According to statistics, 2 billion people worldwide have insufficient iodine intake. The mineral plays a significant role in the well-functioning of the thyroid gland, whose hormones regulate a wide variety of bodily processes. If you lack in proper iodine intake, it could lead to hypothyroidism, weight gain, depression, infertility, and numerous other health problems. Read the facts about what iodine actually does for your body.
Why does your body need iodine?
When you do not get enough of this trace element from your eating plan, chances are you’ll become iodine deficient. Thus, your thyroid gland will not receive enough of the nutrient to produce and release thyroid hormones – thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The gland will become underactive, and you will get hypothyroidism. Unpleasant symptoms will start to occur:
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Cold intolerance
- Unexplained weight gain
So, your body needs adequate iodine levels to ensure the health of the thyroid gland. As you probably already know, thyroid is linked to crucial activities, including heartbeat, breathing, menstrual cycles, maintaining body temperature, regulating cholesterol levels, burning calories, keeping muscles strong, and ensuring the wellness of the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Without the trace mineral, your immunity, reproductive system, and mental capabilities will have to suffer. The barrier against harmful bacteria is compromised, and you’ll be prone to infections. Because the metabolism gets sluggish, you will not burn fat as normally, and gain unwanted weight. Do you need more reasons to take iodine?
Benefits of iodine
Although you don’t need a ton of it to function correctly, you still need trace amounts of iodine. When we meet the daily recommended intake, the mineral will protect our body and improve the overall well-being. Here are the benefits of taking iodine:
- Balances hormones. Thyroid gland normalizes the production of many hormones, including insulin, estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. Is your libido low? Blame it on your thyroid! Furthermore, when the menstrual cycles are irregular, or you have heavy periods, you should ask your doctor about an iodine test.
- Protects thyroid gland. Our hectic lifestyles get us in contact with pollutants, overly processed foods, and many free radicals. They could attack our body and thyroid gland, as well. What should you do? Supplement the iodine intake, prevent hypothyroidism, and ensure the wellness of thyroid. And here is a guide to combat hypothyroidism with the help such supplement, Total Thyroid.
- Regulates the metabolic rate. The thyroid hormones are directly responsible for controlling the base metabolic rate (BMR), which is the amount of energy expended while we are at rest. BMR is used to determine the caloric needs to lose or gain weight. A consequence of low iodine intake is a slowed metabolic rate. Thus, iodine will speed up the burning of fat and assist the weight loss process.
- Improves cognitive abilities. Impairment in cognitive function goes hand in hand with low iodine levels. According to a study from 2006, iodine supplementation was proved to improve cognition in iodine-deficient schoolchildren.
- Stimulates detoxification. The trace mineral will immediately work to increase the secretion of fluoride, bromide, lead, and mercury. Thus, iodine is an essential detox tool for those who want to get rid of the environmental toxins.
- Boosts energy levels. The mineral helps to maintain optimum energy levels in your body. How? Iodine encourages the efficient utilization of calories and does not allow them to get stored as fat deposits.
- Increases hair growth. In fact, iodine is beneficial for healthy hair, skin, and teeth. If your hair is thinning and skin dry, you might consider taking a nascent iodine supplement like Detoxadine. Moreover, the active ingredient kills the harmful bacteria in the mouth, prevents tooth decay, and regulates the moisture levels of the skin.
- Protects against disease. As evidence suggests, viruses and bacteria cannot thrive in an iodine-rich environment. Iodine benefits the immune system, builds a strong defense in front of potentially harmful microorganisms, and activates the antioxidants that offer protection against cancer and heart disease.
- Reduces the harmful effects of radiation. Patients who follow radiation treatments ought to take iodine supplements. The mineral is also recommended in case of a disaster at a power plant or nuclear leakage.
- Kills cancer cells. Iodine can trigger cell apoptosis, meaning the destruction of the cells that could develop into cancer. The trace mineral was proven to play a crucial role in preventing breast, thyroid, gastric, and prostate cancers.
How much iodine we need?
The amount of iodine we need each day depends on our age. A healthy, balanced diet, usually provides the daily recommended dose of the mineral. If adults and teens (14-18 years) require 150 mcg of iodine per day, breastfeeding women ought to consume about 290 mcg of the same element. During pregnancy, a woman should have an iodine intake of approximately 220 mcg. As for babies, they need 110 mg of the mineral – and they take it from their mother’s milk.
Where to find iodine? A healthy and balanced diet will provide the recommended daily value of the mineral. However, scientists have observed an increased tendency to consume overly-processed foods, which are deprived of the nutrients required for the well-functioning of our systems. Plus, the junk food we eat on a daily basis may contain too much of iodized salt.
What if you exceed the recommended daily allowance? As the clinical studies suggest, too much iodine can interfere with your thyroid and cause a series of unwanted side effects. First of all, you will experience vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Because the mineral interacts with the taste sensations sent to the brain, chances are you’ll feel a metallic taste in your mouth.
One of the consequences of excessive iodine is hypothyroidism. Aside from it, you will believe that you can never quench your thirst, even though there’s little to no micturition. Although the cases of too much iodine intake a rare, they usually occur when the consumers use health supplements with the mineral.
Does taking iodine help hypothyroidism?
Only if the main cause of the illness is a lack of iodine. Patients who are at risk – those who are living in regions with iodine-deficient soils, individuals who do not use iodized salt, pregnant women, and people who frequently eat goitrogens – should test their iodine levels before starting to take any supplements containing the mineral.
An excellent way to ensure the recommended daily value of iodine is by consuming foods rich in the trace mineral. Do you know where does iodine come from? Here are some natural sources:
- Iodized salt – 1 gram contains 77 mcg of iodine, which represents 51% of our recommended daily dose.
- Baked turkey breast – one serving size – approximately 3 ounces – have 23% of the recommended daily value – 34 mcg of iodine.
- Milk – 1 cup has 56 mcg of the trace mineral, thus 37% of the daily value.
- Baked potatoes – 1 medium-sized potato has 60 mcg of iodine, meaning 40% of the daily dose we need.
- Dried prunes – 5 pieces contain 13 mcg of iodine, representing 9% of the recommended daily dose.
- Cod – 3 ounces have 99 mcg of the trace mineral, thus 66% DV.
- Canned tuna – 3 ounces have 17 mcg of iodine and 11% of DV.
- Dried seaweed – is one of the most abundant sources of iodine. One serving size – of ¼ ounces – has 4,500 mcg of iodine – way more than we need to combat iodine deficiency (3000% of the recommended value).
- Bananas – one medium fruit has 3 mcg of the mineral, which is 2% DV.
- Boiled eggs – 1 egg has 12 mcg of iodine, consisting in 9% DV.
- Strawberries – 1 cup has 13 mcg of iodine, equaling 9% DV.
Iodine and pregnancy
The mineral is essential to for the expecting mothers’ hormone balance as well as the development of the baby’s nervous system and brain. If you do not consume enough foods with iodine, you must consider a supplementation. Most prenatal vitamins contain the mineral, but you shouldn’t rely only on it. Have a balanced eating plan, and discuss with your doctor about preventing iodine deficiency.
If your diet lacks in iodine during pregnancy, it increases the risk of cognitive delays and mental retardation in the baby. An estimated 18 million babies are born mentally disabled because of maternal iodine deficiency. The lack of mineral results in underdeveloped thyroid gland in the fetus, which could lead to deafness, low IQ, birth defects, cretinism, and developmental delays, among others.
So, how can you protect your baby during pregnancy?
- Get iodine in your diet. Consume iodine-rich foods, but avoid eating seaweed too often.
- Avoid eatables containing nitrates (deli meat, hot dogs, sausages). They impact the body’s ability to absorb and use iodine.
- Keep an eye on the iodine intake. Eating too much of it is just as bad as being iodine deficient.
- Keep your thyroid levels under control. Get tested whenever your GP recommends, and contact your health care provider when you have any signs of iodine deficiency or hypothyroidism.
In conclusion, proper iodine levels are mandatory throughout life. Now that you know what the mineral does for your body, you ought to make sure that you’re getting enough of it. Stick to a healthy, varied diet, and talk with your doctor if you have any unpleasant symptoms!