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10 Signs of Iodine Deficiency You Should Know About

Iodine is a trace element essential for life because it is a key component in thyroid hormones. If the iodine level is insufficient, the thyroid gland cannot produce enough hormones T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine), which can lead to hypothyroidism. The condition can cause a decrease in metabolic processes in the body.

Hypothyroidism can cause serious complications if left untreated, such as obesity, infertility, joint pain, and heart disease. The body cannot produce iodine naturally. Instead, it must be taken from outside sources such as food, drinks and nutritional supplements. Since the introduction of iodized table salt, the lack of iodine in the world has decreased dramatically, but 30 percent of the world’s population does not use iodized salt. Geography, disease, and gender are just some of the factors that influence iodine consumption.

Iodine deficiency can have a huge impact on health. Iodine deficiency destabilizes normal chemical, hormonal and enzymatic processes in the body. If you think you may have iodine deficiency, talk to your doctor to discuss and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Common signs of iodine deficiency are:

1. Fatigue
The thyroid relies on iodine to synthesize hormones and facilitate metabolism. If someone develops hypothyroidism (caused by insufficient iodine levels), it can reduce all of that person’s metabolic processes. Metabolism is the burning of calories used by the body for energy, and the reduction slows down the body’s production of energy, resulting in weakness and fatigue.

2. Muscle and joint pain
Physical activity that used to be easy becomes difficult to perform with insufficient iodine. This weakness and pain are due to a lack of energy available. Muscles are especially sensitive to lower energy. In cases of untreated hypothyroidism, peripheral vascular disease may develop. This type of disease damages the peripheral nerves, leading to pain, numbness and tingling in the arms and legs.

3. Weight gain
Iodine is critical for the production of thyroid hormone. Lower metabolism means fewer calories burned for energy. When someone is unable to burn calories properly, that person’s body will store unused calories as fat, which can lead to weight gain.

4. Depression/memory problems
Hypothyroidism can cause signs of depression and memory problems in the early stages. When the body cannot metabolize calories for energy, it affects the brain’s ability to react and respond effectively. Thought processes and memory could slow down and dissipate. Iodine deficiency affects many chemical reactions within the mind and body. Researchers have proven that chemical imbalances can cause mental disorders, including depression and anxiety.

5. Cold sensitivity
Feeling cold and chilling is a common complaint of someone suffering from iodine deficiency. Individuals with hypothyroidism have reduced energy production. In addition, skin can also appear pale from a lack of proper metabolism and nutrients. Thyroid hormones also help regulate body temperature. If these hormones are low, temperature sensitivity is likely to occur.

6. Infertility
Hypothyroidism disrupts women’s ovulation cycles, affecting fertility by disrupting regular cycles. Furthermore, hormonal imbalances can cause women to have more severe than usual or irregular menstrual cycles.

7. Goiter
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland at the front of the neck. A neck area is a place of suffocation in cases of iodine deficiency. Goiter is one of the earliest signs of hypothyroidism because the thyroid gland swells in response to constant stimulation to produce more hormones. The body also tries to enlarge the thyroid gland so it can absorb more iodine. Typically, a goiter is not a problem, but if increased too much can cause difficulty in breathing and swallowing.

8. Heart complications
A typical symptom of hypothyroidism is a slow heartbeat. Thyroid hormones directly affect your body temperature and heart rate regulation. If thyroid levels are lacking, the body cannot effectively regulate the heart. Slow heartbeat or bradycardia can cause symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and fainting. Chronic hypothyroidism can lead to high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. High cholesterol increases the risk of heart attacks, heart disease, and heart failure.

9. Hair, skin and nail problems
Thyroid hormones support the growth of hair, skin, and nails. A deficiency of these hormones usually causes the skin to become dry, pale and itchy. Nails and hair can become dry, thin and brittle. Reducing metabolism further impairs skin, hair and nail health because the amount of nutrient-rich blood delivered to the body is not enough.

10. Birth defects
Babies born to mothers with iodine deficiency can experience serious complications. Iodine is essential for normal growth, healing, and metabolism. Babies with iodine deficiency are at increased risk for intellectual and developmental disability. Mental retardation, deafness, mutism, slow growth, neurological problems and delayed sexual maturity are possible complications of iodine deficiency. Mothers and newborns are also at increased risk of miscarriage or stillbirth.

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