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Iodine Deficiency: Symptoms, Diagnosis and treatment

Monday, September 6, 2021

What is Iodine?

Iodine is an element naturally found in some food sources, but the body cannot produce by itself. Iodine mineral has many important functions in the body, especially energy metabolism.

It is an important component of thyroxine and triiodothyronine, which are among thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones regulate many biochemical reactions that take place in the body, such as protein synthesis. In addition, it plays an important role in the development of the skeletal and central nervous system of the fetus and babies in the womb.

The source of iodine in food is soil. There are many types of soil in the world and there are varying amounts of iodine in these soils. The amount of iodine in the soil affects the iodine content of the nutrients. Since soils in some parts of the world are poor in iodine, people living in these regions are more likely to experience iodine deficiency.

If you live in these areas or do not get enough iodine with nutrients, iodine deficiency occurs, which paves the way for the occurrence of many diseases.

In what foods is iodine found?

The main source of iodine in the world is seas, and the most iodine-containing substance is seaweed. The iodized salts we use in daily life contain dense amounts of iodine and are sufficient to meet the daily requirement.

However, the use of various types of rock salts, which have become popular recently, has a risk for iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency can lead to many hormonal diseases. Therefore, care should be taken to consume enough.

What is the iodine requirement?

In order for the body to perform its daily functions without any problems, it is essential to fully meet the iodine requirement. The amount of iodine requirement varies according to age. Iodine requirement is 90 mcg / day for children between 0-5 years old, 120 mcg / day for children 6-12 years old, 150 mcg / day for young people and adults, and 200-300 mcg / day during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

When we look at the number during pregnancy, it can be seen that there is a need for iodine, which has nearly doubled compared to other individuals. Since this corresponds to an amount that is very difficult to cover with nutrients, iodine supplements are generally used in women during pregnancy with the recommendation of a physician.

These can be any of the supplements called iodine pills or iodine drops. In this way, the iodine mineral requirement required for the development of the baby in the womb can be fully met.

What is iodine deficiency?

Iodine has a very important place in the growth and development of people. Many mental retardation can occur as a result of iodine deficiency and the main cause of preventable mental retardation in the world is iodine deficiency.

Such mental retardation and various diseases occur due to the inability of thyroid hormones to be produced. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy and infancy can also lead to permanent diseases. In cases where daily iodine intake falls below 10 mcg in an individual, hypothyroidism accompanies goiter.

Goiter disease is the earliest clinical sign of iodine deficiency. This degree of iodine deficiency may cause the fetus not to develop sufficiently in pregnant women, as well as miscarriages and stillbirths. In childhood, iodine deficiency is likely to be observed in mental retardation. As a result of less iodine deficiency, diseases such as hyperactivity, attention disturbance and lack of focus may occur.

Iodine deficiency in adults leads to many complications, initially goiter, in addition, it makes it difficult to perform cognitive functions. In cases where iodine deficiency becomes chronic, the rate of thyroid cancer is high.

What are the symptoms of iodine deficiency?

Iodine deficiency is one of the mineral deficiencies frequently seen in our country and in the world. The symptoms progress similarly in all individuals with the problem, and a large proportion of them develop due to disorders in thyroid hormone production. Common symptoms that develop in patients with iodine deficiency include:

  • Swelling in the neck (formation of goiter)
  • Dry skin
  • Chills and chills
  • Constant tiredness
  • Constipation
  • High cholesterol (hyperlipidemia)
  • Getting fat
  • Blurring of consciousness and forgetfulness (dementia)
  • Slow heart rhythm, fainting and dizziness
  • Depression
  • High cholesterol
  • Decrease in muscle strength
  • Depression
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle and bone diseases

Iodine levels should be investigated in patients with the above symptoms. The simplest methods of this research are to measure the level of iodine in the blood and to investigate the amount of spot iodine in the urine.

Although both tests are quite simple, they can usually be evaluated on the same day with results. As a result of these evaluations, iodine supplements should be started immediately in patients with iodine deficiency.

In what ways can Iodine supplement be made?

Mineral supplements containing iodine are usually prescribed by the physician to meet the need for increased iodine during pregnancy. These supplements can contain not only iodine, but can also contain different micro nutrients such as group B vitamins and folic acid. In planned pregnancies, it may be desirable to start some vitamin and mineral supplements at least 3 months in advance. In this case, iodine is usually included in the recommended supplements.

Supplements are generally applied in the form of oral pills or iodine drops in iodine deficiencies that develop due to deficiencies in the diet outside of pregnancy, consumption of iodine-free salt and living in areas with low iodine content. Individuals diagnosed with iodine deficiency should also avoid consuming a group of foods, also called guatrogenic foods.

These include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, radishes, turnips, cabbage, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, soy milk, and soybeans. These foods are also called goiter foods and make it difficult to hold iodine in the thyroid gland.

Therefore, individuals who consume high amounts of nutrients in this group frequently and frequently have a higher risk of iodine deficiency and thus thyroid diseases such as hypothyroidism and goiter. Iodine deficiency may cause irreversible mental retardation, especially in infancy and childhood.

In order to prevent this, iodine salt consumption should be paid attention in childhood, attention should be paid to frequent consumption of iodine-rich foods, and vitamin and mineral tests should be done intermittently.

For many conditions such as maintaining normal functioning of the body, regulating metabolism and maintaining hormonal balance, adequate and balanced nutrition and macro and micronutrient requirements must be met.

In some cases, vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be seen despite a balanced diet depending on the physiological conditions such as pregnancy, chronic diseases or geographical region. In order to protect from the most common iodine deficiency, iodized table salts should be used, and foods such as green vegetables with high iodine content, fish and seafood should be adequately included in the diet.

If you think you have iodine deficiency or if you have symptoms related to it, you can have an iodine test by applying to a health problem immediately. If iodine deficiency is detected as a result of the tests to be performed, you can start your treatment process as soon as possible to prevent permanent damage to your body and protect your health.

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