The daily requirement of iodine (iodine) of an adult is about 200 micrograms. Children up to the age of 13 need less.
Pregnant and lactating women, on the other hand, should consume between 230 and 260 micrograms of iodine per day. In older people, in turn, the need for iodine drops again slightly.
Iodine deficiency is a worldwide problem. Although Germany is also considered an iodine deficiency region, as far as the soil is concerned, it is still possible to eat a balanced diet thanks to the iodised salt.
Of outstanding importance is the trace element iodine for the thyroid gland. An overactive thyroid, for example, and also thyroid cancer are specifically treated with iodine.
A lack of iodine on the other hand can lead to a dangerous enlargement of the thyroid gland - this is also known as so-called goiter. The importance of iodine for the thyroid is therefore so enormous, because iodine is a component of the thyroid hormones - about 70 to 80 percent of the absorbed iodine is consumed in the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormones, in turn, are essentially responsible for growth and cell division.
Especially pregnant women should pay attention to an adequate supply of the body with the trace element iodine, because an iodine deficiency can cause malformations of the embryo. For this reason, children should also drink a lot of iodine, because adequate nutrition is crucial, especially in the phase of growth. Physical and mental underdevelopment could be the bad result of childhood iodine deficiency.
An iodine deficiency usually only becomes noticeable at an advanced stage. Typical symptoms are fatigue, lack of drive and difficulty concentrating. The skin may look tired, pale and doughy, as more fluid is stored in the subcutaneous tissue. The voice also shows the lack of iodine: in many cases it becomes hoarse and rough.
However, iodine deficiency in Germany has become much rarer in recent years, as it is increasingly spiced with iodised salt. An overdose with iodine can hardly happen; only those who suffer from an overactive thyroid should refrain from ingesting too much iodine. In contrast, iodine tablets are hardly harmful to the body, even if they are unnecessary. Only in the case of a marked overdose (for example, if one milligram of iodine per day is taken in) may cause discomfort in the stomach and intestinal area as well as skin rashes. Pain and burning, as well as a metallic taste in the mouth are also not uncommon.
Sea fish and marine animals are particularly rich in iodine, but iodine is also found in iodized salt and mineral water in more or less large quantities. Even in eggs and milk, not insignificant proportions of iodine are present.
The largest iodine species are haddock, saithe and plaice. Fish as the largest supplier of iodine should therefore be on the menu at least once a week.
With a balanced and healthy diet, iodine deficiency is hardly possible today.
The intake of iodine preparations is not necessary, but can be prescribed in pregnant and nursing women. Even women with an unfulfilled wish to have children can use iodine preparations.