The Roles of Iodine in the Body: Maintaining the Thyroid

Iodine FoodsIodine is a chemical element that is mainly found on Earth as a water-soluble ion, meaning that it tends to concentrate in oceans and saltwater pools. This element – which our bodies cannot make, meaning we need to derive it from food – is perhaps best-known for its role in maintaining thyroid function, which is an extremely important task. In fact, it’s not an exaggeration to say that iodine is needed for the healthy functioning of practically every cell in our bodies. Let’s take a closer look at those functions.

What Iodine Does for Us

Maintains thyroid function – Iodine helps our bodies to produce thyroid hormones, which ensure that our thyroid remains healthy. The thyroid is a large endocrine gland located near the base of the neck that controls how quickly our bodies use energy, create proteins, and regulate hormone sensitivity. An underactive thyroid slows the metabolism, making weight loss difficult. Therefore, a healthy thyroid is the first requisite for a successful weight loss diet.

Promotes physical and mental growth – Iodine is especially important for children because the thyroid hormones it produces are closely related to growth hormones, which are needed for both physical and mental growth. Consequently, an iodine deficiency can result in both physical retardation and the retardation of intelligence and basic skills such as speech, movement, and hearing. These issues also extend towards unborn children; studies at the Linus Pauling Institute, for instance, have shown that an iodine deficiency during pregnancy can cause mental retardation and stunted growth in the baby. Iodine deficiencies have even been shown to increase the risk of stillbirth, miscarriage, and birth defects.

Regulates body temperature – Thyroid hormones help our bodies to dilate our blood vessels, thus allowing warm blood to flow to our extremities. This means that our body temperatures are greatly influenced by our iodine intake. When our iodine levels are comfortable, our cells make more energy, resulting in increased body temperature. Conversely, when our iodine levels are low, our body temperature decreases, and we experience cold hands and feet.

Controls cholesterol and heart rate – The thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3) helps us to trigger the breakdown of cholesterol, resulting in reduced cholesterol levels. The T3 hormone also controls our heartbeat rate; too much iodine results in a fast heartbeat, which tires the heart, while too little iodine results in a poor circulation of oxygen, nutrients, and warmth. Ideally, you want your heart to beat at around 72 beats per minute, which is what you’re likely to have if your diet contains good amounts of iodine.

Maintains a healthy emotional state – Since thyroid hormones affect our sensitivity to adrenaline and other endocrine hormones, insufficient thyroid hormone levels (induced by insufficient iodine levels) effectively limits our ability to respond to events in a normal manner. This can lead to lethargy and apathy (the feeling of being “dead inside” can be caused by an iodine deficiency). In some cases, it can trigger full-blown depression.

Recommended Daily Intake

The RDI of iodine for adolescents and adults of both sexes is 150 micrograms per day. Young children (between 1-8 years) should receive 90 micrograms per day, while older children (between 9-13 years) should receive 120 micrograms per day. The RDI of iodine for pregnant women, on the other hand, is 220 micrograms per day, increasing to 270 micrograms per day for breastfeeding women.

 

Recommended Articles

Cacao

Three Superfoods That Can Help Treat Depression

Statistics show that approximately 10 percent of the American population suffers from depression, and that number is on the increase. While most of these people suffer from sporadic bouts of depression, others often endure it their whole lives. Consequently, many of them resort to antidepressants to alleviate their low moods - drugs which have notorious side effects and can, in many … Read more

Aloe Vera

Four Amazing Uses for Aloe Vera

Aloe vera ("true aloe") is the best-known species of the aloe genus, which is native to Africa and certain parts of the Middle East. Renowned for its medicinal properties, aloe vera has been utilized for thousands of years to treat numerous medical conditions ranging from skin irritations and herpes to constipation and diabetes. Indeed, this succulent and mucilaginous plant was one of … Read more

Mackerel

A List of Foods Rich in Vitamin D: From Oily Fish to Mushrooms

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins needed by our bodies to maintain optimum health. It facilitates calcium absorption in our stomachs, modulates cell growth, regulates our mood, and much more. When we are deficient in vitamin D, we often begin to suffer from bone pain, muscle weakness, cardiovascular conditions, low moods, and countless other health conditions.Since … Read more

Magnesium

The Best and Worst Forms of Magnesium to Take As a Supplement

According to the American Chiropractic Society, an estimated 68 to 80 percent of the United States population is deficient in the essential mineral magnesium. While our growing dependence on processed food is partly responsible for this alarming statistic, the real reason for it is that ongoing soil erosion has significantly depleted the mineral content of our soil within the last … Read more