Iodine deficiency: symptoms and prevention – Клініка Стефана Хміля

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Iodine deficiency: symptoms and prevention


With the onset of autumn and the beginning of new academic year, we traditionally remember about iodine deficiency. Iodine – a chemical element that is part of the hormones of the thyroid gland. In the absence of iodine there are malfunctions in the work of the organ, it manifests itself as a disturbance of the metabolism and disturbance of the psyche. If you notice a weight gain, a deterioration in the condition of the skin and nails, lethargy, irritability, memory impairment, inattentiveness, prompt fatigability, decreased ability to work and can not find the cause, then you should examine the thyroid gland. Probably the reason is precisely in iodine deficiency.


Especially sensitive to iodine deficiency are women, as a manifestation may be a disturbance of the menstrual cycle, infertility. Lack of iodine during pregnancy leads to an increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, infant mortality. Equally dangerous is such a deficiency for schoolchildren: they are at risk of developing psychophysical disorders, often with colds.


Statistics show that due to the release of radioactive iodine because of the Chernobyl disaster, the number of diseases of the thyroid gland, in particular, its tumors, autoimmune thyroiditis, hypothyroidism, etc. increased. Taking into account the fact that we live in the endemic zone for iodine deficiency (this means that the iodine content in soil, water, as well as in food products grown in our area is not sufficient to meet the needs of the organism), prevention should be considered.

The daily requirement of iodine for children and adolescents is 50-100 micrograms, for adults is 150 micrograms, pregnant women and lactating mothers – 200 micrograms.


To date, mass Iodine-deficiency prophylaxis in educational institutions, as it was once, is not. Among the population, individual prevention is practiced. In particular, people use iodized water, sea kale, iodized salt or vitamins enriched with iodine.

For the prevention of iodine deficiency it is sufficient to regularly consume foods rich in iodine, in particular: sea fish, other seafood, fish oil, sea kale, persimmon, bell pepper and feijoa, walnuts, apple seeds, and black chokeberry. Again, it is worth saying that products contain iodine if they are grown outside the endemic zone, otherwise it is not possible a priori.


The first place in the prevention of iodine deficiency is taken by iodized salt, which includes iodine potassium. It is enough to eat 5-6 grams of this salt with food every day. But iodine is easily evaporated, so iodized salt requires careful use. First, the shelf life of such salt, as a rule, does not exceed three months and in the overdue product iodine is no longer. Secondly, iodized salt should be packed in an opaque polyethylene package or foil and stored in a tightly closed receptacle. Thirdly, salt the food after cooking, because at high temperature iodine quickly evaporates. Or you can cook non-salted food, and only then add to taste.

But in order for the organism to digest the necessary trace element – iodine, it is necessary first of all to have a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Colitis, gastritis, duodenitis and other diseases of the digestive system disturb the absorption in the intestine.

COULD IODINE BE HARMFUL? (Or excessive amount of iodine is also dangerous)

It is necessary to refrain from using iodine as a gargle or “iodine nets” in places of postinfectious infiltrates. One drop of iodine solution contains 6000 μg of iodine, which is 30 times more than normal. Such a dose of iodine can completely block the work of the thyroid gland.

However, it is not recommended to use iodine for everyone. Iodine can even harm, because of hyperfunction of the thyroid gland. In any case, it is worth doing an ultrasound examination of the thyroid gland, a blood test to check the required hormones and consult with an endocrinologist. At the medical center “the Clinic of Professor Stefan Khmil” you can undergo all the necessary examinations and get answers to your questions.

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