Iodine

Iodine is a micronutrient used by the thyroid gland in order for it to function properly. It is produced in trace amounts by the body and is sustained through the diet or supplements. The thyroid gland is essential for the development of other associated hormones.  These hormones regulate metabolism as well as how the body uses fats and carbohydrates, body temperature, heart rate, and the production of proteins. The pituitary gland and hypothalamus tell the body how much of these hormones should be produced and when to release them.

The Traditional Benefits of Iodine

Iodine can aid in physical and psychological development as well as disease prevention. While children and adults need it, iodine is especially important to pregnant women and a developing fetus’s brain and cognitive development.  Iodine can also help the thyroid so it is stimulated correctly by the thyroid hormone thyrotropin, which is secreted by the pituitary gland. This secretion protects the body from hypothyroidism that may lead to a goiter. The micronutrient can also play a role in strengthening the immune system against mammary dysplasia or fibrocystic breast disease.

What is Iodine Used For?

Iodine may have numerous benefits to the mind and body, including the following: Aids in Physical and Psychological Development, Improves Fetal Brain Development, Supports Thyroid Hormone Production, Protects from Hypothyroidism, And Strengthens the Immune System.

Benefits of Iodine

Iodine can aid in physical and psychological development as well as disease prevention. While children and adults need it, iodine is especially important to pregnant women and a developing fetus’s brain and cognitive development.  Iodine can also help the thyroid so it is stimulated correctly by the thyroid hormone thyrotropin, which is secreted by the pituitary gland. This secretion protects the body from hypothyroidism that may lead to a goiter. The micronutrient can also play a role in strengthening the immune system against mammary dysplasia or fibrocystic breast disease.

How to Take and Use Iodine

Other than its usage by pregnant women or by those suffering from an iodine deficiency, iodine has other beneficial uses. Radioactive iodine, for example, can be used for treating thyroid cancer. Povidone iodine (also known as betadine) is used for treating problems with the eyes. Iodine can also be used for water disinfection in different areas of the world. Iodine has even been used to induce growth and relieve the stress of growing plants. Iodine usually comes in pill or liquid (dropper) form and may go by other names, such as iodide or iodate. Understanding the right amounts of iodine adults and children should ingest daily is important for following daily allowances of it in food or as a supplement(2). Children and adults should have 100 – 199 micrograms (mcg) daily, 150 – 249 for pregnant women. Anything less than 100 micrograms in children and adults would indicate an insufficient amount. The recommendation for iodine intake is overseen by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB). It says, based on the board’s Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) measures, that the recommended daily allowance is as follows: Birth to 6 months of age – 110 mcg for both males and females. 7 – 12 months – 130 mcg for both males and females. 1 – 8 years – 90 mcg for both males and females. 9 – 13 years – 130 mcg for both males and females. 14 – 19 years and up – 150 mcg, 220 mcg during pregnancy, 290 mcg if a woman is lactating. If iodine levels fall below the recommended 100 mcg per day, then an iodine deficiency or disorder can occur, which can lead to hypothyroidism or a goiter.

Dietary Sources of Iodine

Since only low levels of iodine are produced by the body, most people of the world receive their daily allowance of it through iodized salt or assistance from a supplement. Ninety percent of iodine absorption comes from water and certain foods, such as seaweed and fish. Other foods that contain iodine are green vegetables and spinach, especially if grown in soil with a high iodine content, and it is also present in smaller amounts in some dairy, meats, and cereals.

Citations and Sources

1. Mayo Clinic Staff S. Goiter -- Symptoms and Causes. https://www.mayoclinic.org. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/goiter/symptoms-causes/syc-20351829. 2. NIH S. Iodine. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-HealthProfessional/. 3. NIH S. How to Use Iodine. Turning Discovery Into Health. https://search.nih.gov/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&affiliate=nih&query=how+to+use+iodine&commit=Search. 4. Medlineplus S. Simple Goiter. Home -- Medical Encyclopedia -- Simple Goiter. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001178.htm. 5. Medlineplus S. Hypothyroidism. Home -- Medical Encyclopedia -- Hypothyroidism. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000353.htm. 6. CDC S. Micronutrient Facts. Nutrition. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/micronutrient-malnutrition/micronutrients/index.html. 7. Kapil U. Health Consequences of Iodine Deficiency. Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J. 2007;7(3):267-272. [PMC]

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