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iodine supplementIodine Fast Facts

Foods: shrimp, lobster & other shellfish, seaweed, kelp, iodized salt

Nutritional & health benefits: thyroid function, mental health, fibrocystic breast condition

Iodine is a trace mineral that goes by the symbol I on the periodic table. Iodine is crucial for the human body because, among other things, it helps in the synthesis of various thyroid hormones.

Although many industrialized countries now put iodine in table salt to minimize the risk of deficiency, iodine deficiency is a serious health problem in the developing world.

Most of iodine's health benefits come from the mineral deficiency that it helps correct. Left unchecked, a deficiency poses serious symptoms, primarily mental effects, such as depression and anxiety, which in turn can have negative effects on the body as a whole..

And because iodine also plays such an important role in thyroid gland function, an iodine deficiency can wreak havoc directly on many important endocrine systems in the body, including metabolism.

The remedy? Getting the recommended dietary allowance of iodine, which is 150 mcg a day.

shrimp, an excellent source of iodine
Shrimp, lobster, and other shellfish are excellent sources of iodine.

Research also show Iodine has health benefits unrelated to deficiency, such as fibrocystic breast condition. For example, in studies where omen were given iodine doses several times higher than the upper limit ,(which is around 1000 mcg a day), a majority of patients in a control group experienced either significant improvement or treatment of the pain associated with this condition.

Although most people get the required amount of iodine from iodized salt, there are many foods which also contain iodine including a large variety of seafood, or in vegetables growing in soil where iodine levels are high.

For vegans and vegetarians - who are sometimes most at risk for iodine deficiency - seaweed and kelp are good sources of this important micronutrient.

More information about iodine around the Web:

Around the Web, find out more about this powerful trace element in the human diet and its use in radioactive form to treat thyroid disease and other conditions...

Iodine, Linus Pauling Institute's Micronutrient Information Center - Comprehensive information on function, food sources and supplements, deficiency dangers including that in prenatal development, nutrient and drug interactions, recommended dietary allowances by age level, information on its use in thyroid cancer and fibrocystic breast condition, and a link to related references.

MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Iodine in diet - A summary of function, food sources, side effects of deficiency, recommended daily allowances.

ThyCa: Radioactive Iodine - Useful information on the low-iodine diet recommended for pre-RAI scanning candidates with recommended foods, a complete low iodine cookbook downloadable in PDF format, and post-RAI testing advice.

also see in Diseases -> Thyroid Cancer


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