Iodine, a natural mineral found abundantly in soil and saltwater is also known as Iodide. We have heard about the importance of salt from our ancestral days, and that is because this mineral plays a major role in our well being. Iodine is as important as any other mineral to our body when it comes to performing certain body functions such as hormone regulation, development of the fetus, mental health in children and the likes.
The major health problems associated with a lack of iodine in our body are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. A rise in the TSH level in our blood, demands more Iodine for the production of thyroid hormones and Microbe Formulas describes the benefits of iodine, how much is needed including the daily allowance, throwing some light on the synthesis of thyroid hormones. To make this happen, our Thyroid gland has to work harder and harder, which in turn leads to abnormal cell growth and multiplication, which causes a condition known as Goiter. Since our body does not have the capacity to produce iodine on its own, it should essentially be a part of our diet.
The National Institute of Health has come up with recommendations to reduce the risk of Iodine deficiency. The recommended daily requirement of iodine for different age groups is as follows:
- Up to 6 months – 110mcg
- 7 – 12 months – 130mcg
- 1 – 8 years of age – 90mcg
- 9 – 13 years of age – 120mcg
- 14 years and above – 150mcg
- Expecting mothers – 220mcg
- Lactating mothers – 290mcg
Overdose of Iodine can also lead to various conditions like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache, throat and mouth burning, fever, and iodine toxicity that can lead to coma stage if severely affected.
Various health benefits of Iodine are as follows:
It improves thyroid health
The key role of Iodine is in the production of thyroid hormones that helps to regulate our body’s metabolism and is important when it comes to a healthy heart. A small amount of iodine is required to produce thyroid hormones and a lack of iodine in the body makes the thyroid gland lazy and less active. This can lead to a condition called Hypothyroidism and an overactive thyroid gland leads to Hyperthyroidism.
It reduces Goiter risk
Enlargement in the thyroid gland is known as Goiter. Some goiters are developed as a result of iodine deficiency, which can be reversed by including iodine-rich foods or supplements to your diet. It can be the result of Hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism and in some cases, thyroid nodules or cysts cause thyroid gland enlargement that is generally non-cancerous.
Helps to manage Hyperthyroidism
Radioactive iodine is used in treating the overactive thyroid gland. This is also called radioiodine, medicine that is taken orally to defeat the extra cells that are present in the thyroid gland thus helping to reduce the excessive thyroid hormone present in the body. Radioiodine is different from iodine supplements, as these are not used to treat hypothyroidism.
Cures thyroid cancer
Yet another treatment method for thyroid cancer is through radioiodine medication, which functions the same as treating hyperthyroidism. People with thyroid cancer are prescribed with radioiodine post thyroid surgery. This is to ensure that the cancerous cells have been destroyed from the body as oral intake of this medicine causes thyroid cell destruction along with cancerous ones thereby increasing the survival of the affected person.
Improves neuronal development in the fetus
During pregnancy and lactation, the iodine requirement in the body goes up compared to a normal adult. This increase in requirement is associated with neuronal development of the fetus during pregnancy and the newborn gets the required amount of iodine through breast milk, which is crucial for the development of the brain.
For better Cognitive function
To minimize the risk of intellectual disability during childhood the recommended daily intake of iodine needs to be met.
Enhances birth weight
Iodine deficiency during pregnancy is directly related to low birth weight in the newborn and adversely affects the overall development of the child.
Cures fibrocystic breast condition
At the reproductive age, most women experience a painful lump in their breast that is non-cancerous though. Iodine supplements play a vital role in treating this condition if it is diagnosed with the help of a doctor.
As a disinfectant
During natural disasters and while traveling, iodine plays the role of a disinfectant, if enough potable water is not available for drinking, iodine tablets can be used as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Safeguard from radiations and infections
During nuclear emergencies, Potassium Iodide acts as a protecting shield to the thyroid gland from injuries caused by radiation as per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The topical application of iodine liquid on mild cuts and scrapes prevents infection by killing the bacteria.
Some of the naturally available sources are seafood, shrimp, seaweed, dairy products, iodized salt, bread, and cereals. Multivitamin-mineral supplements also contain iodine that can be taken as per doctor’s advice. Last, but not least, always remember to support our body functions effectively and live a healthy life.