6 Health Effects Of Iodine Deficiency

6 Health Effects Of Iodine Deficiency

Health Effects Of Iodine Deficiency

Do you know that around a third of people throughout the world are deficient in iodine? Our body cannot make its own iodine. Instead, we can obtain it mostly from our diets. Most foods contain little iodine unless these are processed. We all know that eating processed foods can be detrimental to our entire well-being. But then, we need this for our thyroid gland to produce hormones. In this article, we will mainly discuss the effects of iodine deficiency.

The thyroid gland is responsible for making hormones needed by your body. But it needs iodine to perform its function. If you are iodine deficient, your thyroid gland will work harder so that it can do its job. The more it works harder, the more you are prone to various risks such as goiter.

6 Health Effects Of Iodine Deficiency

Iodine deficiency can lead to adverse health effects. People who are at higher risk include pregnant women, vegetarians, vegans, those who don’t use iodized salt, and those who live in places where there is little iodine in the soil such as New Zealand, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and European countries. Some health effects of iodine deficiency are

1. Swelling In The Neck

One of the most common symptoms of iodine deficiency is goiter. This occurs when your thyroid gland is enlarged. As mentioned above, if your body is deficient in iodine, your thyroid gland will work harder for it to produce hormones. This makes cells multiply, thereby leading to the goiter.

2. Weight Gain

If your thyroid gland cannot make hormones responsible for your metabolism, you will most likely experience weight gain. Controlling your metabolism is very important because it converts the food you eat into heat and energy. But if you have low levels of thyroid hormone, you will find it hard to burn calories, and this will be stored as fat.

3. Fatigue

A study has shown that 80 percent of people who are iodine deficient feel weak, tired, and sluggish. This could be explained by low energy levels. As mentioned earlier, hormones produced by the thyroid gland controls the speed of your metabolism. It is essential to convert the food into energy. If this food is stored as fat, instead of being converted into energy, you will most likely experience the symptoms of fatigue and weakness.

4. Hair Loss

The growth of your hair follicles may also depend on thyroid hormones. If these hormones are low, your hair may be prevented to regenerate. This will eventually lead to hair loss over time. A study has shown that 30 percent of people with low levels of iodine experience hair loss.

5. Dry Skin

A study shows that 77 percent of people who are suffering from iodine deficiency also have dry, flaky skin. Just like hair, your skin also needs to regenerate. And this can happen only if your body has sufficient thyroid hormones. This may also have something to do with your sweat as it keeps your skin moist. It is shown that people who are deficient in iodine tend to sweat less.

6. Feeling Cold

A study has shown that 80 percent of people who have iodine deficiency tend to be sensitive to cold temperatures. This is because your thyroid hormones are responsible for speeding up your metabolism. If you have a slow metabolism, you will most likely generate less heat. And if your body has lesser heat, chances are you will feel colder as usual.

How To Prevent Iodine Deficiency?

Iodine deficiency can be prevented if you include iodine-rich foods in your diet, including seaweed, dried prunes, cod, tuna, iodized salt, egg, and shrimp. Your body needs to have 150 mcg of iodine every day. To avoid iodine deficiency, you need to maintain such amount of iodine in your diet. Pregnant or breastfeeding women need around 220 mcg of iodine a day. While a higher amount of iodine is needed for lactating women. They need to have 290 mcg of iodine every day.


Every day, you need to maintain 220 mcg of iodine. Otherwise, you will be prone to iodine deficiency. Weight gain, fatigue, swelling in the neck, and dry skin are just a few of the effects of iodine deficiency. If you want to prevent this, eat sufficient amount of foods rich in iodine such as seaweed, tuna, shrimp, and egg.


Ahmed Zayed

Doctor, author and fitness enthusiast, Ahmed Zayed, MD, is a surgery resident with a passion for helping people live a happy healthy life. He is the author of numerous health-related books and contributor to several medicine, health and wellbeing websites.