On occasion of National Iodine Deficiency Disorder Day, observed on 23rd October we bring before you the importance of mineral - iodine - for your children.
• Iodine is not only important for proper functioning of thyroid hormones but also for brain development in young children.
• Iodine improves one’s mental alacrity, regulates body weight, and promotes proper growth and clearing waste from our body by promoting lymphatic system.
• Iodine protects our body cells from bromine, chlorine, fluorine that can perhaps be carcinogenic in high concentrations. Usually, pollutants, pesticides and heavy metals compete for iodine receptors in our bodies and if iodine levels are low in our body then the receptors get filled with toxins.
Iodine deficiency or therefore low thyroid hormone can lead to the most common condition called goiter or hypothyroidism. But, there is a range of conditions in various age groups which are termed as iodine deficiency disorders.
In children and adolescent development especially, low iodine levels can lead to
• Impaired brain function.
• Delayed physical development.
• Iodine-induce hyperthyroidism.
• Brittle nails
• Dry skin.
• Goiter (visible symptom).
• Learning disability.
• Low energy levels.
• Thin hair.
• Trouble in concentration and focusing.
• As a parent, you must know what your child eats and what he or she has repulsion for. If your child doesn’t eat sea food such as fish or shrimp and other iodine rich foods then they are at a greater risk of developing iodine deficiency disorders. Such disorders can cause learning and developmental problems in children who don’t consume optimum amount of this mineral.
• Increased consumption of carbohydrates including baked products tends to increase bromide levels. Bromide in baked goods then compete with iodine and decrease iodine levels in our body
• Your child’s daily iodine intake should not be less than 20 micrograms.
• Cereal and breads.
• Cottage cheese.
• Dairy products such as cow milk.
• Meat and chicken.
• Mozzarella Cheese
• Sea food such as shell fish, shrimps and water fish.
Although iodized salt is the best way to combat iodine deficiency disorder but it is not the only way. So keep the above food rich in iodine in your checklist too.
Researchers studied 184 children closely who suffered from mild iodine deficiency. They were between 10 and 13 years old and were given 150mcg of iodine every day. Children were tested right before and after giving them iodine supplements. They were tested to find out effects of supplementation on their cognitive ability and were given tests including those on pictures, symbol search, letter-numbering sequence and matrix reasoning.
Children who received iodine supplements had shown significant improvements in matrix-reasoning and picture concepts in comparison to those children who weren’t given iodine supplements. The iodine levels of the former group also increased.
This research is certainly encouraging because iodine supplements benefitted children who were already past the period where rapid development of the brain occurs. Fortunately, early intervention and ones made a little late can help address the problem of iron deficieny in children.