10 Signs and Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency


Iodine is a trace mineral present in certain vegetables and seafood and is essential [1] for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. We get 90% of our iodine from salt.

This is an essential mineral and insufficient amounts of it in the body can cause serious health problems, especially with the thyroid gland.

Iodized salt supplies a significant percentage of this mineral, so households that do not use this type of salt may be at risk of developing thyroid problems. As popular as iodized salts are in countries like the USA, this mineral is scarce in some parts of the world. Reports have shown that up to one-third of the population is at risk of a deficiency [2]. This includes European countries because they have only a small amount of iodine in the soil.

If you aren’t getting enough dietary iodine, your doctor may recommend supplements for you to use. You shouldn’t use supplementation without medical recommendations as you may end up taking too much of the mineral, which may cause thyroid gland inflammation or thyroid cancer. It is best to consume iodine at a moderate level in line with the daily recommended intake.

Iodine is an important part of our diet for many reasons like hormone regulation and fetal development. We’ll be looking at some of the signs and symptoms of iodine deficiency, you must visit your doctor once you start to experience one or more of the symptoms.

Asides from the iodine that is in salt, you can get it from other foods, both processed and unprocessed, such as;

  • Fish like cod and tuna
  • Egg yolk
  • Nuts like Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and hazelnuts
  • Meat like beef and chicken
  • Bread
  • Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese
  • Seaweed

The recommended daily intake (RDI) of iodine is 150 mcg per day for adults. Pregnant women and nursing mothers are required to consume higher than 150 mcg because the baby needs this mineral for development. At the early stages of infancy, even before birth, this mineral plays an important role in the development of the central nervous and skeletal systems. The mother must ensure that iodine is included in her diet because the amount the baby receives is dependent on how much the mom takes in.

For babies that have started taking formula, you can check the nutritional value chart to know the amount of iodine in your baby’s formula. Most baby foods, especially in the USA are required by the FDA to contain some amount of iodine.

Iodine deficiency can be very catastrophic to brain development and decrease the child’s overall quality of life. Pregnancy and lactation call for a higher intake of iodine, and the gynecologist may recommend supplementation if need be.