or has a decreased alertness level do not offer them this liquid as it can make it hard for them to swallow.

Prior To Calling Emergency

Before you dial 911 for an iodine overdose it helps to gather necessary information such as the patient's weight, age and their condition, meaning, if they are alert or awake.  You also want to note the name of the product and strength, amount swallowed and time it was swallowed.

Emergency Room

Once the patient has arrived at the emergency room for the iodine overdose, the health care provider will monitor and measure vital signs such as pulse, temperature, blood pressure and breathing rate.

The patient may be given breathing support, fluids and milk, specific medicine to treat the symptoms, activated charcoal and a tube inserted through the nose or mouth down into the stomach to perform a gastric lavage which is simply washing out the stomach.

Cooking, Storage And Processing Impact

The way food is processed will often increase the quantity of iodine in certain foods.  An example would be if potassium iodide is added to table salt to create iodized salt.  The result is a salt with an extreme increase of iodine content.

Food Sources

Iodine found naturally in food is quite small and will rarely cause an iodine overdose.  Some food sources that are the most iodine rich are usually processed food containing iodized salt which is commonly used in the production of many breads.  Sea vegetables, yogurt, milk, strawberries, eggs and mozzarella cheese are excellent iodine sources.

Fish can be a good source but it is unpredictable because their iodine content varies.  Due to the variance you should not solely rely on fish to provide you with your daily iodine intake.  If you are susceptible to an iodine overdose you should monitor your fish intake since you cannot ultimately predict the amount of iodine you are consuming.