Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) are one of the biggest worldwide public health problem of today. Their effect is hidden and profoundly affects the quality of human life. Iodine deficiency occurs when the soil is poor in iodine, causing a low concentration in food products and insufficient iodine intake in the population. When iodine requirements are not met, the thyroid may no longer be able to synthesize sufficient amounts of thyroid hormone. The resulting low-level of thyroid hormones in the blood is the principal factor responsible for the series of functional and developmental abnormalities, collectively referred to as IDD. Iodine deficiency is a significant cause of mental developmental problems in children, including implications on reproductive functions and lowering of IQ levels in school-aged children. The consequence of iodine deficiency during pregnancy is impaired synthesis of thyroid hormones by the mother and the foetus. An insufficient supply of thyroid hormones to the developing brain may result in mental retardation. Brain damage and irreversible mental retardation are the most important disorders induced by iodine deficiency. Daily consumption of salt fortified with iodine is a proven effective strategy for prevention of IDD.
Keywords: Cretinism; Iodine; Mental Retardation.