Hypothyroidism And IodineIodine and the thyroid gland are greatly associated with each other because iodine is essential in the production of hormones by the thyroid. The hormones produced by the thyroid gland are important in keeping the body's metabolism running at a steady rate, as well as the breakdown of unwanted fats.
There are some areas in the world where iodine is lacking in their diet. In some developed countries, they have made it mandatory to use iodized salt, which is also present in additives, beverages, medications and food supplements. Others have also practiced iodination of flour and cooking oil.
Average Iodine Intake In Countries
|North America||200-700 micrograms/day|
|Hong Kong||110-142 micrograms/day|
Recommended Daily Iodine Intake By The Food And Nutrition Board (FNB)
|Birth to 6 months||110 mcg*||110 mcg*|
|7-12 months||130 mcg*||130 mcg*|
|1-3 years||90 mcg||90 mcg|
|4-8 years||90 mcg||90 mcg|
|9-13 years||120 mcg||120 mcg|
|14-18 years||150 mcg||150 mcg||220 mcg||290 mcg|
|19+ years||150 mcg||150 mcg||220 mcg|
Iodine And Thyroid Hormone ProductionThe thyroid gland uses iodine to create the hormones Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3). These are needed for the breakdown of proteins that are important in giving our body energy. Both hormones are essential in regulating metabolism, which is primarily responsible for maintaining homeostasis, or stability in the body. This means the two hormones regulate a person's internal system, preventing heart failure and a host of other internal problems.
How Iodine Deficiency Causes HypothyroidismSince iodine aids in the production of thyroid hormones, a low intake of iodine would mean decreased hormonal production. This will result to a medical condition called hypothyroidism. And because these hormones are essential in controlling a person's metabolism, an inadequate production of thyroid hormone can result to many health problems. Typical symptoms include abnormal weight gain, tiredness, baldness, decrease in heart rate, and cold intolerance.
In pregnant women, lack of iodine intake may cause miscarriages, pregnancy complications and infertility. In vitro (inside the womb), the growing fetus needs these hormones for brain development. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy may result to cretinism (mental retardation in children), deafness or autism, and delayed brain development.
Excessive Iodine Intake And GoiterOn the other hand, an excess of iodine content in the body can result to a condition called hyperthyroidism, which happens if the body produces too much thyroid hormone. As a consequence, the thyroid gland can become enlarged and swollen, eventually progressing to a condition commonly called Goiter.
The daily recommended iodine intake for adults is between of 110 to 150 mcg. Excessive intake will result to abdominal pain, metallic taste in the mouth, increased thirst, difficulty urinating and seizures.
However, Goiter is also correlated with inadequate iodine in the body. Such conditions often occur to people who live very far from any water forms. These people do not get enough iodine in their diet because the main diets in these places are not rich in seafood. As a result, their thyroid gland makes up for it by growing in size.
Other symptoms of goiter include:
- breathing difficulties
- swallowing difficulties
Medically, there are synthetic hormones to treat both conditions. However, these ailments can easily be prevented by eating a balanced diet with iodine. Good sources of iodine include fish, mollusks and seaweeds. Eggs, dairy and grain products are also good sources of iodine. Iodine is also rich in breast milk and milk formulas.
Household Sources Of Iodine
|Food||Approximate Micrograms (mcg) per serving||Percent Daily Values*|
|Seaweed, whole or sheet, 1 g||16 to 2,984||11% to 1,989%|
|Cod, baked, 3 ounces||99||66%|
|Yogurt, plain, low-fat, 1 cup||75||50%|
|Iodized salt, 1.5 g (approx. 1/4 teaspoon)||71||47%|
|Milk, reduced fat, 1 cup||56||37%|
|Fish sticks, 3 ounces||54||36%|
|Bread, white, enriched, 2 slices||45||30%|
|Fruit cocktail in heavy syrup, canned, 1/2 cup||42||28%|
|Shrimp, 3 ounces||35||23%|
|Ice cream, chocolate, 1/2 cup||30||20%|
|Macaroni, enriched, boiled, 1 cup||27||18%|
|Egg, 1 large||24||16%|
|Tuna, canned in oil, drained, 3 ounces||17||11%|
|Corn, cream style, canned, 1/2 cup||14||9%|
|Prunes, dried, 5 prunes||13||9%|
|Cheese, cheddar, 1 ounce||12||8%|
|Raisin bran cereal, 1 cup||11||7%|
|Lima beans, mature, boiled, 1/2 cup||8||5%|
|Apple juice, 1 cup||7||5%|
|Green peas, frozen, boiled, 1/2 cup||3||2%|
|Banana, 1 medium||3||2%|
Avoid Goitrogenic FoodsThere are certain food items that can interfere with the function of the thyroid gland. These are called goitrogenic foods. These substances also cause goiter by preventing the thyroid gland from doing its function.
Foods To Eat In Moderation:
- Brussels Sprouts
Ways To Check Your Iodine LevelsThere are two ways to check the iodine level of your body. This can be done either by having urine or blood tests. If urine is used as a sample for testing, it may be done in two ways:
- 24 hour urine collection, which means the patient's urine is collected in a 24 hour period. collection of urine sample for the entire 24 hour period.
- By use of a filter strip collection kit, this will only require you to collect urine on a filter strip twice a day.