Diet, Nutrition, And Deficiency Symptoms: Iodine

Learn more about iodine, its essential function in the human body, and the symptoms of an iodine deficiency.

Iodine comes in three forms: calcium iodide, potassium iodide, and sodium iodide. Most of the time you can obtain all your dietary needs for iodine through what you eat. Iodized table salt usually makes up for any lack of it in the foods you consume. Seafood such as shellfish and kelp, or seaweed, are the best dietary sources for iodine. However, most human diets get their iodine from products such as bread and dairy items. Iodine is also able to be inhaled through the atmosphere in coastal regions where there is a heavy concentration of water and iodine is also produced in the pollution that is formed by automobile fumes.

Iodine affects the human body in many ways. It is known to be essential in maintaining the function of the thyroid and parathyroid glands in the human body. It is also essential to the production of thyroxine, a hormone associated with the thyroid gland and proper thyroid functioning. Iodine also promotes general growth and development within the body as well as aiding in metabolism. Because of its role in the metabolism, the symptoms of an iodine deficiency can be far reaching.

Even though it is so important to proper functioning of the human organism, iodine deficiency is not uncommon. Severe iodine deficiency often occurs in individuals who have thyroid disease and are hyperthyroid or those who have a goiter from thyroid malfunction. Symptoms of iodine deficiency may include extreme fatigue, slowing of both physical and mental processes, weight gain, facial puffiness, constipation and lethargy.



Babies born to iodine deficient mothers may be lethargic and difficult to feed. If they are left untreated it is likely that they will develop cretinism and end up sufffering poor overall growth and mental retardation.

Recommended intakes of iodine widely vary, but the common agreement among professionals seems to be between 40 micrograms to 150 milligrams daily, which is usually obtained from dietary sources. Unless you have medical problems related to your thyroid, or have a very poor diet, you probably will not need to take supplements. Before starting any form of supplementation you should consult your health care practitioner, as it is possible to get too much iodine in your diet.

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