About every third German has an enlarged thyroid gland. In some areas, up to six percent of babies are born with a goiter. This would be just as preventable as about 100, 000 thyroid surgeries a year. Actually their prevention is so simple: enough iodine helps the thyroid to work in a regulated way. But with the iodine supply, the Germans do not seem to take it as accurately as the numbers show. According to investigations by the Federal Ministry of Health, care has become better, but not good for a long time. The average person lacks about 60 to 80 μg of iodine per day on the dinner plate; In pregnant and nursing women, it is often even 120 to 140 micrograms.
Daily requirement of iodine
How much iodine is needed every day, the table shows:
|group||Daily intake of iodine in μg / day|
|baby||50 - 80|
|toddlers||100 - 120|
|schoolchildren||140 - 180|
|Adults up to 35 years||200|
|Adults over 35 years||180|
Source: German Nutrition Society
Iodine in food
As an essential trace element, iodine needs to be ingested with food. However, the glaciation of the glaciers after the ice age washed out iodine from the soil and washed it into the oceans. Intensive cultivation and over-fertilization did the rest and leached the farmlands. Low-iodine foods are the consequence. How can one nevertheless prevent slipping into an iodine deficiency?
Jod bombs are actually only sea fish. 75 grams of salmon, 165 grams of cod, 270 grams of golden bass or 380 grams of herring provide the daily requirement of 200 micrograms of iodine. Through preservation and vigorous cooking, the content can decrease significantly. Milk and dairy products are also more iodine-rich than other foods. By contrast, you can not get on with vegetables and fruits. Example: Eight kilograms of cucumbers or 200 pears a day also provide 200 micrograms of iodine, but are not only fairly one-sided, but also not very realistic.
Therefore, the weekly iodine requirement is achieved with two to three fish meals per week, daily milk and dairy products and the use of iodine salt. Anyone who then pays attention to buy bakers or butchers only foods that have been prepared with iodine salt, can also do his iodine account good.
Iodised salt in the industry
So far, only a third of industrial food producers use the enriched salt. State authorities are not allowed to use drinking water or cattle feed with iodised salt. The iodine supply is voluntary in Germany.
Therefore, the tip: pay attention to the blue seal of honor in restaurants and canteens as well as bakeries and butchers. It is also important to clean up with a common misconception. Only iodine salt in your own household shaker is not enough for a good iodine supply. One would have to take it already five to ten grams a day to get to 100 to 200 micrograms of iodine. This is not useful because of the risk of a blood pressure increase.
Supplement missing iodine with tablets
It is also known as vitamin I of the thyroid gland. Who does not manage to regularly bring sea fish to the plate and iodine salt in the spreader, advise the pharmacist and doctors to daily intake of 100 ug iodide tablets.
Iodine is a natural trace element that every human needs and has nothing to do with chemistry. The vitamin character of the iodine is due to the fact that a surplus is eliminated via the kidneys. The healthy thyroid regulates exactly how much iodide absorbs it from the blood.
Iodine in pregnant women and lactating mothers
The most important addressees for the intake of iodide tablets are pregnant and nursing women. This should expect expectant mothers in the first trimester of pregnancy. By the tenth week of pregnancy, the thyroid gland of the embryo itself produces hormones - if the unborn child gets enough iodine from the maternal blood. Sufficient iodine supply is essential for the normal development of the nervous system, body maturation and growth of the child.
Hormone production by iodine
Why does the little butterfly-shaped gland below the larynx need the trace element iodine anyway? Their cells, the thyrocytes, work as in a small synthesis factory: here, the two thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and L-thyroxine (T4) are produced. Both contain iodine. The thyrocytes accumulate iodide from the blood. Subsequently, the oxidation of the iodide to iodine and the addition of iodine atoms takes place. Over several stages, the storage form of the hormones is created, from which they are released when needed and released into the blood.
Consequences of iodine deficiency
If the iodine supply in the blood is missing, the thyrocytes can no longer produce enough hormones. The thyroid tries to compensate. Completely useless to the supposed increase in hormone production new glandular cells are formed. This is not very effective, because it lacks the raw material iodine. The result is an enlarged thyroid gland, also known as goiter or goiter.
Sooner or later there will be nodular changes. "Cold knots" are nonfunctional tissue that can degenerate and therefore needs to be observed. Hot knots uncontrollably produce hormones as soon as iodine attacks them. They are also called autonomic adenomas because they can produce so many hormones that hyperthyroidism develops. The excess supply of T3 and T4 drives metabolic processes, the energy turnover in the organism is screwed up. This explains why patients with over-functioning often suffer from palpitations and diarrhea and struggle with insomnia and restlessness.
The opposite is true for the hypofunction, the hypothyroidism: those affected are often overweight, easily fatigued and suffer from constipation. Without iodine, the affected person feels like a car without fuel.
Treatment of a goiter
If a goiter has formed, it is important to treat as early as possible. The doctor can determine the iodine status and have the thyroid examined. The goal is to shrink the gland to normal size again. In young people, this often succeeds with iodide tablets. The dose is determined by the doctor. If this is not enough, medics will prescribe L-thyroxine or a combination of both.
Sometimes a long-standing iodine deficiency may also require surgery on the small gland. That's about 100, 000 times a year in Germany required. Thus, surgery is inevitable if the enlarged thyroid gland presses on neighboring organs, such as the trachea, as individual areas produce vast amounts of hormones and thus lead to hyperfunction, in particular nodular changes or malignant tumors. Even after the operation you can not avoid iodine, because usually not the entire thyroid tissue is removed.