Does iodine deficiency cause hair loss?


Quick Answer

Although iodine deficiency cannot directly cause hair loss, it can cause hypothyroidism, and one of the symptoms of hypothyroidism is hair loss, reports Mayo Clinic. Worldwide, iodine deficiency is the most common cause of hypothyroidism, according to the American Thyroid Association.

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Full Answer

Hair loss can be caused by any number of conditions, including androgenic alopecia, pregnancy, anemia, autoimmune diseases and psoriasis, WebMD explains. The primary symptom of iodine deficiency is development of a goiter, the American Thyroid Association states. The other primary symptom of iodine deficiency is mental retardation of children born to affected women. Even moderate iodine deficiency during pregnancy can lower the resulting child's intelligence.

In addition to hair loss, symptoms of hypothyroidism are fatigue, weight gain, aches and pains, and memory impairment, according to Mayo Clinic. In the United States, where hypothyroidism is primarily caused by an autoimmune disease, most individuals who develop hypothyroidism are middle-aged women.

Humans do not naturally produce any iodine and have to obtain it from the diet, explains the American Thyroid Association. Most citizens of the United States get most of their iodine from iodized salt. Other dietary sources of iodine include seaweed, eggs, dairy products, shellfish and saltwater fish. The optimal daily thyroid intake is 150 to 299 micrograms per day, which corresponds to around half a teaspoon of iodized salt.

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