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Iodine (I) functions to produce hormones in the thyroid gland that regulate our energy levels. It is found in seafood and most table salt is fortified with iodine. However, iodine deficiency is common in many parts of the world where iodine is not found in sufficient quantities in the soil. As a result the incidences of goiter and cretinism are high.

What are the functions of iodine?


What are the symptoms and signs of an iodine deficiency?

Indications of deficiency include:

It is also associated with Parkinson's disease, cancer of the thyroid gland, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer's disease, among others.

Food sources of iodine

The following foods are good sources of iodine: fish and seafood, pineapple, raisins, seaweed, chicken, dairy products, cereals and grains.

Therapeutic uses of iodine

It is used on cuts and wounds externally as an antiseptic. It is used for goiter, fibrocystic breast disease and thyroid problems.


Iodine is best taken as potassium iodide or as seaweed products. It is generally taken under the supervision of a health professional.

Special notes

Iodine is toxic in high doses and may aggravate or cause acne.

Large doses may interfere with hormone functioning.

Foods such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli contain a substance that is antagonistic to iodine, but cooking will prevent this. Anyone who eats large quantities of these foods needs to consider their need for additional iodine.

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Bland, J. 1996, Contemporary Nutrition. J & B Associates.

Davies, S. and A. Stewart., 1997, Nutritional Medicine. Pan.

Holden, S., Hudson, K., Tilman, J. & D. Wolf, 2003, The Ultimate Guide to Health from Nature. Asrolog Publication.

Pressman, A. and S. Buff, 2000, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. (2nd Ed.) Alpha Books.

Soothill, R. 1996, The Choice Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. A Choice Book Publication.

Sullivan, K. 2002, Vitamins and Minerals: A Practical Approach to a Health Diet and Safe Supplementation. Harper Collins.

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Iodine is the Greek word for 'violet' the color of this important mineral which was first discovered in 1812 in kelp.