Vitasoy and Iodine

I’ve had a number of emails asking me about Vitasoy and whether it has any iodine in it.

I sent off an email to National Foods and got this response:

Dear Tim,
Thank you again for your contact regarding our Vitasoy products.
Vitasoy has an extensive range of Soy, Rice and Oat milk products on offer and we recommend consumers visit our website: to determine which Vitasoy product best suits their individual needs.

Vitasoy Original and Vitasoy Vitality are the only two products that have Kombu added as an ingredient, and the average Iodine levels for both are less than 5 micrograms per 100mL, which is within the accepted levels as stated by National Health and Medical Research Council for iodine.

We hope this information will be of benefit to you and thank you again for contacting Vitasoy.

I have to say, this doesn’t really provide comfort for me. This really has shaken my faith in the industrial food complex (it was already shakey, Food, Inc anyone?), and I am off soy milk.

My mum warned me about soy milk 2 years ago, and I didn’t listen (yep, mother’s really do know best! Sorry mum!).


14 thoughts on “Vitasoy and Iodine”

  1. Why doesn’t this provide comfort for you? Kombu is great man, makes beans more digestible, great source of iodine.. you need about 150mg a day also.


  2. isn’t it just shocking that some people laugh about this? and make the seriously ill feel like crazy people who are making it all up?


  3. The bonsoy debate is interesting. However, I think the attention and class action is a joke. Iodine is fortified in many food products (go and check out your salt for instance). Iodine is essential to the body.

    Soy products, particularly GM soy products and anything consumed in excess is likely to have negative effects in the body.

    Given that so many products are GM, and contain traces of all kinds of products as well as being fortified with some micronutrients/trace minerals but not others which are required to balance the micro/trace nutrients in the body (ie the balance of calcium/potassium ratios. Try having a parathyroid condition and getting off-the-shelf products, particularly milk, that doesn’t contain “added calcium”)

    The issue of fortification in my mind is a much bigger problem. When we are in fact getting our whole nutritional needs met by whole food products (like kelp and kombu – have a japanese diet for a week and try and avoid these things). It’s not Kombu or Kelp that is “bad”, it’s not Bonsoy/Spiral that are “bad”, the amount of iodine in Bonsoy was 7.5mg per serve. Below you can read what is a reasonable amount, over 150mg!

    Iodine is essential for the body. Good variety and whole sources of food are best for the body. I use kombu every time I cook with legumes for all the trace minerals it provides as well as assisting in the absorption of the proteins of the legumes and creating less gas in the gut.

    Just FYI – I have Hashimoto’s disorder. I talked at length with my Endo about my diet, he reassured me that with my diet, this illness is not due to soy milk or kelp consumption whatsoever. I think any suggestion of this is unhelpful for people to have healthy, whole food, varied, organic diets. I wish that Bonsoy still included Kelp, as I would’ve kept purchasing it for my family. Please also not that I use a variety of milk – almond, oat, goat, soy. I buy non-Gm products. I buy products that do not contain fortified micro/trace nutrients (no cereals from the supermarkets!)

    “Iodine is a trace mineral, which is required for the normal cell metabolism. Iodine is essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormones and for normal thyroid function. Thyroxine (T4) and tri iodo thyronine (T3) are the two hormones, released by thyroid gland. These hormones are a by product of the amino acid tyrosine, in conjunction with iodide. Three iodine atoms are present in tri iodo thyronine, whereas four iodine atoms are present in thyroxine. Regulation of energy utilization and growth takes place with iodine.
    The requirement of iodine is very less, in comparison to the other nutrients. The recommended allowance for iodine in adolescents, men and women is about 150 microgram each. For older children, in the range of 9 to 13 years, it is 120 micrograms, whereas for younger children, between one and eight years, it is only around 90 micrograms. The levels increase, in case of pregnant and nursing mothers (175 and 200 micrograms respectively).
    Iodine Rich Foods And Iodine Nutrition

    * Ensure the daily requirement of iodine, through certain foods in the diet.
    * A moderate quantity of iodized salt is a good alternative for non-iodized salt. About 95 micrograms of iodine are available in quarter teaspoon of iodized salt.
    * Multivitamin supplements are recommended, in case of dietary inadequacy.
    * Natural iodine is obtained from a bi-weekly consumption of seafood. They can also be consumed, thrice a week. Perch, haddock, cod and sea bass are good marine sources of iodine. Care is necessary, with the consumption of seafood, as contamination with heavy metals, such as mercury or any other chemical, is possible.
    * Certain vegetables, which are grown in soil dine rich oil are helpful.
    * Adequate amounts of iodine are also present in eggs, dairy products and seaweed.

    Seaweed, such as kelp and iodized salt are the only options for iodine, in vegetarians.
    Deficiency of iodine results in hypothyroidism or goiter. Poor iodine in the soil results in the enlargement of the thyroid cells and the gland, in turn. Cretinism, with mental and physical retardation is common with iodine deficiency. Improper iodine intake also results in fatigue, poor reflexes, dry skin and hair loss. Low intelligence levels, stunted growth and diminished intelligence are also common.
    Thyroid imbalances are possible due to an array of reasons, such as genetic predisposition, poor dietary regimen, adrenal stress (thereby causing imbalance in the cortisol levels), insulin resistance, autoimmune response (Graves disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) and imbalance in the estrogen and progesterone levels.”


    1. Thanks for your comment. Let me try and correct some fundamental misunderstandings and misconceptions you seem to have with this issue (and the goal of this site).

      Leaving aside the obvious biases and preconceptions you have, which obviously are clouding your objective assessment of this issue:

      1. There is no argument iodine is needed by the body. This is not what this is about and therefore is not germane to the issue. This deals with about half of your comment.
      2. This issue is directly related to the consumption of a product with an excess of what is considered a safe amount of iodine. It is totally possible for humans to consume too much iodine (copper, magnesium etc etc). If you can’t grasp that fact, it will prevent you from understanding the bigger picture.
      3. Regardless of what you, or studies in the links you provide, think is a safe amount, the clear evidence is that people were poisoned by this product. Removal of the source of iodine resulted in normalisation of levels. I could provide loads of medical evidence of this, but I don’t need to. If you read the site in detail, and examine the issue, the facts are fairly clear.
      4. I, and probably most people here who’ve had their lives turned upside down, don’t really care whether you think the issue is a joke or not. What matters to people affected is that consumed a product that strongly promoted itself as safe and healthy, and this product turned out to be poisonous. These people want, and deserve, compensation for a clear failure in duty of care (I refer to the 2005 Vitasoy case in NZ here).
      5. This issue is largely not a case of autoimmune diseases such as Graves. It’s a case of a product that poisoned people. Auto immune diseases are not germane to this issue, apart from cases where consumption of Bonsoy triggered a temporary or permanent case of such a disease.

      I won’t be getting into an argument with you on this, so I hope some of these points cleared things up for you; no offence intended.



  4. I have Googled without results so am asking the following question. Can anyone tell me where Bonsoy is actually made and where the ingredients come from?


  5. For Merle…..From memory of reading blogs: The kombu they previously used could have been sourced from any number of places and the levels of iodine would vary accordingly. My understanding is that the levels of iodine in seaweed vary depending upon the area it is farmed from and therefore iodine levels are not constant or dependable without testing. Bonsoy is produced by Muso Co, a Japanese company founded on the principals of macrobiotics. You can read about bonsoy on their website under the title “tea and beverages”. There is nothing to say exactly where the kombu came from without asking Muso directly.


  6. > Kombu
    > September 28, 2010 | 11:37 am

    you might want to watch your units on quantities you are quoting…

    > [snip]
    > The issue of fortification in my mind is a much bigger problem.
    > [snip], the amount of iodine in Bonsoy was 7.5mg per serve.
    > Below you can read what is a reasonable amount, over 150mg!

    mg = milligram, 1 mg = 0.001 gram
    ug = microgram, 1 ug = 0.000001 gram

    I’m not sure where you got your figures, but if Bonsoy contains 7.5 mg as stated, this is 50 times the recommended allowance quoted as 150 micrograms below (which is150 ug _not_ 150 mg).

    > [snip] The recommended allowance for iodine in adolescents, men and women is about 150 microgram each.
    > For older children, in the range of 9 to 13 years, it is 120 micrograms,
    > whereas for younger children, between one and eight years,
    > it is only around 90 micrograms. The levels increase, in case of
    > pregnant and nursing mothers (175 and 200 micrograms respectively).
    > [snip]


  7. Hi Tim,

    I noticed your sentence above “There is no argument iodine is needed for the body”. That appears incorrect, since it’s a naturally-occurring trace element required in animal biology, particularly in thyroid function. Too much, and too little, can cause health problems.

    I understand your anger over getting too much of the stuff, but be careful your anger doesn’t cause you to misrepresent the known facts.

    I can email you a copy of abstracts from recently published scientific research from ScienceDirect (one of the biggest databases with full texts, alongside PubMed, etc.) and came up with over 1500 articles with “thyroid” and “iodine” in the text title. I’m not an expert, but sorted by relevance, most of the top-ranking reports mentioned the role of iodine in treating cancers induced by iodine deficiency.



    1. What I am saying Kelly, is that this is not an argument about whether iodine is needed. That is, there is no argument on whether it’s needed.

      Yes, it’s a trace element.

      It’s also clear excess amounts are poisonous.


  8. I am replying late only because I am searching online for info. I started drinking vitasoy daily for the past 6 weeks, and taking some other vitamins. My thyroids went out of control, by that I mean I ended up in hospital and had to have multiple tests done. The specialist came to the conclusion that my diet which included vitasoy, salt with iodine and some multivitamins causes my thyroids to go overboard. Since stopping soy and the vitamins, they have slowly dropped their levels without any hormone meds. I am also a very fit 30 year old woman and eat healthy.

    I truly believe that we should eat normal foods that our parents ate, none of is crappy modified foods. Our parents know best..


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