The Place and Importance of Iodine in Our Nutrition

Iodine is a mineral responsible for synthesizing the thyroid hormone thyroxine in our body. This hormone affects our metabolic rate. Since it cannot be produced by the body, it must be taken with food.

“It causes various problems when not taken sufficiently!”

When not taken adequately, it causes problems such as endemic goiter, hypothyroidism, hair loss and skin dryness. It can cause miscarriage or premature birth in pregnant women with iodine deficiency, as well as cause problems in the development of growth and mental functions in babies. Children have learning difficulties, cretinism (physical dwarfism, dental problems and mental retardation).

“The use of iodine supplements should not be recommended until its deficiency has been detected.”

Excessive iodine intake can also cause hypothyroidism and autoimmune thyroid disorders and lead to poisoning. The use of iodine supplements should not be recommended without detecting its deficiency. Iodine is absorbed from the stomach and small intestines. Since some of the iodine taken is excreted in the urine, it can be determined whether it is at a sufficient level in the diet by looking for iodine in the urine.

“Iodine is added to salt to prevent iodine deficiency in soil and water.”

With the scientific studies carried out in the field of public health in our country, it has been decided to ionize salt, which is the easiest and cheapest method applied throughout the world, which is easily accessible and widely consumed by everyone, in order to prevent problems such as endemic goiter, etc. gave rise to. Production of iodized salt in our country started in 1952. However, this was not an obligation at the beginning, and its legal obligation began in 1998 by being published in the official newspaper. Afterwards, a regulation was made to allow the production of non-iodized salt in 250 g packages for those who should not consume iodized salt.

Who Should Consume Non-iodized Salt?

Hyperthyroid patients, those with nodular goiter, should consume non-iodized salt in case of graves disease. Everyone else should consume iodized salt. In scientific studies; Experimental findings showing the ability of iodine or iodine-rich seaweed to inhibit breast tumor development are supported by the relatively low rate of breast cancer in Japanese women consuming a diet containing iodine-rich seaweed. However, there is no direct evidence yet that iodine, iodine compounds, or a combination of iodine and selenium is an anti-carcinogenic element in the Japanese diet (1). Many publications and researches have been made and continue to be done on the relationship between iodine and cancer. In the case of iodine deficiency, there are findings that the formation of cysts and cancerous structures in tissues such as thyroid, breast, prostate and ovaries is triggered.

“Iodine has a volatile nature, iodized salt should be stored in dark glass jars, closed and out of light.”

People who have a plant-based diet have low iodine content in plant sources grown in soils not near the sea. Iodine has a volatile nature. Iodized salt should be stored in dark glass jars, closed and out of light. Transparent glass salt shakers and jars should not be used.

“We must consider foods that are natural sources of iodine.”

Apart from our intake by iodizing salt, other iodine source foods are fish, shrimp, sea beans, seaweed, eggs, sprouted legumes, prunes, dill, garlic, spinach, chard, milk and yogurt, and strawberries.

“Iodine supplementation should not be used without detecting iodine deficiency and without a physician’s recommendation.”

Iodine need: “The daily iodine requirement of an adult and young people is 150 mcg, and 90 mcg in children. The need is 220 mcg during pregnancy and 290 mcg during lactation.” One teaspoon of salt contains 400 mcg of iodine. There are predictions that iodine, bromine, fluorine, and chlorine are absorbed in the same way, so it can block the passage of iodine. You can put them in detergent, cleaning materials, toothpaste, etc. Most of the time, we take it into our bodies without realizing it. In addition to all these, it is a fact that there is no excretion of fluorine from the body. We should pay attention to the signs of the presence of iodine deficiency. The clinical signs and symptoms of iodine deficiency are stated as:

  • Depression

  • Difficulty losing weight

  • skin dryness

  • Headache

  • Tiredness

  • Forgetfulness

  • Problems with menstruation

  • Hyperlipidemia (high blood fats)

  • recurrent infections

  • sensitivity to cold

  • cold hands and feet

  • mental confusion

  • thinning hair

  • Constipation

  • Shortness of breath

  • Decreased kidney function

  • Muscle weakness, joint stiffness

It is not correct to say that there is an iodine deficiency just by looking at these symptoms and signs. In conclusion, if I say; Iodine supplementation should not be used before iodine deficiency is detected and recommended by the physician.

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