YOUR HEALTH IS YOUR WEALTH – Iodine deficiency by Dr. Ash Mina

FAST FACTS: Iodine is a trace element essential for human growth. The thyroid gland uses iodine to produce thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency disorders result from inadequate thyroid hormone production due to inadequate iodine intake. It is estimated that 2 billion individuals worldwide have insufficient iodine intake. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of preventable mental impairment worldwide. The usually recommended strategy to control iodine deficiency is through universal salt iodization and more recently through iodine fortification of flour. An Australian cross-sectional survey of 1709 schoolchildren aged 8-10 years also showed overall that children in mainland Australia are borderline iodine deficient.

IODINE INTAKE: The usually recommended strategy to control iodine deficiency is through universal salt iodization and more recently through iodine fortification of flour. It is suggested that achieving optimal iodine intakes from iodized salt in the range of 150-250 μg/day for adults may minimize the amount of thyroid dysfunction in populations. It is a good idea to pick up iodised salt over normal salt when you buy salt, unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from taking iodine. A daily dose of 1 μg iodine/kg body weight is recommended for infants and children receiving parenteral nutrition. Absorption from iodine-containing skin disinfectants also is another source to provide iodine.

IODINE DEFICIENCY: Iodine deficiency disorders may be associated with damage to fetus brain development, stillbirths, abortions, and congenital anomalies; cretinism (physical and mental retardation), deaf mutism (deafness, hearing loss), and spastic diplegia (one of nine different forms of Cerebral Palsy), and lesser degrees of neurological defect related to fetal iodine deficiency; and impaired mental function in children and adults with goiter associated with subnormal concentrations of circulating thyroxine. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy and infancy may impair growth and neurodevelopment of the offspring and increase infant mortality. Accordingly, some countries have recently implemented mandatory iodine fortification of flour (eg, Australia and New Zealand).