Iodine is a naturally occurring mineral that is present in the soil as well as deep within the ocean’s water. This is the reason why saltwater fishes and vegetables have a higher amount of iodine. Aside from these foods, you may also opt for iodized salt to be used for cooking purposes. Benefits of iodine are vital in the diet as it is responsible for regulating hormones, development of fetus for pregnant women, and many more bodily processes.
In case of a lack of iodine in the body, then a medical professional will recommend supplementation. However, taking an iodine supplement needs the approval of a licensed physician. If you want to learn more about what iodine can do to the body, read on to find out.
1. Essential for Thyroid Health
Iodine benefits the thyroid gland that is found beneath the front of the neck. The gland works by producing hormones that control metabolism, heart functions, and more. To produce enough thyroid hormones, the gland makes use of a smaller amount of iodine. An impaired thyroid can cause decrease hormone production that can lead to a condition called hypothyroidism.
The good thing about iodine is the fact that it can be easily taken in the diet from saltwater fishes, dairy products as well as plants that grow in iodine-rich soil. Aside from that, you can use iodized salt as a seasoning for dishes. Although iodine uses are vital for the body, overconsumption can also lead to negative side effects on the thyroid gland. This is the reason why taking an iodine supplement needs a doctor’s approval.
2. Avoid Goiter
Goiter is a condition characterized by the enlargement of the thyroid gland caused by either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism happens when there is an overproduction of hormones by the thyroid gland. A cyst or nodules can also cause enlargement of the thyroid gland. This health condition is directly related to iodine deficiency. However, it can be easily reversed by eating foods that are rich in iodine.
3. Solve the Problem with Overactive Thyroid Gland
In the case of an overactive thyroid gland, doctors usually recommend taking radioactive iodine. This drug is also known as radioiodine a medication that can be taken orally. The medication acts by eliminating excess thyroid cells to decrease the amount of thyroid hormone in the body. The negative side effects of taking this drug are it can destroy all thyroid cells that can, later on, lead to hypothyroidism. This medication is the last resort if an anti-thyroid drug is not effective in treating the condition. Patient with this health condition is not recommended to take an iodine supplement to treat hyperthyroidism.
4. Helps in Thyroid Cancer
Patients with thyroid cancer may opt for radioiodine as a possible treatment. Since the drug can destroy thyroid cells, it can also kill cancer cells. This medication is effective as an after surgical treatment. Thyroid surgery is necessary to ensure that all cancerous cells have been taken out of the body. The benefits of iodine in the form of radioactive iodine are effective in increasing the chances of survival for patients with thyroid cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
5. Brain Development of Fetus
It is during pregnancy that women need an excess supply of iodine in the body. Iodine is vital for fetus brain development. A review study in babies shows that mothers with iodine deficiency during pregnancy have a higher likelihood of children developing low IQ as well as other cognitive development delays. To take advantage of iodine benefits, a pregnant woman should take 200 mcg and for non-pregnant is 150 mcg per day.
For pregnant women, it is necessary to ask a doctor for iodine supplement or prenatal vitamins in case you are deficient in this mineral. For lactating mothers, 290 mcg of iodine is vital in the diet.
6. Improve Low Birth Weight
Aside from iodine uses in brain development, enough iron in the diet of a pregnant woman is also associated with normal birth weight. A study conducted in pregnant women with a health condition like goiter found out that taking 400 mcg of iodine daily at the course of six to eight weeks is effective in treating goiter. Also, they have recorded an increase in birth weight of newborns.