Iodine is an essential element that enables the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency, during pregnancy and early infancy, can result in cretinism (irreversible mental retardation and severe motor impairments). In adults, low iodine intake and even excessive intake can cause hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism can manifest as low energy levels, dry skin, tingling and numbness in extremities, weight gain, and depression. Children with iodine deficiency can suffer from stunted growth, mental retardation, or speech and hearing ailments.