Nutrition Diva fan Gregory writes, “I have read that iodine deficiency is becoming more and more common. Is this true and, if so, what is the best way to get iodine?”
According to the World Health Organization, iodine is the most common nutrient deficiency—affecting 2 billion people around the world. It’s really a shame, because iodine is cheap and the costs of iodine deficiency (both in financial and human terms) are large.
Why Do You Need Iodine?
Your body needs iodine in order to produce thyroid hormone, which regulates growth and development in fetuses and children and regulates metabolism in adults. Iodine deficiency is especially dangerous (and especially common) during pregnancy, when it can cause problems with the infant's neural development and lead to mental retardation. In fact, iodine deficiency is the biggest preventable cause of mental retardation in the world.
Some researchers have also linked low iodine levels during pregnancy to an increased risk of ADHD in kids. Low iodine levels may also lead to stunted growth, sluggish metabolism and weight gain, thyroid disease, or fibrocystic breast disease in women.