“Crétin des Alpes.” This pejorative expression in the 19th century referred to children suffering from mental retardation linked to a iodine deficiency. This type of deficit was indeed frequent in mountainous and granite regions, where soils are poor in iodine.
What is the role of iodine?
Iodine is a trace element mainly involved in the synthesis of thyroid hormones T3 (which contain 3 molecules of iodine) and T4 (which contain 4 molecules of iodine). These hormones are secreted early in the life of the fetus and participate in many functions of the body, including growth, neurological development, regulation of basal metabolism, muscle development, etc.
Iodine is also involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
What are our daily iodine needs?
Satisfactory iodine intakes (SA) vary according to age (source 1). The National Health Security Agency (ANSES) estimates them to:
- 90 μg / day for children under 10 years old,
- 120 μg / day for children aged 11 to 14,
- 130 μg / day for children aged 15 to 17,
- 150 μg / d for adults aged 18 and over,
- 200 μg / day for pregnant and lactating women.
Monitor your iodine intake during pregnancy!
During the nine months of pregnancy, and during breastfeeding, iodine needs increase, rising to 200-250 μg / d. “A pregnant woman must have a perfect hormonal balance”, indicates Dr. Foussier, endocrinologist, who recommends a dosage of TSH as soon as a pregnancy is envisaged.
Dr Odile Bagot, gynecologist, prescribed a iodine supplementationas soon as contraception is stopped, even before the conception of the child. The “special pregnancy” vitamin complexes contain it.
Overload or iodine deficiency: what are the risks?
Do not go overboard, because overloading the thyroid can disrupt it, but also cause diarrhea, headache, or even adverse effects on the heart or kidneys. ANSES recommends do not exceed 600 μg / day for adults and 300 μg / day for children under 10 years old (source 2).
The iodine deficiency, they are rare in the West, but can be serious and lead to stunted growth, of mental or psychomotor disorders.
Is it useful to check your iodine level?
THE ioduria (determination in urine) oriodemia (in the blood) are not useful for checking iodine intake.
“Iodemia testifies to the presence of iodine at a given time. As for ioduria, it fluctuates from day to day. A varied and balanced diet provides sufficient iodine intake, apart from pregnancy », Estimates Professor Françoise Borson-Chazot, endocrinologist at the CHU de Lyon.
Where can i find iodine in the diet?
Table salt has been enriched with iodine since 1972, which is not the case with sea salts (Guérande, etc.), the trace element of which, very volatile, has evaporated. However, there is no question of abusing salt on a daily basis!
Fish, seafood and seaweed are rich in iodine. Oily fish are the most beneficial from a nutritional point of view. However, they can store mercury, PCBs or dioxins in their fats, which are toxic to the thyroid. We can safely consume fish twice a week, even during pregnancy, according to specialists. Dr. Bagot recommends favoring the least contaminated species, such as sardines, anchovies, herring, mackerel or trout.
According to ANSES, dairy products represent 20% of our iodine intake. Cows do lick stones with iodized salt. It may seem paradoxical, but organic milk is low in iodine, around 45% less. The reason is the method of disinfection of the udders during milking. The product used in conventional breeding contains iodine which passes into the milk.
Does the sea air have an interest? By the sea, the air is loaded with iodine, but the impact on the body is minimal. “Useful iodine is that which comes from our diet”, assures Professor Borson-Chazot.
Bet on algae, often rich in iodine!
Seaweed, fresh, dried or in food supplements (transit, thinness …), can be very concentrated in iodine. Among those found on the French market, brown varieties such as wakame reach high levels.
In a report published in August 2018 (source 3), ANSES warns, however, about the risk of iodine overload in algae lovers and in do not recommend consumption without medical advice in some cases (thyroid dysfunction, renal or heart failure, taking lithium or medication containing iodine, pregnant and breastfeeding women, etc.). The Agency recommends favor products in brine, jar or canned, with moderate iodine content. No risk with spirulina, a highly sought-after algae: it is very low in iodine.
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