Health Column: Understanding Iodine

Health Column: Understanding Iodine

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By Alecia Sexton

Layout Manager

With the stress of finals approaching, holiday shopping, trying to stay warm in this frigid weather, commuting long hours, and anything else you might be juggling, it’s easy to feel tired and run down. Unfortunately, quick meals are often stripped of nutritional value and leave our bodies starving for many essential nutrients, one of them being iodine.

While often overlooked, iodine is an essential nutrient- meaning our bodies cannot synthesize it on its own, but must consume it through food or supplement. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), iodine deficiency, which had previously been remedied by the development of iodized table salt, is potentially re emerging due to the acute decrease in nutritional status of growing soil.

Iodine is only naturally present in fish, sea- weed and soil. In fact, just as we get iodine from certain vegetables, dairy and grains, these foods get their dose of iodine from the soil they grow on. This simply means if there’s no iodine in the soil, then there’s no iodine in the food, and so no iodine for us to consume. Unfortunately, intense farming practices and alkaline fertilizers, both of which are practices that are used and applied widely in the agricultural industry, strip soil of this nutrient.

In fact, many are unaware that iodine deficiency is the number one preventable cause of brain cell damage and mental disabilities in America ac- cording to NCBI. Additionally, iodine affects brain development before birth which is why pregnant mothers are instructed by healthcare professionals to increase iodine intake. Once born, iodine continues to contribute to the strength and longevity of brain cells, making this mineral imperative for memory, reaction time and overall cognitive function.

It’s important however, to get iodine levels checked by a medical professional before increasing consumption since elevated iodine levels can be toxic to the thyroid and create hyperactivity and other nervous system disturbances.

While we don’t have control over farming practices, we do have control over what we buy at the supermarket. If we chose to consume organic dairy, meat, and vegetables, then the likelihood of ingesting a sufficient amount of iodine from diet alone increases since organic farming practices are kinder to soil and often preserve nutrient levels.

Editor’s Note: The Pioneer is not responsible for giving medical advice. Please refer to a medical professional for serious concerns regarding personal health.

 

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