Iodine Deficiency: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

By Dr. Sachin Singh | 1st Dec 2021

Iodine Deficiency: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

What is Iodine Deficiency?

Iodine is an element that your thyroid needs in order to produce thyroid hormones. If you don’t get enough iodine in your diet, your thyroid gland will grow as it tries to produce more thyroid hormones. A goitre is a lump in the neck caused by an enlarged thyroid. Hypothyroidism develops as thyroid levels diminish. Low thyroid function is caused by more than just Iodine Deficiency.

However, a shortage of iodine can result in an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland, known as a goitre, as well as other thyroid issues. It can cause mental problems in youngsters.

Because your body does not produce iodine, you must obtain it from your diet. Adults usually need 150 micrograms (mcg) per day. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding require 200 mcg each day. There are various supplements for Iodine.

Iodine deficiency is uncommon in the United States, owing in part to the fact that table salt is frequently iodized. Iodine is also found in dairy products, eggs, shellfish, seaweed, some meats, and some bread. The best way to cure Iodine insufficiency is to avoid it in the first place. If it does develop, it can be treated with iodine supplementation and dietary changes. Common sources of Dietary iodine are fish, eggs, nuts, meats, bread, dairy products, seaweed and iodized table salt.

Iodine deficiency symptoms 

  1. Swelling in the Neck

A goitre, or swelling in the front of the neck, is a common iodine deficiency symptom. Lack of iodine causes your thyroid gland to be compelled to produce thyroid hormones.

  1. Unexpected Weight Gain

Another iodine deficiency symptom is unexpected weight gain. It is possible that it will arise if the body does not have enough iodine to produce thyroid hormones. Lack of iodine causes your metabolism to slow and food to be stored as fat rather than burned as energy. This may result in weight gain.

  1. Weakness and fatigue

Lack of iodine causes fatigue, sluggishness, and weakness. This is due to the fact that your body requires minerals in order to produce energy.

  1. Heavy or Irregular Periods

Some women who are deficient in iodine may have heavy or irregular periods as iodine deficiency symptoms. This is due to the fact that decreased thyroid hormone levels may interfere with hormones involved in the regulation of the menstrual cycle.

  1. Problems During Pregnancy

It is especially important for pregnant and nursing women to get enough iodine because their needs are increased. Iodine deficiency symptoms can be seen in babies such as stunted growth and brain development which can be serious sometimes.

  1. Hair loss

Thyroid hormones aid in the regulation of hair follicle growth. Hair follicles may stop renewing if your thyroid hormone levels are low. Lack of iodine causes hair loss over time.

  1. Flaky and Dry Skin

Iodine deficiency symptoms seen on the skin are dry, flaky skin because the mineral aids in the regeneration of skin cells. It also assists your body in sweating and hydrating your skin cells, thus an iodine deficiency can cause you to sweat less.

Also Read-Dark inner thighs: Treatment and home remedies

Diagnosis of Iodine deficiency

  1. Urine test: This is the most basic and quickest test to find iodine deficiency symptoms. The findings are available in minutes, although they are not as exact as some of the other iodine tests.
  2. Blood test: This is a quick and accurate way to determine iodine levels in the body. It does, however, take longer to read than a urine test.
  3. Iodine patch test: During the iodine patch test, doctors paint a patch of iodine on your skin and observe how it looks 24 hours later. The patch disappears in 24 hours for those who are not weak in iodine. However, a deficiency will certainly cause iodine to be absorbed more quickly into the skin. This test is not the most precise, but it is inexpensive and quick.
  4. Iodine loading test: This test determines the amount of iodine excreted in your urine over a 24-hour period. It’s not the quickest or most convenient test to detect iodine deficiency symptoms. (You must collect all urine samples within a 24-hour period.) However, it is fairly correct.

What can Iodine deficiency cause?

The deficiency of iodine causes many symptoms because our bodies do not generate iodine, we must obtain it through our diet. Iodine insufficiency is uncommon in the United States, thanks in part to the widespread usage of iodized salt. Meat and dairy products are high in iodine because animal feed is frequently supplemented with it.

Iodine is a mineral that your thyroid needs in order to produce thyroid hormones. If you don’t get enough iodine in your diet, your thyroid gland will grow as it tries to produce more thyroid hormones. A goitre is a lump in the neck caused by an enlarged thyroid. Hypothyroidism develops as thyroid levels diminish.

The following are some of the potential risk factors for iodine insufficiency :

  1. Iodine insufficiency in the diet.
  2. a lack of selenium.
  3. Pregnancy.
  4. Radiation exposure.
  5. Goitrogen intake/plasma levels of goitrogens, such as calcium, have increased.
  6. Tobacco smoking.
  7. alcoholic beverages (reduced prevalence in users).
  8. Contraceptives used orally (reduced prevalence in users).
  9. Perchlorates.

Iodine deficiency Treatment

Iodine insufficiency is remedied by consuming iodine salts, which are commonly found in food supplements. Mild cases can be treated if we include a daily diet containing iodized salt or consuming milk, egg yolks and eating fish. Sea vegetables (kelp, hijiki, dulse, nori (found in sushi)) may be frequently introduced into a diet as a suitable source of iodine for a salt and/or animal product-limited diet.

Iodine levels in the blood and urine can be tested. However, because these tests are ineffective at measuring the amount of iodine in your body, they cannot be used to diagnose iodine insufficiency. When iodine insufficiency is observed in a large population, it is best handled by ensuring that typical foods consumed by individuals contain enough levels of iodine.

Because even moderate deficiency during pregnancy can have an impact on the pregnancy and the developing infant, all women in the United States who are considering pregnancy, pregnant, or breastfeeding should take a multivitamin containing 150 g of iodine each day.

Before beginning any supplementation, consult with your doctor or a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), as there may be some interactions with the over-the-counter and prescription medications you are taking. Having said that, topical and oral iodine supplementation has shown some efficacy for:

  • Leg ulcers on Venus.
  • Iodine deficit and inadequacy.
  • Hypothyroidism.
  • Fibrocystic breast disease.
  • Catheters and surgical incisions reduce the risk of infection.

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