Iodine is a natural element, with an atomic number of 53. It is the heaviest element which is essential for life, being used by the thyroid gland in higher animals to synthesize life-sustaining hormones, the most significant being thyroxin. Iodine is commonly leeched from the soil by rain water. Inland areas may be relatively depleted of iodine and human and animals living in inland areas are at risk for iodine deficiency. Mild iodine deficiency produces a wide range of neurological symptoms, whose cause is often difficult to identify. A more significant iodine deficiency may result in a goiter, which can be either soft or hard.
Iodine is most often added to table salt. Most humans receive their daily supply of iodine through the use of salt. This allows enough iodine to provide for the full nutritional requirements for almost all individuals. Even individuals on a salt-restricted diet will, in most cases, intake sufficient iodine with the small amounts of salt that they eat. Radioactive iodine becomes concentrated in the thyroid gland, and this radioactive element is highly destructive of the gland. It is used in medicine to destroy the thyroid when cancer is present.
Iodine deficiency is rare in most parts of the world. Since foods obtained from the sea will generally supply a sufficient amount of iodine, peoples dwelling far inland and with no access to marine nutrients are the most vulnerable to iodine deficiency. These peoples would also have to lack access to modern food distribution networks because, as noted earlier, most of the table salt supplied is fortified with iodine.
Significant iodine deficiency is characterized by extreme fatigue. This can appear as mental fuzziness, with extreme difficulty in concentration. A person with a significant iodine deficiency may complain of being chronically cold. Since his basal body temperature will be lowered. Depression is a common effect of iodine deficiency. Children who suffer from iodine deficiency are at a heightened risk for mental retardation. Interestingly, the symptoms of excess iodine are almost the same as iodine deficiency.
If you are experiencing some of the symptoms of iodine deficiency, you may want to consider asking a health professional about iodine supplements. Such supplements may help to relieve depression and fatigue. There are a number of colloidal mineral supplements available on the market, from which you could obtain iodine. Such colloidal supplements may be especially useful if you do not partake in a marine diet and also wish to restrict your salt intake. Follow the label instructions for dose size. Sources of colloidal iodine provide a safe way to supplement a person’s iodine intake and may relieve some of the symptoms of iodine deficiency.