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 A quick quiz to find out.

Healthy pregnancyIodine is critical for health and happiness.  You can get it in some foods, and in iodized salt.  A supplement is most reliable, as foods are unreliable: iodine content depends on where things were grown and the water’s iodine content.

Background: What do you need iodine for?

Iodine powers your heart, brain, healing and growth.  It’s necessary for your thyroid – the gland in your neck that regulates your body’s speed. 

ANALOGY: if your heart and brain are the engine of a car, iodine is the spark plug that allows the engine to run.  No spark plug, no motion.  When you don’t have enough iodine, your thyroid can’t run the body.

In the world generally, about 1/4th to 1/3rd of all people have too little iodine.  In the U.S., pre-pregnant and pregnant women definitely require supplements, as they (and their babies) are iodine deficient. 

Answer these questions, and we’ll show you the background once you’ve completed the quiz.

1.   Are you putting on weight unexpectedly?

2.   Do you feel weak sometimes, without the energy you once had?

3.   Are you tired, even though you got a decent night’s sleep?

4.   Are you losing your hair, and it’s not growing back?

5.   Is your skin becoming dry and flakey in places?

6.   Do you feel cold sometimes, for no reason?

7.   Is your heart rate slow, or slowing down?

8.   Do you have memory problems, problems remembering simple things?

9.   Are you pregnant and experiencing unanticipated complications?

10. Is your period heavier than usual, or especially painful now?

11. Is your neck swollen or does it feel larger, or lumpy?

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ANSWERS

1. Adding Weight:  Iodine deficiency can easily cause unexpected weight gain, because your metabolism isn’t properly using calories.  Then you get fat from lack of energy and lack of exercise…just the normal exercise of everyday life.

2. Weakness: If your thyroid isn’t getting enough iodine, you’ll have less energy and your muscles just won’t work well.  You will feel weak.

3. Fatigue: When your metabolism is slower, you will feel tired.  This can be a symptom of iodine deficiency.  Is there a reason you’re tired?

4. Hair Loss: Your hair follicles need iodine to rejuvenate.  If your hair is falling out, and not being replaced, you may have an iodine deficiency.

5. Dry Skin: Dry, flakey skin can be sign of poor thyroid function, and iodine deficiency.  Your thyroid and its hormones are necessary for cell re-growth and replacement.  Your body loses about 10 billion cells a day…and has to work hard to replace them. Iodine is key to cell death and cell replacement.

6. Feeling cold: If your thyroid hormones are out of whack, your basal metabolism will slow down – and you’ll feel colder.

7. Heart Rate: If your heart rate has been slower than usual, iodine deficiency could be a prime suspect. The intake of iodine regulates the heart.  You also might feel sick, dizzy or nauseated.  And it may be related to lack of iodine.

8. Forgetfulness: If you easily forget things you shouldn’t or didn’t forget in the past, an iodine deficiency may be harming the maintenance of your brain.

9. Complications of Pregnancy:  Many pregnant women are iodine deficient, and your developing baby desperately needs iodine to progress normally.  Lack of iodine causes poor brain growth and body development.  It can also cause early delivery, small babies, and stillborn problems.

10 Period Problems: Iodine and its thyroid hormones regulate your period.  If your periods are heavier than before, or irregular, iodine deficiency may be it.

11Swollen neck: Feel the thyroid around your windpipe.  Does it feel puffy and enlarged?  If so, you will definitely have an iodine deficiency problem.

What foods do have iodine?  The US Recommended Daily Allowance is 150 micrograms daily, and 250 micrograms pre- and during pregnancy and lactation.  The only food that supplies this amount in one serving is seaweed but be sure to buy seaweed that is a) heavy metals tested and safe; and b) is unsalted.  Supplemental iodine may be the safest solution.

A. Seaweed.  Kelp, nori, and wakeme have substantial amounts of iodine.  However, some have heavy metals in them also.  Supplements may be a better choice.

B. Cod Fish: Expensive but loaded with iodine.  Most seafood has some.

C. Yogurt: Some yogurt will have iodine.  It depends on what the cow ate!

D. Iodized Salt: If the salt wasn’t on the supermarket shelf for too long, it will have a decent amount of iodine.  Of course, salt causes high blood pressure, so you need to use it sparingly.

E. Eggs: Eggs usually have a bit of iodine, and other valuable nutrients. However, the cholesterol content of eggs can be a worry. 

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