Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency

Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency

What is Iodine? What is the Daily Iodine Requirement? 

Many people may think of salt when they hear the word iodine, and this is not surprising. Because almost every household uses iodized salt to flavor food. Considering that most people in the world consume too much salt, how can iodine deficiency be experienced? The answer may mislead you. 

What is Iodine? 

“What is iodine?” It is an element that is naturally found in some foods but cannot be produced by the body. This element has many important functions in the body and is also an important component of thyroid hormones. These hormones regulate many reactions in the body. It also has an important role in the development of the central nervous system and skeletal structure of the baby in the womb. Food takes iodine from the soil, and the amount of iodine in the soil affects its nutrient content. The thyroid gland is responsible for repairing damaged cells, supporting metabolism and making hormones that are effective in controlling growth. However, one third of people worldwide are at risk of iodine deficiency. Those in the highest risk group are: 

  • Pregnant women 
  • People living in countries with iodine-deficient soils such as European countries, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, and South Asia 
  • People who do not consume iodized salt 
  • People following a vegetarian or vegan diet 

Benefits of Iodine 

Adequate iodine intake is required for development of intelligence in children and on reproductive health and thyroid function in adults. Considering that there are at least 30 million children in the world who cannot adequately complete their intellectual development due to iodine deficiency, the benefits of iodine can be better understood. However, the benefits of iodine are not limited to this. As it is known, iodine is a very important micromineral for the hormone production of the thyroid gland. When this production is not at a sufficient level, brain development, heart, muscles and kidneys may also be adversely affected. 

However, according to the data presented by the World Health Organization (WHO), 2 billion people in the world have iodine deficiency and 50 million people have brain damage. Although it is thought that this deficiency can be prevented with the use of iodized salt, it is not enough. When it comes into contact with air, moisture and heat, the iodine in the salt evaporates to a great extent. For this reason, it is important that the person first learns whether there is an iodine deficiency and that he/she is fed accordingly and takes supplements with expert advice. The most effective way to detect iodine deficiency is to detect the deficiency with a urine test. After this determination, appropriate nutrition and nutritional supplements can be taken with expert advice. 

Foods Containing Iodine 

The seas and oceans are the most important source of iodine. Because this substance evaporates from the sea and falls to the ground with rains. Plants and vegetables grown in soils that are rich in iodine are also an adequate source in this regard. Foods containing iodine; tuna, haddock, squid, shrimp, oyster, lobster, seaweed, garlic, spinach, dried beans, chard, strawberries, milk and dairy products, eggs. 

What is Iodine Deficiency? 

Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of thyroid disease and, if severe, can cause permanent brain damage and intellectual disability in infants. Iodine is a mineral found in sea water and soil. The body needs iodine for the thyroid gland. Thyroid hormone affects metabolism and is essential for the development and function of the brain, nerves and bones. There is a growing problem of iodine deficiency worldwide, especially among children and pregnant or breastfeeding women. If children and unborn babies have too little iodine, there may be problems with normal development, including: 

  • Brain damage 
  • Intellectual disability, including the most severe form cretinism 
  • Low IQ 
  • Developmental delay 
  • In women, iodine deficiency can cause: 
  • Fertility issues 
  • Problems with pregnancy, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, and nerve damage to the brain and developing fetus 

Causes and Risk Factors of Iodine Deficiency 

Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women 

Pregnant and nursing mothers have higher iodine needs due to iodine's role in brain development, and baby's growth. Pregnant women should get 220 mcg of iodine per day. Breastfeeding mothers need 290 mcg. 

People on Strict Diets 

You can try a popular diet discipline to lose weight, but such dietary changes can have undesirable results. 

What Are the Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency? 

With the symptoms of iodine deficiency, a test can be performed to detect the condition and the necessary treatment process can be planned. These symptoms are generally as follows: 

  • Skin dryness 
  • Constipation 
  • Tiredness 
  • Swelling of the thyroid glands 
  • Weakness in muscles 
  • Slowing heart rate 
  • Low thyroid hormone levels 
  • Pain in muscles and joints 
  • Weakening of memory 
  • Depression 
  • Exacerbation of the menstrual cycle 
  • Thinning of hair 

Symptoms that can be seen in babies: 

  • Constipation 
  • Excessive sleeping 
  • Weakness 
  • Weakness in the muscles 
  • Growth in tongue 
  • Frequent choking 
  • Puffy face 

Symptoms that can be seen in children and teenagers: 

  • Developmental delay 
  • Delay in puberty 
  • Delayed tooth development 
  • Cognitive problems (such as low IQ, learning difficulties) 
  • Poor mental development 

Iodine Deficiency Disorders 

Diseases seen in iodine deficiency if left untreated; heart disease, heart failure, cognitive impairment, depression, infertility in women. The risk of birth defects may increase with decreased thyroid hormone levels seen in pregnant women due to iodine deficiency. Therefore, situations such as miscarriages, premature birth or stillbirth may occur. 

How Is Iodine Deficiency Diagnosed? 

Iodine deficiency can be diagnosed with blood tests that measure thyroid hormones. 

Iodine Deficiency Treatment 

Iodine deficiency is corrected with a healthy diet. If your diet is insufficient in terms of iodine, you should take an iodine supplement with the advice of a doctor. 

Recommended Iodine Intake 

Iodine deficiency is detrimental for the developing brain. Therefore, the requirements are much higher during pregnancy and lactation. Recommended iodine intake during these periods: 

  • Birth to 6 months: 110 micrograms (mcg) 
  • 7 to 12 months: 130 mcg 
  • 1 to 3 years: 90 mcg 
  • 4 to 8 years: 90 mcg 
  • 9 to 13 years: 120 mcg 
  • 14 to 18 years: 150 mcg 
  • 19 years and older: 150 mcg 
  • Pregnancy: 220 mcg 
  • Breastfeeding: 290 mcg 
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