Switching over to iodine, we are getting over to another interesting essential micro element. It is imaginable that not all of us think that iodine is an essential micro element at all. But in this post, we will find a specific answer to the question “Do We Need Iodine? – The Thyroid Gland Guard”. We will also get to know from where you can get it, how much you need of it and what else might be interesting about this micro element.
Why can we call Iodine the Thyroid Gland Guard?
Iodine fortifies itself mostly in our thyroid gland. 80 % of the iodine in our body can be found there.
Its main function is the production of specific thyroid gland hormones, which are essential for our metabolism. Later in this blog post, we will find out more about the functions of these hormones in our body.
So that the thyroid gland is able to produce the right amount of thyroid gland hormones a specific quantity of iodine is necessary. Is our iodine intake through our nutrition to low, then the affected thyroid gland tissue releases growth factors. They lead to an increased thyroid gland cell production within the affected region and the neighbor regions. This development can be regulated by neurotransmitters from our brain, coming from our hypothalamus and can be equaled when enough iodine is present again.
Is the iodine deficiency staying for years, then it can happen that degenerative tissue develops in the thyroid gland, which is excluded from the regulation of the hypothalamus. This process can lead to a crop.
In serious cases, this can look like the throat sac of the marabou in the picture, which actually is not a crop because of an iodine deficiency, but a tool for regulating heat. Only the appearance is similar.
So now we know that iodine not only protects us from getting a crop but is also necessary for the production of several hormones, which are essential for our body.
What is Iodine?
Iodine is a halogen, which is solid at room temperature and nonwater-soluble but soluble in organic solvents.
The iodine quantity in agricultural food is as higher as it is grown near to the sea, as the soil contains more iodine the nearer it is to the sea.
Iodine is an essential micro or trace element, which we have to get through our nutrition.
What is the demand of Iodine?
Depending on the age, health and lifestyle the daily demand for an average and healthy adult for iodine is about
150 micrograms (μg) per day.
Where can you get Iodine from (Top foods)?
Here are the Top foods, which are rich in Iodine:
1. Algae (up to 1.000.000 μg/100g),
2. Salt with iodine (up to 500.000 μg/100g)
3. Fish like salmon (up to 300 μg/100g)
4. Eggs and milk products (up to 10 μg/100g)
5. Spinach (up to 2 μg/100ml)
Algae and salt with iodine should be eaten moderately.
What are the functions and benefits of Iodine?
At the beginning of this blog post, we already spoke about the most important function of iodine in our body. And this is its function in the thyroid gland. Now we are going to have a closer look at this function.
Hormone production in the thyroid gland
There are two especially important hormones, which are built in the thyroid gland. And these are thyroxine and triiodothyronine.
Thyroxine, maybe the best-remembered thyroid gland hormone, is essential in our energy metabolism and the collaboration with other hormones in our body, for example, insulin and adrenalin.
Triiodothyronine is the biologically most effective thyroid gland hormone. It represents nearly the same functions as thyroxine in our body.
In this case, it is possible to set a direct link to the micro element selenium. Another important role of selenium is its effect in the iodine metabolism. Within this process, it is necessary to build thyroid gland hormones, such as the conversion of thyroxine into the more active form triiodothyronine.
Moreover, there is the hormone calcitonin, which is not typically named as a thyroid gland hormone because it has a significantly different structure compared to the other two hormones. It has a calcium-regulating function but is not directly linked to our todays topic, because it doesn´t contain iodine.
Resulting functions of iodine and iodine-relating substances in our body
The two most important hormones, namely thyroxine and triiodothyronine are used in nearly every part of our body in the metabolism. Predominantly these hormones are there to promote growth processes, specifically in unborn and children, but also in adults.
At the beginning of our life, these hormones, containing iodine, are there to form bones, muscles, the brain, the heart and nerves.
In adults, these processes are staying throughout our life together with a proper function of the energy and protein metabolism, muscle regeneration and an equal heart rhythm.
What deficiency symptoms of Iodine exist?
Depending on how high the deficiency of iodine is, the symptoms can be different from each other. Probably the most severe symptom of a long-term iodine deficiency, which has to last for years, is the crop. A diet low in iodine like it can be for vegetarians and vegans or excessive sport can be risk factors.
Other symptoms, caused by a lack of iodine can be as followed:
- dry/weak skin and hair loss
- disorders in the nerve system
- gaining weight
- development disorders within children
What overdose symptoms of Iodine exist?
An overdose of iodine is not so easily happening, as it needs supplementation, a high consume of iodized salt or algae, which are rich in iodine. An overdose can possibly increase the chance for the diseases graves´disease (autoimmune disease, which leads to an over function of the thyroid gland, which can cause a crop and can involve the eyes by bringing them more out of the eye socket) and Hashimoto´s thyroiditis (autoimmune disease, which leads to an under function of the thyroid gland and to the symptoms described under deficiencies).
Beginning at 500 mg/day over a long time may result in the following symptoms:
- weight loss
- heart racing
What else may you have to consider about Iodine?
Value in our body
The amount of iodine in our body is about 10 – 30 mg. About 80% of it can be found in the thyroid gland.
Antagonists and Advice
As our thyroid gland only has the ability to store a certain amount of iodine, it is a common practice to take about 200 μg of it when a person is exposed to radioactive iodine. But this practice only works for radioactive iodine and prevents it from being stored in the thyroid gland. In the case of an exposition, the right time to take the iodine is necessary. From 24 hours before exposure until some hours after the exposure are a good choice.
The thyroid gland has the form of a butterfly, so you may also call it the butterfly gland.
Discovery and Use
Iodine was first discovered in 1813.
The word “iodine” comes from the Greek word “ioeides”, which means violet.
As we are coming to the end of the blog post, we can summarize the benefits of iodine as followed. Iodine is a very essential and important mineral for our body, as it has a regulating function on our thyroid gland and helps this gland to produce the vital thyroid gland hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine, which have a beneficial effect in nearly all areas of our body. They promote the formation of cells and molecules for the heart, the brain and other nerves, the bones and the muscles. Moreover, they are there to support our energy and protein metabolism. Algae, enriched salt, fish and eggs are good sources of iodine in food.
Now to you. What do you think? What was new here for you? Do you want to know something else? Let us know in the comments.