Iodine for a healthy thyroid


About every third German has an enlarged thyroid gland. In some areas, up to six percent of babies are born with a goiter. This would be just as preventable as about 100,000 thyroid surgeries a year. Actually their prevention is so simple: enough iodine helps the thyroid to work in a regulated way. But with the iodine supply, the Germans do not seem to take it as accurately as the numbers show. According to investigations by the Federal Ministry of Health, care has become better, but not good for a long time. The average person lacks about 60 to 80 μg of iodine per day on the dinner plate; In pregnant and lactating women, it is often as high as 120 to 140 μg.

Daily requirement of iodine

How much iodine is needed every day, the table shows:

groupDaily intake of iodine in μg / day
baby50 - 80
toddlers100 - 120
schoolchildren140 - 180
Adults up to 35 years200
Adults over 35 years180
pregnant woman230

Source: German Nutrition Society

Iodine in food

As an essential trace element, iodine must be ingested with food. However, the glaciation of the glaciers after the ice age washed out iodine from the soil and washed it into the oceans. Intensive cultivation and over-fertilization did the rest and leached the farmlands. Low-iodine foods are the consequence. How can one nevertheless prevent slipping into an iodine deficiency?

Jodbombs are really just sea fish. 75 grams of salmon, 165 grams of cod, 270 grams of golden bass or 380 grams of herring provide the daily requirement of 200 micrograms of iodine. Through preservation and vigorous cooking, the content can decrease significantly. Milk and dairy products are also more iodine-rich than other foods. By contrast, you can not get on with vegetables and fruits. Example: Eight kilograms of cucumbers or 200 pears a day also provide 200 micrograms of iodine, but are not only fairly one-sided, but also little realistic.

Therefore, the weekly iodine requirement is achieved with two to three fish meals per week, daily milk and dairy products and the use of iodized salt. Those who still pay attention to buy bakery or butcher only foods that have been prepared with iodine salt, can also do his iodine account good.

Iodide salt in the industry

So far, only a third of industrial food producers use the enriched salt. The state authorities are not allowed to supply drinking water or animal feed with iodised salt. The iodine supply is voluntary in Germany.

Therefore, the tip: pay attention to the blue seal of honor in restaurants and canteens as well as bakeries and butchers. It is also important to clean up with a common misconception. Only iodine salt in your own household shaker is not enough for a good iodine supply. One would have to take it already five to ten grams a day to get to 100 to 200 micrograms of iodine. This is not useful because of the danger of a blood pressure increase.

Supplement missing iodine with tablets

It is also known as vitamin I of the thyroid gland. The one who does not manage to regularly bring sea fish on the plate and iodine salt in the spreader, the pharmacist and doctors advise the daily intake of 100 ug iodide tablets.

Iodine is a natural trace element that every human needs and has nothing to do with chemistry. The vitamin character of the iodine is due to the fact that a surplus is eliminated via the kidneys. The healthy thyroid regulates exactly how much iodide absorbs it from the blood.

Iodine in pregnant women and lactating mothers

The most important addressees for the intake of iodide tablets are pregnant and nursing women. This should expect expectant mothers in the first trimester of pregnancy. By the tenth week of pregnancy, the thyroid of the embryo itself produces hormones - if the unborn child gets enough iodine from the maternal blood. Sufficient iodine supply is essential for the normal development of the nervous system, body maturation and growth of the child.

Hormone production by iodine

Why does the small butterfly-shaped gland below the larynx need the trace element iodine anyway? Their cells, the thyrocytes, work as in a small synthesis factory: Here, the two thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and L-thyroxine (T4) are produced. Both contain iodine. The thyrocytes accumulate iodide from the blood. Subsequently, the oxidation of the iodide to iodine and the addition of iodine atoms takes place. Over several stages so the storage form of the hormones, from which they are released when needed and released into the blood.

Consequences of iodine deficiency

If the iodine supply in the blood is missing, the thyrocytes can no longer produce enough hormones. The thyroid tries to compensate. Completely useless to the supposed increase in hormone production new glandular cells are formed. This is not very effective, because it lacks the raw material iodine. The result is an enlarged thyroid gland, also known as goiter or goiter.

Sooner or later there will be nodular changes. "Cold knots" are dysfunctional tissue that can degenerate and therefore needs to be observed. Hot knots produce uncontrolled hormones as soon as iodine attacks them. They are also called autonomic adenomas because they can produce so many hormones that hyperthyroidism develops. The oversupply of T3 and T4 drives metabolic processes, the energy turnover in the organism is screwed up. This explains why patients with over-functioning often suffer from palpitations and diarrhea and struggle with insomnia and restlessness.

The opposite is true for the hypofunction, the hypothyroidism: those affected are often overweight, easily fatigued and suffer from constipation. Without iodine, the person affected feels like a car without fuel.

Treatment of a goiter

If a goiter has formed, it is important to treat as early as possible. The doctor can determine the iodine status and have the thyroid examined. The goal is to shrink the gland to normal size again. In young people, this often succeeds with iodide tablets. The dose is determined by the doctor. If this is not enough, medics will prescribe L-thyroxine or a combination of both.

Sometimes a long-standing iodine deficiency may also require surgery on the small gland. That's about 100,000 times a year in Germany required. Thus, surgery is inevitable if the enlarged thyroid gland presses on adjacent organs such as the trachea, as individual areas produce vast amounts of hormones and thus lead to hyperfunction, in particular nodular changes or malignant tumors. Even after the operation you can not avoid iodine, because most of the time not the entire thyroid tissue is removed.




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