Symptoms Of Iodine Deficiency

If you are not eating seafood or sea plants regularly, then you are probably Iodine deficient. As a matter of fact, up to a third of people in the world are at risk of an iodine deficiency! To learn more about why this happening, click here to read Why We Have A Problem With Iodine Deficiency.

The symptoms are very similar to those of hypothyroidism, or low thyroid hormones. Since iodine is used to make thyroid hormones, an iodine deficiency means your body can’t make enough of them, leading to hypothyroidism.

Unexpected Weight Gain 

It may occur if the body does not have enough iodine to make thyroid hormones. This is because thyroid hormones help control the speed of your metabolism, which is the process by which your body converts food into energy and heat  . When your thyroid hormone levels are low, your body burns fewer calories at rest. Unfortunately, this means more calories from the foods you eat are stored as fat.

Fatigue and Weakness

Fatigue and weakness are also common symptoms of an iodine deficiency. In fact, some studies have found that nearly 80% of people with low thyroid hormone levels, which occur in cases of iodine deficiency, feel tired, sluggish and weak. These symptoms occur because thyroid hormones help the body make energy.

When thyroid hormone levels are low, the body can’t make as much energy as it usually does. This may cause your energy levels to plummet and leave you feeling weak. In fact, a study in 2,456 people found that fatigue and weakness were the most common symptoms among those with low or slightly low thyroid hormone levels.

Hair Loss

Thyroid hormones help control the growth of hair follicles. When your thyroid hormone levels are low, your hair follicles may stop regenerating. Over time, this may result in hair loss.

Dry Flaky Skin

Dry, flaky skin may affect many people with an iodine deficiency. In fact, some studies have found that up to 77% of people with low thyroid hormone levels may experience dry, flaky skin. Thyroid hormones, which contain iodine, help your skin cells regenerate. When thyroid hormone levels are low, this regeneration doesn’t occur as often, possibly leading to dry, flaky skin

Feeling Colder Than Usual

Feeling cold is a common symptom of an iodine deficiency. ISome studies have found that over 80% of people with low thyroid hormone levels may feel more sensitive to cold temperatures than usual. Since iodine is used to make thyroid hormones, an iodine deficiency can cause your thyroid hormone levels to plummet.

Given that thyroid hormones help control the speed of your metabolism, low thyroid hormone levels may cause it to slow down. A slower metabolism generates less heat, which may cause you to feel colder than usual.

Changes In Heart Rate

Your heart rate is a measure of how many times your heart beats per minute. It may be affected by your iodine levels. Too little of this mineral could cause your heart to beat slower than usual, while too much of it could cause your heart to beat faster than usual.

A severe iodine deficiency may cause an abnormally slow heart rate. This could make you feel weak, fatigued, dizzy and possibly cause you to faint.

Trouble Learning and Remembering

An iodine deficiency may affect your ability to learn and remember. A study including over 1,000 adults found that those with higher thyroid hormone levels performed better on learning and memory tests, compared to those with lower thyroid hormone levels.

Thyroid hormones help your brain grow and develop. That’s why an iodine deficiency, which is required to make thyroid hormones, can reduce brain development. Studies have found that the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls long-term memory, appears to be smaller in people with low thyroid hormone levels.

Heavy or Irregular Periods

Heavy and irregular menstrual bleeding may occur as a result of an iodine deficiency. Like most symptoms of iodine deficiency, this is also related to low levels of thyroid hormones, given that iodine is needed to make thyroid hormones.

In one study, 68% of women with low thyroid hormone levels experienced irregular menstrual cycles, compared to only 12% of healthy women. Research also shows that women with low thyroid hormone levels experience more frequent menstrual cycles with heavy bleeding. This is because low thyroid hormone levels disrupt the signals of hormones that are involved in the menstrual cycle.

Goiter

Swelling in the front of the neck is the most common symptom of an iodine deficiency. This is called a goiter and occurs when the thyroid gland grows too big. The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. It makes thyroid hormones upon receiving a signal from the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).

When blood levels of TSH rise, the thyroid gland uses iodine to make thyroid hormones. However, when your body is low in iodine, it can’t make enough of them. To compensate, the thyroid gland works harder to try to make more. This causes the cells to grow and multiply, eventually leading to a goiter.

Fortunately, most cases can be treated by increasing your iodine intake. However, if a goiter hasn’t been treated for many years, it might cause permanent thyroid damage.

If you are feeling any of these symptoms and would like to find if you could be deficient in iodine, call our office and schedule an appointment. We can run labs (insurance accepted for labs) to see what’s going on and how we can help you get back to feeling your best!

Mandi

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