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 in 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.
In the thyroid, there is usually a large supply of iodine. A shortage of iodine can cause ‘goiter’. In this case, the thyroid swells. 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. Only in people with an iodine shortage or a thyroid disease, an excessive iodine intake can disrupt the functioning of the thyroid.