is a trace mineral produced by the body that is essential
for normal growth and development. Seventy to eighty percent
of iodine is found in the thyroid gland in the neck. The
rest is distributed throughout the body, particularly in the
ovaries, muscles, and blood. Iodine is commonly used as a
topical treatment for wounds. Ointments containing iodine
are frequently used on burns to lower the risk of infection.
Iodized salt is the primary dietary source of iodine. Plant
and animal sea life, such as shellfish, white deep-water
fish, and brown seaweed kelp, absorb iodine from the water
and are great sources of iodine. Garlic, lima beans, sesame
seeds, soybeans, spinach, Swiss chard, zucchini (and other
squash), and turnip greens are also good sources of this
mineral. Bakeries may also add iodine to dough as a
stabilizing agent, making bread another source of iodine.
deficiencies in developed countries are rare because table
salt is supplemented with iodine and crops in developed
countries are generally grown in iodine-rich soil. A
deficiency of iodine can lead to hypothyroidism (low thyroid
hormone levels); symptoms of this condition include
sluggishness, weight gain, and sensitivity to temperature
changes. In infants and children, hypothyroidism can impair
physical and mental development.