What is Iodine?
Iodine was derived from the Greek word iodes , meaning “violet color” seen in its fumes and was the first nutrient to be recognized as essential for humans and animals. As early as 3000 BC, the Chinese treated goiter with seaweed or sponge. Later, Hippocrates used the same treatment for enlarged thyroid glands.
For many years, getting enough iodine in the diet naturally was difficult in many geographic regions and remains so for an unfortunately high percentage of the world’s population in the developing nations. With the introduction of iodized salt, meeting the daily iodine requirement became nearly effortless and inexpensive in the industrialized nations. In these nations, iodine deficiency is now rare. As developing nations are able to make the shift to iodized salt, their rates of iodine deficiency and the diseases associated with it have also begun to decrease.
Uses and Benefits of Iodine
- Iodine is essential in maintaining the function of the thyroid and parathyroid glands in the human body.
- It is also essential to the production of thyroxine and for the prevention of goiter.
- Iodine improves mental alacrity and promotes healthy hair, nails, skin, and teeth.
- Iodine also promotes general growth and development within the body as well as aiding in metabolism. Iodine, because of it’s role in the metabolism also helps to burn off excess fat.
Recommended Dosage of Iodine
The Recommended Daily Allowance for iodine are :-
- Adults – 150 mcg.
- Children – 70 to 90 mcg.
Deficiency Symptoms of Iodine
Some of the common deficiency symptoms of iodine are :-
- Hair loss.
- If pregnant women are deficient in iodine it may cause cretinism, a form of mental retardation of the fetus.
Toxicity symptoms include: fatigue, headaches, weight gain, dry skin, acne, sensitivities to cold, thin/brittle nails, rapid pulse, irregular menstrual bleeding, and increased salivation.
Rich Food Sources of Iodine
Foods that are high in iodine include dairy products (from cattle fed iodine-supplemented feed and salt licks), iodized salt, seafood, saltwater fish, and kelp. It may also be found in asparagus, dulse, garlic,lima beans, mushrooms, sea salt (which provides nature’s own balance of minerals), sesame seeds, soybeans, spinach, summer squash, Swiss chard, and turnip greens.