Iodine is very important for to our health because they are needed for the production of the thyroid hormones. These hormones influence the metabolism and development of the human body and an imbalance of these can cause serious health issues. Since iodine cannot be produced by our body, we need to consume them in the form of food. When the food gets digested, iodine is released into the bloodstream after which it travels to the thyroid gland to help produce the hormones.
The three thyroid hormones are Triiodothyronine (T3), Tetraiodothyronine(thyroxine or T4), and Calcitonin. Lack of iodine leads to the underproduction of these hormones. This is an unhealthy hormonal condition known as hypothyroidism (1). There are many symptoms that will signal to you that your body needs more iodine so that your thyroid glands can work normally. If you experience any of these, you must seek the help of a doctor right away. Read on to know about the symptoms in detail.
Iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism can make it difficult for you to empty your bowels. This is because hypothyroidism affects the transport functions of the entire digestive system. It’s important to consult a doctor if you are able to empty your bowel only thrice or less than thrice a week (1).
2. Cardiac Issues
Lack of iodine is associated with heart problems. Our thyroid glands regulate the development and well-being of our cardiovascular system. To be specific, a heart-related issue called bradycardia which happens when the heart rate is slower than normal is a result of lower levels of iodine (2). If you feel sick, dizzy, or if you faint often, don’t neglect his issue and get your thyroid checked as soon as possible.
3. Pregnancy Issues
If you’re pregnant, you need to make sure that you don’t have iodine deficiency. Iodine is vital for the thyroid dependent neurodevelopment of the fetus. By the second trimester, the fetus will start producing thyroid hormones in low amounts which is insufficient. This is why it is important for the mother to consume enough iodine and maintain a healthy thyroid hormone balance during pregnancy. In case of hypothyroidism, the development of the baby’s brain is seriously affected. In the worst scenarios, the baby can be born mentally retarded (3).
4. Swollen Neck
A swollen neck is one of the most common symptoms of iodine deficiency. This medical condition is called goiter and it occurs due to the enlargement of thyroid glands. When the body demands a higher level of thyroid hormones but there isn’t enough iodine to make the hormone, your thyroid glands work harder than usual. This will lead to an increase in size of these glands (4).
5. Depression And Anxiety
Mental health issues often don’t get the right attention they require. People often forget the fact that depression and anxiety can originate from hormonal imbalance. If you ever feel that you’re getting too sad or too anxious most of the time, you should seek the help of a psychologist and also get a thyroid test done. According to research, there is a link between thyroid issues and mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. Also, thyroid enhancing supplements have been found to accelerate the effectiveness of anti-depressant medication. Thyroid has been proved to affect our cognition as well as mood which why you feel your emotions going haywire if you have thyroid problems. Hence, consumption of enough iodine is crucial for not just our physical health but also our mental well-being (5).
6. Learning And Memory Problems
Like we discussed in the above point, thyroid issues can also affect our cognition. This makes it difficult for those with thyroid issues to learn and retain new information. According to a study that was conducted in 2014, the volume of the hippocampus region of our brain decreased in those with hypothyroidism. Hippocampus is that part of our brain which is associated with learning and memory which is why it is very important to treat thyroid issues right away (6).
7. Cold Sensitivity
Hypothyroidism can make you feel cold all day. Even when your friends are sweating bullets, you might want to wear another pair of socks on your feet. The decrease in energy metabolism reduces the heat production in the body. This is why you’re feeling too cold even it’s not that cold outside (7).
8. Sudden Weight Gain
A sudden weight gain is one of the most common symptoms of iodine deficiency that leads to thyroid issues. A healthy body will have a speedy metabolism. However, the metabolic process weakens due to the hormonal imbalance that occurs in the body as a result of thyroid malfunctioning. This prevents the burning of fat to produce energy and this fat gets accumulated in the body causing a sudden weight gain (8).
Iodine deficiency is not the only cause of thyroid issues. However, it is the most important and most common factor that influences thyroid hormones. If you ever experience any of these signs, it is necessary to get your hormonal levels checked. Thyroid issues can be treated completely with medication and there’s nothing that you need to worry about. To stay on the safer side, make sure that your daily diet includes enough amount of iodine.
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