What Are The Signs & Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency?

Why does the body need Iodine?

Iodine is a water soluble mineral that is needed in our diet to ensure that the thyroid works properly.The thyroid gland uses iodine to make thyroid hormones.

Thyroid hormones play an important role in a wide range of bodily functions, including metabolism, bone growth, immune response, and development of brain and the central nervous system (CNS).

Iodine helps convert thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) to triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). This conversion is important for the thyroid to function properly.

Iodine is essential for brain development, bone health, healing, immune response, energy, metabolism and the development of the central nervous system. We also now know that we need iodine to help with pregnancy and fertility. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy and early childhood can also lead to developmental problems.

An iodine imbalance can lead to an overactive, or under-active thyroid.

Being deficient in iodine limits the ability of the thyroid gland to make hormones, causing hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism happens when a person’s thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism can cause symptoms of fatigue, depression, forgetfulness, hair weakness, hair loss, dry skin, weight gain, cold intolerance and constipation.

Signs of iodine deficiency

According to new research published last year, it was estimated that about a third of people are deficient in iodine. Here are some of the common signs that could suggest that a person may have an iodine deficiency.

1.Weight gain

One of the most noticeable signs of an iodine deficiency is unexpected weight gain.

When a person has a healthy metabolism, they burn calories to give them their energy. Hypothyroidism, or a lack of thyroid hormones, can slow down a person’s metabolism and this can then lead to weight gain. It is important to remember that weight gain is not always a sign of an iodine deficiency. It may only be a symptom when weight gain cannot otherwise be explained. Eating foods that are highly refined and high in sugars are probably the most common form of increase weight.

2.Feeling weak & lethargic

When a person has an iodine deficiency, they may feel weak and lethargic. Hypothyroidism can slow down a person’s metabolic rate and then they burn fewer calories for energy. When they have less energy, the muscles do not work as efficiently and then the person would feel weak. But, feeling weak may also be from other factors such as lack of sleep, lack of essential nutrients, lack of food intake and nutrient deficiencies. This may also be a sign of other health issues and needs to be investigated if it goes on too long.

3.Feeling tired

Unexplained tiredness may be a symptom of iodine deficiency. When a person is iodine deficient their metabolic rate may drop and this could cause them to feel tired. But, feeling tired does not always mean a person is iodine deficient. As mentioned before, if a person is not getting enough rest, it is natural for them to feel tired. Feeling tried could also be a sign of iron deficiency, or other health issues, but, if tiredness is unexplained, it may be a symptom of an iodine deficiency.

4.Hair Loss

Hair loss is another possible sign that a person might have an iodine deficiency.

Thyroid hormones support the renewal of hair follicles and when someone has hypothyroidism, a shortage of thyroid hormones means the hair follicles stop being renewed. It is natural for hair to fall out, but it is normally renewed. But, while hair loss can be a sign of iodine deficiency, it can also be caused by other hormonal issues as well as stress. Stress is one of the most common causes of hair loss.

5.Drying skin

Having dry, flaky skin could be a sign of hypothyroidism, and can be the result of iodine deficiency. Thyroid hormones help with the renewal of new skin cells. A lack of these hormones and a deficiency of iodine, may cause dead skin cells to build up, sometimes resulting in dry, flaky skin. While dry skin can be caused by iodine deficiency, it can also be caused from other factors such as lack of hydration, lack of essential oils and other health conditions

6.Feeling cold

Iodine deficiency causes a lack of thyroid hormones, which can then affect a person’s metabolic rate to slow down. As their metabolism slows down, a person produces less energy to give the body warmth. A lack of energy and lack of body heat will mean a person is more likely to feel the cold. But, feeling cold isn’t always a sign of iodine deficiency and can be a sign of lack of circulation and other health issues.

7.Having a slow heart rate

Having an iodine deficiency may make a person’s heart beat more slowly.

When a person’s heart rate slows down, they may feel a bit dizzy, nauseas, or sick. It may also make them feel a bit faint. But feeling this way may also be a sign of other health issues, or it could also be a sign of a virus, or issue with someone’s cardiovascular system and needs to be checked out.

8.Learning or memory problems

Thyroid hormones are important for brain development and Iodine deficiency may cause a lack of these hormones, resulting in problems with memory and learning. Studies have shown that people, who are deficient in iodine and have lower level of thyroid hormone, may have parts of their brain being smaller and this then affects their memory. But while this may be the case, learning and memory problems could be caused from other health issues and need to be checked out properly

9.Pregnancy complications

Iodine deficiency may cause issues during pregnancy for the developing baby and it can be harder to get enough iodine during pregnancy. Not only does a women need iodine for herself, but she needs it for the growing baby inside of her as well.

Thyroid hormones are necessary for the healthy development of a baby before it is born. A lack of iodine and thyroid hormones may prevent the baby’s brain developing properly. It may also affect their immune system and affect their growth. If a pregnant woman’s body is too low in iodine it could cause her baby to be stillborn.

10.Heavy or irregular periods

Deficiency in iodine can lead to low thyroid hormone levels, which can then affect the levels of hormones that regulate a woman’s periods. Iodine deficiency can lead to periods that are heavier than usual, or the periods that are more or less often than usual. While, iodine deficient could cause abnormal abnormalities in a woman’s menstrual cycle, irregular or heavy periods are usually a sign of gynaecological conditions that needs to be evaluated by a specialist.

11.Swollen neck and goitres

If a person is deficient in iodine, the thyroid gland can become enlarged and this can then make the neck become swollen. This can lead to a condition called goitre. Abnormalities with the thyroid gland and hormones can also cause growths called nodules.

When the thyroid does not have enough iodine, it will try to absorb more from the blood and this then causes the thyroid to become enlarged, making the neck appear swollen.

Complications and diagnosis.

An iodine deficiency may happen when a person does not consume enough foods that are rich in iodine, or have adequate supplementation. This deficiency is more likely to affect pregnant women who need a higher intake of iodine.

Pregnant women and their babies experience the most serious complications of iodine deficiency. In the worst cases, it can lead to babies being stillborn or born with mental issues due to stunted brain development.

If you think you may be deficient in iodine you can go to your doctor and they can organise proper testing for you. The most effective way to diagnose iodine deficiency is via a urine test.

If you have a family history of thyroid issue, or are to conceive, or are pregnant, you should be supplementing with iodine based multivitamins or individual supplements. A person needs to consume 150 micrograms (mcg) of iodine each day to maintain a healthy level for their body. You should also be looking at eating iodine rich foods daily as well.

The following are good sources of iodine:

  • Seaweed
  • Cod, tuna, salmon and white fish
  • Plain Yogurt, Cheese and Milk
  • Iodized salt
  • Shell fish and oysters
  • Eggs
  • Dried prunes

Regard

Dr Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

 

 

Calling Out The BS Misinformation About Fat Loss

The reason I am writing this post is that I have had many people contact me about losing weight and getting healthy for their New Year’s resolution. It is that time after all.

But, I have also had some people close to me tell me they have diabetes and other health issues that could significant impact their health and shorten their lives. All of these people have completely preventable diseases and would not be there if their diet and lifestyle was in better shape.

It is that time of year again and it seems to be when most people tend to throw out the healthy habits and adopt some not so healthy ones. Many convince themselves that it is “OK” because it is just for a little while, but the truth is that this altered state of perception often leads into weeks and possibly months of overindulgence and bad eating habits. Then New Year’s Eve comes and people go on the roller coaster guilt trip of needing to be healthy to bring in the New Year.

While it may be OK to eat a few unhealthy things for the day of Christmas, having it every day over the festive season could turn into a nasty habit that could have long term implications on one’s health.  Add in some alcohol everyday and all those bad carbs and the weight (namely fat) can pile on very quickly indeed. This could be especially true if excess fat is stored and the exercise stops and next thing you know that you have a years worth of fat to try and get rid of. Worse still, some people are eating like this every day and not exercising and putting on more inflammatory fat and not realising they are a ticking time bomb. These people then have a lifetime of fat to get rid of and that is not going to be an overnight fix by any means.

So many people always try to convince themselves that a little bit of this, or that, won’t hurt. That is absolute rubbish. Yes, a little bit of this and that won’t hurt if you have reached your optimum weight, got rid of all the bad fat around your body, and reached your health goals. Sure. But if you are already overweight, have excess tummy fat etc, yes, that little bit just set you back big time. Excess fat= inflammation. Excess fat is also estrogenic and part of the reason obesity also unbalances hormones, causes inflammation in all the cells, decreases fertility, but also puts you at increased risk of many of the cancers we get as humans. We will talk about that in later posts.

Before you start making excuses and trying to plead your fat loss case, you might want to stop for a second and actually listen to some cold hard facts and from a qualified healthcare professional, not your next door neighbour pushing the next multi-level marketed shake diet scam. You need to put down your degrees in Dr Google and tell Dr Google to stick his fat loss advice misinformation where the sun doesn’t shine. Excess fat and a sedentary lifestyle is going to cut your life short and also lessen your quality of life and increase your risks for other diseases that could cut your life even shorter. It is time to cut the BS (Bullshit) and tell it how it is.

On a daily basis I hear every excuse to why someone hasn’t been able to lose weight, or get their life back on track etc. I have heard it all. Even many of my fertility patients just don’t get that their current fat status is hindering their chances of healthy eggs, health sperm, and healthy embryos and having a healthy baby.

I have heard every excuse from “I go to the gym 2 hours per day and still can’t lose weight”, “But my diet is great and I still can’t lose weight”, “I’ve tried everything and seen everyone and still can’t lose weight” and so many other excuses. Each time I hear the excuses start, the BS meter starts to go off and I feel the need to call people on their story they are living in. Sure, I get it is hard. Sure, I get the excuses. Sure I get it and understand the story being told to me. But seriously, nobody is going to do this for you. People just need to take ownership and just admit that they are 100% responsible for their own body and now just need to take on the advice and just do it. You cannot keep blaming someone or something and keep shifting the focus off the one things holding you back, which is your self.

If someone is eating correctly (I mean eating a proper diet, not the one you have been conditioned to believe is healthy by clever marketing for big corporation), then you will burn fat and lose weight. You can’t out train a bad diet and you can’t lose fat if you are getting bad advice. You won’t lose fat if you aren’t being honest with yourself and having chocolate, treats, biscuits, and drinking alcohol and all the other bad carbs along the way. One biscuit here and one piece of chocolate there, adds up to a crap load of sugar and fat storage in a week. Let’s not forget how alcohol is full of sugar and bad carbs and stores fat too.

Nine times out of ten it isn’t the diet that isn’t working for someone, it is the person not working and not doing things properly. Once that is sorted and proper adjustments made, plus moving the body at the same time, people will always lose that fat. They do when I am helping them.

The other big issue I see is people’s perceptions of what a good healthy diet consists of, or what they have been conditioned to believe is healthy. While this may not necessarily be their fault, once they have been told and don’t do anything about it, then there isn’t anyone to blame but self.

We also have the big issues in this country, and other parts of the world, with all of the unqualified wannabe health coaches (and bloody Dr Google) out there pushing the latest fad and not knowing what the hell they are doing and pushing it onto the unsuspecting masses who lap up the latest quick fix craze. We have also had years of indoctrination by cereal and bad food companies getting us to believe their sales pitch lies to boost their profits and keep us all sick.

Let me tell you one thing. There is no quick fix when it comes to fat loss. There is no magic pill, or magic shake, or magic supplement that is going to melt fat away overnight. People need to get that through their brains and start to be real about their expectations versus the reality of weight/fat loss.

It is called eating well, exercising and changing lifestyles, reconditioning the thought processes and learning to live life and love it at the same time. No shake, or quick fix fad, is ever going to replace a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle. Those shake diets and quick fix fads only last a short time and while you are doing this and then once you stop, you rebound back to where you are. Don’t get me started on how those shakes etc are full of fillers, full of sugars and lack beneficial real nutrients and live enzymes. They aren’t real foods and they will never be real foods and we shouldn’t need to use them. OMG don’t get me started on what many people think are real foods.

One of the biggest issues with people not being able to lose fat is that their gut flora, or what we now call the Microbiome, is just not balanced and healthy and full of healthy bacteria. You can take multiple supplements and shakes and do copious amounts of exercise, but if your gut flora and Microbiome isn’t balanced and right, then nothing is going to work. If the Microbiome is balanced and healthy, then the rest of the body, the immune system and the mind will be healthy too.

Recolonising the Microbiome and balancing the gut flora is something I always start with when people are wanting to get healthy, and or lose fat. It is an absolute must to be able to reduce inflammation, get the digestion working properly, restoring the immune system, restoring optimum brain function, restore fertility and getting the body burning fat properly. Without getting the gut function working properly, nothing else will function properly either

You are all probably wondering why I use the word fat loss, instead of weight loss. That is because weight loss is not the goal to a healthy body. Fat loss is the goal. It is very easy to make someone lose weight, but the problem with most weight loss systems is that they make you lose muscle and body mass, not burn fat. So people lose the weight on the scales and the fat is left behind and then they rebound. It also leaves you a lighter person full of bad fat and full of inflammation that is still causing you to be unhealthy and have an increased risk of disease. You just become a fat skinny person and that isn’t good either.

We need to redefine the model of thinking around weight loss and start to re-educate people that we need fat loss to help the body become healthy. We also need to have a healthy Microbiome and healthy digestive system to achieve optimum health too. So no matter what your disease state is, your health goal is, or what you need to achieve to get your body back into optimum shape, gut health and a healthy Microbiome should be first and foremost. Whether you want to lose fat, or recover from a disease state, or have a baby, fat loss and a healthy Microbiome are the integral key that you need to use to unlock your health and New Years goal. If you want to do fat loss properly, then book into a properly trained healthcare professional like myself, or a nutritionist and get your life and health back on track this New Year.

I know sometimes this may sound a little harsh, but it is from a place of caring and a place of wanting to give people the facts. We all need a wakeup call every now and then and sometimes there is no other way to do it but say it how it is. It is time to call people on their BS misinformation and excuses and let’s get the facts out there about what it takes to be healthy and what it takes to lose fat properly too.

Take care and here’s to good health this year

Dr Andrew Orr

-Women’s & Men’s Health Advocate

-No Stone Left Unturned

 

How the Christmas, New year & Easter Festive Seasons Can Affect a Woman’s Menstrual Cycle

We have not long gotten over the Christmas and New Year period and we are about to embark on the fast train into Easter holiday and festive season. While many are getting ready for the sugar fest ahead, with Easter eggs and hot cross buns galore, we need to take the time to understand how this may affect our bodies afterwards, especially for women and their menstrual cycles. Worse still it could even affect pre-existing gynaecological conditions that women live with on a day to day basis, some of which impact women’s day life terribly

Christmas and Easter times always pose great problems for women and their menstrual cycle, and year after year many women never make the correlation why. Year after year I see women coming back to see me, after Christmas and Easter,  scratching their heads as to why all of a sudden their menstrual cycle has gone haywire and they are getting the worst PMS symptoms they’ve had since starting goodness knows

So why do so many women have problems with their menstrual cycle after Christmas and Easter?

The answer is blatantly obvious. Stress, Poor diet and Lifestyle factors!

The lead up to Christmas and Easter, is always a busy time and no matter how much people try to deny it, it is very stressful. People are rushing madly to meet deadlines before everyone goes on holidays and then the mad Christmas and Easter shopping rush that follows.

Then there is the stress of what to buy everyone, followed by the mad catering panic. People litrally go mad and one would think the end of the world is imminent, with supermarkets being emptied by the marketing hype of these two festive seasons.

Then the big day arrives. Everyone forgets the basic principles of a healthy diet and engorge themselves on any food they can lay their hands on. Basically it is a licence to eat as much bad food as we can put in our mouths, and then use the basic excuse of “Its Christmas” or “It’s Easter” and “It is only just one day and it won’t really matter and I had to do it”.

Then one day leads into two, and then this leads into a week and then before we know it, it has been more than just one day of bad eating, or drinking alcohol. The sad fact of that statement is that some people eat and drink alcohol like it’s Christmas and Easter every day.

With Christmas we can have many portions of baked dinner, crackling, seafood, Christmas pudding, chocolate and any other sugar substance that can be consumed it all had to be washed down with a nice alcoholic beverage, or two. Many bottles of bubbly, or choice of poison later, and we now have a stomach full of sugar, fat, cholesterol and alcohol all churning quite nicely. Diabetes and heart disease here we come.

Then approximately 1 week later it is New Years Eve and the licence, to drink like fish and eat like a ravenous bear, is pulled from the pocket and waived around once more. “But it’s Ok”, we say.

The New Year’s resolution will be to not do it again, until next year when all resolutions are forgotten. Meanwhile the system had short circuited, the gut has gone into melt down, the cholesterol levels are rising, the sugar levels have reached diabetes status and the brain cells have been reduced yet again.

Several months later when the system has started to recover, Easter arrives and the sugar binge begins; with Easter eggs and all manner of chocolate, sugar laden delight. Let’s not forget the alcohol added to the mix, that we used to self medicate from the stress of the lead up to the Easter break. The body short circuits itself again and will take until Christmas to recover and then it starts all over again.

Now, I wonder why the menstrual cycle would be affected?

Hmmm, I wonder?

There are only a few things that will affect a menstrual cycle and cause PMS, irregularities and pain. The trouble is many of them can be unknowingly self- inflicted. Yes, many monthly menstrual related problems can be unknowingly self- inflicted.

Let’s not forget that many people do have gynaecological issues that they suffer on a daily basis though. But even still, this high amount of burden on the system will exacerbate these pre-existing conditions and make them worse, due to the resulting high levels of inflammation. What I am trying to do is just make people aware of how conditions can be worsened and how these high levels of inflammation, from high levels of sugars etc, can cause havoc with a woman’s cycle. This is not about blame. It is about education and prevention. I am here to help, not hinder. Please remember this.

As I said there are only a few things that affect, or exacerbate, a woman’s menstrual cycle and I’m going to list them below. So that way if you are wondering why you can’t get enough Naprogesic into your body, when you get your cycle, please remember the list below.

Please also read my article on “What a proper Menstrual Cycle Should Be Like”. If it isn’t like the one I describe you better book in to see me soon.

What Affects a Menstrual Cycle

  1. Poor diet – Foods such as high sugars and junk foods all cause inflammation in the body and lead to hormonal irregularities and pain with the menses
  2. Alcohol – Most alcohols contain high sugars and they also cause inflammation in the body. It also interferes with your hormones and affects the liver too. In Chinese medicine the Liver governs the menstrual cycle. Excess alcohol leads to SOL ( Shit on Liver) J
  3. Poor Sleep– Sleep deprivation leads to reduction in hormones such as serotonin and then effect the moods etc. Lack of sleep also stops the body from repairing and can lead to other health issues
  4. Trauma – Things such as surgery, a virus, cold/flu etc, or where the body has to repair, can lead to menstrual irregularities. The body shuts down the menses so that it can repair itself first
  5. Weight gain or weight loss– It is a well known fact that many athletes do not get a menstrual cycle because of lack of body fat. The same goes for people who are overweight too. Too much, or too little, body fat interferes with your fertility. All your hormones are made from fats and protein.
  6. Emotional Issues– Bottled up emotions such as anger & frustration cause blockages in the system & then cause pain. Emotional issues also cause problems with hormones. Emotions can be a major issue in any health condition, or can affect hormones.

What a proper menstrual cycle should be like

A proper menstrual cycle should be 26 –32 days in it’s length. It should be 4 days flow, 5 at the most. Any shorter than 4 days is too short and any longer than 5 days is too long. This isn’t good. You shouldn’t get any pain at all, you shouldn’t get clotting, spotting, breast tenderness, bloating, fluid retention or changes to the moods such as teariness or irritability. These are all signs of irregularities and need to be addressed. Some of the things that exacerbate menstrual issues are listed above.

Lastly, please know that Period Pain IS NOT Normal and neither are some of the other irregularities women have. If you are suffering pain, or irregular cycles, or any other issue that doesn’t seem right to you, you need to get it checked out by a specialist.

Regards

Dr Andrew Orr

Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

-“Leaving No Stone Left Unturned”

-“Period Pain IS NOT Normal”