Hypothyroidism and Iodine Deficiency are common in European and Third World countries (due to low iodine levels within the foods & the soil).
The human body needs a chemical called thyroid hormones to control the body’s metabolism and other functions. Thyroid hormones are made up of Iodine. Thus a certain level of it is a must in the body.
If the body lacks the required amount of Iodine, it can’t make enough thyroid hormones, and this metabolic problem is hypothyroidism.
What is Iodine?
Iodine is an essential nutrient that is not present in the human body naturally. In contrast, this trace ingredient occurs naturally in different foods and also in supplement form. Thus, to fulfill its requirements, the only best source is to intake it through diet.
Moreover, it is water-soluble and used as a supplement.
Iodine is abundant in the foods mentioned below:
- Saltwater fish
- Seaweed (Including Dulce, Kelp, Nori)
- Dairy products
- Cows milk
- Soy milk
- Frozen Yogurt
- Soy sauce
- Ice Cream
- Dried prunes
- Iodine-containing multivitamins
- Iodized table salt
When the word Iodine comes, often people think of salt, whereas it is just an iodine supplement. In fact, not every salt contains Iodine, exceptional of the iodized table salt.
For a healthy and normal thyroid function, Iodine is essential. Because the thyroid gland uses it to produce thyroid hormones. The thyroid hormones help the body to:
- Regenerate and develop the brain
- Control bodily growth
- Heal or repair damaged cells
- Support an energy-yielding metabolism.
Signs of Iodine Deficiency
Among the various factors causing Iodine deficiency in the human body, a few of the signs and symptoms are as below:
Swollen neck / Goiter
The most common sign of Iodine deficiency in a person is the neck’s swelling called a goiter. It happens because of the enlargement of the thyroid gland in the neck.
* The thyroid gland in front of the neck is tiny-butterfly-shaped.
When the thyroid is deficient in Iodine, it will attempt to consume more from the bloodstream. And it induces the thyroid to enlarge, which swells the neck.
Therefore, the swollen neck makes it hard for a person to breathe and swallow.
Unexpected Weight Gain
Putting on weight is one of the most prominent signs of an iodine deficiency.
The healthy metabolism of a person may quickly provide him with sufficient energy by burning calories. In comparison, the low thyroid hormones or hypothyroidism lowers down his metabolism rate.
Have a Slow Heartbeat
The Iodine deficiency in the body can slow down the rate of the heartbeat or heart rate. This causes a person to feel sick or dizzy, or even they may feel fainting.
Dry or Flaky Skin and Hair Loss
The drying or flaking of skin and losing hair are also two of the sign of Iodine deficiency.
Thyroid hormones support cells and hair follicles to renew, but the lack of these stills the skin cell resulting in dry, flaky skin and hair loss.
Feeling Tired and Weak
Fatigue and weakness are also signs of Iodine deficiency. The low rate of metabolism can produce frequent tiredness and weakness.
Feeling Colder than Usual
The deficiency of Iodine lowers down the thyroid hormones. Low thyroid hormones can slow down the metabolism rate essential to produce body warming energy in the body. And if there is a lack of metabolism, a person feels colder than usual.
Trouble Learning or Memorizing
As the thyroid hormones play a crucial role in brain growth, Iodine deficiency can result in a lack of these hormones, causing memory and learning difficulties.
Irregular or Heavy Periods
The lack of Iodine can disturb the women‘s hormone cycle due to inadequate hormonal supply to regulate periods. Thus, it causes heavier or more or fewer periods than usual.
Complications while Pregnancy
Iodine’s adequate supply is critical because a mother needs it to fulfill her baby’s requirements inside along with her own.
If the supply of thyroid hormones is not required, the baby has to suffer a lot. It can stunt the growth or the brain development in the baby. Or even the deficiency of Iodine in the mother can cause her baby to stillborn.
In case you feel any of the above sign of Iodine deficiency within you or anyone around you, must consult a doctor.
Usually, the intake of Iodine supplements can prevent the deficiency, but if not treated for years can cause a lifelong thyroid hormone deficiency.