The Importance Of Iodine In Thyroid Hormones

The human body - and every living cell in it - needs iodine. One particular organ, the thyroid gland, requires iodine to create its essential hormones. These vital hormones regulate your body’s metabolic rate, muscle control, and digestive function, among other things. But there’s a catch – the human body cannot manufacture iodine on its own, so we must get it, and other thyroid-beneficial nutrients, primarily from our diet.

Thyroid Functions And Problems

When the thyroid doesn’t receive enough iodine, you could end up with hypothyroidism – when your thyroid is not producing enough hormones to maintain control over your body’s metabolism and its other obligations. As a result, you may experience some memory loss or weight gain, or even develop a goiter. While natural aging can be a factor in thyroid slowdown, lack of iodine can also play a role.

Iodized Salt and Sodium Intake

Most Americans get their iodine through iodized salt. It was first introduced back in the 1920’s after studies revealed both how vital it is to our bodies, and its effectiveness in reducing goiter occurrences in varying regions of the country. But much of the salt used in today’s popular processed foods is not iodized so you’re just adding to your daily sodium intake when you consume it. So if you’re trying to cut back on your sodium intake, there are still several other dietary sources to get your much-needed iodine – especially for women during pregnancy and also when they are lactating after giving birth.

Iodine Rich Foods

Brazil nuts, coconut and cod liver oils, egg yolks, and avocados are excellent sources of dietary iodine. Plus, they also contain selenium, zinc, and tyrosine – additional micronutrients your body needs. Shellfish, saltwater fish, and seaweed have plenty of naturally occurring iodine and various dairy products such as milk and yogurt are fortified with it.

In short, getting enough iodine from your diet shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but you should still be mindful of taking in excess sodium.