The World Health Organization views Iodine Deficiency as a serious problem that affects many countries in the world.
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Around two billion people in the world population suffer from iodine deficiency: iodine is an essential ingredient that helps keep the body’s metabolism at a normal level and supports the thyroid so that your immune system - which is linked to metabolism - can function properly.
The most important reason why iodine is so critical for children and adolescents is that it is the single most effective means of preventing mental retardation in the world. It is estimated that someone who has been brought up without receiving a sufficient amount of iodine can expect to have forfeit 10-15 points from their IQ score. Iodine has been used as an effective treatment in kids with autism due to the positive effects iodine can have in developing cognitive abilities, and it has been argued that iodine deficiency is a significant factor in the rise of children being diagnosed with autism.
The World Health Organization views iodine as an essential key component for the normal development of the mind and body; furthermore, iodine supplementation is seen as necessary for economic development among the nations of the world.
First of all, iodine deficiency amongst a certain population can be caused by a lack of iodine in the soil; over the past few decades the quality of the soil has been declining in many areas of the world - which means the crops that grow on that soil don’t receive the nutrients and minerals that people need to consume in order to sustain a healthy lifestyle.
Even though the human body stores iodine in minute amounts, this is far below what is required to keep the body and thyroid in good condition. If the thyroid doesn’t receive iodine, then thyroid hormone synthesis is impaired; as a consequence, the thyroid suffers from a condition called hypothyroidism: which are a set of functional and developmental problems; some are mentioned above.
A Goiter is probably the symptom that is most likely to be noticed when a person is iodine deficient: this is when the thyroid overreacts abnormally to the lack of iodine in the thyroid. If a child doesn’t gain sufficient iodine supplementation in his or her early years, that child will likely suffer from mental retardation and cretinism; other symptoms such as a loss of intellectual ability and work ethic are noted as severe effects from a lack of supplementation.
The soil in many areas in the central parts of the United States are deficient in iodine, and the IQ of the residents living in those areas was below average; therefore, the government decided to iodize the salt in order to make up for the lack of supplementation, and what was noticed was that the IQ of the population started increase. Across the world countries are suffering from iodine deficiency, and if their citizens cannot receive a sufficient amount of iodine, then this can have serious consequences for future economic development of countries.
During Pregnancy if the mother is already deficient in iodine then the newborn will most likely suffer from severe effects of iodine deficiency; namely: short stature, deafness and spasticity. Furthermore, lower school performance is correlated with iodine deficiency.
In Egypt, studies were carried out on the relationship between autism and iodine deficiency, according to the studies that were carried out: half of those that were diagnosed with autism were deficient in iodine, and in the United States 45% of autistic children had lower iodine content in their hair than children who were in a healthy state.
Other studies are being carried out across the world to investigate the relationship between iodine deficiency and autism