What is Iodine?
Also known as Iodide, Iodine is a mineral that’s found underneath the earth- the soil and ocean waters. There are several salt water and plant-based foods that contain iodine and this mineral is commonly found in iodized salt.
It’s really essential to have enough iodine from our diets as it helps regulate hormones, fetal development and much more.
If the levels of iodine in one’s body is low, supplementation should be recommended by a doctor. One shouldn’t take supplements without first of having a consultation with a doctor.
Where can Iodine be found ?
Adequate amount of Iodine can be gotten from diet by eating dairy products, fortified foods, and salt water fish. Iodine can as well be gotten from plant foods that grow in naturally iodine-rich soil. Also, seasoning your food with iodized salt gives Iodine to the body.
Importance of Iodine
Iodine is considered one of the essential minerals our bodies need. It is mostly important during pregnancy because it helps prevent some kinds of health conditions later on in life.
Below are the benefits of Iodine to the body:
Iodine helps promote thyroid health:
Iodine plays a very important role in the health of the thyroid. The thyroid gland is located at the base of the front of the neck which helps in the regulation of hormone production in the body. These hormones produced help in the control of the body’s metabolism, heart health and many more.
A “low” or underactive thyroid gland can lead to a condition called hypothyroidism and an high or overactive thyroid gland causes a condition known as hyperthyroidism.
Iodine also helps in the management of overactive thyroid gland and treatment of thyroid cancer through a medication known as radioactive iodine (Radioiodide). Radioiodide is a type of medication taken orally and destroys thyroid cells including cancerous cells. Radioactive iodine may be taken after a thyroid surgery to ensure all cancerous cells have been totally removed from the body system.
Iodine helps in the promotion of general thyroid health, consumption of too much iodine can have a negative effect on the thyroid gland. That’s why it is recommended that iodine supplements shouldn’t be taken without the doctor’s prescription.
Iodine can be used in treating Infections:
Iodine can be applied topically in form of liquid to help treat and prevent infections. It functions by fighting off and killing bacteria in and around mild cuts and scrapes.
It is important to note that topical iodine should not be used on newborn babies. It should also not be applied on deep cuts, animal bites, or burns.
Directions or manual should be properly followed for information on dosage and it shouldn’t be used for more than 10 days unless directed otherwise by your doctor.
Iodine helps in disinfection of water:
Iodine is just one of the methods of disinfecting water and this method can be very helpful if one doesn’t have access to good drinking water perhaps due to traveling or consequences from a natural disaster.
Two percent (2%) liquid iodine tincture may be added to water in five-drop increments per one quart of clear water and if the water is cloudy, ten drops per quart should be added.
Iodine tablets can also be used and instructions on how to use it differs per manufacturer.
Despite the importance of iodine in disinfection of potable water, it can as well increase total iodine intake in humans and could have negative effects on human health. The total intake of Iodine per day shouldn’t exceed 2 mg.
Iodine helps in improving birth weight:
Iodine during pregnancy is linked to improving a healthy birth weight. A study conducted on pregnant women with goiters discovered that 400 mg of iodine taken each day for a period of six to eight weeks was helpful in controlling and correcting goiters that came about from iodine deficiency which in turn resulted to a general improvement in birth weights of newborns.
It is important to note that supplements intake are mainly for those lacking iodine in their body and this in turn has n impact on your baby’s birth weight. Careless intake of iodine can cause adverse health conditions.
Iodine helps boosts development of the brain:
It is possible a child acquires all needed iodine from their diet.
Iodine helps in Neurodevelopmen during pregnancy:
More intake of iodine is needed during pregnancy because iodine intake during pregnancy is associated to brain development in foetuses. A review from a study conducted discovered that babies whose mothers had an iodine deficiency during pregnancy had an high tendency of growing up with low IQ’s and other intellectual delays.
The recommended daily intake of iodine during pregnancy is 220 mcg while the recommended amount in non-pregnant adults is 150 mcg daily.
If you’re pregnant, ask your doctor about iodine supplementation, especially if your prenatal vitamin doesn’t have iodine (many do not). Iodine supplements may also be necessary if you’re deficient in the mineral.
The recommended daily amount of iodine while nursing is 290 mcg due to the fact that iodine gotten from diet and supplementation is transferred via breast milk to your baby. This is an important brain developmental period for newborn babies, so infants need 110 mcg daily until they’ve attained 6 months of age.
Diagnosis of iodine deficiency
Iodine deficiency can only be diagnosed via urine tests.
Symptoms of Iodine deficiency
The symptoms of a deficiency in iodine levels are most times determined through thyroid symptoms such as:
· A visible goiter
· A painful or tender thyroid gland
· Breathing difficulties especially when lying down
· Difficulty swallowing
· Extreme feelings of coldness even during normal temperatures
· Hair loss
· Unintentional weight loss
· Brain fog
Side effects of Iodine deficiency
Possible side effects having high levels of Iodine include:
§ Nausea or Vomiting
§ Stomach Pain
§ Burning sensations in the throat
In more complicated cases, consumption of iodine harmful to the health may lead to coma.
If one is diagnosed of thyroid condition, he/she shouldn’t take iodine unless directed otherwise by a doctor.
Who are at risk of having side effects from Iodine intake?
Young children and the Elderly have higher chances of getting side effects from iodine intake.
Iodine is can be gotten also in stronger formulas through a prescription by the doctor. However, these are only for severe health conditions. For instance, prescription-strength iodine may be recommended for one who has been exposed to radiation or have an overactive thyroid gland.
If you suspect you need iodine support, a consultation with your doctor is advisable.