Till the 1920s the importance of Iodine was not realized. Even now, the only physiological use of Iodine is for synthesizing thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland. The gastrointestinal tract absorbs it from the ingested food after it is converted into iodide ion. Iodine enters circulation as plasma inorganic iodide and is cleared from circulation by the kidney and thyroid.

What is the basic role of Iodine in the human body?

Iodine is a basic requirement for the body to function which is by the process of converting the consumed food into energy. Its major role is to produce thyroid hormones which in turn performs most of the thyroid functions which constitutes body metabolism.

How much Iodine is required per day for our body?

On a daily basis, infants need to be fed 110-130 micrograms of Iodine per day while the children are required to consume 90-120 micrograms of Iodine. Both the adult male and female should have an Iodine intake of 150 micrograms per day. At the time of pregnancy, women need 220 micrograms of Iodine and 270 micrograms per day at the time of lactation.

What illness does the lack of Iodine give rise to?

The most common disorder caused by the lack of Iodine in our body is goitre which is the enlargement of the thyroid gland. Other common symptoms of deficiency of Iodine are fatigue, weight gain, lethargy, dry skin and temperature sensitivity. The deficiency might be more harmful for infants and children for it might lead to mentally and physically underdeveloped ones. If the mother is Iodine deficient at the time of pregnancy, the child is bound to have severe mental impairment also known as cretinism or speech and hearing defects. The child may also be a stillborn, in extreme cases.

What are the sources of Iodine?

The major source of Iodine is the iodised salt. Sea foods are another good source of Iodine. Fishes such as cod, sea bass, haddock and perch are good sources of Iodine. Amongst the sea food vegetables, the best source of Iodine is kelp. Other common sources of Iodine are milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs and ice cream.

What are the side effects of too much of Iodine in our body?

Too much of Iodine intake has some side effects on our body also. It causes metallic taste, soreness of teeth and gums, burning sensation in the mouth and throat, diarrhoea, depression, skin problems and increased saliva.

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