Iodine is an important mineral required by the body. But, one needs to consume it in the right amount or there is danger of iodine toxicity. Let us look at how it occurs, its symptoms and how to cope with it.
Iodine is a chemical element which has many uses. Iodine and its compounds are present in our diet, and many times are added to food products to prevent any deficiency of iodine. The function of iodine in the body is primarily synthesis of the thyroid hormones. Natural iodine occurs in seawater, and a bit of it enters the atmosphere and falls on the ground in the form of rain. So, areas near sea contain a good amount of iodine, while areas which are far away from sea don’t contain much iodine.
Hence, many times to avoid any iodine deficiency it is added to food items. One of the common addition of iodine in food products is iodized salt. This may be good to a certain extent, but when taken in excess, iodine poisoning can occur. Let us look at this in detail.
When Does Iodine Toxicity Occur?
Mostly, iodine poisoning occurs by accident, when people tend to have an overdose of medications or supplements. Usually, it is difficult for one to suffer of iodine toxicity from one food source alone. Also, many people tend to tolerate slightly higher doses of iodine pretty well. But, if by accident one has an overdose of supplement or a certain medication, it can cause iodine poisoning . So, people who are on iodine supplement should monitor their iodine intake amount closely.
If one has an overdose of iodine then mild to serious effects of iodine toxicity can be observed. People who had any previous iodine deficiency can develop hyperthyroidism. This is a condition where the thyroid gland becomes overactive. This results in excessive production of thyroid hormones. However, sometimes the opposite can happen and there can be less production of thyroid hormone.
In this case, a person will start to show symptoms which are similar to iodine deficiency. So, symptoms like goiter or hypothyroidism can occur. There can also be myxedema, in which a person can have dry skin and sometimes swelling around lips and nose. This may also be accompanied by mental deterioration. Overdose of iodine can also in some cases lead to thyroid papillary cancer.
How to Cope with Iodine Toxicity?
If you or anybody you know is showing any iodine poisoning symptoms then it is important to seek immediate medical help. The doctor will ask you some questions and might even recommend some test. The appropriate treatment after diagnosis will be given to you. Also, patient will be asked to make dietary modifications.
Prevention of iodine toxicity is easily possible. All you have to do is follow a balanced diet, and stick more to a healthy diet than having supplements or any medications. As already mentioned, toxicity will occur only due to overdose of medication or supplements. So, depending upon your diet for iodine, intake more seafood and seaweed, and you will have enough iodine required by the body. Keep in mind the recommended dosage too. The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine has given the following dietary intake for iodine.
- Children between 1 to 3 years – 90 mcg/day
- Children between 4 to 8 years – 90 mcg/day
- Children between 9 to 13 years – 120 mcg/day
- Males 14 years and older – 150 mcg/day
- Females 14 years and older – 150 mcg/day
- Infants between 0 to 6 months – 110 mcg/day
- Infants between 7 to 12 months – 130 mcg/day
Given above was information on when iodine poisoning occur, its symptoms and tips to cope and prevent it. Hence, follow a balanced diet and if you are on supplements make sure you keep a check on their intake, to prevent any toxicity of iodine.