Iodine is an essential element that can be obtained for both food, fortified salt and supplements. It plays a vital role for thyroid hormone production. Iodine deficiency can lead to serious health problems, including goiter (enlarged thyroid gland), intellectual disability and cretinism.
Iodine is necessary to produce thyroid hormones, both thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). T4 contains four atoms of iodine per molecule and T3 contains three atoms of iodine per molecule. A deficiency in iodine leads to reduced production of these hormones and may result in goiter and/or mild to severe intellectual disability. Fortified table salt iodine was introduced in the 1920’s and eliminated deficiency in many parts of the world.
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