Iodine is one of the important trace elements for the human body. Nowadays, you will not surprise anyone with iodine deficiency, but you can’t overlook pathology. Iodine deficiency, as well as its oversupply, can lead to serious health problems (and this concerns not only the malfunction of the thyroid gland). According to WHO, more than 80% of the world's population suffers from iodine deficiency, but many do not pay any attention to it.
What is the role of iodine in the human body?
Iodine is an important trace element on which your health and well-being depend. They play a role in performance, mental and intellectual level. Iodine deficiency affects reproductive function, triggering stillbirths. Children who lack iodine in their mother’s body may be mentally or physically retarded. Severe manifestations of iodine deficiency can lead to cretinism.
A lack of iodine in the body can lead to a decrease in psychological immunity, pallor and dryness of the skin. People with iodine deficiency are constantly cold, suffer from shortness of breath and suffer from pain in the heart. Iodine plays a significant role in the normal functioning of the thyroid gland (this microcell is one of the main components of hormones). Thanks to iodine in the body, the metabolism works well and all organs develop.
In humans, iodine is involved in regulation: energy metabolism, body temperature, protein and fat metabolism, vitamin metabolism, increases oxygen consumption by tissues, etc. Due to iodine, the process of losing weight becomes easier and faster, mental abilities are activated, the health of skin, nails, hair and teeth is guaranteed.
Iodine deficiency in the body: symptoms
In fact, there are a lot of symptoms by which iodine deficiency can be determined. True, many people consider these symptoms to be a manifestation of some kind of non-serious illness or ordinary ailment and are not in a hurry to consult a doctor. Since iodine is needed for normal functioning of the whole organism, its deficiency can lead to serious consequences in any organs. Symptoms of iodine deficiency in the body include the following:
- Decreased appetite with apparent weight gain;
- Drowsiness, fatigue, weakness, apathy, lethargy, decreased performance;
- Irritability, nervousness, mood variability;
- Premature graying, hair loss, dryness, itching, and scalp;
- Decreased concentration, attention, memory, mental abilities;
- Headaches, hearing loss and dizziness;
- Low immunity, frequent colds and infectious diseases;
- Destruction of teeth and nails;
- Shortness of breath, heart pain, arrhythmia, tachycardia and heat intolerance;
- Increase goiter;
- Violation of the menstrual cycle;
- Tremor of limbs and tongue;
- Muscle pain;
- Cramps and involuntary movements of the head;
- Thoracic and lumbar sciatica;
- Increased sweating, swelling of the limbs, face and bruises under the eyes;
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea;
- Eye pain, increased intraocular pressure, Grefe syndrome, etc.
All these symptoms may indicate the presence of other diseases, but to eliminate iodine deficiency, it is necessary to pass tests for the content of this substance or the work of thyroid hormones.
To check the iodine balance in the body at home, it is enough to draw an iodine net on the skin of the thigh or forearm (it is forbidden to swim for the next 12 hours). If the grid disappears in 2 hours - we can talk about a strong deficiency of the microelement. If the grid does not disappear in 12 hours - everything is in order with iodine in your body.
How does iodine excess in the body?
Excess iodine is as bad as its deficiency. This pathology can lead to hyperthyroidism, which is manifested in muscle weakness, increased irritability, sweating. The person loses weight before his eyes, he has frequent diarrhea. The metabolic processes in the body are accelerated, the body temperature rises unreasonably. In addition, with an excess of iodine, dystrophy and depigmentation of the skin, prolonged muscle weakness (in particular, muscle atrophy) are common.
Excessive iodine in the body can lead to direct poisoning, because in itself it is very toxic. Therefore, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain can often become symptoms of excess iodine. In some cases, excess trace element can be fatal. In most cases, an excess of iodine is observed in people who work in harmful enterprises, where iodine vapors are secreted in large quantities. Chronic excess substance can lead to inflammation of the mucous membranes and disruption of the gastrointestinal tract.
Preventing iodine deficiency: simple ways
To prevent the development of iodine deficiency, it is worth eating foods rich in this trace element. One of the main suppliers of iodine is still considered iodized mineral water, which, unfortunately, will not appeal to everyone. In addition, you can salt the products with iodized salt instead of cooking. Foods rich in iodine include almost all seafood (fish, shrimp, octopus, crabs, seaweed, etc.), some vegetables (asparagus, radish, carrots, spinach, potatoes, tomatoes, rhubarb, onions, and cabbage), berries (black currant and grapes, strawberry, black chokeberry). A large amount of iodine is found in egg white, fish oil, millet, buckwheat, walnuts, beef liver, and honey.
Remember that any culinary processing and long-term storage of iodized foods reduces the content of their trace elements. If possible, eat these foods fresh and raw. As for seafood - expose them to the minimum heat treatment.
If nutrition is not enough to compensate for the lack of iodine in the body, vitamin complexes or inorganic iodine supplements should be taken (iodine, iodomarin, iodine-active, etc.). True, they have a number of disadvantages associated with the difficulty of dosing and a large number of side effects.
Iodine is a vital substance for humans. This element is involved in the development of all organs and tissues. Iodine deficiency and excess are equally dangerous to health. If you have noticed any symptoms of imbalance of this trace element, be sure to perform a home test, and then contact an endocrinologist. He will prescribe you the necessary tests and proper treatment.