Nutrients are essential to lead a healthy life as they have a direct impact on your physical and mental health. Did you know that iodine deficiency is one of the key micronutrient deficiencies affecting people and their health? Iodine is crucial to help our bodies to function properly. It is an important dietary mineral for your thyroid gland as well. An iodine deficiency can have a huge impact on the thyroid gland and lead to problems.
Here’s everything you need to understand the link between iodine and thyroid.
The link between iodine deficiency and thyroid
Iodine is an essential mineral that your thyroid gland uses to make thyroid hormones. Sufficient levels of iodine help control thyroid growth, repair damaged cells and keep your metabolism in check. Unfortunately, iodine deficiency poses a threat of up to a third of the world’s population. While there are several symptoms of iodine deficiency, the most prominent of them all is an enlarged thyroid or hypothyroidism, as per the study published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
The thyroid gland stores iodine, an important dietary mineral. All of the cells in the human body are impacted by thyroid hormones, which are crucial for healthy cell formation. So, it is necessary for the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T3) to be produced (T4) in your body. The metabolism of protein, fat, and carbohydrates in cells is tightly correlated with thyroid hormones, as per Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Also Read: Here’s everything you need to know about hypothyroidism
Signs of iodine deficiency
To avoid the onset of hypothyroidism, you should know the signs and symptoms of iodine deficiency. Here are the symptoms of iodine deficiency, as per several medical journals:
- Swollen neck
- Unexpected weight gain
- Hair loss
- Sensitivity to cold
- Changes in heart rate
- Dry skin and hair
- Sensitivity to cold
- Irregular or heavy periods
- Inability to remember
- Problems during pregnancy
Tips to tackle iodine deficiency
As per a study published in the China CDC Weekly, the best way to deal with iodine deficiency is to eat iodine-rich foods such as seafood. Pregnant women are also advised to keep a track of their iodine intake to prevent pregnancy complications.
Iodine is mostly found in foods with animal protein and marine vegetables, with fortified foods like bread, cereals, and milk coming in at a distant second. Here are some of the foods rich in iodine:
- Table salt
- Fortified infant formula
- Dairy products such as cheese, milk, yoghurt
- Beef liver
Also Read: Here’s why it’s an important nutrient for pregnant women
When your body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones to meet your demands, you may develop an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. While it’s true that iodine deficiency may lead to the problem, studies have found that iodine deficiency is a rare condition. Depending on the condition and diagnosis, your doctor may or may not recommend iodine supplements. However, you can reduce the risk of iodine deficiency by eating foods rich in iodine such as seafood, chicken, eggs, etc. It is best to talk to your healthcare provider to know what your body lacks and what needs to be done.