Many people are under the misconception that iodine deficiency is a condition of the past that is most often associated with cretinism and goiters, or increased growth of the thyroid gland often depicted in images as a grotesque monstrosity hanging from the base of the neck. The prevalence was capped with the addition of iodine to table salt and so these once common conditions are often scoffed at as a possibility behind metabolic dysfunction, specifically thyroid dysfunction and decreased metabolism.
Iodine is a necessary precursor to the formation of thyroid hormones that regulate calcium levels in the body, body temperature, and also impacts hair, skin, menstrual cycles, and most importantly, metabolism. Decreased iodine deficiency directly impacts the function and ability of the thyroid to produce adequate amounts of the hormone needed to maintain metabolic thermogenesis and fat oxidation. This results in a condition known as hypothyroidism, or low functioning thyroid. The symptoms associated with iodine deficiency also reflect thyroid dysfunction and include fatigue, inability to tolerate the cold, dry skin, hair loss, weight gain and fatigue. Since the thyroid is responsible for so many functions that determine metabolism, the fatigue associated with decreased function contributes further to the increased propensity to gain weight, making it difficult for some people to find the motivation to become more active to offset the thyroid’s block against weight loss.
The apparent increase in iodine deficiency may be linked to and increased awareness for healthy eating, including organic foods that are grown in iodine deficient soil to meet organic standards, and natural salt or sea salt used for seasoning, which is not fortified with iodine.
There are many sources of iodine with which to deliver this mineral through diet or supplements, including foods, and dietary supplements in liquid or pill form. For more information on mineral deficiencies and available products, visit