An element essential for formation of the thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which control the rate of metabolism (internal chemistry) and growth and development. Dietary shortage may lead to goitre or hypothyroidism. Deficiency in the newborn can, if left untreated, lead to cretinism. Shortages are very rare in developed countries due to bread and table salt being fortified with iodide or iodate. Radioactive iodine is sometimes used to reduce thyroid gland activity in cases of thyrotoxicosis and in the treatment of thyroid cancer. Iodine compounds are used as antiseptics, in radiopaque contrast media in some X-ray procedures (see imaging techniques), and in some cough remedies.


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