Q. I saw a woman with what looked like a small tire around her neck. Do you know what that could be?
It could be a goiter, which is a benign enlargement of the thyroid gland. The thyroid is a small gland made up of two halves that lie along the windpipe just below the voice box.
When the thyroid can't produce enough hormone to meet the body's needs, the gland compensates by enlarging. Iodine, a chemical element, is needed to produce thyroid hormone. Therefore, an iodine deficiency can lead to goiter and hypothyroidism deficient activity of the thyroid.
The body does not make iodine, so you have to consume it. Iodized table salt is the primary food source of iodine.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for iodine in adults is 150 micrograms a day. A microgram is one-millionth of a gram. One teaspoon of iodized salt contains approximately 400 micrograms of iodine.
Seafood is naturally rich in iodine. A six-ounce portion of ocean fish provides 650 micrograms of iodine. Seaweed, a seafood vegetable, is a rich source of iodine. Dairy products also contain iodine. Other good sources are plants grown in iodine-rich soil.
About half of the multivitamin formulas in the U.S. contain iodine usually 150 micrograms.
Treatment of iodine deficiency by the introduction of iodized salt has almost eliminated goiter in the United States. However, about 40 percent of the world's population is at risk for iodine deficiency.