4 May 2014

The dangers of iodine deficiency in our daily diets

Feeding your thyroid well – The dangers of iodine deficiency in our daily diets
Kaily Sanders
Many people use iodized salt, but do they even know what that means? Iodine is an essential nutrient that the body needs but does not produce. The thyroid gland needs iodine to produce hormones necessary for the functions of the brain, heart, muscles and all other organs in the body.
Iodine is found naturally in seawater, seafood and soil near the ocean. Because it is only found in a small group of foods, many people don’t have enough iodine in their diets. Lack of iodine forces the thyroid gland to work harder, resulting in goiter (the swelling of the thyroid gland) and eventually – iodine deficiency.
Iodine deficiency affects more than a billion people worldwide, and is the leading preventable cause of mental retardation and developmental disabilities. Iodine deficiency is especially harmful in pregnant women because it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, birth defects and brain damage in unborn babies.
“All cells need iodine for proper functioning. A deficiency can cause brain damage. In fact, Iodine deficiency is the world’s most prevalent, yet easily preventable, cause of brain damage according the World Health Organization,” said LeeAnn Taylor, associate professor and Head Softball Coach at City College.

Like many illnesses, prevention is the best treatment. Iodine deficiency can be treated through the use of supplements containing iodine or the addition of iodine to food, water or soil. Hence iodized salt.
Iodized salt was introduced in the United States in 1924 after iodine deficiency had become an endemic in the upper Midwest and the Greak Lakes region, known at the time as “The Goiter Belt.” In less than a decade, 90 percent of the salt consumed in this region was iodized, and iodine deficiency was greatly reduced.
Although the problem was improved, it was not solved. Consider that now, with all the hype about sodium, people are cutting back on table salt, which takes away one of their only sources of iodine.
Psychology Today reported that until a recent change in wheat manufacturing, 25 percent of our iodine was from wheat. Now bread is processed with bromide, a troublesome chemical cousin of iodine. The report states, “Bromide is a double-edged sword; not only has it replaced iodine, it may block the activity of iodine. That’s also true for two more of iodine’s chemical cousins – chlorine and fluoride, both of which are common in drinking water.”

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