Critical for the production of thyroid hormones, iodine cannot be synthesized in the body, meaning it must be consumed through dietary sources. Without it, the thyroid will become under-active or overactive, which may initiate problematic, often dangerous symptoms.
Although iodine deficiency is fairly rare in the United States, there are concerns surrounding a low intake during pregnancy and during early childhood, as this could lead to developmental issues and imbalances in regards to TSH — or thyroid-stimulating hormone.
Since iodine is so closely connected to thyroid function, it also plays a vital role in regards to your metabolism. In turn, those who suffer from an iodine deficiency and thyroid health issues often experience problems with their weight. It is important to note that thyroid function also impacts digestion, heart rate, and body temperature.
Iodine is utilized by other tissues as well, including your skin, brain, stomach, pancreas, salivary glands, and cerebral spinal fluid. In fact, iodine is critical for nearly every organ and tissue.
While the majority of people meet their daily iodine needs through their intake of iodized salt, too much of this source becomes counterproductive. Since many individuals do not consume saltwater fish and may not have access to vegetables grown in iodine-rich soils, supplementation is the best way to achieve optimal balance — especially when taken within a multivitamin.