Iodine is an element essential for human life, found primarily in seawater and in rocks found near the ocean. Iodine deficiency is reaching epidemic levels in the developed world with a four-fold increase in iodine deficiency over the last 40 years. Today, around one third of the world’s population a likely to have insufficient iodine intake. Iodine deficiency has re-emerged in Australia with the introduction of new practices of sanitisation in the dairy industry and a decline in use and consumption of iodised salt.
Iodine and your Thyroid hormonesFor over a century, iodine has been known as the element necessary for your body to produce thyroid hormone, which is primarily responsible for regulation of metabolism. However, mention of iodine’s other important uses and functions in the human body are rare. Every cell in the body needs iodine to function properly, not just the thyroid cells.
Iodine for good healthHere are a few less known uses and functions of Iodine in the human body:
- Iodine is necessary for the production of all other hormones in the body
- It is important for fertility
- It is useful in treating fibrocystic breast disease
- Iodine plays important roles in different aspects of immune system function
- Iodine can help in the management of ADD/ADHD
- It can help manage high blood pressure and atherosclerosis
Are you Iodine deficient?Iodine deficiency can have a profound impact on overall health. Symptoms of iodine deficiency may include:
- lethargy or fatigue
- dry hair or hair loss
- dry skin
- brittle nails
- cold hands and feet,
- cold intolerance
- high cholesterol
- menstrual irregularities
- early menopause
- poor memory or concentration
- slower heartbeat
- weight gain.
How to get Iodine into your diet
- Marine foods are the best sources of iodine
- Regular fish, shell fish (e.g. oysters) and seaweeds (eg kombu, wakame, nori, arame) contain the highest amounts of iodine
- Other sources of iodine include iodized table salt, sea salt, eggs, cheese and milk.