Why Does Shrimp Taste Like Iodine?

Iodine is a mineral that can be found in some foods. It is often needed by one’s body in order to make thyroid hormones. One of the best ways to add iodine to your diet is to incorporate fish and crustaceans. Shrimp is one of these crustaceans, but the reason behind the taste of iodine in shrimp is one that many do not know.

Shrimp having the taste of iodine is no myth. The smell and taste of iodine that is present in shrimp often comes from bromophenol which is present in many organisms that are consumed by shrimp. It is important to not let this taste deter you from eating the shrimp as iodine is a mineral your body needs.

Continue reading to learn more about shrimp as well as why shrimp may smell and taste like iodine.

Types of Shrimp

Shrimp is a popular crustacean that people eat. When it comes to shrimp, there are more than two thousand different types of shrimp that can be found. However, not all of these shrimp can be found when you visit the grocery store. You may instead come across three different types of shrimp. These are the white shrimp, the coldwater northern shrimp, and the tiger shrimp.

White Shrimp (Penaeus Vannamei)

You can often find white shrimp sold in a variety of ways. The shrimp could be peeled or unpeeled. It can be sold cooked or raw. The shrimp could also be sold either with its tail still attached or without its tail. You can find white shrimp in all of these ways in the grocery store.

This type of shrimp is often imported from China, India, Bangladesh, or Thailand, and it is the most common type of shrimp that you will come across in the grocery store. This shrimp is often treated with sodium phosphates in order to protect its texture as well as its colour. This treatment is what gives the shrimp its translucent look and its metallic taste.

Coldwater Northern Shrimp (Pandalus Borealis)

Also known as the Matane Shrimp, the coldwater northern shrimp is often found in the North Atlantic Ocean, the North Pacific Ocean, and the Arctic Ocean. This shrimp can always be found sold either cooked, thawed, or frozen. 

The coldwater northern shrimp is known as a sustainable seafood choice because the shrimp was not treated with sodium phosphates. This shrimp is also packed with Omega-3s.

Tiger Shrimp (Penaeus Monodon)

The tiger shrimp is one that you may find in stores, but it is very rarely found in grocery stores. After white shrimp, the tiger shrimp is the type of shrimp that is consumed the most.

The tiger shrimp is very large. It is often known as the largest commercial shrimp. This shrimp can easily be denoted due to its large size and its shell that is striped.

Why Do Shrimp Smell Like Iodine?

If you have ever eaten shrimp, you may not have a strange smell or taste. This smell and taste is iodine. Iodine is a mineral that is used by our bodies to make thyroid hormones.

Shrimp acquire this smell and taste through bromophenol. Shrimp consume bromophenol when they eat organisms that are high in it. Since our bodies need iodine to perform some functions, it can be a good idea to add shrimp more into your diet as well as some other foods that contain iodine.

You can find iodine in foods other than shrimp. These include:

  • Iodized salt
  • Fish
  • Dairy products
  • Eggs

Each of these can be a great source of iodine, but you do not want to eat too many foods with iodine in them. If you have too much iodine, it is possible to contract thyroid gland inflammation as well as thyroid cancer.

Iodine is fine to take in as long as you do not consume too much of it. Iodine can help your body fight certain diseases as well as improve cognitive function, especially in children.


Shrimp can be a great source of iodine. Shrimp has a smell and taste that many attribute to iodine. This comes from the bromophenol that shrimp ingests through the consumption of organisms that tend to be high in bromophenol.

For this reason, shrimp can be a good addition to your diet. Our bodies need iodine in order to form thyroid hormones. However, you do not want to consume too much iodine as it can make you sick.