Iodine is a nutrient that most people don’t even think about. It’s added to “iodized” salt, is present in a variety of seafood, and can be obtained by adding sea moss, and certain foods to the diet. Men and women ages 19 and over typically need 150 micrograms of iodine per day. Women need more if they’re pregnant. Iodine is essential for a wide variety of body functions.

Not Made in the Body

The body doesn’t have the ability to manufacture its own iodine and must obtain it from outside sources that include the foods consumed or dietary supplements. Iodine insufficiency was a leading cause of brain damage in newborns and infants prior to when iodine began being added to salt. The daily amount required isn’t much but has severe consequences if it’s missing.

Thyroid Hormones

Iodine is a mineral that’s essential for the production of thyroid hormones. The thyroid plays a major role in the ability of the body and brain to grow and develop properly. The hormones also govern metabolism and how the body utilizes energy. Iodine is essential for the thyroid’s ability to regulate body temperature, heart rate, and how the body burns calories.

Health-Related Problems

Deficiencies in iodine have been linked to a variety of health and developmental problems. Deformities and learning disabilities can occur when pregnant women don’t have sufficient iodine in their diet. A lack of iodine has also been linked to reduced motor skill performance and development and also places children at risk of ADHD.

Body processes slow down without enough iodine and can result in constipation and menstrual cycle changes. Fatigue, a hoarse voice, dry skin and elevated cholesterol levels can all occur. Skin conditions, hair loss, stiff and achy muscles, memory problems, and even depression can result from insufficient iodine levels. Carpal tunnel and sensitivity to cold are also symptoms.

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