The thyroid gland needs iodine to make hormones



Chemical Element
Iodine is a chemical element with symbol I and atomic number 53. The name is from Greek ἰοειδής ioeidēs, meaning violet or purple, due to the color of elemental iodine vapor. Wikipedia
Symbol: I
Electron configuration: Kr 4d10 5s2 5p5
Atomic number: 53
Boiling point: 184.3 °C
Melting point: 113.7 °C
Electronegativity: 2.66
Atomic mass: 126.90447 u

Why does the body need iodine?




The major function of the thyroid gland is to produce thyroid hormone in an amount sufficient to meet the body’s needs. To make thyroid hormone, the thyroid uses iodine. If iodine is not available in the diet, the thyroid may produce an insufficient amount of hormone.



How much iodine does the body need?




Areas in the United States where iodine deficiency occurs are scarce. In North America, iodine is added to salt and bread. It is also present in additives, water sources, medications, and dietary supplements. The daily iodine intake varies widely throughout the world. A minimum of 60 micrograms of elemental iodine per day is required to make thyroid hormone.



How does it work?


Iodine reduces thyroid hormone and can kill fungus, bacteria, and other microorganisms such as amoebas. A specific kind of iodine called potassium iodide is also used to treat (but not prevent) the effects of a radioactive accident.



How is iodine used by the thyroid?




The process by which the thyroid uses iodine is actually quite complicated and certain steps are still unclear. Essentially, iodine is converted to its free elemental form, called iodide. Iodide enters the thyroid gland through a special transport mechanism. Iodide then undergoes a process called oxidation and is incorporated into intermediate hormones called MIT (Monoiodotyrosine, which contains 1 iodide) and DIT (Diiodotyrosine, which contains 2 iodides.) These compounds then combine to form the active hormones, tri-iodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). T3 is the most biologically active thyroid hormone. It is formed by combining a MIT with a DIT (so the total of iodides in the molecule is 3). T4 is formed in much greater quantity by combining a DIT with another DIT (so that the total of iodides in the molecule is 4). These hormones are then stored in the thyroid gland and released into the blood stream.

Based on the above summary, it is evident that thyroid hormone is actually made up of iodide/iodine directly. So you can see the importance of iodine in relation to the function of the thyroid gland. Whew! Glad the physiology stuff is over!!

also used to for radiation emergencies, to protect the thyroid gland against radioactive iodides. Potassium iodide tablets for use in a radiation emergency are available as FDA-approved products (ThyroShield, Iosat) and on the Internet as food supplements. Potassium iodide should only be used in a radiation emergency, not in advance of an emergency to prevent sickness.



Iodine Deficiency



The thyroid gland needs iodine to make hormones. If the thyroid doesn’t have enough iodine to do its job, feedback systems in the body cause the thyroid to work harder. This can cause an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which becomes evident as a swollen neck.

Other consequences of not having enough iodine (iodine deficiency) are also serious. Iodine deficiency and the resulting low levels of thyroid hormone can cause women to stop ovulating, leading to infertility. Iodine deficiency can also lead to an autoimmune disease of the thyroid and may increase the risk of getting thyroid cancer. Some researchers think that iodine deficiency might also increase the risk of other cancers such as prostate, breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer.

Most animals, including humans, have an ability to conserve the iodine within their bodies if there is a deficiency of iodine consumed in food. If an inadequate intake continues, however, the ability to make thyroid hormone is slowly depleted. Many cellular processes occur to keep the thyroid as efficient as possible and the thyroid gland often enlarges in an attempt to maintain function. Subsequently, a goiter may form as the thyroid is stimulated to try to make more thyroid hormone.

Basically, the changes in hormone levels (namely T4, T3, and TSH) are similar to those that occur in patients who develop low thyroid hormone blood levels (hypothyroidism) from an underlying disease, such as Hashimoto’s disease.



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