Iodine supplements are often recommended for iodine deficiency that can disrupt hormone levels released by the thyroid gland. The thyroid plays an important role in many functions throughout the body, including regulating metabolism for energy.
Severe iodine deficiency can cause hypothyroidism, according to the Mayo Clinic. Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, results in the thyroid secreting too little of the thyroid hormone. However, iodine deficiency is not the only cause of an underactive thyroid, which may also result from a disorder of the pituitary gland or a defective thyroid.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, depression, weight gain, constipation, and menstrual irregularities. The cause isn’t necessarily from iodine deficiencies, and other causes need to be found when iodine supplements don’t improve conditions.
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Iodine is a chemical necessary for the thyroid gland to make hormones. Since the body does not produce the chemical, it must obtain iodine though the diet or supplements. It is difficult to find iodine in foods, except through salt or foods or those processed using salt, according to WebMD.
Iodine supplements and iodized salt help improve iodine deficiencies and can help improve the function of an underactive thyroid.
Low levels of iodine in a woman's body can affect secretion of thyroid hormone, which can interrupt ovulation and lead to infertility.
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Iodine and thyroid hormone deficiencies can cause difficulties during pregnancy, such as high blood pressure. Newborns and infants are susceptible to developmental harm and mental retardation from iodine and thyroid deficiencies. Doctors usually monitor infants for thyroid hormone levels and treat the condition immediately.
Although iodine deficiencies are rare in the U.S., thyroid problems and deficiencies can occur. Check with your doctor about the need for iodine supplements for your particular condition.
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