A deficiency in iodine greatly affects the production of thyroid hormones and, therefore, can have a negative effect on the heart, circulation, nervous system and muscles. Here you can learn more about the symptoms and causes of iodine deficiency, as well as the importance of iodine for our body.
What is the importance of iodine?
Iodine is one of the essential trace elements for the human body. Basically, what our body needs mainly for the production of thyroid hormones is iodine.
Marked iodine deficiency can significantly limit the production of iodine and therefore have a negative effect on important bodily functions. Because thyroid hormones control, for example, our energy consumption and increase the basal metabolic rate.
This in turn affects oxygen consumption in tissues, fat burning, and glucose metabolism. Therefore, for example, an iodine deficiency and associated hypothyroidism can be an obstacle to losing weight. Despite diet and best will, trying to lose weight often fails due to slow metabolism. Fat burning works only lazily and you feel lazy and powerless.
In addition to metabolic processes, thyroid hormones also participate in the optimal development of the child in the womb. Especially in the growth phase in childhood and adolescence, iodine is crucial for physical and mental development. Thyroid activity, which depends on the trace element, also influences mental well-being and plays an essential role in fertility in men and women.
Thyroid hormones also play a crucial role in regulating the cardiovascular system and blood pressure. Furthermore, this trace mineral is responsible for a healthy calcium-phosphate ratio and is therefore essential for bone formation.
Symptoms of iodine deficiency
The body itself cannot produce iodine and therefore needs to be consumed through diet. If this does not happen, the body first tries to compensate for the deficiency by enlarging and multiplying the thyroid cells.
In persistent iodine deficiency, the thyroid gland grows so large that the enlarged thyroid gland is visible from the outside and is called a goiter.
The goiter is not only visible from the outside, it can lead to swallowing problems and breathing problems if growth continues. If this enlargement is not counteracted and the goiter remains longer, the thyroid tissue begins to change.
It is a knot formation. In the so-called cold node, the cells stop the production of hormones. Hot or even autonomous nodes continue to accumulate active thyroid cells. However, regardless of the actual hormonal requirement, the autonomic node may be the cause of hyperthyroidism.
Symptoms of overproduction of thyroid hormones include:
- Weight loss.
- Rapid pulse
- Increased sweating
There is talk of a hypofunction, if not enough hormones are produced despite the enlargement of the thyroid. An underactive function can affect physical and mental health.
Signs of hypothyroidism include
- Increased susceptibility to infections
- Skin and hair changes
A sufficient supply of iodine is essential for children, adolescents and pregnant women. Lack of thyroid hormones can affect brain and skeletal development and growth in newborns and babies. In adolescents, a deficiency of thyroid hormones can lead to impaired brain development and a structural change in the thyroid gland.
In pregnant women there is a risk that a lack of thyroid hormones or iodine deficiency will adversely affect the development of the adolescent fetus. In adults, iodine deficiency can negatively affect mental performance, circulatory regulation, and fertility. Also, metabolism and fat burning can be affected by low protein iodine.
Diseases caused by iodine deficiency
The consequences of iodine deficiency diseases are staggering. Deficiency of this essential trace mineral can lead to severe mental disabilities and deprive a child of the prospect of a bright future.
Prolonged iodine deficiency brings complications to pregnancy and can be fatal to the fetus; the rate of miscarriage increases significantly with this deficiency. 1 percent of the children of mothers with iodine deficiency are already born with a goiter. And with the increased risk of thyroid dysfunction that will accompany it for life.
Causes of iodine deficiency
The body cannot produce iodine and therefore must be taken with food. Therefore, the cause of iodine deficiency can be a low iodine diet.
To effectively prevent iodine deficiency, you should eat foods that contain iodine. A greater need can also be the cause of your deficiency.
Depending on age, growth, development, calorie intake, or specific metabolic needs, such as pregnancy and lactation, the body may have varying degrees of iodine needs. In addition to a shortage, an iodine utilization disorder can lead to a shortage.
Certain bad habits can cause this iodine deficiency, such as: eating a diet that contains little selenium, zinc and iron; frequent consumption of certain foods that contain thiocyanate or substances that the body converts to thiocyanate (for example, cabbage, radish, corn, and millet).
Daily Iodine Requirements
How do I correctly cover my daily requirements? Smokers and people who frequently consume foods such as millet, corn, cabbage or radish have a greater need during the day.
Special metabolic requirements also lead to increased demand. For example, pregnant women have a daily requirement greater than 230 micrograms, while in lactation even a dose of 260 micrograms per day is recommended.
The average need for teens and adults ages 15 to 51 is 200 micrograms per day.
The daily requirement decreases from the age of 51 and then it is 180 micrograms. To avoid iodine deficiency, foods rich in iodine are available, such as haddock, salmon, or shrimp.