Iodine and Autism, is there a connection?

I was thumbing through my news feeds on my emails yesterday, and something caught my eye. Iodine and how many (if not most) people are deficient of this valuable mineral.

I said that expectant mothers who are iodine deficient, can, and often do have babies who eventually have learning problems, or developmental delays.  Iodine is key to a healthy thyroid. My maternal grandmother had thyroid problems, my mother (though never diagnosed) had a lot of symptoms of ADHD, perhaps her mother was iodine deficient. In turn, my mother later had problems with her thyroid, she may have been on some thyroid meds for a short time, but not for long. I however was diagnosed at the age of 2mos with Congenital Hypothyroidism. I have no gland. Or so I was told. I’ve never seen an x-ray or ultrasound of my neck for proof.

I read that babies born with hypothyroidism have a window of a few days to be diagnosed in order to escape brain damage. I (like I said) was diagnosed at 2 mos., plenty of time for damage to happen, and it said after that window of opportunity expires, results are usually, mental retardation or autism.

I often joked about myself being autistic, because I have similar habits that my son (who DOES have autism) has. After reading this, I’m astonished. I was diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) so I deal with that. If I did have autism, I’d just deal with that. Now, after reading about Iodine and it’s affects on the thyroid, I don’t know if it would help me since my thyroid isn’t there, but would it help my son?

Symptoms of Iodine deficiency:

  • Thyroid enlargement- sometimes called “goiter”
  • Mental imbalances, such as depression and anxiety
  • Mental retardation (in extreme cases, and particularly in children of mothers who have had an iodine deficiency).
  • Fetal hypothyroidism (improper functioning of the thyroid in unborn children, leading to brain damage)
  • Autism

This really resonates with me because I’m always looking for that key to unlock my son from his prison called Autism. This JUST MAY BE THE KEY.

Other symptoms of iodine deficiency: Some of the lesser known symptoms of Iodine deficiency include:

  • Slowed Brain Function: Studies have shown the connection between the shortage of iodine and cognitive function, particularly in the gestation period in children. In fact, one study from 2009 found that iodine supplementation in mildly deficient children helped improve their perceptual reasoning.
  • Slowed Metabolism: A lack of Iodine can lead to a reduced ability to biosynthesize food into usable nutrients. This may lead to sluggish metabolism, weight gain and constipation.
  • Lowered immunity: Iodine deficiency may lead us open to free radical exposure, particularly in the thyroid gland, specifically in regard to the accumulation of harmful levels of fluoride, perchlorate, and goitrogens. This causes individuals with symptoms of iodine deficiency to experience more colds and flus.
  • Emotional upset and anxiety: Due to the relationship between iodine and hormone balance, an iodine deficiency disrupts the proper functioning of hormone receptors and communication. This may lead to emotional imbalances, anxiety and lack of sexual interest.
  • Cysts, soreness, and heaviness in the breasts: A study reported in the Canadian Journal of Surgery found that 70% of patients given iodine supplements showed improvement of their fibrocystic breast disease. This leads to speculation on the correlation between iodine deficiency and breast cancer. Although more research is required, it is generally accepted that there is a connection between a lack of iodine in women and breast pain/tenderness that can accompany the menstrual cycle.
  • Compromised organ function: Because of iodine’s healthy role in organ health, iodine deficiency may lead to an inability of the body’s organs to detoxify. Compromised function of the detoxification organs may eventually lead to overall organ failure.
  • Improper thyroid function: The New England Journal of medicine reported a correlation between iodine intake and thyroid disease. When the thyroid cannot function properly, it can lead to a whole host of symptoms, these include:
  1. Fatigue
  2. exhaustion
  3. puffy eyes
  4. digestive upset
  5. muscle pain,
  6. depression
  7. weight gain
  8. swelling in the body
  9. menstrual upset
  10. fuzzy head/memory impairment
  11. allergic skin reactions
  12. dry skin
  13. brittle nails
  14. sensitivity to cold
  15. hair loss
  16. high cholesterol
  17. low immunity


I for one, am going to ask my doctor about this when I see him today. I need to get another prescription for my thyroid meds. I’m hoping when I go, my weight is good. It seems to be going down, and I’m not as tired. I’m going to ask him that though I don’t have a thyroid, would it be advisable for me to try iodine supplementation? Then I will ask my son’s doctor.

If I remember correctly, after he was born, the doctors did a T4 test on him, they had to do that twice, which makes me wonder, is his thyroid working properly? After all, I have hypothyroidism. It makes sense, and he has some of the symptoms of Iodine deficiency.

  1. Fatigue: He tends to sleep late lately
  2. Increased sensitivity to cold: No, he doesn’t mind the cold at all, like me, it’s the HEAT he hates.
  3. Weight gain: I can honestly say, he is on the heavy side, and not quite obese, but, I don’t want to see him get to that point. He certainly could use some serious exercise. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I need to get him out.
  4. Dry skin: no, I don’t think his skin is dry, at least it’s hard to tell since he sweats so much. He used to have eczema, be seems to have grown out of it.
  5. Constipation: BINGO…here’s the key, he seems to always be constipated.
  6. Swelling and puffiness in the face:  No, he doesn’t have that
  7. Hoarseness of voice: his is just a natural 22yr old male voice, somewhat deep, but certainly not hoarse.
  8. Muscle weakness: I’m not sure about that, he doesn’t do much but sit at the computer all day. I would say no though, because he has carried heavy hampers loaded with wet clothes ready for the dryer.
  9. Elevated blood cholesterol levels: He had his blood checked a couple months ago, and the doctor didn’t seem concerned, so I’ll have to say his is good.
  10. Irregular menstrual periods:  for me, I’m menopausal, though mine were irregular. With him, this subject is of course is NOT APPLICABLE. If he starts bleeding from the groin area, there’s something SERIOUSLY wrong.
  11. Infertility: I seriously doubt there’s anything wrong with his fertility, though, with him being autistic, he’s still a virgin.  As for me, I had NO trouble at all getting pregnant. In fact it was because I was a “fertile myrtle”, that I decided to have a tubal-ligation. So no fertility problems as far as I can see.
  12. Slowed heart rate: have no idea about his, mine is normal, I’m sure his is too.
  13. Last but not least: Anxiety and depression: He does have a lot of anxiety, but I don’t know about depression. I can imagine he does from time to time get depressed.


Well, this is my post for today, I’m going to keep looking into this, it certainly makes a lot of sense. A LOT of sense.

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