Iodine Deficiency – An Emerging Health Issue

Iodine deficiency is a global health issue. The World Health  Organization (WHO) estimates over 2 billion people may be iodine deficient,  with up to 50 million of them suffering from serious symptoms of the imbalance,  such as brain damage. Once a rare problem in the Western world, this deficiency  is on the increase in North America.

This may be related to  modern industrial agricultural practices and a lack of minerals in the soil.  Environmental pollutants have robbed the soil of natural mineral levels, and  this in turn, results in poor iodine content in foods. In some regions of the  country, soil levels of iodine are naturally low, plus, in regions where they  used to be high, we are witnessing depletion. Iodine is especially necessary  for pregnant women, their unborn babies, and young children; a deficiency can  lead to severe developmental issues. Recently, there have been some links of Iodine  deficiency being linked to autism in children.

Iodine deficiency  symptoms manifest as a result of improper thyroid hormone production. Simply  stated, when the thyroid gland does not receive enough iodine, trouble ensues.  The more serious signs and symptoms of iodine deficiency may vary according to  individuals, but usually include the following – thyroid enlargement – sometimes called “goiter”, mental imbalances, such as depression and anxiety, mental retardation (in extreme cases, and particularly in children of mothers who have had iodine deficiency), fetal hopothyroidism (improper functioning of the thyroid in unborn children, leading to brain damage, Autism.

Beyond the global issue of iodine deficiency in children, westerners are also susceptible to a lack of iodine.  Many researchers are looking into the correlations between various chronic conditions and a lack of iodine.

Some of the lesser-known symptoms of iodine deficiency may include:

Slowed Brain Function  Studies have shown the correlation between the shortage of iodine and cognitive  function, particularly in the gestation period in children. In fact, one study  from 2009 found that iodine supplementation in mildly-deficient children helped  improve their perceptual reasoning [2].

Slowed Metabolism  A lack of iodine can lead to a reduced ability to bio synthesize food into  usable nutrients. This may lead to sluggish metabolism, weight gain and constipation.


Lowered Immunity  Iodine deficiency leaves us open to free radical exposure, particularly in thyroid  gland, specifically in regard to the accumulation of harmful levels of  fluoride, perchlorate, and goitrogens. This can cause individuals with symptoms  of iodine deficiency to experience more colds and flus.

Emotional Upset and Anxiety  Due to the relationship between iodine and hormone balance, an iodine  deficiency disrupts the proper functioning of hormone receptors and communication. This may lead to  emotional imbalances, anxiety and a lack of sexual interest.

Cysts, soreness, and heaviness in breasts  A study reported in the Canadian Journal of Surgery found that 70% of patients  given iodine supplements showed an improvement in their fibrocystic breast  disease. This leads to speculation on the correlation between iodine deficiency  and breast cancer, although more research is required. It is generally accepted  that there is a connection between a lack of iodine in women, and breast pain/tenderness  that can accompany the menstrual cycle.

Compromised organ function  Because of iodine’s role in organ health, iodine deficiency may lead to an  inability of the bodies organs to detoxify. Compromised function of the  detoxification organs may eventually lead to overall organ failure.

Improper thyroid function  The New England Journal of Medicine reported a correlation between iodine  intake and thyroid disease.  When the thyroid cannot function properly, it  can lead to a whole host of symptoms]. These include  fatigue, exhaustion, puffy eyes, digestive upset, muscle pain, depression,  weight gain, swelling in the body, menstrual upset, fuzzy head, memory  impairment, allergic skin reactions, dry skin, brittle nails, sensitivity to  cold, hair loss, high cholesterol or general low immunity.

Continuing Research  Other possible symptoms of iodine deficiency are currently under scientific  research. This research is looking into the possible correlations between  iodine deficiency and breast and stomach cancers. Preliminary studies show that  iodine deficiency may produce an increased incidence of cancerous malignancies  in animals. Similarly, other research shows a possible relationship between  iodine levels and gastric forms of cancer. These studies offer hope, as both  show a decreased rate of cancer development when the animals are given an  iodine-prophylaxis supplement.

Choose wisely when reviewing iodine supplements.  Review products at MyRemedyShop (search for  Iodine to view products) for applicability and contact your physician if you  are unsure about this important issue.


This report was compiled by L.W. Heinrichs

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