12 Signs That Your Body Is Crying For More Iodine
Iodine is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones. Without iodine, our bodies will not be able to produce this hormone. Hence, iodine is an extremely important mineral for our bodies. If we do not get enough iodine, it could lead to us developing iodine deficiency which in turn may cause various symptoms. These symptoms if not treated on time can later result in fatal diseases like cancer or may lead to heart failure. To avoid such problems we must get our adequate requirement of iodine per day. This can be done by consuming foods rich in iodine such as dairy products, prunes, eggs, or seaweed.
Why does our body need iodine?
Iodine is needed for body growth and the development of the brain. It is essential to healthy thyroid function. The thyroid gland uses iodine to make the hormones needed by the thyroid Thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). It benefits growth, brain development, healing, fertility and optimization of the body’s immune system. It also improves metabolism for energy. Iodine deficiency can lead to diseases like hypothyroidism, and goiter.
The symptoms of iodine deficiency
There are several symptoms that indicate that you could be suffering from lack of iodine in your body or iodine deficiency. If you do have any such symptoms, it would be wise to consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Dry and flaky skin
Iodine is essential to the skin as it helps in regulating the skin moisture levels, slowing down the formation of wrinkles, and facilitating the healing of wounds. If you find your skin getting extremely dry and itchy, it could be a sign that your body is lacking iodine. The problem is resolved as soon as you start thyroid treatment.
Sensitivity to Cold
Iodine deficiency can slow down your metabolic rate thereby lessening the production of energy in your body which means that not enough heat is produced to keep your body warm. This is why you may feel cold despite being wrapped up in a blanket or wearing warm clothes.
Unexpected Weight Gain
A slow metabolism due to iodine deficiency also means that your body is burning lesser calories while the surplus gets stored as fat in your body making you put on extra weight. Weight gain also occurs when it is a thyroid issue like hypothyroidism that can also be a result of low iodine.
Tiredness and fatigue
People having a slow functioning thyroid hormone tend to be weak and fatigued most of the time. When you are not overworking your body, and getting enough sleep, but somehow the things you used to do before are making you exhausted now, then it is a clear indication of iodine deficiency. This is because of a slow metabolism that does not produce enough energy to keep you from getting tired and fatigued very fast.
Memory and Learning Problems
The hippocampus is that part of the brain responsible for controlling long-term memory. People with lesser thyroid hormones due to thyroid deficiency tend to have a rather small hippocampus. Thus, the brain’s ability to process information and respond to it effectively is impeded by a slow metabolism. This explains why people suffering from lack of iodine always have a hard time learning and remembering stuff.
Anxiety and Depression
Contrary to popular belief that anxiety and depression are only caused by physiological problems, there has been a confirmed link between thyroid disorders and depression. This has been recognized and affirmed by scientists. In case you feel depressed too often, set an appointment with your doctor to rule out the possibility of a serious problem and begin treatment as soon as possible.
When your thyroid gland gets abnormally large it causes the neck to become swollen and this symptom is usually known as goiter. The thyroid isn’t able to produce sufficient hormones when there is a lack of iodine within the body. It then tries to absorb the elements needed, from the blood. In doing so, it causes the cells to enlarge and multiply resulting in the neck area swelling up.
Since thyroid hormones are very important to a baby that is yet to be born, their mothers have to pay special attention to the problem of iodine deficiency. With iodine deficiency there is the risk of a negative impact on the infant’s intelligence and brain development. Iodine deficiency can sometimes also lead to a miscarriage or stillbirth.
Heart problems such as bradycardia which is a slower than normal heart rate, are also the result of iodine deficiency. A person experiencing such a symptom might dizzy or sick or could possibly even faint.
Our digestive system can be negatively affected by thyroid conditions like hypothyroidism. In fact, scientists have pointed out that stomach and colon activity are the result of an affected thyroid. This is the reason why people get constipated when their bodies are lacking in iodine. If you experience less than three bowel movements per week, then it is high time you go visit a doctor.
Heavy or Irregular Periods
Iodine deficiency can cause heavy and irregular menstrual bleeding in women. Since iodine is required by the thyroid for producing its hormones, iodine deficiency can result in low production of thyroid hormones. A study conducted on this stated that 68% women with low levels of thyroid hormones experienced irregular menstrual cycles while 12% women with a healthy level of thyroid hormones did not experience any such symptoms. The research also showed that menstrual cycle along with heavy bleeding were more frequent in women with low levels of thyroid hormones. This is because of the fact that the signals of the hormones involved in the menstrual cycle were disrupted by low levels of thyroid hormones.
Iodine plays an active role in supporting hair follicle regeneration making the hair long and shiny while protecting it against infection. Thus, if you witness extensive hair loss, it could mean you are lacking iodine which is resulting in poor thyroid function. Hair loss is one of the first signs of iodine deficiency and thyroid dysfunction.
Foods rich in Iodine
In addition to consulting your doctor for iodine supplements, you can also consume foods rich in iodine. Sea vegetables such as seaweed are some of the richest sources of iodine on the planet. Iodized salt also contains iodine but you can consume too much in a day. Other good sources of iodine are shrimp, cod, tuna, dairy, eggs and prunes.