Iodine is combined with the amino acid ‘tyrosine’ in order to manufacture active thyroid hormone. This is the main function of iodine in the body. Although iodine’s activity is essentially linked to thyroid function, a deficiency in iodine can lead to a variety of symptoms and disorders. The main deficiency in this mineral can lead to ‘goiter’ which shows as the enlargement of the thyroid, causing swelling at the base of the neck.
Thyroid problems are more prevalent in Ireland than the rest of Europe as ‘fluoride’ in irish tap water may lead to a ‘sluggish’ thyroid. Fluoride was given some years ago as medication for ‘over-active’ thyroid. This is not as common as ‘under-active’ thyroid. Boiling tap water is likely to help kill any bacteria that may be present but as regards fluoride, it breaks it up into smaller particles making it more easily absorbed by the body. Iodine is likely to be very beneficial for those with under-active thyroid; however, it should not be supplemented by anyone already on thyroid medication without consulting your GP.
Although thyroid hormone activity impacts on so many aspects of health, it’s main role is controlling the rate of cellular metabolism, which influences the production of energy within cells, but also reflects the rate that fats are burned to produce energy. It is therefore not surprising that those with under-active thyroid are more prone to obesity.
Research indicates that supplementing with iodine may help those suffering with fibrocystic breast disease (FBD ) which manifests as benign cysts which cause pain and swelling in the breasts. Scientists have postulated that a lack of iodine in breast tissue may make the breast cells more sensitive to oestrogen, which in turn triggers the growth of cysts.
The best source of iodine is in seaweed products especially kelp and dulse. It is also present in spinach, asparagus, garlic, mushrooms, soya beans and iodised salt, as well as cod and haddock.
Iodine drops are available from ‘Biocare’ and kelp capsules from ‘Seagreens’ are an excellent brand but there are many available. Now is a good time to add seaweed products to soups.
For further information contact Susan in Au Naturel, Irishtown, Athlone on 090 6487993.