Iodine is an element that is needed for the production of thyroid hormone. The body does not make iodine, so it is an essential part of your diet. Iodine is found in various foods, such as fish, vegetables and iodized salt. If you do not have enough iodine in your body, you cannot make enough thyroid hormone. Thus, iodine deficiency can lead to enlargement of the thyroid, hypothyroidism and to mental retardation in infants and children whose mothers were iodine deficient during pregnancy.
Hypothyroidism slows metabolism, causing such symptoms as fatigue, weight gain, weakness, increased cold sensitivity, constipation, dry skin, and depressed mood. Your hair and nails may be thin and brittle and, if you are female, your menstrual cycle may become abnormal. If Left untreated, your skin may swell and thicken, your eyes may seem to protrude, mental function may decline, and you may ultimately lapse into a coma.
Iodine is also critical for development. Babies born of mothers who have an iodine deficiency may have problems, such as mental retardation, deaf-mutism, gait abnormalities, and growth abnormalities. Infants and children who do not get enough iodine may also have cognitive difficulties, but might be reversible.
Iodine is present naturally in soil and seawater. The availability of iodine in foods differs in various regions of the world. Individuals can maintain adequate iodine in their diet by using iodized table salt (unless they have to restrict the amount of salt in their diet), by eating foods high in iodine, particularly dairy products, seafood, meat, some breads, and eggs, and by taking a multivitamin containing iodine.
The various serious signs and symptoms of iodine deficiency and may vary according to individuals, but usually include the following:
- Thyroid enlargement – sometimes called “goiter”
- Mental imbalances such as depression and anxiety
- Mental retardation (in extreme cases, and particular in children of mothers who have had an iodine deficiency)
- Fetal hypothyroidism (improper functioning of the thyroid in unborn children, leading to brain damage).
- Slowed Brain Function; Studies have shown the correlation between the shortage of iodine and cognitive function, particularly in the gestation period in children. In fact, one study from 2009 found that iodine supplementation in mildly-deficient children helped improve their perceptual reasoning.
- Slowed Metabolism: A lack of iodine can lead to a reduced ability to biosynthesize food into usable nutrients. This may lead to sluggish metabolism, weight gain and constipation.
- Emotional Upset and Anxiety: Due to the relationship between iodine and hormone balance, an iodine deficiency disrupts the proper functioning of hormone receptors and communication. This may lead to emotional imbalances, anxiety and a lack of sexual interest.
- Improper thyroid function: The New England Journal of Medicine reported a correlation between iodine intake and thyroid disease. When the thyroid cannot function properly, it can lead to a whole host of symptoms. These include fatigue, exhaustion, puffy eyes, digestive upset, muscle pain, depression, and weight gain, swelling in the body, menstrual upset, fuzzy head, memory impairment, allergic skin reactions, dry skin, brittle nails, and sensitivity to cold, hair loss, high cholesterol or general low immunity.
Iodine deficiency is diagnosed across populations and not specifically in individuals. Since iodine is released from the body through the urine, the best way to determine iodine deficiency across a large population is to measure the amounts of iodine in urine samples.
Exposure to toxic halogens such as bromine, fluorine, chlorine and perchlorate is a major contributor to iodine deficiency, besides being very damaging to your health in many other ways. The absorption of these halogens through your food, water, medications and environment, and they selectively occupy your iodine receptors, further deepening your iodine deficit.
21st of October is world iodine deficiency day, lots of populations are suffering from iodine deficiency, which might be caused by them. There are so many ways to improve your iodine status, which is earlier listed. In the same manner, it is not also good to have high amount of iodine in the body.