The Relationship Between Thyroid Hormone and NutritionThe thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system and releases hormones, which control many of organism's functions. Thyroid hormones essentially regulate growth and development, cognitive functions and energy metabolism.
Problems in the thyroid gland or hormone can lead to many disorders. Hyperthyroidism (overproduction of thyroid hormones) and hypothyroidism (underproduction of thyroid hormones) are two common problems. Enlarged thyroid gland can cause goiter, thyroid cancer, thyroid nodules, and thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid gland). Hashimoto's disease is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the immune system produces antibodies against the thyroid gland.
Hypothyroidism may lead to fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, forgetfulness, and even depression. Conversely, hyperthyroidism can cause extreme anxiety, insomnia, weight loss despite good appetite, and tachycardia. Thyroid diseases may not seem critical at first. But their effects -- including obesity or weight loss, palpitations, forgetfulness, or depression can result in a lower quality of life.
Research shows that 40 out of 100 people in Turkey have thyroid problems, and 30 out of 100 have goiter. Genetic factors, iodine deficiency or excessive consumption of the vegetables like cabbage that has goitrogenic effects and suppresses the absorption of iodine, can cause thyroid disorders. For example, the high frequency of goiter in the Eastern Black Sea Region is associated with the over-consumption of black cabbage. Soy protein, although not consumed widely in Turkey, can also lead to thyroid problems.
Dietary iodine directly affects thyroid gland functions. The addition of potassium iodate to table salt became compulsory in Turkey in 1998 in order to prevent widespread thyroid problems, especially goiter, caused by iodine deficiency. The ratio of potassium iodate to table salt is 25-40 mg per kg. Five grams of iodized salt a day, along with eating fish twice a week, provides sufficient iodine in the diet. Iodized salt may lose iodine when exposed to heat, so it’s better to add iodized salt after the food is cooked.
In addition to adequate iodine intake, you can reduce your risk of thyroid problems by following a balanced diet.