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Iodine is a naturally occurring trace element which is essential for human health. It is required for the formation of the thyroid hormones thyroxine und triiodothyronine. These hormones control many processes in the body, such as growth, bone formation, brain development and energy metabolism.

The recommendations of the German Nutrition Society (DGE) for an adequate iodine intake are age-dependent and increase from 40 to 80 micrograms per day for infants to 200 micrograms per day for adolescents and adults. As women need more iodine during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, an intake of 230 and 260 micrograms per day is recommended here.

Data on the iodine supply of the German population were collected in the nationwide representative studies “German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults” (DEGS) and “German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents” (KIGGS). The data show that Germany is not a deficient area with respect to iodine supply. Nevertheless, around 30 percent of the population still has an iodine intake below the estimated average requirement. To maintain the supply of iodine and avoid a drop in intake, the use of iodised table salt in households, gastronomy, catering facilities and food production is recommended.

A maximum daily intake of up to 500 micrograms of iodine is regarded as safe in Germany, also for people who react sensitively to an iodine load. This quantity is not exceeded with a normal diet.

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