Not Enough Iodine
Americans are getting less iodine in their diet, putting them at
increased risk of mental retardation, according to Doctor Joseph Hollowell from
the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. A study, published this past fall
in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, reports finding that
the amount of iodine concentrations in urine tests have dropped by more than 50%
since the 1970ís.
The researchers had sampled almost 34,000 Americans and found that 12% of those
tested had low levels of iodine in their urine. The number of people with
insufficient iodine had more than quadrupled during the last two decades.
Iodine is a crucial nutrient for production of thyroid hormone, which plays an
important role in brain development . If a pregnant mom is deficient in iodine,
her fetus may be impacted. When a child under aged four does not get enough
iodine it is equally critical. These are the time frames when a personís brain
The mineral iodine is missing from the soil in many parts of world. This is the
same soil used to grow the food for the animals and humans which live within the
region. It should not be surprising that such soil would result in plants and
vegetables that do not contain iodine. That also applies to weeds, trees, and
Humans consume plants, vegetables, and often the meat from animals. Since the
animals used for food by humans commonly have consumed plants, vegetables,
weeds, grasses and tree leaves, it follows that in locales where iodine does not
exist within the soil, the normal method for a human to obtain iodine would not
work. Humans, and also animals, would be deficient in iodine.
If a country or a large area does not have sufficient iodine within its soil,
iodine deficiency cannot be eliminated by changing dietary habits or eating
certain kinds of foods grown within that area. The correction has to be achieved
by supplying iodine through an external source. In the United States, this was
done by fortifying the commonly used mineral, salt. Salt is one of the few
commodities that comes close to being universally consumed daily by all sections
of society irrespective of economic level.
Early in this century, endemic goiter had been wide spread in the Great Lakes
area. It already was well known that goiter was a easy disease to prevent
through the provision of adequate amounts of iodine. Iodized salt was introduced
in 1924. Twenty five years after starting this volunteer program of using
iodized salt, the average goiter rate in this country had dropped from 35% to
less than 2%.