Iodine is important in the cellular oxidative processes associated with thyroid functions. Brain development in humans is remarkably resistant to permanent damage from protein-energy malnutrition. Iodine deficiency is the most important and widespread nutrient deficiency; it causes endemic cretinism, associated with deaf mutism and cerebral palsy. The minimum requirement of adults has been estimated at 50 to 75 |g/d; children and pregnant women have a higher requirement. The principal role of iodine in man is its incorporation into thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) that regulate cellular metabolism, temperature, and normal growth. About two thirds of total body iodine is found in the thyroid. More than one half of oral iodine is absorbed; two thirds of that amount is excreted in the next 48 to 72 h. Goitrogens (e.g., cabbage, phthlates, resorcinol, rutabaga, thiocyanate, turnips) may inhibit thyroid uptake of iodine. Pulmonary insufficiency and dysphagia should trigger an examination of the thyroid gland and could possibly lead to a goiter. A goiter can occur, however, without hypothy-roidism. Weakness, cold intolerance, weight gain, puffiness of face/eyelids, thinning of the hair, and brittle nails combined with pallor, hoarseness, decreased sweating, constipation, and anginal pain may be part of the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism. Topical administration of iodine complexes has also been associated with thyrotoxicosis.86

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