Iodine is an important element that is required by our body for normal metabolism of the cells. It is also essential for the production of thyroid hormones from the thyroid gland. A deficiency in iodine can cause hypothyroidism, goiter, and hyperthyroidism. An iodine test is used to check whether a person is suffering from thyroid disorders, and also used to test for the presence of starch.
Even if a person might not suffer from thyroid disorders due to low levels of iodine in a body, it can still make a person feel tired and worn out. Other side effects include insomnia, body aches, and chronic fatigue. The test, besides detecting whether a person is suffering from thyroid problems, is also effective in detecting cervical cancer.
Test for Starch
As mentioned earlier, an iodine test is done to test for the presence of starch. The basic principle of this test is that when an iodine solution (i.e., aqueous solution of potassium iodide) comes in contact with starch, the solution turns blue black in color. Starch, which is found in carbohydrate rich foods like potatoes, rice, corn, and barley can be separated into two fractions - amylose and amylopectin. In the presence of iodine, amylose in starch forms a deep blue color. As starch is nothing but carbohydrates, the test for carbohydrates is same as that of starch.
Test for Thyroid
One of the most important iodine test is that for detecting thyroid problems. The thyroid gland is one of the most important in a person's body, as it helps to balance hormones, regulate heartbeat, maintain ideal weight, provide energy, stabilize cholesterol, keep menstrual cycles regular, and encourages muscle growth. When a person has a deficiency of iodine, it hampers with the production of thyroid hormone. When a person shows deficiency symptoms, an iodine deficiency test is done.
In this test, a sample of the person's urine is collected in the morning for an iodine spot test. After that, 50 mg of iodine is ingested, and urine is collected throughout the day till the next morning. Then all the urine samples are sent to the laboratory. If the body has sufficient amount of iodine, then at least 90 percent of it will be excreted into the urine. However, if there is a deficiency of iodine, then less amount of it will be excreted, as the body will try to hold on the iodine to make up for the deficiency. After the test results, a person is given iodine supplements if he/she is seen to have a deficiency. Your doctor can tell you if you are suffering from thyroid and will provide medication for the same.
If you want to do an iodine test at home, then it is possible to do so with a patch test, which is also known as iodine skin test. For this, you will need to purchase tincture of iodine from a pharmacy. Before you go to sleep at night, apply a 3 by 3 inch patch of iodine on the underside of the forearm or inner thigh. When you wake up in the morning, check the color of the patch. If there is no color remaining on your skin, it implies that you are deficient. It is best to see your doctor who will advice you on your next step.
Iodine deficiency is very common but most people are not aware of this. Eating iodine rich foods is one of the ways to ensure that you have optimal amount of it in your body. A test is the best way to know if you are deficient. It will also help you to prevent thyroid problems.