Iodine is essential for our life, because it’s the key component needed for the production of thyroid hormones. Our body is not able to produce those by itself, that’s why we have to consume foods rich with this element. Seaweed, prunes, eggs, and dairy products are among them. Iodine deficiency can lead to various uncomfortable symptoms. And when left untreated, it can be the cause of even more severe diseases, like cancer or heart failure.
Here at Bright Side, we’ve discovered the most common signs of iodine deficiency and now we are ready to share the results with you. If you have any of these symptoms, plan a visit to your doctor to find out the exact reason.
10. Hair and skin problems
Extensive hair loss and dry itchy skin can signal that you need iodine. It helps to regulate skin moisture level, stimulates the healing of cuts and scars, and even slows down the formation of wrinkles. This element is also a go-to for long and shiny hair. The secret is in its ability to support the hair follicle regeneration and protect it from infection.
9. Cold sensitivity
It’s not that cold, but you wrap yourself up in a blanket again. You always complain that you feel chilled while others wear T-shirts and call you a hothouse flower. It looks like you may suffer from iodine deficiency since it leads to slower metabolic rate. As a result, our bodies produce less energy which gives us that desirable warmth.
8. Unexpected weight gain
A slow metabolism would not be so undesired if cold sensitivity was its only problem. But, unfortunately, it also makes us gain excessive weight. It causes our body to burn less calories than usual, and we do not change our eating habits. As a result, the rest of the calories are stored as fat.
7. Fatigue and weakness
Studies have shown that around 88% of people with low thyroid hormones have this problem. If you see that things you used to do before are exhausting now, but you get enough sleep and do not have a tendency to overwork yourself, then iodine deficiency may be your problem. Constant fatigue and tiredness are other symptoms we should blame for a slow metabolism. We just do not have enough energy to stay active.
6. Learning and memory problems
According to a study that was carried out in 2014, people with lower level of thyroid hormones have a smaller hippocampus. This is the part of our brain that controls long-term memory. That’s why iodine deficiency can make learning and remembering things a real struggle for people. Moreover, a slow metabolism also affects the brain’s ability to process information and effectively respond to it.
5. Depression and anxiety
We often think that intense anxiety and depression can only be caused by physiological problems. But this is a common mistake. Scientists have confirmed that the link between depression and thyroid disorders was recognized a long time ago. If you notice that you feel down more than usual, check it out with your doctor to exclude serious problems and get the appropriate treatment.
4. Swollen neck
Now we are going to talk about the most common symptom. A swollen area on the neck is usually called a goiter and happens when our thyroid gland becomes abnormally large. When our body does not have enough iodine, the thyroid is not able to produce enough hormones and tries harder to absorb the element from the blood. This process causes its cells to multiply and grow more than usual, making our neck swollen.
3. Pregnancy-related problems
Pregnant women have to pay special attention to this problem as they have to cover not only their need in this element, but also their child’s demand. Thyroid hormones are very important for the baby before it is born. Their deficit has negative impact on infant brain development and intelligence. Furthermore, with iodine deficiency there is a higher risk of stillbirth or miscarriage.
An iodine deficiency is also associated with heart problems. To be precise, it leads to bradycardia, a heart rate that is considered to be slower than normal. When a person experiences this symptom, he or she may feel sick or dizzy and it can also cause fainting.
It seems that hypothyroidism has no mercy and can affect even our digestion system. Scientific literature confirms that an affected thyroid leads to a decrease in stomach and colon activity. That’s why some people experience constipation when they do not get enough iodine. You need to visit a doctor if you have fewer than 3 bowel movements per week.
Have you ever had a low level of iodine? What symptoms did you suffer from? Stay healthy and share this article with your friends to make them aware!
Illustrated by Ekaterina Gapanovich for Bright Side