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Why is Iodine Important for Your Body?

Iodine is an essential mineral that your body can’t produce on its own, but it needs a small amount of it to function properly. 

In this blog, we will discuss why iodine is crucial for your health, and the steps that you can take to ensure that you receive enough iodine in your diet. 

Iodine’s Function in Your Body

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that’s located in the neck. It produces hormones that regulate a variety of bodily functions, including growth, development, and metabolism. These hormones are known as thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), and iodide, which is a form of iodine, is found in both T4 and T3. Although the body needs just a small quantity of iodide and without it, issues may arise in the natural production of both T3 and T4.  

Children and adults of all ages require iodine to support the healthy functioning of the thyroid. Pregnant women require the most iodine as they are also providing iodine for the fetus. 

Iodine Deficiency

Low iodine levels can lead to thyroid disease, which encompasses several different conditions that include:

  • Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism, also known as low thyroid function, presents symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, heightened cold sensitivity, dry skin, muscle aches, joint pain, and depression. 

  • Goiter

In many cases of iodine deficiency, the pituitary gland produces an excess amount of thyroid-stimulating hormone or TSH to compensate for the deficiency. Excess TSH enlarges the thyroid gland, but it doesn’t make up for the lack of iodine, meaning the thyroid gland doesn’t function properly. 

Maintaining Healthy Iodine Levels

Iodine is included in table salt, frequently called “iodized salt,” and this mineral can also be found naturally in foods like milk, vegetables, fruit, fish, and seaweed. Fish and seaweed contain the highest levels of iodine of any other food. Iodine supplements are also available, but you should always consult with a medical provider before taking them. 

If you’re experiencing symptoms of thyroid dysfunction and would like to learn more about available treatment options, schedule an appointment with us today!

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