Underactive metabolism? Look at Iodine!

Underactive metabolism? Look at Iodine!

Posted by Anthony Lawrence on

Hypothyroidism, also called underactive thyroid, is when the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones to meet your body’s needs.

This is referred to, along with other things as having a slower metabolism. 

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. Thyroid hormones control the way your body uses energy, so they affect nearly every organ in your body, even the way your heart beats.

Without enough thyroid hormones, many of your body’s functions slow down. Iodine has a big role in producing thyroid hormones so often we can see benefit to using it with people struggling with thyroid issues.

Many people suffer with underactive thyroid and as a result put on body fat. More women and older people suffer from Hypothyroidism than men.

Fat gain is the most notable effect of underactive thyroid however there are many other symptoms we may be experiencing by not attribute to it. Some common symptoms of hypothyroidism and iodine deficiency include:

  • fatigue
  • trouble tolerating cold
  • joint and muscle pain
  • dry skin or dry, thinning hair
  • heavy or irregular menstrual periods or fertility problems
  • irregular heart rate (slow or faster than normal)
  • trouble remembering things or learning new things
  • depression

Iodine is an element that is used by the thyroid. Humans cannot produce iodine, so it must be consumed. It is added to some foods and also to salt (iodized salt)
Iodine deficiency is one of the most common and preventable world health problems.

Most iodine is found in the ocean, where it is concentrated by sea life, particularly in seaweed (KELP). Iodine is taken by mouth to prevent and treat iodine deficiency and its consequences, including goiter and some thyroid disorders

Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine. These cells combine iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to make T3 and T4 our thyroid hormones.

T3 and T4 are then released into the bloodstream and are transported throughout the body where they control metabolism (conversion of oxygen and calories to energy).

Should all people with Hypothyroidism take iodine?

If the underactive thyroid isn't caused by iodine deficiency, then iodine supplements give no benefit and shouldn't be taken. We suggest assessing the diet to determine whether Iodine deficiency could be a problem by the individual. 

Food items that contain Iodine are; 

-Seaweed (nori, kelp, kombu, wakame)
-Fish, Shellfish (cod, canned tuna, oysters, shrimp)
-Table Salts labeled “iodized"

The recommended daily intake dosage in micrograms are as follows: 

Babies 0 to 6 months                  90 mcg
Babies 7 to 12 months                110 mcg
Children aged 1 to 8 years           90 mcg
Children aged 9 to 13 years         120 mcg 
Teenages aged 14 to 18               150 mcg
Adults                                           150 mcg
Pregnant Women                          220 mcg
Breast feeding Women                 270 mcg

Not all hypothyroidism is directly related to iodine deficiency, but it is a great place to start looking if you suspect that you may be suffering from it. Use the above symptoms list to give you an indication of what to look out for. 

The dietary change is the best intervention that can be applied, if for whatever reason you can not eat the items of the iodine containing variety you may need to look to supplementation. 

We hope this helps you. 

Anthony :)

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