Iodine Deficit Related Conditions
~ October 2000 No.116 ~
Iodine is one of the most important microelements needed for synthesis of thyroid hormones which is vital for normal functioning of the human organism. Deficit of iodine in soil and water and, consequently, its low supply to human body through food causes various pathological conditions of the thyroid gland: people suffer from fatigue, irritability, weakened memory and attention. Sometimes it causes functional damage of other organs and pathological difficulties during pregnancy. Low iodine supply can also hamper physical and mental conditions of babies and teenagers.
Monitoring of iodine metabolism in humans is a complex biochemical process. Current practices of solving this problem by mechanically adding such non-organic iodine compounds as iodide or potassium iodinate into salt and other products is no longer considered an adequate measure for prophylactics and treatment of conditions related to iodine deficit.
The human demand for iodine is 70-90% satisfied by consumption of milk where this substance is found as part of the casein compound. Casein is a protein rich in amino-acids that create stable compounds with iodine. When amino-acids are supplied from the gastric-intestinal system into the liver, iodine is chopped off under the influence of an enzyme (deiodinase). This enzyme activity is directly dependant on the level of iodine deficiency and functional condition of the thyroid gland. Excessive quantities of iodinated amino-acids (iodothyrasines) are eliminated through the faeces.
The specialists of Obninsk Research and Production Enterprise "Medbiopharm" created in Kaluga Region on the basis of Medical Radiological Research Center of RAMS developed a unique biologically active additive - iodocasein - that gives the possibility to improve significantly the health of people living in iodoendemic areas.
Humans have physiological mechanisms that monitor the necessary quantities of iodinated protein. Biologically active supplemental iodocasein is analogous to the natural compound of iodine and milk protein. Trials demonstrated its unique safety and physiological qualities.
The stable content of iodine compounds ensures their accurate dosing. The stability of these organic compounds ensures no negative influence on the organoleptic characteristics of final products.
These qualities of this unique biologically active food additive provide the possibility to start active development of new prophylactic bread, dairy and meat products and gave the opportunity for local enterprises to participate in the execution of one more local target program "Prophylactic of iodine deficit related conditions". Bakeries of Kaluga Region today produce 17 varieties of bread products enriched with iodocasein.
Sergey I. TCherniaev is the Vice-director of Department of Agriculture and Foodstuff of Kaluga Region and Head of Food and Processing Board, Kaluga, Russia
Note: Some editorial changes have been made from the original article submitted to enhance clarity (Editor in Chief, Medicinal Food News)