IODINE DEFIENCY AND THYROID HEALTH

Surgeon checking pacient neck before surgical operation

Iodine is an element that is rare. You can find plenty of it in the ocean, but is still low in most of the world. Though it is rare, it is essential for life. It is necessary for brain development in children.

It is also imperative for your thyroid to work at optimal level. That’s why iodine deficiency’s number one symptom is a goiter. This is an enlargement of your thyroid gland that shows up as swelling around your neck and larynx.

Goiters used to be common, but since the salt industry started iodizing salt in the 1920s. Today, however, many salt makers aren’t adding sufficient quantities of iodine. Another reason for deficiency is that people are reducing salt intake because of cardiovascular disease and/or high blood pressure.

Another reason for deficiency is the environmental toxin called perchlorate. It was first developed for explosives and rocket fuel and has invaded ground water and food supplies. This toxin prevents the thyroid gland’s ability to use iodine effectively, and iodine is imperative for optimal thyroid health.

Your thyroid gland is a small gland in the neck that controls your body’s metabolism. It regulates body temperature, heart rate, glucose consumption and blood lipid levels.

The thyroid produces two different hormones that are both derivatives of the amino acid tyrosine and atoms of iodine. If you have too much thyroid hormone, your metabolic rate is too high and results in the disorder hyperthyroidism. If it is excessively low, it results in hypothyroidism and your metabolic rate is low. They affect your body in this manner:

• Hyperthyroidism—In addition to high metabolic rate, you suffer from rapid heart rates and palpitations, excessive sweating, seem to burn up when others are cool or even cold. In more severe cases, there can be rapid, unexplained weight loss and muscle weakness.
• Hypothyroidism—In addition to low metabolic rate, the heart rate is generally slow, when others are warm you’re cold, constipation, unexplained weight gain, hair loss, dry skin, muscle aches, weakness, chronic fatigue, and depression. In severe cases, you’ll experience cognitive decline. This decline can be reversed with iodine or thyroid hormone replacement therapy.

As stated, iodized salt is the number one source of human iodine consumption in the world. Here are a few other facts you might not know about iodine deficiency:
• Over the past 40 years, rates of iodine deficiency have reached epidemic levels.
• Though salt manufacturers used to contain adequate levels of iodine, many now don’t.
• Iodine is imperative to healthy thyroid function.
• Inadequate iodine consumption can cause weight gain, low energy, depression, cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease, and even several types of cancers.
• Iodine is important to breast health in older women. Low intake is proven to increase risk of breast cancer and fibrocystic breast disease.
• The goiters develop because the thyroid is trying to make more thyroid hormone without adequate iodine amounts.

Healthy adults need on the average 150 mcg per day of iodine. Women who are pregnant need approximately 220 mcg and those lactating need 290 mcg per day. A simple urine test can assess your thyroid levels. If you find they are inadequate, there are several ways to obtain greater iodine intake:

1. Use table salt that contains iodine—This is the most inexpensive, effective way to obtain the right amount of iodine. Total daily intake is only adding ½ teaspoon to each meal daily. Make sure you cook with it as well and have it in all your salt shakers.
2. Eat Seafood—Seafood is an extremely good source of iodine. In addition, seafood will give you healthy fat acids, minerals, and vitamins you need. This includes seafood such as sushi, cod, shrimp, tuna, and even fish sticks.
3. Eat Eggs and Dairy—Both dairy and eggs are rich in iodine. It only takes a few servings each day to keep your body at optimal iodine intake.
4. Eat Products with Enriched Grains—Whole grain products added to your diet will give you adequate supplies of vitamins and minerals as well as iodine.

Iodine is a critical part of thyroid function. Without it you ca suffer weight gain, decrease in energy, depression, cognitive decline, cardiovascular disease and different types of cancer.