Approximately 80% of iodine is found in our body is found in the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is able to produce its hormones by using iodine. These hormones play a vital role in the growth and development of our body and also influence the maturation of our reproductive system.

Iodine is also important to our metabolic processes and helps to burn the excess calories. It keeps the skin, teeth, nails and hair to be strong and healthy. It helps to eliminate the toxins from the body and helps the body to use calcium and silicon. It is very useful in our body’s energy use.

Iodine deficiency can negatively affect the body and the mind.

Physical symptoms of iodine deficiency are skin problems, constipation, fatigue, goitre, weight gain, decreased fertility, increased stillbirth and growth abnormalities.

The mental symptoms of iodine deficiency are frustration, anxiety and depression.

The recommended daily intake of iodine is as follows:

AGE                              DAILY INTAKE [µg]

0 to 12 months          50 - 80

1 to 3 years                 100
4 to 6 years                120
7 to 9 years                140
10 to 12 years                 180

13 to 14 years            200
15 to 18 years            200

Above 19 years         180

Pregnant:                 +30
Breastfeeding:      +60

The richest iodine source is kelp, a sea-weed. Sea fish is a very good source. Iodinated salt is also a reasonable source of iodine. Seafood, dairy products and eggs contain iodine.

The iodine deficiency in the developing foetus, babies and young children are serious. They include retarded growth and diminished intelligence. Iodine deficiency is a major problem in developing countries. This intellectual disability in children is preventable. Even a very mild deficiency may retard the brain development.

People in Western countries are not totally free from iodine deficiency. There are some western countries where the consumption of iodinated salts is still compulsory. There are also iodine deficient persons. Although iodine rich food is available to everybody in excess, they do not use it properly resulting in unhealthy thyroid.

The list of environment-related chemicals which affects thyroid glands is long. Some of the chemicals are insecticides, herbicides, polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxin, lead and aromatic hydrocarbons. By the way, cigarette smoke, active or passive, is also a risk factor for thyroid gland.