Concentrated primarily in the thyroid gland, iodine is a potent trace mineral that plays an important role in many of the body’s biological functions. In fact, iodine is so vital to a person’s overall health that in the 1920s, U.S. government health officials recommended it be added to table salt. The recommendation was a strategy to ensure that an iodine deficiency didn’t develop in the American diet. And it worked. Today, iodine deficiency has been virtually eliminated domestically. Unfortunately, about 1.6 billion people, mainly in underdeveloped countries are still plagued by a variety of disorders caused by a lack of this mineral in their diet.
The primary function of iodine is to keep the thyroid gland healthy. The thyroid helps to regulate metabolism, to control the physical and mental growth of children (insufficient iodine in a pregnant woman can cause cretinism in a fetus), and to break down fats and proteins.
Insufficient iodine (which results in too little thyroxine) can lead to such symptoms as fatigue, dry skin, an increase in blood fats, a hoarse throat, delayed reflexes and reduced mental clarity. Dietary sources of iodine are plentiful. One teaspoon of iodized salt contains more than 300 mcg of iodine. In doses greater than 30 times the recommended amount, adverse reactions may develop. These can include mouth sores, a metallic taste in the mouth, swollen salivary glands, vomiting, headache and rash.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.