Australian researchers have discovered an iodine deficiency among the people of an Aboriginal population and conclude that this could be the cause of ill health and disability.
Iodine is an important element needed for a healthy brain and a lack of it causes mental retardation in children. Iodine deficiency affects males and females of all age groups. Australia's bakers have been asked to include iodized salt in their baking to tackle this surfacing problem.
Along with iodine deficiency, there has been a report of an insufficient level of Vitamin D among Aboriginal adults in South Australia. The study was done by University of Adelaide researchers led by Dr Simon Vanlint.
Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium and maintain healthy bones, muscles and teeth.
The risk of developing bone and muscle pain, rickets in children and osteoporosis increases with a deficiency, and links have also been discovered between a lowered level of the vitamin and other diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, lung disease, mental health problems, skin disorders and some auto-immune diseases.
The brown skin pigment melanin of the Aborigines filters ultraviolet light, and so, less Vitamin D is synthesized. This has also been true of African-Americans, Pacific Islander and Maori people and indigenous Canadians.
Dr. Vanlint recommends daily but judicious exposure to sunlight supplemented by a diet rich with oily fish as the best way to increase Vitamin d levels.