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Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency
by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
Published on April 20, 2011, Last Updated on April 8, 2016
Iodine deficiency symptoms manifest as a result of improper thyroid hormone production. Simply stated, 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:
- Thyroid enlargement – sometimes called “goiter”
- Mental imbalances such as depression and anxiety
- Mental retardation (in extreme cases, and particular in children of mothers who have had an iodine deficiency)
- Fetal hypothyroidism (improper functioning of the thyroid in unborn children, leading to brain damage).
Some of the lesser-known symptoms of iodine deficiency include:
Slowed Brain FunctionStudies have shown the correlation between the shortage of iodine and cognitive function, particularly in the gestation period in children. In fact, one study from 2009 found that iodine supplementation in mildly-deficient children helped improve their perceptual reasoning.
Slowed MetabolismA lack of iodine can lead to a reduced ability to biosynthesize food into usable nutrients.
This may lead to sluggish metabolism, weight gain and constipation.
Lowered ImmunityIodine deficiency leaves us open to free radical exposure, particularly in the thyroid gland, specifically in regard to the accumulation of harmful levels of fluoride, perchlorate, and goitrogens. This can cause individuals with symptoms of iodine deficiency to experience more colds and flus.
Emotional Upset and Anxiety
Due to the relationship between iodine and hormone balance, an iodine deficiency disrupts the proper functioning of hormone receptors and communication. This may lead to emotional imbalances, anxiety and a lack of sexual interest.
Cysts, soreness, and heaviness in breastsA study reported in the Canadian Journal of Surgery found that 70% of patients given iodine supplements showed an improvement in their fibrocystic breast disease . This leads to speculation on the correlation between iodine deficiency and breast cancer, although more research is required. It is generally accepted that there is a connection between a lack of iodine in women, and breast pain/tenderness that can accompany the menstrual cycle.
Compromised organ functionBecause of iodine’s role in organ health, iodine deficiency may lead to an inability of the bodies organs to detoxify. Compromised function of the detoxification organs may eventually lead to overall organ failure.
Improper thyroid functionThe New England Journal of Medicine reported a correlation between iodine intake and thyroid disease. When the thyroid cannot function properly, it can lead to a whole host of symptoms. These include fatigue, exhaustion, puffy eyes, digestive upset, muscle pain, depression, weight gain, swelling in the body, menstrual upset, fuzzy head, memory impairment, allergic skin reactions, dry skin, brittle nails, sensitivity to cold, hair loss, high cholesterol or general low immunity.
Other possible symptoms of iodine deficiency are currently under scientific research. This research is looking into the possible correlations between iodine deficiency and breast and stomach cancers. Preliminary studies show that iodine deficiency may produce an increased incidence of cancerous malignancies in animals. Similarly, other research shows a possible relationship between iodine levels and gastric forms of cancer. These studies offer hope, as both show a decreased rate of cancer development when the animals are given an iodine-prophylaxis supplement.
Be aware when choosing an iodine supplement. Not all iodine supplements are the same or safe to consume. I personally recommend using a nascent form of iodine, such as Detoxadine®.
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†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.