The connection between iodine and weight is rather straightforward. People who do not manage to lose weight by following a diet or by exercising should take hypothyroidism into consideration. Iodine influences the way the thyroid gland functions, so including this element in your diet is very important.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Unfortunately, the extra pounds are not the only thing caused by hypothyroidism. Other symptoms indicating this health problem include:
- Loss of sex drive
- Unhealthy hair, nails and teeth
If the thyroid gland does not function properly, the metabolic processes cannot be performed correctly and body fat starts to accumulate. More precisely, the metabolic processes are slowed down, so your body does not burn as many calories as it should. As a direct consequence, you start gaining weight and feeling lethargic. Excess weight and cellulite are caused by water retention, which in turn is caused by an underactive thyroid gland.
The link between metabolism and the thyroid gland became obvious when the after-effects of thyroid removal surgery were studied. Patients who had their thyroid gland removed gained weight progressively and realized that their body was slowing down. However, this happens only when the thyroid is damaged or removed completely. Otherwise, the symptoms are not that severe. All the more, moderate hypothyroidism may lead to excessive weight.
How Can Iodine Help?
Even though iodine is found in extremely small amounts in the human body, its presence is essential for the thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism and, consequently, weight gain occur when there is not enough iodine in your diet to sustain the activity of the thyroid gland.
Reliable Sources of Iodine
Most of the iodine that you intake should come from your diet. Kelp, which represents a type of brown algae, is among the most reliable sources of iodine. In fact, kelp has been used since medieval times as a treatment for goiter, a health condition characterized by an oversized thyroid gland. Brown kelp is believed to bring a balance to the iodine levels, as it helps thin people to gain weight and overweight people to get rid of the extra pounds.
Other great sources of iodine include:
- Iodized salt
- Sea food
In case the diet does not supply a sufficient amount of iodine, then you can rely on supplements. However, in this case, you are highly recommended to talk to a doctor in order to find out the recommended dosage. Exceeding this dosage may lead to hyperthyroidism, which is harmful to the human body. To counter both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, a proper balance should be maintained.
Assuring a sufficient amount of iodine is not all. You also have to make sure that the diet that you follow is rich in vitamin A. In the absence of this vitamin, the thyroid gland is not able to secrete thyroxin, which is a hormone that controls the assimilation of iodine. You can also rely on supplements for this vitamin, too, if your diet does not contain plenty of it.
Keep in mind, though, that iodine is not for all overweight people, but only for the ones who have a thyroid problem. Because of this fact, it is very important to talk to a health care provider before taking iodine supplements blindly.