Iodine is a trace element. It is vital for the human body in small quantities because the body can not produce iodine itself. Iodine is needed for the production of thyroid hormones. These are involved in all metabolic processes in the body and therefore increase energy expenditure. If the thyroid gland produces fewer thyroid hormones than the body requires, the thyroid hormone deficiency occurs. This deficiency affects all the organs of the body, which are influenced by the thyroid hormones, such as the heart, circulation, nervous system, muscles and metabolism.
Iodine deficiency: thyroid affected
In the foreground are complaints that are triggered by the lack of function of the affected organs. If the concentration of thyroid hormones in the blood drops, the production of other thyroid hormones is initiated via the brain. This requires iodine. If the iodine supply is insufficient, the production of thyroid hormones will continue to be stimulated. As a result, the thyroid tissue proliferates. The thyroid gland is growing. The result is a goiter: iodine deficiency goiter is the result.
Consequences of iodine deficiency
Above all, for children, adolescents and pregnant women a sufficient iodine supply is essential. A lack of thyroid hormones in neonates and infants leads to a disruption of brain maturation, growth, maturation of the skeletal system and respiration. In adolescents, a lack of thyroid hormones leads to a disruption of brain development with learning and concentration problems and a structural change in the thyroid gland.
A lack of thyroid hormones in pregnant women impairs the development of the adolescent fetus. Even nursing mothers have an increased need for iodine, since they have to cover the iodine needs of the baby through the breast milk. In adults, metabolism, circulatory regulation, fertility, mental health and intellectual performance depend on adequate iodine intake.
The most common cause of thyroid enlargement (goiter) is iodine deficiency (iodine deficiency goitre). Goiter (goiter) is a thyroid enlargement independent of thyroid function. It may be associated with hypothyroidism, but also with hyperthyroidism. Often the thyroid function in goiter patients is completely normal (euthyroidism).
Iodine deficiency: treat illnesses
About 15 million Germans have an enlarged thyroid due to iodine deficiency. Half of all patients with enlarged thyroid gland have developed goiter during childhood and adolescence. Half of the 13-year-olds in Germany have an enlarged thyroid and about one percent of newborns are already born with a goiter.
Usually the thyroid is not visible or palpable. In the case of goiter, the thyroid gland is enlarged so much that it can cause respiratory and swallowing problems. However, many thyroid enlargements are not detected because the sufferers have no discomfort and the magnification is not visible or palpable.
An enlarged thyroid can be reduced in size by taking iodine in tablet form. If the thyroid gland is already greatly enlarged, thyroid hormones must be taken to regress the thyroid tissue. The thyroid gland regresses as the thyroid gland no longer has to work.
Avoid iodine deficiency
To compensate for the lack of iodine in the diet, the use of iodized salt is recommended by the German Society of Nutrition and other associations. It contains 15 to 25 milligrams of iodine per kilogram. When buying food and food preparations, care should be taken to use iodine salt in their manufacture.
However, the necessary daily amount of 150 to 200 micrograms of iodine salt can not be achieved by salting. The use of iodine salt is also recommended for people suffering from thyroid disease. Incompatibilities in the use of iodine salt have not been observed. By using iodine salt enriched with fluorine one can additionally contribute to the prevention of caries.
80 percent of German households already regularly use iodised salt for cooking. Nevertheless, they only cover an estimated two-thirds of their iodine needs. If you eat sea fish twice a week (for example haddock, saithe, plaice), then you need not worry about possible iodine deficiency, as sea fish is particularly iodine-rich.
Regular stays by the sea are another way to improve iodine supply in case of iodine deficiency. The sea air and the sea water have a higher iodine content. Fish is regularly on the diet of people living on the coast or near the sea, so iodine deficiency is rarely diagnosed.