USES:Iodine is a fundamental component of the thyroid hormones which regulate body growth and development as well as energy production and metabolism.
Iodine deficiency may lead to insufficient levels of thyroid hormones which in foetuses and babies has the most damaging consequences in terms of impaired mental development and physical abnormalities.
Iodine deficiency in children may affect their growth and brain development and has been linked to poor performance at school.
In adults iodine deficiency has the effect of lowering the metabolic rate and reducing energy production.
A consequence of severe iodine deficiency is goitre, an enlargement of the thyroid gland in an attempt by the body to increase the production of thyroid hormones.
Foods rich in iodine originate in the sea: fish, seafood and seaweed. The soil in which fruit and vegetables are grown and animals feed also contains iodine but levels fluctuate dramatically between different areas.
In certain countries, iodine is added to table salt to help prevent deficiency.