Iodine is an essential mineral that is important for several reasons. It is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism, energy levels, and other important functions in the body. Iodine is also important for brain development, particularly in infants and young children.
Iodine deficiency can lead to several health problems, including goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland), hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland), and mental retardation in severe cases. In pregnant women, iodine deficiency can lead to birth defects and other problems in the developing fetus.
Iodine deficiency is a common problem worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 2 billion people worldwide are at risk of iodine deficiency, and about 740 million of these people have moderate to severe deficiency.
Iodine deficiency is more common in certain parts of the world, such as Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. In these regions, iodine deficiency is a leading cause of preventable mental retardation.
Some people may be at risk of deficiency, including those who do not consume enough iodine-rich foods or who have certain medical conditions that affect their ability to absorb iodine.
Iodine is found in a variety of foods, including seaweed, oysters, dairy products, and eggs. It is also added to some types of salt to help prevent deficiency. If you are concerned about getting too little iodine, a good high quality iodine supplement does the trick.