Iodine, Selenium and Metabolism
This post will highlight the connection between iodine deficiency, reduced metabolism and weight gain. We will also look at the role of selenium in activating iodine and restoring healthy levels of iodine in the body.
Supplementing with Iodine
The body needs iodine to make thyroid hormone which is important for controlling our metabolism as well as many other functions (see Iodine As Medicine). The body holds about 1500 mg of iodine and about 50 mg is stored in the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland cannot function properly without enough iodine. The body needs iodine so that it can make enough thyroxine in the thyroid. It helps regulate metabolism and the rate of fat burning. About 30 percent of iodine absorbed goes directly to the thyroid gland. The body stores iodine in various tissues and excess iodine is easily expelled. Supplementing with 10-30 mg of iodine is a safe way to ensure the thyroid and the rest of the body is getting enough iodine.
The Thyroid Gland and Metabolism
Hormones are special chemical substances in your body that act like messenger molecules. The endocrine glands make and secrete hormones into the bloodstream as your body needs them. Metabolism is the body’s process of generating energy from nutrients. Controlling hormones is essential to managing metabolism.
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in your body located in the neck just in front of the windpipe. It looks like a small bow tie.
The thyroid helps to control your metabolism. It does this by releasing thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones regulate how fast or slow your brain, heart, liver, muscles, and other organs in your body work. Thus, thyroid hormones directly influence the rate at which your body burns energy.
Iodine and Metabolism
The functioning thyroid uses iodine to make thyroid hormone. The thyroid combines iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to make active (T3 or triiodothyronine) and inactive (T4 or thyroxine) thyroid hormones. Patients have reported that it is easier to lose weight when taking T3.
Men and women across the country work hard and use tremendous amounts of discipline to lose weight. However, many are unable to realize a healthy body weight despite their best efforts. This can happen when you have an under-active thyroid gland (or hypothyroidism). Great efforts do not necessarily translate into high performance. To quote the Friends theme song.. It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear (“I’ll Be There for You”, The Rembrandts, 1995). It is worth considering that an under-active thyroid resulting from iodine deficiency is one of the causes of weight gain.
The Thyroid and Weight Gain
The thyroid not only regulates metabolism but also prevents the accumulation of body fat. An under-active thyroid gland slows down your metabolism. When this happens, fewer calories are burned and you begin to feel sluggish. Moreover, an under-active thyroid gland can promote excess weight by causing water retention.
Selenium and Weight Loss
Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential for overall health. Selenium helps to make enzymes that convert inactive thyroid hormones (T4) to active thyroid hormones (T3). T3 is better for fat burning. It is like the accelerator pedal for your metabolism. Moreover, if T4 is not converted to T3, symptoms of hypothyroidism can occur.
Selenium also recycles the iodine present in the body. In effect, having sufficient selenium means you will have a higher metabolism and more energy.
Iodine supplementation, especially with selenium, will boost your metabolism and help with weight loss. Results are improved with exercise, a lifestyle appropriate diet and drinking enough water. Consider that many people who exercise regularly do not need to summon incredible amounts of will power to get moving. They already have excess energy at their disposal that NEEDS to be used up. Moreover, having the energy makes activities more enjoyable. Why shouldn’t you have it the same?
We want to be perfectly clear that we promote iodine supplementation primarily to correct a deficiency and maintain general health. It is unfortunate that the public is not well-informed about iodine because many who struggle with weight loss need not blame themselves. It is partly due to misinformation and lack of promotion with respect to iodine as a nutrient. However, it is encouraging to see more and more people taking responsibility for their own health.
North American’s devotion to weight loss, demonstrated by strong demands for related products, provides an opportunity to make the public aware of iodine as a key nutrient in holistic health management.
- thyroid gland uses iodine and selenium to produces thyroid hormones
- thyroid hormones directly influence the rate at which your body burns energy
- under-active thyroid can lead to more body fat and water retention
- selenium helps the body recycle iodine
- iodine and selenium can be effective components of a weight loss program
- iodine should be used to correct a whole body deficiency
- iodine supplementation is a holistic health remedy