Why is iodine important to ensure the child's mental development?

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Child mental development

About 30 percent of people in the country suffer from iodine deficiency. Just looking at these statistics shows the nature of iodine awareness. Most alarmingly, iodine deficiency affects mainly the human development of children. Let's look at how to prevent this problem and what to do.

According to a joint report by UNICEF and GAIN, about 14% (20 million) of children born each year worldwide are at risk of various brain problems and reduced intellectual ability due to iodine deficiency. About 43 lakh of these children live in South Asia.

Inadequate iodine during pregnancy and infancy results in neurological and psychological deficits, resulting in a child's IQ drop of 8 to 10 points.

Iodine is one of the essential elements in our body. But if not aware, it can easily become iodine deficiency. This results in complex mental conditions like cretinism. Let's go into details.

Iodine's role in brain function

Iodine is essential for the development of not only the body but also the brain. There is no substitute for iodine in accelerating a variety of nervous system functions, particularly neurogenesis, neuronal and glial cell division, myelination, neuronal migration, and synaptogenesis. And so, iodine deficiency can be a major cause of various brain problems in your baby's childhood.

This iodine deficiency inhibits the child's mental and physical development, causing your child to have trouble performing his normal activities at school. In addition, normal living may be hindered even after adulthood, producing offspring and entering the workforce.

Serious Mental Disorder – 'Cretinism'

Cretinism is a congenital deficiency of thyroid hormone called congenital hypothyroidism. This is the extreme limit of severely impaired physical and mental growth. In short, it is a severe form of mental disorder. However, cretinism can be of two types.

When neurological cretinism is fully manifested, some of the symptoms are-

  • Very serious mental problems
  • Tera Ekshin
  • Deaf and dumb
  • Neurological problems
  • Goiter

However, in this case, the brain's cerebellum, hypothalamus, and vision are relatively less affected. On the other hand, the characteristics of myxedematous cretinism are-

  • If there is severe growth retardation
  • If the facial structure is incomplete and immature
  • Naso-orbital configuration
  • If there is atrophy of the mandible
  • If the body is swollen
  • If myxedematous or thick and rough skin is evident
  • If the hair is coarse or lacking in volume
  • Eyelids and eyebrows appear too late
  • Sexual maturity is later than normal

But goiter is usually absent in myxedematous cretinism. Most of the time the thyroid gland is often not palpable, indicating thyroid atrophy.

List of foods containing iodine:

Eating iodine-rich foods is a more effective way to compensate for iodine deficiency than taking any kind of expensive medicine. Iodine is mainly found in soil and sea. Iodine is found mainly in animal proteins and vegetables, with some in bread and common foods such as milk. Also available-

  • Seaweed (nori, kelp, kombu, wakame) and fish
  • Shellfish (cod, canned tuna, oysters, shrimp)
  • Iodized table salt
  • Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
  • All egg dishes
  • Beef or liver
  • Chicken meat

How much iodine should be taken daily?

Iodine-containing food is found, now surely you will start eating it? Be careful! As the saying goes, "Uno bate duno ball, ati bate rascal." Therefore, taking too much iodine can have the opposite adverse effect. You can take the doctor's advice as per your body's iodine requirement and the daily amount of iodine-rich foods in a normal diet will be?

Your body doesn't make iodine naturally, so your diet is the only way to get it. Adults generally need a minimum of 150 micrograms (mcg) per day. Pregnant women need 220 micrograms per day while breastfeeding women need 290 micrograms per day.

For infants 6 months of age 110 micrograms
For children aged 7-12 months 130 micrograms
For children aged 1-8 years 90 micrograms
For teens ages 9-13 120 micrograms
For adults over 14 years 150 micrograms
If pregnant women 220 micrograms


Fortunately, the more severe the outbreak of iodine deficiency disease, the easier the prevention. A pinch of iodized salt in your daily diet will help meet your body's iodine requirements. However, if you think you are iodine deficient or notice any symptoms, you should consult your doctor.


What is the way to prevent iodine deficiency disease?

One of the best and least expensive methods of preventing iodine deficiency disorders is the consumption of iodized table salt, which is currently provided in many countries.

What is the treatment of hypothyroidism?

As a serious condition, morbidity from hypothyroidism can be minimized with early diagnosis and treatment. Your hypothyroidism can usually be treated with synthetic thyroid hormones, but you will need to take them for the rest of your life.

What is the treatment for congenital iodine deficiency in children?

If your baby is born with iodine deficiency, your doctor may treat your baby with thyroid hormone supplements, depending on his condition. Most developed countries have screening tests for newborns. T4 (thyroid) tablets are usually crushed, or mixed with breast milk, light food, coagulated milk, or water.

Is iodine deficiency a congenital genetic problem?

Not at all. This is because approximately 1.88 billion people worldwide are at risk of iodine deficiency and 240 million school-aged children have inadequate dietary iodine intake. Which indicates a lack of essential nutrients in food. Therefore, if this continues, iodine deficiency may cross the boundaries of developing countries, disrupting the normal course of public health in developed or underdeveloped countries.

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