What Are Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency

Iodine is essential for a healthy body. It also helps prevent many health problems such as some types of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and mental retardation. The role iodine plays in the overall health of the human body has been heavily downplayed over the last 30 years.

However, people need to include iodine supplements into their diets if they are not getting enough of it through the foods they eat. (In America, most people do not get enough iodine through regular meals.)

Some of the first symptoms patients with a lack of iodine notice are weight gain, dry skin and hair and fatigue. Patients often discover hypothyroidism as well, which is a symptom of a lack of iodine, and some of the other symptoms are shared between the two medical problems.

Women who do not get enough iodine may also have fertility problems, miscarriages or early menopause. Men have an increased chance of prostate cancer. Many people lacking sufficient amounts of iodine may experience serious symptoms such as increased heart rate, certain types of cancer or detrimental thyroid malfunctions.

Mental retardation and overall lack of concentration are also symptoms of a person without enough iodine in his or her diet.

One of the greatest benefits of iodine is the effect it has on the human immune system. Iodine has cancer-fighting properties and will also protect the body from bacteria and viruses. High doses of iodine were used to treat parasites for many years. A strong immune system keeps a person from catching illnesses such as the common cold and flu.

The body can then fight off small threats before they turn into full-blown sicknesses. The American diet has lessened the amount of iodine in foods, mostly because of the impact of sodium (often found with iodine, such as in salt) on cholesterol. Unfortunately, the replacements often used for iodine are toxic and may attack the immune system while iodine would protect it.

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As iodine consumption has decreased, health problems such as breast cancer and hypothyroidism have increased. Studies show a clear link between iodine deficiency and these negative and fatal diagnoses.

Increasing the daily intake of iodine, perhaps through the use of a supplement, will lessen these symptoms and the chances of contracting one of these illnesses.

Cultures with the most iodine intake tend to be healthier and statistically have fewer cases of ovarian, breast and prostate cancer. These societies are typically near the ocean where iodine is abundant.

Kelp Forest
Kelp Forest

The best natural food sources for iodine are seafood and seaweed. However, in areas far from the ocean or for people who do not eat a lot of seafood, a supplement is likely necessary to ensure enough iodine is processed by the body to avoid these symptoms.

Do not worry about where to buy iodine supplements,. Most drug stores carry them or they can be purchased directly through the internet. Be sure to read the label of the supplement and make sure it provides enough iodine for a full day.

Many over-the-counter supplements have a smaller per day dosage than is really necessary. Iodoral is an iodine supplement that can help with some of the iodine deficiency symptoms,. The supplement comes in 12.5mg tablets and 50mg tablets.

Some experts say that 12.5mgs is the recommended amount for the human body. However, others recommend iodoral 50mg, at least until the body is processing it properly and then the dosage may be reduced to 12.5mgs.

A discussion with a doctor about the best-recommended dose for each individual is a wise idea. Seek a consultation about how much iodine is needed for normal functionality as it may change slightly on a case by case basis. Everyone’s body is a little bit different.

Without a proper amount of iodine, the human body is constantly in a state of stress. The immune system is working harder than it needs to as is the thyroid which can lead to larger complications and of course fatigue.

No wonder Americans complain of being tired all the time. Iodine deficiency in mothers can also affect a developing child before and after birth. The iodine a mother receives while pregnant helps the child’s immune system develop in the womb and after birth the iodine in breast milk helps with brain development in the early stages of a baby’s life.

As with every supplement, it is necessary to read the label and avoid overdosing on iodine. Likely too much iodine will cause stomach pains, diarrhea, headache or fever and a metallic taste in one’s mouth. (When having a CAT scan, the doctor introduces iodine into the body to illuminate what he or she needs to see in the X-Ray and patients are often warned of a metallic taste as a side effect.)

Most symptoms of too much iodine are small but only the recommended dose should ever be taken.

Image by FASTILY (I created this work entirely by myself.) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

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