Iodine is a relatively rare mineral that is found primarily in seawater and sometimes in stones near the sea. It is also found in abundance in mountainous regions like the Himalayas, the Andes and the Alps.
Areas such as Central Asia, Central Africa, parts of Europe and parts of the United States around the Great Lakes regions are deficient in iodine.
So, do you know whether or not you have an iodine deficiency?
If you have experienced certain symptoms, chances are, you may have an iodine deficiency.
Iodine deficiency is a global health issue. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates over 2 billion people may be iodine deficient, with up to 50 million of them suffering from serious symptoms of iodine deficiency, such as brain damage.
A lack of mineral deficiency has been on the rise in North America and the problem maybe related to a lack of minerals in the soil and modern and industrial agricultural practices. Environmental pollutants have robbed the soil of natural mineral levels, and this in turn translates into poor iodine content in our food supply.
Iodine deficiency symptoms manifest as a result of improper thyroid hormone production. When the thyroid gland does not receive enough iodine, trouble ensues. The more serious signs and symptoms of iodine deficiency may vary according to individuals, but usually include the following: mental imbalance, mental retardation, thyroid enlargement, hypothyroidism in the unborn fetus, lowered immunity, slowed brain functions, slowed metabolism, compromised organ function, improper thyroid function, Cysts, soreness, and heaviness in breasts and emotional upset and anxiety.
Iodine is needed by hormones to perform their job, it is essential for thyroid function and every part of the cascade of the metabolic processes that the thyroid governs, it is a powerful antimicrobial that can protect us from the common cold, it is necessary for healthy breast tissue and crucial for brain development in the unborn.
Iodine can be found in every single one of the body’s trillions of cells and is essential to life. A deficiency of adequate stores of iodine can eventually lead to death, breast, prostate, ovarian, pancreatic, thyroid and other cancers, a lack of ovulation and infertility, menstrual disturbances, and miscarriages, obesity, possible autism, allergies and asthma and Parkinson disease.
Most of us do not get anywhere near enough iodine in our diets. When crops are grown in iodine depleted soils, our food supply suffers, which in turn affects the human body. And because iodine is excreted from the body in 24 to 48 hours, daily consumption is critical. Making a conscious effort to include iodine in our daily diet can be beneficial to everyday health. There are many natural sources and ways to include iodine, aside from taking supplements. Foods that have a certain amount of iodine ranging from the greatest to least amount in micrograms (mcg) are saltwater fish, seaweed, sea vegetables, shell fish, turkey, cod, milk, plain low fat yogurt, shrimp, macaroni, one large boiled egg, tuna canned in oil, prunes, raisin bran cereal, legumes, lima beans, apple juice, green peas, one medium banana, cranberries, strawberries, potatoes and sea salt.
The human body cannot make its own iodine, it is dependent upon the daily intake of iodine from either food sources or a supplement. Be aware of your required iodine intake, based on age and gender. Depending on your age and gender, you will need to ensure you are getting a certain amount of iodine each day. Be careful when adding table salt to a daily diet as a source for iodine; substituting sea salt for table salt may prove to be more beneficial. But remember, seaweed and kelp is loaded with iodine, so don’t over do it; reserve these food items for once a week only. Try consuming more enriched grain products and add more beans and legumes to a daily diet. Here’s to good health.