Iodine Essay, Research Paper

Iodine is an essential macromineral. Almost half the iodine is found in the

thyroid gland which is located in the throat. Iodine is an important component of

thyroid hormones, which control energy, metabolism in the body as well as the

body?s temperature, reproduction, and growth. It is not found in the body so it is

very important that you get about .15 mg. daily. Some foods such as vegetables,

grains, table salt, dairy products, and especially seafood are the best sources of

iodine. Breathing in sea air everyday will give you a sufficient amount of iodine

to prevent a disease called goiter. There are two types of goiter: toxic and

simple. Toxic goiter is caused by excess of thyroxin secretion. Symptoms may

include rapid heart beat, tremor, increased sweating, increased appetite, weight

loss, weakness, and fatigue. Other symptoms may include eye problems such as

staring or protrusion. Goiter affects over 200 million people throughout the

world. 96% is caused by iodine deficiency. Goiters are rare in the U.S. and other

industrialized countries because iodine is now added to table salt.

Iodine affects body functions too. Hair and nail growth are affected by

iodine. The brain, skin, speech, teeth, energy production, metabolism, and

physical & mental health development are dependent on a well-functioning

thyroid gland. Deficiency symptoms include dry hair, goiter, intellectual

disability, paused growth, irritability, nervousness, and obesity. If a pregnant

woman takes iodine during pregnancy, the development of goiter will be

decreased for both the mother and the child. Iodine is the most efficient

treatment for children who have goiter.

Iodine does have a down side to it, too. It is not toxic up to 2,000 mcg

daily, but it may cause acne. Too much iodine is can link to thyroid cancer.

Some people are sensitive to iodine and may break out in a rash if their iodine

intake is excessive. The rash looks like a lot like acne. It disappears when the

iodine intake is reduced. Most of the illnesses related to iodine occur on all

continents and to people of all ages. People who mostly avoid dairy, seafood,

processed food, and iodized salt can become deficient. Iodine deficiency can

cause low thyroid function, goiter, cretinism. Some people who are overweight

mistakenly blame their overweight condition on an under active thyroid gland. In

the hopes of speeding up their metabolism, they may start taking a supplement

or eating sea salt or seaweed. But in very large amounts, iodine can be


Iodine is used to treat cuts and scrapes on the skin. The human thyroid

gland secretes an iodine-bearing hormone called thyroxin. The body needs

iodine as an iodine deficiency causes thyroid trouble. Most table salt is now

“iodized” to supplement the diet. As well, iodine is found in seafood. Iodine is

only needed in trace amounts. A good source of this mineral is kelp. Iodine

helps to metabolize excess fat and it is very important for both mental and

physical health. Iodine deficiency in children can cause mental retardation. In

adults iodine deficiency is related to fatigue, breast cancer, hypothyroidism or

cretinism, and weight disorders.

Chronic iodine toxicity results when the iodide intake is 20 times

greater than the daily requirement. In some areas, particularly Japan, inhabitants

consume as much as 50 to 80 mg a day, resulting in high plasma levels. Some of

these people develop goiters. Increased uptake of iodine by the thyroid may lead

to inhibition of thyroid hormone synthesis and eventually causes iodide goiter or

myxedema. At very high doses of iodide, a brassy taste, increased salivation,

gastric irritation, and skin acne may occur.

Iodine is the important component of thyroxine, the thyroid gland’s

hormone. If there is not enough iodine in the diet, there is insufficient thyroxine,

and the pituitary gland responds by releasing more thyroid-stimulating

hormone. This causes enlargement of the thyroid gland. However, a goiter may

also be caused by overactivity of the pituitary gland or by overactivity of the

thyroid gland itself. Other causes include reduced activity of the thyroid gland,

so that the gland swells in order to produce more thyroxine. Some types of drugs

can produce a goiter. During adolescence or pregnancy, a goiter may appear as

the thyroid gland copes with the body’s need for more thyroxine. Sometimes a

goiter is caused by a tumor on the thyroid gland.


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