Iodine is an essential mineral, which means that your body needs it to function properly and you cannot produce it on your own—you must ingest it through your diet or as a supplement. It is present in foods, but amounts can be hard to identify. Seaweed, salt water fish and seafood are natural sources of dietary iodine.
The most noticeable consequences of iodine deficiency involve defects in thyroid hormone production, which results in symptoms of thyroid disease. If you have low iodine levels, the symptoms of thyroid dysfunction can develop within a few weeks.
With iodine deficiency listed as the leading cause of mental retardation around the world, iodine is an important component for healthy brain development. The most damaging consequences are on fetal and infant development of the brain when deficiency can cause irreversible brain damage that lasts a lifetime. Brain damage, cretinism, mental retardation and other conditions are additional risks.
Following beneficial effects are claimed by the “European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)”:
Iodine contributes to:
- the normal growth of children
- normal cognitive function
- normal energyyielding metabolism
- normal functioning of the nervous system
- the maintenance of normal skin
- the normal production of thyroid hormones and normal thyroid function