4 Signs And Symptoms Of A Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Deficiency

 

Are you worried that you might have a vitamin B2 deficiency? Not getting adequate levels of the vitamin can leave you feeling less than perfect and hold you back from leading a normal active life. Look out for these signs so you can catch a deficiency early and avoid more severe damage.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) Is Needed For Red Blood Cell Production, Growth, And More

Vitamin B2 or riboflavin is a water-soluble vitamin that helps with red blood production, respiration, cellular function and growth, antibody production, and reproduction. If you want healthy nails, skin, and hair, you’d do well to ensure adequate intake of this nutrient. It also has a part to play in thyroid function, regulating the activity of the gland.

1.1–1.3 mg Of Vitamin B2 Needs To Be Consumed Daily

Since vitamin B2 is water soluble, it isn’t stored in your body and must be consumed on a regular basis to supply your body with adequate amounts of the nutrient. While adult men need about 1.3 mg a day, women need 1.1 mg a day, according to the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) numbers from the Food and Nutrition Board. A woman, however, needs more of the vitamin when she’s expecting or nursing her baby. So aim at 1.4 mg if you are pregnant and 1.6 mg if you are lactating.

Not getting enough riboflavin can begin to take its toll on your body rather quickly, which is why the first signs and symptoms will show up as early as a few days after your intake becomes low enough to make your body deficient. Here’s what you need to watch out for.

1. Neuropsychiatric Symptoms Like Low Mood, Lethargy, And Hypochondria

Having a riboflavin deficiency has also been linked to certain neuropsychiatric symptoms. For instance, you may feel tired and lethargic or lazy. You may also experience mood dips. Hypochondria, a condition that causes you to live in constant fear that you might have some form of serious illness, can hamper your day-to-day living. Someone with this problem may believe or fear that normal functions of your body like sweating are an indication of some terrible illness. They may also become concerned or fixated about the health of specific organs like the heart or the digestive system.

2. Poor Iron Absorption And Anemia

A riboflavin deficiency may also impair absorption of other B vitamins, further compounding any B vitamin deficiencies.

Not having adequate riboflavin in the body can interfere with your body’s ability to handle or use iron. This deficiency affects your bone marrow, resulting in lower red blood cell count. As a result, you may become more prone to developing anemia, especially if your iron intake is already low.  Anemia manifests with one or more of these signs:

  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pale/yellowish skin
  • Rapid/irregular heartbeat
  • Pain in the chest
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Cold clammy hand/feets
  • Whooshing/pounding in the ears

3. Pellagra That Results In Dermatitis, Diarrhea, and Dementia

Pellagra is the result of a deficiency of multiple B vitamins, including B2. The result of the condition is referred to as the “three Ds” – dermatitis, diarrhea, and dementia. If you have pellagra, you may experience one or more of these signs and symptoms:

Another skin symptom associated with a vitamin B2 deficiency is seborrheic dermatitis, a cause of dandruff. The skin on your scalp may become red and scaly.

Cracked Lips, Sores, And Other Skin Problems
Dermatitis and other skin-related symptoms to expect include:

  • Lesions resembling sunburns in areas exposed to direct sunlight like the arms and legs, forehead, and lower neck.
  • Burning and itchiness of the skin
  • Scaling and exfoliation
  • Painful sores at the corners of your mouth (angular stomatitis)
  • Swollen, cracked, and dry lips (cheilosis)

Swelling Of The Mouth And Tongue
Besides the visible swelling, this may cause symptoms like:

  • Excessive saliva production
  • Soreness in the mouth
  • Bright red swollen tongue

Gastrointestinal Symptoms
Riboflavin deficiency and the resulting pellagra can also interfere with your digestive system, causing:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Burning sensation in the upper abdomen
  • Neurological And Psychological Symptoms
    In addition to the physical symptoms, you may also experience neurological and psychological symptoms that include:

    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Fatigue
    • Headaches and dizziness
    • Irritability
    • Tremors
    • Apathy

    About 4 to 10% of those with pellagra go on to develop mental problems like dementia.

    4. Eye Problems Like Cataract, Blurred Vision, And Photosensitivity

    A vitamin B2 deficiency also makes you prone to cataract formation if you experience a severe deficiency for a prolonged period. Your eyes may itch often or look red. This may result in blurred vision. It may also make you light sensitive, so your eyes hurt or water when you experience any glare or too much sunlight.

    Some People Are More At Risk Of Vitamin B2 Deficiency

    Certain people are more prone to a vitamin b2/riboflavin deficiency. They include:

    • Elderly adults
    • Adolescents
    • Vegetarian athletes because of how exercise and related stress affects your body’s metabolism of the nutrient
    • Vegans/anyone who doesn’t consume dairy or milk regularly
    • Pregnant women
    • Lactating mothers
    • How To Increase Vitamin B2 Intake

      Riboflavin is found in the following kinds of foods, so get in enough to keep a deficiency at bay. Here are options for people on a normal diet and a plant based diet.

      • Organ meat like beef liver and kidneys
      • Lean meats
      • Clams
      • Eggs
      • Dairy products like milk and yogurt
      • Legumes
      • Nuts
      • Malted barley
      • Leafy vegetables like spinach
      • Fortified foods like breakfast cereals, oatmeal, processed cheese, fruit drinks, and baby foods

      Just remember, because it is a water-soluble vitamin, if you choose to cook your food by boiling it, you stand to lose a lot of the nutrient content – twice as much than if you cooked by steaming. Instead, lightly steam it or use the microwave and you should lose much less. If you have other medical problems or a severe deficiency, it is best to consult your doctor to decide on the need for supplements or other treatment.

 

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8 Health Problems And Diseases Caused By Vitamin D Deficiency

Diseases caused due to vitamin D deficiency.

 

Stress is an inevitable part of modern life. While not all forms of stress are bad (since some even drive you to do your best), long-term stress that exhausts you or steals your interest from the joys of life must be treated. It’s all right to feel distracted, tense, or irritable for a few days. You’ll be fine when the immediate stressor – an exam, a rough patch in the relationship, or an urgent project – vanishes. But it’s not okay if you have been feeling low, tired, and irritable for months now. Long-lasting stress or chronic stress can  cause depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, hypertension, and premature aging. This is all due to the buildup of the stress hormone, cortisol. Too much cortisol suspends some body functions, like digestion or immunity, and disrupts glucose metabolism. It also damages the hippocampus, the memory store of the brain.

Ayurveda recommends the rasayana or a rejuvenating herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) or Indian ginseng for stress reduction and prevention of stress-induced diseases. Modern research finds it an excellent remedy for stress and other disorders of the nervous system, along with diseases such as cancer, tumor, and thyroid and kidney disorders. Ashwagandha acts as an adaptogen (a combination of amino acids and vitamins) that helps the body adapt to stress and boosts energy, stamina, and endurance, thus improving overall health, thanks to antioxidant chemicals called withanolides and sitoinsides.

1. Can Reduce Cortisol Levels By 28%

A study on patients of stress showed that ashwagandha root extract capsules for 60 days brought down the cortisol levels of the test subjects by 28%, which can be considered a huge improvement.

What makes stress a difficult condition to cure is that it can be both a cause and an effect of several other disorders. So while chronic stress can lead to diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, depression and anxiety, insomnia, premature aging, and even nerve-damaging disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, most of these in turn can worsen stress. Ashwagandha can both prevent stress and cure its after-effects.

2. Treats Depression And Anxiety

A prolonged state of acute stress will eventually lead to anxiety and depression. Clinical trials on animals have proven that ashwagandha is as effiective as standard anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs in alleviating the symptoms.

 
 

3. Promotes Sleep And Cures Insomnia

High cortisol levels can lead to fragmented sleep, decrease deep sleep, or even lead to insomnia or sleep apnea. Lack of sleep, in turn, affects health and becomes a source of constant anxiety. Ashwagandha promotes restorative sleep and balances the energy in the body without acting as a sedative and helps treat insomnia better than sleeping pills in the market.

4. Prevents Premature Aging

Stress can make you age faster by shortening the telomeres. Let us explain. Telomeres are located at the end of each chromosome in your body. With each cell division, telomeres shorten; and as telomeres shorten, you age. Chronic stress increases the production of reactive molecules called free radicals, which go on to damage the DNA in your cells. Soon, the natural antioxidants in the body cannot counter and repair this damage. As a study found, the telomeres are affected the most by such oxidative damage, which leads to their rapid shortening.

Ashwagandha has an anti-aging effect that can be attributed to its chemicals called glycowithanolides. In a study, ashwagandha extract was daily administered by researchers 1 hour before a stress-inducing procedure. The results showed that the potent antioxidants in ashwagandha could reduce the free radical damage. This in turn would halt the rapid aging caused by telomere shortening.

5. Prevents And Treats Nerve Damage

As chronic stress increases the production of free radicals, it also leads to nerve-degenerating conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. The antioxidants in ashwagandha fight the free radicals, reduce inflammation, and protect the nerves from damage. Ashwagandha also repairs damaged nerve cells and reconstructs the synapses between nerves. This reconstruction of neuronal networks is a major step toward healing the disease.

6. Treats Diabetes Caused By Stress

Ashwagandha can both cure and prevent type 2 diabetes by reducing cortisol levels. High cortisol levels slow down glucose metabolism and suppress insulin production. Ashwagandha has been found to lower blood glucose levels by 12% and increase insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes. In this, it was as effective as standard glucose-lowering drugs.

7. Lowers High Blood Pressure

Cortisol is a hormone responsible for regulating blood pressure, but in excess, it leads to high blood pressure or hypertension. A study on patients suffering from hypertension showed that ashwagandha root powder mixed with milk could bring down the systolic and diastolic readings.

Research also suggests that because of its heart-protecting functions, ashwagandha can help prevent cardiovascular diseases.

Ashwagandha Dosage For Stress Relief

Given that ashwagandha has powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-oxidative properties, it is one of the best herbs for people looking at alternative therapies. It is also preferable over drugs like benzodiazepines and other prescription stress medications, which have adverse side effects, including depletion of nutrients.

Take a daily dose of 1–2 teaspoons (3–6 g) of dried ashwagandha root powder. Don’t take larger doses. It can affect your digestion. It’s best to avoid ashwagandha if you’re pregnant as large dose may induce abortion.

Of course, ashwagandha will help, but here’s what you can do too. Set a routine, follow a healthy diet, and exercise well – running is a great remedy for stress. Do not rely on alcohol, smoking, and caffeine as ways of coping with stress. Rather, build emotional strength and adopt a positive outlook.

 

 

 

I have suffered from fluctuating Cortisol levels for sometime. I actually did not become aware of this until about six or seven years ago. They say a little bit information is dangerous, and I guess in my case that is true. Once I found out that I had some Cortisol level issues I did a bunch of research to find out what would work for me.

The suggestions below are things that I have done to keep my Cortisol levels under control. One of the things I learned is that high Cortisol and low Cortisol have some of the same symptoms.

So my goal became just to get rid of the symptoms, that were driving me CRAZY!

( As always consult your medical provider when it comes to making any significant lifestyle changes – especially if you are on any medication)

What Is Cortisol?

Simply stated Cortisol is a hormone made by the adrenal glands which is essential to almost every process in the body and also for maintaining homeostasis.

When your body is under stress it goes into the flight or fight response. As a result your body signals the cells to increase your adrenaline and Cortisol levels. Initially your body will increase the Cortisol in response to the demand by the body.

Unfortunately, after a while the body can’t keep up with the demand of Cortisol and the Cortisol production begins to lower resulting in some not so great symptoms. What are those symptoms?

Low Cortisol Levels Symptoms

  • Night sweats
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Low energy
  • Weight fluctuation
  • Heart palpitations
  • Depression
  • Nervousness

High Cortisol Levels Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Cravings for salt and sweets
  • Sleeplessness
  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Weight fluctuation
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog/memory issues
  • Nervousness
  • Increased heart palpitations
  • Blood pressure spikes
  • Aches and pains in the early morning

As you can see both high Cortisol levels and low Cortisol levels can bring on the same symptoms. If you are not sure which level is your condition, consult your medical practitioner.

I have suffered from most of these from time to time. I have found that I normally fall in the high Cortisol level.

I also learned what causes my Cortisol levels to rise is stress. There can be other causes for your Cortisol that you may not know anything about. Hence, find out what is causing the deficiency.

Whatever the cause these suggestions can help to keep your Cortisol within acceptable ranges. I have used these solutions for the last three years to minimize symptoms. I have found that overall they do work.

One thing that I have learned is you have to really be in tune with your body to understand what works best for you. Another thing you must do is be consistent. Once you identify what works for you continue to do it.

11 Things To Balance Your Cortisol Levels Naturally

These are some great ways to get your cortisol levels balanced. Sometimes you got to get back to basics:

1. Get Moving

Yes you must move your body to get relief. There are so many reasons why this is key to reducing your Cortisol. Once reason is it get the feel good hormones increasing and decreases the need for the body to produce Cortisol. Try some movement you enjoy, walking, jogging, dancing (that is a really fun one), skating, jumping rope (okay maybe that is a bit out there) but whatever increases your movement really helps.

2. Yoga

One of the great stress reliever is Yoga. The focus on breath and body placement helps to lower Cortisol. If you have never done yoga before no worries. There are lots of Yoga Videos on YouTube and brief videos on Instagram.

3. Balance Your Blood Sugar

Even if you are trying to lose a few pounds you must eat about every two hours to keep your Cortisol levels healthy. You don’t have to eat pizza every two hours. You can eat something very healthy and low in fat. Actually it also a great way to keep your metabolism going if you are trying to loose a few pounds.

4. Watch A Movie – Go To Comedy Club

Yes that’s right. LAUGH. Studies show is is one of the most effective ways to lower Cortisol.

5. Sleep Is Your Friend

We are a sleep deprived nation. We do not get enough rest. In fact some pride themselves on just needing four hours of sleep a night. This is so NOT the way to get healthy. You need to get a good night’s sleep every night at least 6 to 8 hours.

6. Avoid Negativity

Keep your immediate environment positive. Listen to music that is uplifting. Stop hanging with people who are always negative and complaining. Monitor what you watch on TV (especially the news). A constant dose of negativity brings stress and more stress brings Cortisol.

7. Increase Your Vitamin C

Studies have shown that 1000mg to 1500mg daily of Vitamin C helps to reduce Cortisol. Eating oranges (citrus in general) strawberries, and any from the berry family are very helpful.

If you choose a supplement make sure it is not synthetic – those are a waste of money because only a very small percentage is actually absorbed by the cells.

8. Digital DeTox Everyday!

Turn off all the TVs, computers, cell phones and anything else with a blue screen a couple of hours or so before bedtime. You can still listen to relaxing music, read or just be.

Studies have shown that first our brains need to disconnect each day from the constant stimulus that our digital lives bring every day. Second, the blue screens are definitely prohibitive when it comes to getting a deep sleep.

9. Eat These Foods

A steady dose of wild salmon, red bell pepper, beans, black tea, garlic, avocado, spinach, herb teas, fruits with vitamin C are great to help keep Cortisol levels within acceptable limits.

6. Avoid Negativity

Keep your immediate environment positive. Listen to music that is uplifting. Stop hanging with people who are always negative and complaining. Monitor what you watch on TV (especially the news). A constant dose of negativity brings stress and more stress brings Cortisol.

7. Increase Your Vitamin C

Studies have shown that 1000mg to 1500mg daily of Vitamin C helps to reduce Cortisol. Eating oranges (citrus in general) strawberries, and any from the berry family are very helpful.

If you choose a supplement make sure it is not synthetic – those are a waste of money because only a very small percentage is actually absorbed by the cells.

8. Digital DeTox Everyday!

Turn off all the TVs, computers, cell phones and anything else with a blue screen a couple of hours or so before bedtime. You can still listen to relaxing music, read or just be.

Studies have shown that first our brains need to disconnect each day from the constant stimulus that our digital lives bring every day. Second, the blue screens are definitely prohibitive when it comes to getting a deep sleep.

9. Eat These Foods

A steady dose of wild salmon, red bell pepper, beans, black tea, garlic, avocado, spinach, herb teas, fruits with vitamin C are great to help keep Cortisol levels within acceptable limits.

10. Massage therapy And Dry Brushing

A great way to relax, increase the blood flow, and stimulate your dopamine levels. All of which lowers Cortisol.

11. Magnesium

Whether it is in a pill form (not as potent) or in an Epsom salt bath or magnesium flake foot bath, all are helpful when lowering Cortisol levels. Magnesium does help one to relax in general, so it makes sense that it ultimately helps with stress levels, which of course impact Cortisol levels.

As I stated earlier, a combination of all of these have worked for me. You just have to experiment to see what works for you. One thing for sure, you will begin to feel better.

 If you need a good magnesium supplement email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 
 
 
00:0One thing that I have learned is you have to really be in tune with your body to understand what works best for you. Another thing you must do is be consistent. Once you identify what works for you continue to do it.

11 Things To Balance Your Cortisol Levels Naturally

These are some great ways to get your cortisol levels balanced. Sometimes you got to get back to basics:

1. Get Moving

Yes you must move your body to get relief. There are so many reasons why this is key to reducing your Cortisol. Once reason is it get the feel good hormones increasing and decreases the need for the body to produce Cortisol. Try some movement you enjoy, walking, jogging, dancing (that is a really fun one), skating, jumping rope (okay maybe that is a bit out there) but whatever increases your movement really helps.

 

A swollen vein and the throbbing pain and irritation that follow aren’t going to be pleasant. But if phlebitis is making you downright miserable, you need to set things right pronto. After all, this inflammation of a vein, also called thrombophlebitis when caused by a blood clot, can affect your mobility and everyday activities. But beyond the discomfort, phlebitis needs attention because of the fatal implications it sometimes has.

 

While superficial phlebitis affects surface veins and is not usually harmful, phlebitis of deeper veins may even cause blood clots to travel to the lungs with life-threatening consequences.

Because of the possibility of such complications, your first line of treatment if you suspect phlebitis will have to start at the doctor’s. This is to gauge the extent of the inflammation. If it is severe, your doctor may prescribe blood-thinning medication to stop blood clots from going into deeper veins and the bloodstream. Anti-inflammatory painkillers and creams are usually used to reduce swelling and pain due to phlebitis.

Once serious implications are ruled out, some simple home remedies can help get you back on track. And the good news is that phlebitis can be treated once caught early and further episodes even prevented. Here’s what you can do to tackle the symptoms at home.

1. Use Compression Stockings

Phlebitis usually develops on your lower legs, but surface veins on the penis, arms, or breast may also be affected. Look out for pain, swelling, and itching in the affected area. It may also be warm to the touch and may cause a fever.

 

Compression stockings are designed to help maintain blood flow and reduce swelling and discomfort. They’re typically worn through the day and taken off at night. Using compression stockings may help you tackle sluggish blood flow and reduce swelling if you have phlebitis. Have a word with your doctor to find out how long you need to wear them.

 

 

2. Apply A Warm Water Compress

Intravenous medicinal therapy may also lead to phlebitis if the veins are irritated.

Applying a warm water compress is an easy way of reducing swelling. One study found that patients who develop phlebitis due to intravenous fluid therapy responded well to warm water compresses. The researchers suggested this was an inexpensive and effective treatment to tackle phlebitis. Incidentally, phlebitis is a common effect of intravenous fluid therapy.

To prepare a compress, soak a clean washcloth in warm water and wring out the excess moisture. Apply this to the affected area for 10–20 minutes. Covering the compress with plastic wrap can preserve the heat for longer. You’ll need to do this 3–4 times a day.

 
 

3. Keep The Area Elevated And Pressure Free

Avoiding standing for long periods and keeping your legs raised when you sit can help prevent thrombophlebitis. Regular exercise, particularly walking, may also improve blood circulation, especially in people with varicose veins.

If you have inflammation in your veins, keeping the area elevated can help reduce the swelling. Not applying pressure to the area is also a good idea as it can ease pain as well as bring down the chances of further damage.

4. Apply Aloe Vera

Thrombophlebitis that occurs during pregnancy usually doesn’t return after delivery.

Applying anti-inflammatory aloe vera has been found to speed up the resolution of symptoms such as redness, swelling, and pain in people with phlebitis due to intravenous therapy. Components like glucomannan, gibberellin, and salicylic acid in aloe vera may be responsible for its beneficial effect.

Simply crack open an aloe vera leaf, scoop out the gel inside, and apply it to the affected area for relief. Rinse in 20 minutes, doing this twice every day.

5. Dab On Diluted Lemon Eucalyptus Oil

Fragrant lemon eucalyptus oil also works against inflammatory conditions such as phlebitis. Experts suggest that mixing 10 drops of this essential oil in a teaspoon of sunflower oil or other carrier oil and applying this to the affected area can be beneficial. You can also mix 15 to 20 drops of lemon eucalyptus oil in a teaspoon of milk, add that to your bathwater, and settle in for a relaxing soak.

6. Have Garlic And Onion

Onion and garlic have sulfur-containing compounds such as paraffinic polysulfides, adenosine, and allicin which work as blood thinners. These compounds can prevent blood platelets from clumping together to form blood clots. So adding these flavor boosters to your diet may help prevent blood clots that lead to inflammation in your veins.

Do keep in mind though these are not meant to substitute blood-thinning medications prescribed by your doctor. You cannot stop any prescribed medication without your doctor’s go ahead and should keep them informed if you’re having foods with a blood-thinning effect in addition to blood-thinning medication.

7. Drink Pineapple Juice

Pineapples contain a group of enzymes known as bromelain. Research indicates that this important component can be beneficial in the treatment as well as prevention of thrombophlebitis. Bromelain has been found to be effective at easing swelling and inflammation. It also has a blood-thinning effect as it can reduce the tendency of blood platelets to stick together. So sip on some delicious pineapple juice to ease your inflamed veins and get a host of other health benefits as well. You could also check with your doctor about bromelain supplements.

8. Take Ginger

Ginger is another widely available ingredient with both anti-inflammatory and blood-thinning effects. One study increased the stickiness of blood and its tendency to form blood clots in healthy men by adding 100 grams of butter to their diet for a week. But when 5 grams of ginger was added to the high-fat meal, it had a blood-thinning effect and the tendency of blood platelets to clump together was significantly inhibited. So adding this spice to your cooking doesn’t just amp up the yum factor, it’ll also keep blood clots which can lead to inflammation in your veins at bay.

What is iodine?

Also called iodide, iodine is a type of mineral that’s naturally found in the earth’s soil and ocean waters. Many salt water and plant-based foods contain iodine, and this mineral is most-widely available in iodized salt.

It’s important to get enough iodine in the diet. It regulates hormones, fetal development, and more.

If your iodine levels are low, your doctor might recommend supplementation. You shouldn’t take supplements without checking with your doctor first.

Read on to learn more about the uses and side effects of iodine, plus recommended daily amounts by age.

11 uses of iodine

Iodine is considered an essential mineral for our bodies. It’s particularly important during pregnancy, and exposure in the womb may even help prevent certain health conditions later in life.

The following is a list of some of the most important uses and how they benefit the body.

1. Promoting thyroid health

Iodine plays a vital role in thyroid health. Your thyroid gland, which is located at the base of the front of your neck, helps regulate hormone production. These hormones control your metabolism, heart health, and more.

To make thyroid hormones, your thyroid takes up iodine in small amounts. Without iodine, thyroid hormone production can decrease. A “low” or underactive thyroid gland can lead to a condition called hypothyroidism.

Given the wide availability of iodine in western diets, thyroid health isn’t typically impacted by low iodine levels in the United States.

You can get enough iodine from your diet by eating dairy products, fortified foods, and salt water fish. Iodine is also available in plant foods that grow in naturally iodine-rich soil. You also can get the mineral by seasoning your food with iodized salt.

While iodine promotes overall thyroid health, too much iodine can have a negative effect on the thyroid gland. That’s why you shouldn’t take iodine supplements without your doctor’s recommendation.

2. Reducing risk for some goiters

goiter is an enlarged thyroid gland. Your thyroid may become enlarged as a result from either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is an overactive thyroid gland.

Non-cancerous thyroid nodules (cysts) can also cause thyroid gland enlargement.

Sometimes a goiter develops as a direct response to iodine deficiency. This is the most common cause of goiter worldwide, though it’s not as common a cause in the United States and other countries with access to iodine-rich foods.

Iodine-induced goiters may be reversed by adding iodine-rich foods or supplements in the diet.

3. Managing overactive thyroid gland

Your doctor may recommend a special type of iodine called radioactive iodine to treat an overactive thyroid gland. Also called radioiodine, this medication is taken by mouth. It’s used to destroy extra thyroid cells to help reduce excessive amounts of thyroid hormone.

The risk with radioactive iodine is that it can destroy too many thyroid cells. This can decrease the amount of hormone production, leading to hypothyroidism. For this reason, radioactive iodine is usually only recommended after anti-thyroid drugs have failed.

Radioactive iodine is not the same thing as iodine supplements. You should never take iodine supplements for hyperthyroidism.

4. Treating thyroid cancer

Radioiodine may also be a possible treatment option for thyroid cancer. It works in much the same way as hyperthyroid treatment.

When you take radioactive iodine orally, the medication destroys thyroid cells, including cancerous ones. It may be used as a treatment following thyroid surgery to make sure all cancerous cells have been removed from the body.

According to the American Cancer Society, radioactive iodine treatments significantly improve the chances of survival for people with thyroid cancer.

5. Neurodevelopment during pregnancy

You need more iodine in pregnancy. That’s because iodine intake during pregnancy is linked to brain development in fetuses. One reviewTrusted Source found that babies whose birth mothers had an iodine deficiency during pregnancy were more likely to grow up with lower IQ’s and other intellectual delays.

The recommended daily intake of iodine during pregnancy is 220 mcg. By comparison, the recommended amount in non-pregnant adults is 150 mcg a day.

If you’re pregnant, ask your doctor about iodine supplementation, especially if your prenatal vitamin doesn’t have iodine (many do not). Iodine supplements may also be necessary if you’re deficient in the mineral.

You’ll also need to continue monitoring your iodine intake if you’re breastfeeding. The recommended daily amount of iodine while nursing is 290 mcg. That’s because the iodine you take up from diet and supplementation is transferred via breast milk to your nursing infant. This is a crucial brain developmental period, so infants need 110 mcg per day until they’ve reached 6 months of age.

6. Improving cognitive function

The same neurological benefits of iodine during pregnancy may extend to healthy brain function during childhood. This also includes a reduced riskTrusted Source of intellectual disability.

It is likely your child gets all the iodine they need through their diet, but if you have any questions about their iodine intake, talk to their pediatrician.

7. Improving birth weight

As with brain development, iodine during pregnancy is associated with a healthy birth weight. One studyTrusted Source of pregnant women with goiters found that 400 mg of iodine taken daily for six to eight weeks was helpful in correcting goiters related to iodine deficiency. In turn, there was an overall improvement in birth weight in newborns.

While iodine intake can impact a baby’s birth weight and overall development, it’s important to note that the above study focused on women in developing areas who were already deficient in iron.

Unless your doctor has determined you are iodine deficient, taking supplements aren’t likely to impact your baby’s weight at birth. In fact, taking iodine unnecessarily can cause health issues.

8. May help treat fibrocystic breast disease

It’s possible that iodine supplements or medications can help treat fibrocystic breast disease. This non-cancerous condition is most common in women of reproductive age, and it can cause painful breast lumps.

Although there is some promise that iodine might help with fibrocystic breast cysts, you shouldn’t attempt self-treatment. Only take iodine for this condition if your doctor specifically recommends it. Otherwise, you could be at risk of side effects from iodine toxicity.

9. Disinfecting water

Iodine is just one method of water disinfection. This may be especially helpful if you don’t have access to potable water due to traveling or effects from a natural disaster.

Two percent liquid iodine tincture may be added to water in five-drop increments per one quart of clear water. If the water is cloudy, add ten drops per quart.

Iodine tablets may also be used, but the instructions can vary by manufacturer.

Despite the role iodine can play in disinfecting drinking water, there’s also some concerns that it can increase total iodine intake in humans and lead to adverse health effects. Total iodine intake shouldn’t exceed 2 mg per dayTrusted Source.

10. Protection from nuclear fallout

In the case of nuclear emergencies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of potassium iodide (KI) to protect the thyroid gland from radiation injuries. These are available in tablet and liquid formulas.

While not completely foolproof, the sooner KI is taken, the better the thyroid is thought to be protected in the event of this kind of emergency.

There are serious risks associated with KI, including gastrointestinal upset, inflammation, and allergic reaction. You’re also at increased risk for thyroid disease. Your risk for complications is higher if you already have thyroid disease.

11. Treating infections

Iodine can be used topically in a liquid form to help treat and prevent infections. It works by killing bacteria in and around mild cuts and scrapes.

Topical iodine should not be used on newborn babies. It should also not be used for deep cuts, animal bites, or burns.

Follow directions on the packaging for dosage information, and do not use for more than 10 days unless directed by your doctor.

 
How much iodine do you need?

To reduce our risk for iodine deficiency, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has the following recommendations for daily intake based on age:

Age Daily recommended amount in micrograms (mcg)
birth–6 months 110 mcg
infants between 7–12 months 130 mcg
children 1–8 years old 90 mcg
children 9–13 years old 120 mcg
adults and teens, 14 and older 150 mcg
pregnant women 220 mcg
nursing women 290 mcg
 
Side effects of iodine

Possible side effects from too much iodine include:

  • nausea or vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • burning sensations in the throat and mouth
  • stomach pain

In more severe cases, iodine toxicity may lead to coma.

You shouldn’t take iodine if you have a thyroid condition, unless recommended by your doctor.

Young children and the elderly are more prone to iodine side effects.

 
Symptoms of iodine deficiency

Iodine deficiency can only be diagnosed via urine tests.

The symptoms of low iodine levels are primarily detected through thyroid symptoms, such as:

  • a visible goiter
  • thyroid gland that’s painful or tender to the touch
  • breathing difficulties, especially when lying down
  • difficulty swallowing
  • fatigue
  • extreme feelings of coldness, despite normal temperatures
  • hair loss
  • depression
  • brain fog
  • unintentional weight gain
Who should take iodine?

Your doctor might recommend iodine supplements if your levels are low. The only way to know for certain is by checking your levels through a urine test. After that point, your doctor may recommend a supplement.

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