World Iodine Deficiency Day is celebrated on October 21 every year. Iodine is very important for the hormonal functions of our body. Iodine deficiency has been known to cause a number of health conditions that can even be fatal. A certain amount of iodine is required in your body in order to create a vital chemical known as thyroid hormone. Not only does the chemical control our metabolism (Body's process of converting what you eat and drink into energy) but also other essential body functions. Iodine deficiency may cause both mental health issues and bodily dysfunctions. The thyroid problems are essentially caused dies to low levels of iodine in the body. An abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland, known as a goitre, can be caused by iodine deficiency. Micronutrient Deficiencies That Indians Commonly Face.
Iodine is not made by your body naturally, which mean your diet has to suffice the iodine needs of your body. Since the nutrient is extremely important for your body adults to require 150 micrograms (mcg) per day of iodine. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy is also a common problem, and their RDA of iodine is more than others as well. Pregnant and breastfeeding women need 200 mcg per day.
Thankfully, iodine can be easily found in foods such as fish, eggs, nuts, meats, bread, dairy products, seaweed iodised table salt, etc. However, the health consequences of iodine deficiency can be dangerous. Iodine deficiency needs immediate treatment, and if left untreated, it can cause severe hypothyroidism. Here are some of the consequences of hypothyroidism:
- Cardiomegaly (an enlarged heart)
- Heart failure and other heart ailments
- Mental health issues such as depression
- Cognitive impairment
- Peripheral Neuropathy (damage to the body's peripheral nerves)
- Infertility in women
In severe cases, iodine deficiency can cause a condition called cretinism which is a congenital iodine-deficiency syndrome. The health condition is caused by severe physical and mental growth because of untreated congenital deficiency of thyroid hormone usually because of maternal hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism and Pregnancy
When there is a deficiency of iodine causing lack of thyroid hormone amongst pregnant women, the risk of a child being born with congenital disabilities increases. Several pregnancy-related iodine deficiencies health issues can be caused. Maternal lack of thyroid hormone can increase the chances of miscarriages, stillbirth, preterm delivery and various types of congenital abnormalities in newborns
As per studies, low-level of thyroid hormones in the blood is majorly responsible for the series of functional and developmental abnormalities, collectively referred to as IDD. Iodine deficiency is a significant cause of mental developmental problems in children, including implications on reproductive functions and lowering of IQ levels in school-aged children.