Iodine and Human Health: Historical Perspectives and Implications for Nepal

Ramesh Shrestha

Abstract


Iodised salt has proven to be the most economical and practical way of supplementing dietary iodine in combatting endemic goitre, cretinism and associated negative impacts on psychomotor and mental development associated with subclinical hypothyroidism in children. Iodine deficiency control program in Nepal is a success story that started with the initial iodised oil injection followed by iodised oil capsule supplementation and finally a firmly established salt iodisation program. As demonstrated in several national micronutrient surveys, remote hilly and mountainous regions of Nepal still have some difficulties in accessing iodised salt regularly, possibly due to logistics reasons. In order to ensure uninterrupted supply of dietary iodine, there is a justification to reintroduce some other forms of iodine supplementation in these remote regions. In addition, negative impacts of iodine deficiency on learning ability in children have been well documented in several countries. How can it be reversed by what age and up to what level of severity is open for further research. Given Nepal’s diverse ethnicity, culture, food habits and varying climatic conditions at different altitudes, this review paper contributes towards warranting a scientific research on the impact of iodine deficiency in various socio-economic dimension of the society including children’s learning ability.

Keywords


Iodine, Goitre, Cretinism, hypothyroidism, learning deficit

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References


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