The Importance of Iodine in Human Nutrition
Iodine deficiency is a very serious issue that should be thoroughly examined in an open-minded way in order to understand its importance and role this dietary mineral does play for human body.
Functions of Iodine
Iodine can be found in human body in its pure form, yet it does not accomplish any functions as such. Iodine is required to maintain thyroid in healthy state. Iodine synthesizes iodinated protein such as thyroglobulin in the initial stage. Then it also forms the hormones such as Т3 (triiodothyronine) and Т4 (thyroxine).
Consequences of Iodine Deficiency
Nature «presets» the processes, which are going on with the human body. Therefore, thyroid starts to increase in its size in case of iodine deficiency as it prevents synthesis of necessary amount of the hormones. Such an outgrowth is called iodine-deficient or endemic goiter. Thyroid outgrowth does not increase production of the hormones in the presence of iodine deficiency, and, thus, endocrine failure begins to take off. As triiodothyronine and thyroxine do fall into category of the hormones which have an integral impact upon human body (ATP synthesis regulation function and related oxygen delivery to the plastosome cells), deficiency of iodine and hormones Т3 and Т4 destabilizes metabolic processes and negatively affects functioning of the central excitatory system (CNS).
Please note that it is very hard to detect initial stage of the iodine deficiency based on the values of the hormones Т3 and Т4 only. Pathologic processes can also take a place even if hormone levels are normal (hidden deficiency).
Compensation of Iodine Deficiency
Introduction of adjustments in the dietary regimen or use of the supplements and products with added iodine is an absolute must. Bringing the iodine value up to the normal range results in prevention or cessation of the goiter outgrowth, however complete recovery is not possible. How well one will get back on track in terms of recovery from other changes related to the hormonal deficiency will depend on how bad damage CNS has got and how much metabolic processes have gotten out of whack.
Intricacies of Iodine Consumption
If the human body does not get sufficient amount of iodine, then iodine deficiency will take place. Only presence of selenium will warranty ingestion and functioning of iodine in thyroid. These microelements are metabolically bonded, and, therefore, they may not ensure synthesis of necessary hormones if used on a stand-alone basis. Some foods inhibit iodine absorption. But the latter does not mean that such foods should be excluded from diet as they contain other useful substances. But such products should be consumed separately from the products or supplements containing iodine.
The following foods inhibit iodine absorption:
Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower; rape; horseradish; turnip; sweet potatoes; corn; peanuts; beans.
Vegetables inhibit iodine absorption by the human body only in case of adherence to the iodine rich diet. The latter is typical for vegetarian diet. Soy increases need in iodine up to 100%.
Symptoms and Consequences of Iodine Deficiency
The following people are at risk of becoming iodine deficient:
Residents of the areas with ground that is low in iodine, that is, water, vegetables and local milk products contain lesser amount of iodine;
Children under three years of age.
The symptoms of iodine deficiency along with malfunction of CNS are as follows:
Decrease in response time;
Indirect symptoms are as follows:
Menstrual disorders in women.
Heart problems and infertility can appear due to complex effect the iodine-synthesized hormones have upon human body. Children can quickly acquire pathologic states as iodine deficiency causes psychic and mental issues as well as hyposomia.
Consumption Rate of Iodine and Dosage Abuse
Consumption rate of iodine depends on physical state and age. Daily dose of iodine along with its amount obtained as a result of consumption of the foods and medical supplements is as follows:
50 mcg for children under one year of age;
90 mcg for children under one to six years of age;
120 mcg for children under seven to twelve years of age;
150 mcg for adults;
100 mcg for seniors;
200 mcg for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Dosage abuse, that is, iodine consumption amounting to up 500 mcg for adult results in excessive amount of hormones causing misbalanced state of hormones and metabolic processes.
It is noteworthy that iodine overdose is possible only upon consumption of the iodine rich drugs. Iodine, which can be found in the goods, is absorbed as required and is not toxic by any means as such.
Iodine Rich Foods
seaweed contain 200 g of iodine; Cod liver oil contains 350 g; Salmon and flounder contain 200 mcg; Herring contains 90 mcg; Shrimp contains 190 g; Pineapple, guava and apple with seeds contain 90 g.
It is noteworthy that the abovementioned values are not precise. Different aspects affect iodine content such as conditions in which plants, fish and shrimps were kept etc. Heat treating lowers iodine content up to 50%. Keeping iodinated salt in open package lowers the iodine content by 30-50%. It is highly recommended to use respective iodine rich supplements in presence of risk of iodine deficiency or existence of this condition as it is impossible to properly ensure consumption of required amount of iodine through the foods.
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