Around more than 2 billion people in the world are iodine deficient and about 1.48 billion people are suffering from iron deficiency disorders. In India, 51% of women of age group 15-49 year and more than 8% of children are found to be anaemic.

Iron is essential to our body as it carries oxygen upon binding with haemoglobin to fulfill the necessary oxygen requirement for tissues and muscels in a body. When body fails to meet which causes unusual fatigue, shortness of breath, headache and dizziness, cardiac issues,paleskin,brittlenails, and sometimes problematic during pregnancy. Normal signs of initial deficiency of iron indicates by having strange cravings( like clay, dirt, chalk), depression and more prone to infections.

So, iron levels can be improved by consuming diet rich in iron like curry leaves, moringa, iron fortified cereals, spinach, dried fruits, apricots, dark green leafy vegetables. So, Government has started providing iron supplementary pills to pregnant women and other needy people so as to meet the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) of 15-18 mg/day.

Another important mineral is Iodine. Yet it is a trace element available in meager in normal diet. So, usually people presume eating more salt improves iodine levels in body. As iodine is very essential for thyroid gland to function. Thyroid gland produces hormones which are necessary for maintaining basal metabolism of a body. When in deficiency it starts producing more hormones leading to the swelling of thyroid gland that is said to be goitre.

Goitre causes fatigueness, frequent choking, constipation, weakness in muscles, increased cholesterol levels and thereby increase weight, irregular menstrural cycle, poor cognitive power and mental ability.

On an average, an individual require 150 micrograms/day. Iodine is available in seafood, seaweeds, iodised table salt, nuts, fish and in meat. So,usuallyvegans suffer from being  iodine deficient owing to their diet habits.

Keeping these points in view, government has started supplying iron tablets and iodine supplement tablets to combat this but still applauding results haven't come.

As always" necessity breeds invention", CSIR-CIMCRI took a big step in developing double fortified salt (DFS) enriched with the both Iron and Iodine which has salient features like having reasonably long shelf life (>2 years), have additional nutrient called magnesium ( Mg), its odorless, white, free flowing, low cost of <Rs 2/kg and it has better bio availability compare to others.

It provides Iron of 1000 ppm and Iodine of 30 ppm and having > 85% efficiency in iron availability which is ought to bring good results in reducing frequent disorder worldwide. It is a patent product, evaluated and to be released in market.

©Meghana D P, MSc (Agri), Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Punjab

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