Iodine is an essential chemical, trace element and micronutrient that the body needs, but cannot by itself synthesize this nutrient. Your thyroid glands needs iodine to be able to synthesize thyroid hormones, necessary for proper growth and development, as well as other biochemical functions in the body. Because the body cannot make this nutrient, it means this nutrient must come from our diet (the food we eat, dietary supplements). Iodine can be naturally be found is some foods, although majority of the iodine we need comes from processed food, in which iodized salt has been added. Iodine is necessary for a healthy brain development.

What is Iodine Deficiency?

Iodine deficiency is a common public health problem that occurs as a  result of low intake of the nutrient iodine in the body which ultimately results to improper functioning of the thyroid gland. The recommended daily intake for iodine is 150 µ for adults. Although, higher levels up to 250 µg could be required for pregnant women

What Happens When a Person Has Iodine Deficiency?

If a person does not take enough or adequate quantity of iodine needed by the body, the thyroid glands would be unable to produce sufficient thyroid hormones as iodine is a major component of thyroid hormones. It is the major cause of goiter and can also lead to mental retardation in infants and even low intellectual and neuro-performance. Hypothyroidism may occur when a person’s iodine intake falls below 10-20microgram daily.

Signs and Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency

  • Goiter: Swelling at the front part of the neck
  • Low intellectual capacity
  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Malaise
  • Hair loss
  • Irregular menstruation


Dietary Sources of Iodine

Dietary intake of iodine is a way to prevent iodine deficiency, as well as correcting an iodine deficiency disorder. Although excess intake of iodine might lead to hyperthyroidism, a balanced diet with sufficient quantity of iodine-rich foods should be taken. Iodine is majorly gotten from processed foods that have been fortified with iodized salt. Salt water sea foods are also good sources of iodine. Iodine-rich cereals, diary, salt, would be a good source of iodine for the body. You will need to check the food labels to be know if iodine is included as well as the dose for consumption. Daily dietary supplements administered by a nutritionist can also be a good source of iodine.