Some of the common iodine deficiency symptoms in children are goiter, unanticipated weight gain, hair loss, fatigue, weakness, dry and wrinkly skin, change in heart rate, hair loss, unusual cold, trouble memorizing things, to name a few
Importance of Iodine in your Child’s Diet
Our body demands us to take certain minerals through our diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is important to understand that each mineral has its own role in the functioning of the body. Iodine is one such essential mineral that goes into the body only by the food we consume. Researches prove that an adult must have 50ug/day of iodine to prevent deficiency in the body.
The best sources of iodine are fish, eggs, nuts, table salt and dairy products. At times people fail to enrich the body with a minimum dose of iodine leading to iodine deficiency in the body. Iodine is in direct connection to the thyroid gland as the chemical components of iodine stimulate the thyroxin hormone that controls major functions of the body.
Iodine is not naturally produced in the body, therefore, the only way to ingest it is through what we eat. Deficiency of iodine is a growing problem in multiple countries and more than 2 billion people suffer from iodine deficiency. It is important to note that pregnant women need more iodine than an average adult.
Iodine Deficiency in Children: Symptoms and Treatment
The major symptoms of iodine deficiency are;
Goiter is one of the most common symptoms of iodine deficiency that leads to swelling in the neck. It leads to inflammation in the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland responsible for the production of the thyroid hormone in the body. When the body detects an excess of TSH the thyroid gland secretes hormones to regulate the production in the blood but an iodine deficiency leads to malfunctioning in the thyroid gland. To recompense, the thyroid gland works harder leading to growth and swelling in the gland known as goiter. Though the majority of the cases can be treated yet it can cause permanent damage to the thyroid gland.
Unanticipated weight gain
The thyroid hormone controls the rate of metabolism in the body and maintains body weight. Low level of thyroid hormone in the blood does not stimulate the body to break down calories. This causing low metabolic rate and storage of fat in the body. Deficiency of iodine in the body leads to unchecked weight gain causing obesity. Obesity in itself breeds multiple diseases and increases the risk of diabetes in patients.
Read More: 11 Foods to Help Your Kid Gain Weight
The thyroid hormone controls the generation of hair follicles. When the thyroid hormones are absent in the body it leads to slow regeneration of hair follicles. Over time the growth of new hair cannot match with the speed of hair fall, leading to excess hair loss and mild baldness in many patients. Proper addition of iodine may help replenish the thyroid hormone and fight the deficiency symptoms.
Fatigue and weakness
Studies prove that nearly 80% of iodine deficient victims feel lethargic and sluggish throughout the day. There working capacity is much lower than an average human being. This is because iodine deficiency in the body does not stimulate the thyroid hormone which is responsible for speedy metabolism and regulated energy rates in the body.
Dry and wrinkly skin
People who suffer from an iodine deficiency have dry and flaky skin. The skin cells that need constant regeneration are controlled by the thyroid gland of the body. It also controls the sweat gland of the body. People with low iodine concentrate have less amount of sweating in the body. Sweating not only keeps the skin moist but also removes unwanted liquid waste from the body. This makes the skin dry and flaky.
Read More: 11 Tips For Taking Care Of Your Kids Skin
Change in heart rate
When one refers to the heart rate of a person it means per minute cycle of the heart. If a person has low levels of iodine in the body his heart rate tends to be slower than normal and vice versa. At time severe iodine deficiency leads to abnormally low heart rate which increases the risk of heart diseases, fatigue and dizziness in the body.
Experiencing unusual cold
People with low iodine levels in the body feel colder than any other healthy individual. It is important to note that just like the thyroid hormone is responsible for a speedy metabolism in the body. Due to iodine deficiency, the body is unable to break down food to release the stored energy, the patient feels colder than others due to lack of body energy.
Trouble memorizing things
It is essential to understand that an iodine deficiency can disrupt the overall working of the body. The thyroid gland responsible for the generation and regeneration of body cells fails to match up with the body’s growth. Thyroid hormone helps the brain grow but the absence of it leads to slow brain development and low memorizing skills.
Lowered Brain Function
Studies and researches have proved that children who suffer from iodine deficiency have a relatively lower level of cognitive function in the body. Children who did not receive proper nourishment during their mother’s pregnancy may suffer from autism or abnormally slower brain functions. Iodine supplements become a must for such children to prevent further damage to the body
Weak Immune System
The direct link between iodine and the multiple functions in the body makes a person susceptible to diseases and has a lower immune level in comparison to others. A child who lacks iodine mineral in the body frequently falls prey to diseases like cold and fever. Thus parents must ensure that their child’s diet has a balance of all vitamins and minerals essential for his all-round development.
Puffy face and weak muscles
Lack of iodine in the body may lead to puffiness and swelling near the eyes. Weakened muscles are a prime indicator of iodine deficiency in the body. A patient with low iodine level loses control over the muscles in the body. They experience regular cramps, muscle stiffness and weakness.
Iodine Benefits In Your Child’s Body
Considering the above points, it won’t be wrong to say that majority of the body functions are dependent on the iodine levels in the body. Iodine has multiple benefits which make its consumption mandatory. Some of them are;
- Iodine boosts the immune system of the body.
- Treats fibrocystic diseases in women.
- Iodine reduces the risk of cancer.
- Removes toxic elements from the body.
- Regulates the metabolic rate.
Thus one must understand the need to incorporate proper iodine in their daily diet for a nutritious life.