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Iodine for a healthy growth – world iodine deficiency disorder day


Our body needs iodine to make thyroid hormones that help control our body’s metabolism and carry our other crucial functions. It also requires thyroid hormones to assist bone and brain development during infancy and pregnancy. Sufficient iron intake is vital for every one of us, particularly infants and pregnant women.


As per a survey conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research and State and Central Health Directorate, around ten percent of the Indian population suffers from Iodine deficiency.


Am I at a risk of getting IDD?


Certain conditions, lifestyle habits and physiological stages may need you to track your iodine intake wisely. You need to find extra or alternate sources of iodine if

  • You do not use iodized salt – Consuming iodized salt is the most common approach to include adequate iodine in your diet

  • You are pregnant – Pregnant women need 50 percent more iodine for proper development of her child

  • You are on a vegan diet – People who do not eat dairy products, seafood, eggs are at risk of suffering from Iron deficiency

  • People living in regions that have iodine-deficient soils – Mountainous areas and sea valleys are more likely to have iodine-deficient soil. India is one such region.

What are Iodine deficiency disorders?


When our body observes less amounts of iodine, iodine deficiency disorders start to occur. Some of these common disorders are:

  • Hypothyroidism

  • Hearing, vision and speech impairment

  • Low intelligence

  • Neuromuscular weakness

Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) can start before a child’s birth which jeopardizes their mental health and survival rate. During pregnancy, serious iodine deficiency may result in:

  • Stillbirth

  • Spontaneous abortion

  • Certain congenital abnormalities


Is eating an excess of Iodine harmful too?


Intake of extra amounts of iodine may result in the same types of conditions that are caused by its deficiency such as goitre (enlargement of thyroid glands), inflammation and even thyroid cancer. Burning of mouth, food passage and stomach, fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, and nausea are other issues extra doses of iodine can cause.


What are the tests for iodine deficiency?


Your iodine levels will be checked in one of four ways –


Urine test: Simple and fastest test in which you get results in minutes, but might not be that accurate


Blood test: A blood test takes more time to read than the urine test but is an accurate test for the iodine levels in the body


Iodine patch test: Your doctor paints a patch of iodine on your skin to check how it appears after 24 hours. If you are not iodine deficient, the patch will fade no sooner than 24 hours, but you are iodine deficient if it gets absorbed into your skin quickly


Iodine loading test: Measures how much iodine you excrete in the urine over 24 hours



How can we prevent IDD?


Since our body does not produce iodine on its own, hence it is important we include it in the food and supplements we consume. Some of these can provide you with the recommended amount of Iodine:

  • Fish

  • Milk, yoghurt and cheese

  • Iodized salt

  • Dietary supplements


World Iodine Deficiency Disorder Day


In order to spread awareness about IDD, the World Iodine Deficiency Day is observed every year on 21st October. It aims to spread awareness amongst people to eat right and adopt a healthy lifestyle by adding an adequate amount of iodine in their daily diet.

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