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Iodine Deficiency

Iodine is key to the function of the thyroid gland. Because iodine is so important to the thyroid gland, having iodine deficiency can cause many health problems including brain damage. Other effects may consist of mental retardation, deficiency of the thyroid hormone, enlargement of the thyroid gland, and other abnormalities of the thyroid gland. When the thyroid gland becomes enlarged it causes other problems with the body that may or may not be reversible. Yet, brain damage is the most severe side effect of iodine deficiency.

In children across the world, iodine deficiency becomes a major problem because their developing brains are more susceptible to brain damage. Children who suffer from iodine deficiency are more likely to have lower IQ’s by an average of 13 points, not perform as well in school and have more learning disabilities than children who do not suffer from iodine deficiency. In order to increase iodine intake, many families around the world use iodized salt which helps to regulate the amount of iodine a person absorbs.

However, when a woman is pregnant or nursing, it is recommended that she take an iodine supplement. When a woman is pregnant, she is more likely to have a miscarriage, stillbirth, or give birth to a child with birth defects if she does not receive enough iodine. When a woman is nursing, she is more likely to not pass on enough iodine on to her infant child who is more likely to have the same effects of iodine deficiency that a child might have but to a more severe degree.


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