Did you say iodine?
Iodine is off the radar for health these days. We solved the problem of iodine deficiency years ago in the US when iodized salt was created. Adding a small amount of iodine to salt solved the problem of iodine deficient regions like the great lakes. Salt was so important for Americans that just modifying this one commodity meant that generations were spared the issues of iodine deficiency.
That was then. This is now. Today, everywhere you look, salt is under attack as unhealthy- despite being essential for life. I’m not going to defend salt here today other than to observe that you can’t live without it. Maybe today’s diets are too loaded with salt, particularly the processed foods that are so hard to avoid. What is an unavoidable truth these days is that more and more people in places like the US are deficient in iodine. You have to ask why. If the main source of iodine in your diet is from salt, then cutting salt may mean that you are iodine deficient. Because there hasn’t been an iodine problem in the US for so long, people never think about it and don’t know what it means to their health to be iodine-deficient. I got a wake-up call last week about the growing problem of iodine deficiency so today I’m sharing some information about why iodine is important and why you may be deficient in iodine and not know it.
Iodine is essential to your Thyroid gland.
Iodine is the key substance that allows the thyroid gland to produce its hormones and control your metabolism. Without iodine, this important gland cannot function. The extreme result of iodine deficiency is an enlargement of the thyroid gland known as a goiter but beside this physical effect is the impact on the metabolism which can show up in may ways. Because the thyroid has such impact on health, hyperthyroidism can easily be confused with many other issues. These days few people think about the thyroid gland and even fewer about iodine.
It should be easy to get enough iodine.
In a normal diet, so long as the food is grown in areas with sufficient natural iodine, most people will get enough iodine. These days with more people eating more processed food items and avoiding salt, the number of iodine deficient people is growing, especially in the US.
The good news about iodine is that it is found in many foods and that a diet containing fresh vegetables , fish and dairy products will generally provide sufficient iodine. Supplementation should be left for your doctor to recommend. If you think you might have some of the symptoms of deficiency, ask at your next checkup. So long as you enjoy a healthy diet of fresh foods, you should get enough iodine to keep your thyroid functioning properly. Still, it is good to be familiar with some of the symptoms of iodine deficiency so you can recognize them. Particularly for older people, there is no need to complicate the issues of aging with a poorly functioning thyroid gland. Eat a healthy diet and keep your thyroid gland happy and productive.