People associate a lump in their throat with strong emotions. They may choke up while watching the latest episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” or “This Is Us.” How many of us haven’t felt a lump in our throat right before a good cry? In the absence of strong feelings, a lump in your throat may signal an enlarged thyroid brought about by iodine deficiency.
What Is Iodine?
Iodine is a mineral that is found in some foods, and it helps our bodies create thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone is responsible for almost all our body’s metabolic processes and many other vital functions such as our heart rate and rhythm. Unfortunately, iodine levels have decreased over the past three decades by as much as 50 percent, leaving people vulnerable to iodine deficiency.
A Worldwide Health Issue
Iodine deficiency can be found in both high-income countries and in developing countries. WHO (World Health Organization) estimates that 72 percent of the world’s population is iodine deficient. The good news is that iodine-enriched food is available in over 70 countries, making it a readily accessible mineral.
Why Do People Need Iodine?
Aside from healthy thyroid function, iodine plays a role in helping our body to absorb nutrients from food while inhibiting fat absorption at the same time. Iodine also helps regenerate skin cells and inhibits hair loss by nourishing your hair follicles. Lastly, it prevents hypothyroidism or low levels of thyroid hormone. Additionally, iodine may protect your unborn baby from developmental delays.
Using Iodine as a Health Supplement
While the U.S. recommended iodine intake in 100-150 mcg(micrograms) sometimes it’s necessary to take an iodine supplement. While these are available without a prescription, be cautious in adding this to your diet to avoid unwanted side effects such as bruising easily, joint pain, and fever. As with any supplement, consult with a health professional for guidance on safe dosages and use.
This tiny mineral is the powerhouse behind our thyroid function, which in turn governs most of our metabolic processes. A swollen thyroid can be a sign of hypothyroid, which is a common symptom of iodine deficiency. If you notice swelling in your neck, or feeling as though you have a lump in your throat, consult with a health care professional right away, as there may be other causes besides iodine deficiency.