Iodine is a mineral which is necessary for the development of thyroid hormones. These are important for growth and metabolism. Iodine is also important for proper functioning of the nervous system and supports the energy supply.
Iodine is naturally found in sea water, in soil and in drinking water. Via these ways, iodine comes into foods like sea fish, seaweed and vegetables. Milk and milk products also contribute to the iodine intake. Iodine is added to iodized common, table and dietary salt, bakery salt, bread baked with bakery salt and some meats.
- Good for the thyroid; essential for the production of thyroid hormones.
- Contributes to normal intelligence and problem solving skills.
- Keeps the mind clear and good for memory and concentration.
- Supports energy levels, skin and nervous system.
In the thyroid, there is usually a large supply of iodine. A shortage of iodine can cause ‘goiter’. This is a swelling of the thyroid. In children, iodine shortage leads to growth retardation and impaired learning capability. In adults, reactions slow down, tissues retain moisture and brain power diminishes.
Most people can deal with a surplus of iodine in the diet without problems. The excess iodine is normally discharged via the urine. But in people with an iodine shortage or a thyroid disease, an excessive iodine intake can disrupt the functioning of the thyroid.
- After a nuclear accident, radioactive substances could be released which cause serious health risks. Taking extra iodine tablets protects the thyroid from radioactive contamination.
- Iodine was discovered in 1811 by the French chemist Bernard Courtois.
- The term ‘iodine’ is derived from the Greek word iodes (violet).
- In the periodic table of elements, iodine has the symbol I and atomic number 53. The color is violet.
- Iodine is a trace element. This means that only very small quantities are needed (micrograms to milligrams).