What Can Iodine Do For You?
Iodine was the first nutrient to be recognized as essential to the human body. With the addition of iodine to salt in America, it may seem unlikely that there are an estimated 112 million persons with iodine deficiencies in loped regions. Yet a 1983 study proved just that. In fact, environmental levels of iodine in mountainous regions are inadequate for humans and animals who must seek iodine sources elsewhere.
Iodine is present in food and water predominantly as iodide and is organically bound to amino acids, the building blocks of proteins and intermediates in metabolism. It can be found concentrated in seafood, since the mineral iodine is prevalent in sea water. Iodine can also be found in kelp, dulse, sea plants and fish, and fish roe.
Iodine is mainly used by the thyroid gland, located in the upper neck. Of all the problems that can affect mental and physical health, none is more common than thyroid gland imbalance, caused by insufficient or excess iodine. In the absence of iodine, the thyroid gland attempts to compensate for the loss by increasing its secretory activity, causing the gland to enlarge. This is called simple, or endemic, goiter, more often found in females during periods when metabolic rate is high, such as during puberty or pregnancy.
An iodine deficiency can lead to many other diseases and can have severe ill effects. Infancy, a period of rapid brain growth and development, is a time which especially requires sufficient amounts of the thyroid hormone, which depends on adequate iodine intake, for normal brain development. Even if the infant does not suffer from congenital hypothyroidism, or cretinism, iodine deficiency during infancy may result in abdominal brain development and, consequently, impaired intellectual development. Deficiency in children and adults may cause blindness, depression, infertility, anemia and lethargy. Cataracts are caused by calcium being out of solution due to an iodine deficiency. Deficiency can also lead to severe cretinism with mental retardation. Geographical areas with low dietary intake of iodine have significantly higher rates of cancer in the breast, ovaries, and uterus. Grave's disease, associated with an overactive thyroid gland, is characterized by bulging eyes, anxiety, irritability, excessive sweating, muscle weakness, and rapid heartbeat. Iodine starvation results in retrogressive cell destruction, especially in the brain.
Iodine is one of the most vital of the sixteen biochemical elements, keeping us in a quickened state of health. It has been shown to relieve pain and soreness associated with fibrocystic breasts. Iodine also guards the brain by destroying harmful toxins and increasing the assimilation of certain salts for normal metabolism. Utilizing iodine, the thyroid gland quickens the metabolism of the organs. Iodine is highly sensitive to the body's electrical balance, and through iodine, arterial pressure is lowered and respiration increased. Proper iodine consumption also prevents myxedema, catarrh buildup, flabby tissue, soft bones, and menstrual complications.
Liquid supplements are a great way to ensure that you are ingesting the proper amount of iodine. If iodine deficient, it is important to be careful of calcium, manganese, magnesium, and fluoride, all of which restrict iodine absorption.