One of the most important uses of iodine is prevention of thyroid problems as iodine is a vital mineral for our body which is necessary for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Iodine, in form of silver iodide is used in photography. Here, are some more uses of iodine related to the human body, medical uses and some other uses.
Uses of Iodine
Prevention of Goiter: Lack of iodine causes goiter (abnormal expansion of the thyroid gland). So, prevention of goiter, is one of the most important iodine uses in the body. Iodine is often added to salt, to ensure sufficient intake of iodine.
Conjunctivitis: If a person is suffering from bacterial conjunctivitis, then a solution of povidone iodine is used for effective treatment.
Metabolism: Thyroid glands play an important role in many life processes inside the body, like maintaining body temperature, heart rate, body weight and digestion of food. Iodine is essential for smooth functioning of thyroid glands, which indirectly helps in good metabolism.
Breast Health: Iodine is considered very important for breast shape and health. It is found in breast milk. There is a lot research being conducted about the connection between iodine and breast cancer.
Cretinism: This is a congenital IDD (Iodine Deficiency Disease). In cretinism, the child suffers from mental illness and physical disabilities.
Ovarian Problems: Due to deficiency of iodine, many ovarian problems like ovarian cyst and cancer may be caused.
Eye Health: Iodine is used to treat eye infections caused due to bacteria. Also iodine protects against UVB radiations.
Antioxidant: Iodine is a vital mineral for our body, and is considered as important as vitamin C. One of the uses of iodine in the body, is that it acts as an antioxidant in the blood.
Acne: Potassium iodide is used often for treating common skin problems like acne.
Skin Health: Development of healthy skin, nails, hair and teeth, is one of the most important functions of iodine in the body.
Cancer: Some radioactive isotopes of iodine are used to destroy the thyroid damaging cancer cells. Many times a low iodine diet for thyroid cancer is prescribed.
IDD: Iodine is essential to prevent iodine deficiency diseases. Some results of IDD in pregnant women, are stillbirths, miscarriages and other pregnancy related complications.
Cough Treatment: For treating cough problems, a cough mixture of potassium iodide aqueous expectorant is used.
Sterilization: Many products used for cleaning of wounds contain iodine. For example, betadine, alcohol and some antibiotics contain iodine.
Purification of Water: To clean impure water, iodine solution or tablets are often mixed with water, especially in emergency cases. The water is purified within 15 - 20 minutes.
Vaginitis: Over-the-counter preparations of iodine are used by women suffering from chronic vaginal symptoms. To reduce vaginal inflammation iodine douches are used.
Apart from the above uses of iodine, it is also used to treat cold or flu, and reduce PMS, allergies, dermatitis, bladder infections and moles. Tincture of iodine is also used to prepare inhalations of iodine to treat hay fever. Drops of iodine are used to relieve vomiting during pregnancy in stubborn cases. Iodides are also used for many therapeutic purposes like treating spasmodic asthma, catarrhal pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, aneurism, tertiary syphilis, etc. Iodoform is used to treat many conditions like tuberculosis, diabetes, bronchitis, syphilis, chronic gastric catarrh.
People suffering from iodine deficiency, are often asked to take iodine orally by the doctor. Iodine has an unpleasant metallic taste, so it can be taken with fruit juices or plain water, to improve its taste. Over consumption of iodine might lead to side effects like diarrhea, fever, skin rashes and other allergy symptoms. In such a case, contact the doctor immediately. Pregnant women have to take special care to avoid any iodine deficiency, to maintain health of the baby and their self.
The above uses show how necessary iodine is for human body health. A teaspoon of iodine, is enough for human body. However, body doesn't store iodine for long. So, regular supply of iodine to the body is essential. In some places, where there is deficiency of iodine, human beings may not get iodine in their food naturally, so iodine enriched salts and oils are used as supplements.