Iodine is a trace mineral your body needs for producing the thyroid hormone. The thyroid hormone regulates metabolism of the cells. It also promotes neurological development and growth in children. The minimum recommended daily iodine requirement for an average person is 150 micrograms per day. The daily iodine requirement increases during pregnancy and breastfeeding.Iodine deficiency slows down the function of the thyroid gland, leading to reduction in secretion of the thyroid hormone. Deficiency in thyroid hormone slows down metabolism of the body cells, which causes serious health problems. Inadequate intake of iodine during pregnancy is a common cause of abnormal neurological development in newborns. Hence, throughout your life your body needs adequate iodine to sustain its normal metabolism.
List Of Top Causes Of Iodine Deficiency Its Symptoms And Treatment
Causes Of Iodine Deficiency
The best sources of iodine are seafood, dairy and eggs. These dietary sources of iodine can meet more than 90 percent of your daily iodine need. Eliminating these key sources of iodine from the diet is a leading cause of iodine deficiency.
Living In Iodine Deficient Regions
Although grains, legumes and a number of vegetables and fruits contain iodine, their iodine content depends on availability of iodine in the soil. People who live in iodine deficient regions cannot get sufficient amount of iodine from plant foods.
Reduced Salt Consumption
To prevent iodine deficiency, table salts are fortified with iodine. When iodized salt is the main source of dietary iodine, a salt-restricted diet can cause iodine deficiency.
Symptoms Of Iodine Deficiency
Iodine deficiency manifests in the form of thyroid gland malfunction. Consuming an iodine-deficient diet for a prolonged period leads to the following health disorders.
Enlargement Of Thyroid Gland
In the absence of sufficient iodine, your thyroid gland could not produce enough thyroid hormone. Your body reacts to this deficiency by increasing production of the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which persistently stimulates the thyroid gland, leading to enlargement of the thyroid gland. The enlarged thyroid gland absorbs the maximum amount of available iodine to produce the normal amount of thyroid hormone. This condition known as goiter develops even when you suffer from mild iodine deficiency.
Severe deficiency of iodine impairs thyroid function and causes hypothyroidism. The sluggish thyroid gland slows down your body’s metabolism. Lethargy, weakness, hair loss, dry skin, frequent muscle cramps, sensitivity to cold temperature and unintended weight gain are some of the common symptoms of hypothyroidism that occurs because of iodine deficiency.
Poor Physical And Mental Development
By slowing down thyroid function, iodine deficiency causes cretinism in children. Cretinism is a condition characterized by stunted physical growth and poor metal development. Iodine deficiency is a prominent cause of low IQ in children, especially in girls.
Pregnancy-Related Health Problems
Pregnant women need 220 micrograms of iodine per day. Deficiency of iodine during pregnancy causes enlargement of the thyroid gland and may even lead to hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism during pregnancy is a leading cause of miscarriage, pre-term birth, preeclampsia and still birth. Furthermore, iodine deficiency affects neurological development in the fetus.
How To Treat Iodine Deficiency
Iodine deficiency is treated by consuming iodine rich foods and supplement.
Potassium iodide is the main source of iodine in most of the nutritional supplements. A number of multivitamin and mineral supplements contain the required daily dosage of iodine. Kelp supplement is another excellent dietary supplement that can help in treating iodine deficiency.
Iodine Fortified Foods
Health experts recommend adding iodized salt to the daily diet to meet your iodine need. However, as too much salt intake is not good for the health, you can treat your iodine deficiency by consuming other foods fortified with iodine such as fortified egg, sugar, dairy and vegetable oil.
Seafood is the best source of dietary iodine. Sea vegetables are especially rich in iodine. They contain sufficient amount of iodine to meet your daily iodine need. Including seafood such as kelp, scallops, sardines, shrimp and cod in your diet helps in providing fast relief from iodine deficiency.