Facts about Iodine

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799px-Iodine-sample1.What Iodine is and what it does

Iodine was discovered by Bernard Courtois in 1811. The term iodine is derived from a Greek term ‘iodes’ which means violet. As a mineral that is present in some foods, iodine helps the body in generating thyroid hormones. Among the major functions of thyroid hormones regulation of metabolism in the body and ensuring proper brain and bone development in babies during pregnancy as well as in infancy. Pregnant women need 50% more iodine than women who are not pregnant.

2.Sea food and Dairy products are rich in Iodine

In some foods, iodine occurs naturally. It is also present in salt products that have the ‘iodized’ label. The quantity of daily iodine intake depends largely on the age of a person. However, recommended levels of iodine can be acquired by taking various foods such as tuna and cod fish, shrimp and seaweed among other sea-foods that are typically rich in iodine. Iodine is also present in dairy products like yoghurt, cheese and milk as well as grains and cereals.

3.Amount of Iodine in Vegetables and Fruits Vary

Vegetables and fruits contain iodine. However, the quantity of iodine varies largely depending on the level of iodine in the soils in which they were grown. The amount of iodine in vegetables and fruits is also influenced by the level of iodine contained in the fertilizer that was used on them.

4.Processed foods rarely have Iodine

Though many people in the U.S. get sufficient amounts of iodine from beverages and foods, people who consume processed foods like canned soups are likely not to get enough because processed foods rarely have iodized salt.

5.Iodized Salt is the major source of Iodine

Iodizing salt is the most basic way of regulating iodine deficiency. An estimated 70% households across the globe use iodized salt. Dietary supplements containing iodine in the form of sodium or potassium iodide are also used to boost iodine levels. Most multivitamin supplements have iodine. Dietary supplements that contain seaweed called kelp are available as well.

6.Goitrogen affect Iodine Usage in the Body

Goitrogen substances affect how the body makes use of iodine and are found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbages, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as soy. Consumption of sufficient quantities of iodine is necessary for persons whose intake of goitrogen foods is reasonable.

7.Iodine Deficiency is Harmful

People who fail to consume enough iodine fail to generate enough thyroid hormone. For pregnant mothers, serious iodine insufficiency can cause permanent harm to the fetus leading to mental retardation, stunted growth and slow sexual development. Less serious deficiency often leads to below average IQ in children and also reduces the ability to think clearly as an adult. Goiter, which is manifested as an enlarged thyroid gland is the initial symptom of deficient iodine.

8.Too much Iodine is Harmful

Taking too much iodine is harmful and can lead to similar symptoms as those manifested by iodine’s deficiency like goiter. High levels of iodine also lead to thyroid cancer and inflammation of the thyroid gland. Taking very high iodine doses often causes burning of the throat, mouth and stomach, nausea, fever, stomach pain, diarrhea, weak pulse, vomiting, and coma.

9.Iodine Interactions with Medications

Iodine supplements may interfere and interact with certain medications. These include anti-thyroid drugs like methimazole which treats hyperthyroidism. Taking large amounts of iodine along with anti-thyroid drugs reduces the amount of thyroid hormone produced by the body. Potassium iodide interferes with hypertension drugs by raising potassium level in the blood to unsafe levels.

10.Iodine deficient Soils

Soils that are deficient of iodine produce low-iodine crops. Such regions include mountainous areas like the Alps, Himalayas, and Andes regions, river valleys in Southeast and South Asia.

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