What is Iodine? What are the benefits of iodine? What are the common iodine deficiency symptoms? Here are some facts on iodine.
Iodine is a trace element that is used for normal growth and development in the body. It was first discovered in 1811. Studies found that iodine was closely related to healthy thyroid function. The thyroid gland uses iodine to produce hormones that are released into the bloodstream to control the body's metabolism.
Around the 1920s it was included in table salt. This was because the populations were having goiter and thyroid problems, the clear symptoms of iodine deficiency over a period of time.
The main source of iodine in modern diets is iodized salt. There are, however, other natural sources for iodine such as kelp, seaweeds and certain seafood such as cod, haddock, halibut, herring, lobster, oyster, perch and salmon. Vegetables, legumes and fruits that are grown on iodine rich soil are good sources of iodine. Some examples are asparagus, lettuce, lima beans, spinach and turnip greens.
As mentioned above, one of the major benefits of iodine is to enable the thyroid gland to produce two types of hormones that are essential during metabolism. Other iodine benefits are for mental development, healthy skin, hair growth and nail growth and for fetal development.
Iodine has also many other uses and the most common is as an antiseptic. It is applied on cuts to reduce the possibility of infections.
One of the most visible indications of iodine deficiency is goiter. This looks like a large growth on the neck area where the thyroid is located. According to a WHO report, iodine deficiency is a contributing factor to learning disability and mental retardation. Lack of iodine may also cause depression, skin problems, fatigue and weight gain, among other things.
Some people are allergic to iodine. Because of this, they could only obtain iodine from natural sources and avoiding fortified foods and purchasing salt that isn't iodized. It is also possible to get iodine overdose. Getting more than the recommended daily allowance of 150 micrograms may lead to toxicity. Lactating and pregnant women require slightly more and children require only 40 mcg per day.