Iodine & Brain Development
May 22, 2021
Believe it or not, while iodine deficiency remains the leading cause of preventable brain damage in 2020, recent estimates still put the number of people suffering from iodine deficiency at more than 1.9 billion worldwide.
Given that iodine deficiency is a preventable condition, the deterioration in quality of life, potential IQ lost, and the combined impact of these factors on human welfare is truly distressing.
How Iodine Deficiency Impacts the Brain
Thyroid hormones T3 and T4, as mentioned in previous articles, are absolutely critical for normal neurological development in fetuses, children, and even young adults.
Regular readers will remember that iodine is the main ingredient in the thyroid’s production of those hormones. Without sufficient iodine, the thyroid suffers, and brain development is impaired.
Extreme iodine deficiency in pregnant or nursing mothers often results in serious neurological conditions in their child.
Cretinism, mental retardation and autism are not uncommon, and some in the healthcare industry have even questioned whether the global increase in autism seen in recent years might not be linked to a rise in iodine deficiency.
As iodine deficiency decreases, the adverse effects on the mental development of children gradually decrease as well. But even a mild deficiency, even if it doesn’t produce any obvious signs, can still result in a lower IQ than would otherwise have been possible.
The WHO has commented that compared to the relatively rare cases of extreme neurological dysfunction, “of far greater significance is IDD’s (Iodine deficiency disorder) less visible, yet pervasive, mental impairment that reduces intellectual capacity at home, in school and at work.