Sunday, June 5, 2011

Uses of Iodine and Natural Sources: RDI and Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency

Iodine is a vital mineral, which is crucial for ensuring normal functioning of the thyroid gland. As per a study conducted by UNICEF researchers, it was observed that the average IQ of children deficient in Iodine is about 13 points below the average IO of children with adequate supply of dietary iodine. Iodine deficiency is a relatively rare phenomenon in the developed world; estimates suggest that approximately 1.6 billion people suffer from some from of iodine deficiency, especially in the developing countries. The soil in the coastal areas is rich in iodine which is absorbed by the vegetables and fruits grown in the soil and hence most of the times, iodine deficiency is observed in hilly terrains.

Iodized Salt is best source
of Iodine
Functions of Iodine: Iodine Uses
Iodine is known for its effect on the ensuring proper functioning of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is the principal gland of the body and controls a wide range of functions include metabolism of carbohydrates and fats and also controls and regulates the functions of other endocrinal glands in the body. Though iodine is primarily known for its effect on the thyroid gland, it also performs other functions.
  1. It plays a crucial role in management of cyclic breast disorder or cyclic mastalgia, a condition characterized by lumpy and tender breasts associated with sensation of heaviness and pain, which is mostly observed just prior to menses/periods
  2. Iodine is also famous for its use as a tropical anti-septic and is very beneficial in management of superficial cuts, bruises and burns. Local application of iodine prevents secondary infection and also hastens healing. 
Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) for Iodine: Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency
Recommended dietary intake for iodine is about 150 mcg daily for adult men and 120 mcg daily for adult females. One table spoon of iodized salt (salt fortified with iodine) is adequate to meet the body’s iodine requirement. Some of the symptoms associated with Iodine deficiency include,
Primarily, iodine deficiency results in the enlargement of the thyroid gland and may result in formation of goiter, which is seen as a lump in the neck, just above the Adam’s apple.
  1. Fatigue, tiredness  and generalized weakness
  2. Sluggishness with delayed reflexes
  3. Constipation
  4. Dry and cracked skin
  • Hoarseness of voice
  • Elevated levels of triglycerides in the blood
  • Goiter is observed Hypothyroid
    and Hyperthyroid
  • Some degree of reduced mental functions and impairment. 
  • Excess of Iodine Risk: Important Natural Food sources of Dietary Iodine
    The human body contains about 20-50 grams of iodine and almost about 75% of it is stored in the thyroid gland.  Iodine excess is rare and there is very little risk of iodine overdose even if the intake level is twenty times higher than RDI. However at extremely high levels (i.e. above 30 times the RDI), there is a risk of experiences certain iodine toxicity symptoms which include,
    1. Mouth sores and mouth ulcers, with swelling of the salivary glands and Metallic taste in the mouth
    2. Gastro intestinal symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea
    3. Breathlessness or difficulty in breathing easily
    4. Acne
    5. Mild to Moderate Headaches
    Ironically, excess levels of iodine are also associated with enlargement of the thyroid gland and mimic the presentation of a goiter. Iodized salt is the best source of iron, since the salt is specifically fortified to provide essential supplies of iodine to the body. The other sources of iodine include sea food and fish. The richest natural source of iodine is kelp and wakame, both of which are seaweeds and have relatively low levels of contamination.


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