What it does:

• Serves as part of thyroid hormones such as thy-roxin, which regulate the rate at which your body uses energy.

Ifyou don't get enough: With an iodine deficiency, the body can't make enough thyroxin. As a result, the rate at which the body burns energy slows down, and weight gain may become a problem. Goiter, an enlarged thyroid gland, is the deficiency disease often caused by a lack of iodine. With the use of iodized salt, goiter rarely is caused by an iodine deficiency.

If you consume excess amounts: Goiter also can be induced when people consume high levels of iodine— but not at levels consumed in the United States. Too much also can result in irregular heartbeat and confusion. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is 900 micrograms daily for teens ages fourteen to eighteen, and 1,100 micrograms daily during adulthood.

How much you need: The RDA for iodine is 150 micrograms daily for adults. During pregnancy, the recommendation goes up to 220 micrograms; during breast-feeding, 290 micrograms daily.

Where it's mostly found: Iodine is found naturally in saltwater fish. Foods grown near coastal areas also contain iodine, but many people don't have access to these foods. For this reason, salt is iodized, assuring an adequate amount of iodine in the food supply, even if you consume only modest amounts of salt. One-half teaspoon of iodized salt provides almost enough iodine to reach the RDA for a day.

Food Iodine (mcg)

Cod, cooked (3 oz.)


Table salt, iodized (1/4 tsp.)


Potato, cooked (1 medium)


Turkey breast, baked (3 oz.)


Navy beans, cooked (V2 cup)


If you consume excess amounts: Iron can build up to dangerous levels for people with a genetic problem called hemochromatosis, whereby the body absorbs and stores too much iron. That excess can cause an enlarged liver, bronze skin pigmentation, and diabetes, as well as pancreatic, liver, cardiac, and other organ damage. Ten times more common in men, symptoms of hemochromatosis usually begin to appear in adulthood, often in the thirties.

Taking adult iron supplements can be dangerous for children. Children should get immediate medical attention if they take an overdose of iron supplements. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is 45 milligrams of iron per day for ages fourteen and over.

How much you need: The RDA for teen males ages fourteen to eighteen is 11 milligrams of iron daily; for adult men it's 8 milligrams daily. For teen females to age eighteen, 15 milligrams of iron daily; for females ages nineteen to fifty, 18 milligrams are recommended daily. From age fifty-one on, women need about 8 milligrams of iron daily.

During pregnancy the recommendation goes up to 27 milligrams daily; during breast-feeding, the RDA is 10 milligrams daily for females age eighteen and younger and 9 milligrams daily for females ages nineteen and over.

Where it's mostly found: Iron comes from foods of both animal (heme iron) and plant (nonheme) sources. It's much better absorbed from heme iron and when

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