Iodine is an essential nutrient. It plays an important role in metabolism and thyroid function. Iodine deficiency leads to swelling of the thyroid gland. Processing of food increases the Iodine content in food. Combining potassium iodide with table salt yields iodized salt. Intake of iodized salt fulfills the Iodine requirement.
What Is Iodine?
Iodine is a trace mineral useful for all living beings. The table salt contains Iodine. It plays an important role in the functioning of the thyroid gland. Iodine helps in the synthesis of thyroxine, also known as T4 hormone and triiodothyronine, also known as T3 hormone. The human body contains 20-30 mg Iodine in the thyroid gland. Many organs contain Iodine in smaller amounts including mammary glands, gastric mucosa, salivary glands, eyes, and the cervix.
Food Sources of Iodine
Some food sources of Iodine are iodized salt, seaweed, seafood and sea life like kelp and wakame. One fourth teaspoon of iodized salt contains 95 micrograms Iodine. 6-ounce of an ocean fish contains 650 micrograms Iodine. Sea vegetables like hijiki, dulse as well as nori contain iodine.
Some other sources of Iodine are the Cod, sea bass, perch, sardines, lobsters, haddock, clams, oysters, and shellfish. Some Dairy products like yogurt, egg yolks, cow’s milk, mozzarella cheese; processed foods and breads in which there is a use of iodate dough conditioners also contain Iodine.
Some sources of Iodine are tuna, shrimp, prunes, apple juice, strawberries, cranberries, sushi, raisin bran cereal, navy beans, potatoes, apple, oranges, hamburger, shredded wheat, ice cream, grapes, chocolate milk, pinto beans, watercress sprigs, and crisped rice. Some other foods that contain Iodine are oats, corn, pork, lamb, tinned salmon, steamed snapper, soy nuts, black tea, lima beans, soda crackers, tortilla, beef, chicken, corn flakes, macaroni, green peas, banana, and tap water.
Functions and Benefits of Iodine
Iodine is a constituent of the T4 and the T3 hormones and helps in the synthesis. The thyroid gland manufactures and releases these hormones in the blood. Deficiency and excess amounts of T4 and T3 hormones has an effect on the health and metabolism. Thyroid hormones help in regulating metabolism, heart rate, temperature, weight, and blood pressure.
When the level of thyroid hormones in the blood decreases, there is secretion of TSH, also known as the thyroid-stimulating hormone by the pituitary gland. The TSH then stimulates the thyroid gland to increase its absorption of Iodine from the blood to synthesize more thyroxine.
Iodine maintains energy levels and prevents fat storage in the body. It helps in the growth of genital organs. Iodine helps in apoptosis, which is a programmed cell death. This helps in the formation of new organs and elimination of diseased cells. Iodine is useful for the disinfection of the skin. Iodine plays an important role in the health of the breasts.It is useful for the purification of water. It helps in the treatment of fibrocystic breast disease.
Iodine is important for the health of heart, brain development, immune system, circulatory system, and the gastrointestinal system.Iodine helps in estrogen metabolism and the treatment of breast cancer. It promotes the health of the lungs and helps in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, as well as emphysema. It helps in the treatment of eye infections, cataract, and glaucoma.
Iodine is a powerful antioxidant. Iodine helps in the prevention of mucositis that occurs due to chemotherapy, in which there is mouth soreness. Application of Iodine is an effective remedy for diabetic foot ulcers.Potassium iodide is useful as an expectorant. It is also useful for the treatment of acute thyrotoxicosis. Nonradioactive potassium iodide is useful for the treatment of people who get exposure to radioactive iodine present in the environment. Iodine compounds are useful as x-ray radio contrast medicines as an intravenous injection.
Erythrosine is an Iodine compound, which is useful as a food-coloring agent. Iodine is useful for the testing of starch content in a product.Iodine helps in the treatment of many diseases like cretinism, goiter, cognitive impairment, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure, brain fog, arrhythmias, uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breast disease, ovarian cysts, obesity, constipation, diabetes, multiple miscarriages, and detoxification.
The recommended dietary Iodine intake for babies who are 1-6 months old is 110 mcg per day. Babies who are 7-12 months old need 130 mcg per day.
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Children who are 2-8 years old need 90 µg Iodine. Children who are 9-13 years old need 130 µg Iodine. Adults who are 18 years old and above this age group need 150 µg Iodine. Pregnant women need 220 µg and lactating mothers need 290 µg.
Deficiency of Iodine
In many places, the soil has insufficient Iodine. In inland areas, people do not eat marine foods. This leads to Iodine deficiency. Deficiency of iodine has a harmful effect on the immune system functioning. Iodine deficiency can lead to breast cancer; colon, prostate, stomach and pancreatic cancer; cardiovascular diseases, ovarian cysts, diabetes, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases, lupus, Lyme disease, and Sjogren’s syndrome.
Risk factors of Iodine deficiency
Low dietary Iodine, pregnancy, increased goitrogens, selenium deficiency, smoking tobacco, consumption of alcohol, use of oral contraceptives, use of perchlorates and thiocyanates may lead to iodine deficiency.
Symptoms of Iodine deficiency
The most common symptom of Iodine deficiency is goiter, in which the thyroid gland gets enlarged and swollen. Goiter is common in areas where the diet lacks Iodine and the soil lacks selenium. A dietary deficiency of Iodine results in goiter or hypothyroidism. Symptoms of hypothyroidism are fatigue, weakness, depression, dry, and yellow skin, forgetfulness, tingling and numbness, personality changes, Reynaud’s phenomena, anemia, increase in weight, carpal tunnel syndrome. Women may have heavy periods.
Hypothyroidism can lead to high cholesterol and homocysteine levels. Deficiency of Iodine can also lead to hyperthyroidism in which there is fluctuation of appetite, weight loss, and fast heart beat. Women can have an ovulation problem, leading to infertility.
In infants, Iodine deficiency causes cretinism, in which there is physical as well as mental retardation. It can lead to stunted growth, movement problem, and deafness. The patient can suffer from spasticity. Pregnant women who have an iodine deficiency can have high blood pressure, miscarriages, and stillbirth. The babies born to such mothers can have mental retardation. Children who have an iodine deficiency can have improper brain growth, decrease in IQ and learning disabilities.
Iodine overdose occurs when the intake of Iodine is more than one gram. Symptoms of Iodine overdose are burning sensation in the mouth and stomach. There can be pain in the abdomen, vomiting along with nausea, diarrhea, and weak pulse. The patient may go into a coma. An overdose of Iodine can result in a decrease in the thyroid gland functioning, goiter, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroid papillary cancer, and iodermia, in which the patient has serious skin reactions.