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iodine def

Iodine is one of the trace elements that are essential for our body. Iodine is used by the thyroid gland in the body to produce thyroid hormones. This hormone controls metabolism and other important body functions. Low levels of Iodine not only produce low thyroid called hypothyroidism but also causes enlargement of the thyroid gland in the neck region, this is known as goiter.
Normally adults both male and female require only 150 micrograms (mcg) of Iodine daily. However pregnant and lactating females need a higher dose of 200 mcg per day. Our bodies do not synthesis this element hence has to be supplied from outside through diet.

Foods containing Iodine

It is most commonly found in seafood.
Dairy products
Iodized table salt

This deficiency is predominant in South Asia, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, and European countries as their soil is not rich in Iodine.

Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency

Some common symptoms that can help you identify Iodine deficiency are

  1. Swelling in the neck

The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped organ present in the front of the neck. Due to the deficiency of the element, the gland has to work overtime. This causes the cells to grow and multiply thus leading to an increase in the size of the gland, causing goiter.

2. Unexpected weight gain

The thyroid hormone is involved in the metabolism of our food. It helps to convert the food into energy and heat. If the levels of thyroid hormone are low body burns fewer calories and stores more calories, from the food we eat, in the form of fat.

3. Weakness and Fatigue

Thyroid hormone helps the body to produce energy. As the levels of Iodine drop in our body the thyroid hormone does not function properly to produce enough energy thus leaving us to feel fatigued and weak.

4. Hair Loss

The thyroid hormone controls the growth of hair follicles. Reduced levels of thyroid thus lead to hair loss.

5. Dry, Flaky Skin

The thyroid hormone helps the body regulate sweat. A deficiency of Iodine causes low sweat production which helps to keep the skin moist and hydrated. Thus, resulting in dry and flaky skin.

6. Feeling colder than usual

Thyroid hormone as we know controls metabolism, low thyroid levels slower metabolism, and generates less heat hence you end up feeling colder than usual.

7. Trouble in Learning and Remembering

The thyroid hormone controls the growth and development of the brain. Hence, Iodine deficiency reduces brain development thus, causing trouble in learning and remembering.

8. Changes In Heart Rate

Low levels of Iodine cause the heart rate to slow down thus, causing weakness, fatigue, or dizziness.

Detecting and Treating Thyroid Deficiency

A simple blood test helps to determine the levels of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), Thyroxine (T4), and Triiodothyronine(T3). If, the levels of these hormones are lower than the guided limits you need to take a doctor’s or nutritionist’s advice and start with a diet rich in Iodine or Iodine supplements. The symptoms may seem to be alarming but the deficiency is easily reversible with the help of diet and supplements if started at early stages.

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