Iodine deficiency is a leading cause of thyroid disorders. Deficiency can manifest as hypothyroidism, goiter, or impaired mental function. Insufficient levels of iodine increase the risk of thyroid cancer and may be associated with risk of breast, ovarian, endometrial, stomach, and esophageal cancer. In an effort to address iodine deficiency, salt iodization was introduced. Yet, despite these efforts, iodine levels have decreased in recent years. Several tests may be used to determine iodine status including the iodine spot test, iodine loading test, bromide spot test, bromide loading test, fluoride spot test, fluoride loading test and sodium/iodide symporter (NIS) test. Iodine supplements are effective in preventing and treating iodine deficiency and in achieving whole-body iodine sufficiency. In order to avoid adverse effects such as hyperthyroidism, and goiter, iodine supplementation requires proper monitoring of thyroid hormones (TSH, serum total T4, and free T3), with more frequent assessments during the first year of supplementation. Adverse effects are usually avoided when adequate and regular monitoring of thyroid hormone levels and whole-body iodine levels is employed and when dosages are increased/decreased accordingly.
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