Iodine Deficiency: 7 Major Signs And Ways To Correct It
Your thyroid gland needs enough iodine to function well. You only need a small amount of iodine daily, but if you don’t consume enough of this mineral, it may lead to serious thyroid-related problems. If you are a healthy adult and have been mildly deficient for a short time, the deficiency can be corrected by eating more foods naturally high in iodine or adding iodized salt to your meals.
If the problem is not addressed in a timely manner, it can lead to hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). The lack of iodine has more serious consequences for people who already have a thyroid disorder and for pregnant women and their babies.
Signs and symptoms of iodine deficiency
Here is what iodine deficiency can lead to if it’s not treated:
Enlarged thyroid (goiter)
As your thyroid needs to make extra effort to produce thyroid hormone using what little iodine you have, it grows larger and can sometimes manifest in a visible swelling in your neck and make it more difficult to swallow.
Weakness and tiredness
Most iodine-deficient people report feeling tired and weak. This is caused by a decrease in thyroid hormone levels, which in turn affects the levels of energy.
Thyroid hormone is one of the hormones that regulates metabolism. If you’re lacking iodine, you start to produce less thyroid hormone, which leads to a slowdown in your metabolism and weight gain.
If you’re iodine-deficient, you may start losing hair. If the problem is not corrected by consuming more iodine, there may be a different reason for your hair loss.
Slow heart rate
Thyroid hormones are responsible for regulating heart rate, among other things. If you don’t consume enough iodine and produce less thyroid hormone, your heart rate may slow down. If your heart beats abnormally slowly, it can cause symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and fainting.
The daily need of iodine is higher for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Pregnant women need 220 micrograms of iodine daily, and breastfeeding women need even more - 290 micrograms a day. If they are iodine-deficient, the risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery, and severe birth defects increases. Iodine deficiency in babies impairs mental and physical development.
Thyroid hormone influences brain development in babies and children and also affects brain function in adults. If your levels of thyroid hormone are low, you may notice it’s become harder for you to memorize and recall things. You may also start to feel depressed.
How to prevent iodine deficiency?
There are a few ways to prevent iodine deficiency:
- eating more foods rich in iodine (these include milk and milk products, eggs, fish, seaweed, soy products and pinto beans);
- adding iodized salt to your dishes when cooking;
- taking a multivitamin that contains iodine.
This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.