health effects of IDDIodine is one of the essential microminerals needed by the human body. It is an indispensable component in the production of thyroid hormones. However, low levels of these thyroid hormones in the blood could lead to iodine deficiency that may adversely affect the body’s normal growth and development. This resulting disease state manifests an array of functional and developmental abnormalities, collectively referred as Iodine Deficiency Disorders or IDD. IDD are known to be a significant public health problem throughout much of the world.

According to World Health Organization (2006), the spectrum of disorders caused due to iodine deficiency profoundly affects the quality of human life as it affects all the stages of life, from fetus to adulthood. Below are some of the known health effects of IDD throughout the different human life stages:

Pregnancy and Fetal Stage

Thyroid hormone Thyroxine (T4) plays an important biological role in the growth, differentiation, and maturation of different organs of the body, particularly the brain during the early fetal stage of life. If a diet of a pregnant woman lacks iodine, the developing fetus cannot produce enough thyroxine resulting in hindered fetal growth and mental retardation. The hampered metabolic activities of all the cells consequently lead to irreversible alterations in brain development varying from mild intellectual blunting to cretinism. In areas of severe iodine deficiency, risks of abortion, stillbirths, and some degree of congenital abnormalities are very common.

247880770 610486333350551 4809098275728801989 nSalt is one of the most basic seasonings we use in our households. In the Philippines, salt is made by evaporating sea water by sun drying salt beds. Refined solar salt is produced mainly in Sual, Pangasinan by melting the coarse salt in water to remove the impurities then evaporating the residual wash water by boiling it off. Salt may or may not be iodized. Iodization is done by adding potassium iodide to salt as mandated by RA 8172 which encourages salt manufacturers to fortify salt with iodine to help address Iodine deficiency in the country.

To effectively reap the benefits of iodized salt, here are some tips on how to properly store and use iodized salt:

1. Store iodized salt in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark location. Salt attracts water from the environment and stores it then turns clumpy when stored in the kitchen due to the steam. It can absorb odors which may affect the taste. This can be prevented by storing it in an airtight container.

GAW 2022National Nutrition Council Davao Region (NNC XI) joins the annual observance of Goiter Awareness Week (GAW) 2022 with the theme: Leeg ay Tutukan, Goiter ay Lunasan. This year’s weeklong celebration will be done through series of webinars spearheaded by the Department of Health (DOH) together with specialty societies and allied health partners. Its core purpose is to escalate public awareness about ways to prevent, manage and treat thyroid disorders.

In the Philippines, according to the 2018 Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS), the prevalence of individuals affected with goiter are usually higher in women compare to men, specifically those pregnant and lactating women. Goiter is an umbrella term that conveys abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland resulting in a recognizable lump in the neck. Other clinical manifestations are tightness in the throat area, difficulty in swallowing or breathing, hoarseness of voice and coughing.

Iodine Rich FoodsIn observance of Thyroid Awareness Week, this article focuses on Iodine, its function and Iodine rich foods to sustain our daily Iodine needs. Iodine is needed for the synthesis of thyroid hormone which plays a role in metabolism, growth and development and role in brain development of the baby during pregnancy. When there is inadequate Iodine intake, an individual may develop Iodine deficiency or Goiter which causes the thyroid gland to enlarge. This has a negative impact for pregnant mothers and their developing baby because Iodine deficiency may result in cretinism which is a condition with mental retardation, hearing loss or deaf mutism and muscular disorders. This can be prevented by eating adequate amounts of Iodine from the diet especially during pregnancy and early childhood.

The following are the foods rich in Iodine that you may add into your diet to sustain daily Iodine needs:

Schistosomiasis MonthSchistosomiasis is a disease caused by the parasite Schistosoma japonicum also known as the blood fluke. It remains to be endemic in the Philippines especially in the Samar and Leyte provinces and Negros Occidental in Visayas. In Luzon, there are few endemic areas such as Mindoro Oriental, Sorsogon and Cagayan.

How does an individual get Schistosomiasis?

The parasites are stored in snails that live in waters, rice fields or rivers. Small parasites leave the snail and travel in water to infect humans by entering broken skin such as wounds. Once the parasite enters, it travels in the blood to reach the liver where they can settle and reproduce for years without being detected. Once they have produced abundant amounts of eggs, the eggs can travel in the blood and into the intestines where they are excreted in the stools. Thus, parasite eggs can be transmitted when an infected person defecates in open water.

Who is at risk of having Schistosomiasis?

The risk is higher for individuals living in the above-mentioned endemic areas mostly in Mindanao. Males have greater risk due to frequent water contact. Children aged 5-14 years old who often play in rice fields as well as adults are at risk of getting infected.

liver cancer and viral hepatitis monthThis January, we are observing the Liver Cancer and Viral Hepatitis and Prevention Month with the theme: “Malusog na Atay, Malusog na Buhay”. Worldwide, liver cancer is the sixth most frequently diagnosed cancer as of 2018. In the Philippines, Liver cancer ranks 4th leading cancer type and ranks 2nd in cancers that lead to mortality among Filipinos as of 2020.

What is Liver Cancer?

Liver cancer or Hepatocellular carcinoma is a malignant tumor that develops from chronic liver disease especially in individuals with cirrhosis or liver damage or those with Hepatitis B infection.

What are the risk factors of having Liver Cancer?

In terms of sex, liver cancer is more frequent in men than in women due to exposure to environmental toxins and women tend to have protective effects from the hormone estrogen. Another risk factor is chronic infection with Hepatitis B virus that causes liver damage and injury which accounts for 50 percent of liver cancer cases and is the predominant cause in Asia and Africa. Lifestyle factors include chronic and excessive alcohol and tobacco use which is more relevant in individuals with a family history of liver cancer.