Iodine is a vitally important nutrient that is detected in every organ and tissue. Along with being essential for healthy thyroid function and efficient metabolism, there is increasing evidence that low iodine is related to numerous diseases, including cancer. Worldwide, it’s thought that up to 40 percent of the population is at risk of iodine deficiency. As more information becomes available on the importance of iodine, more and more people self-prescribe and purchase supplements. There are serious risks to taking too much iodine, however, which is why you need to be very cautious and get informed before opting for an iodine supplement.
Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone, a condition that is often linked to iodine deficiency. Ironically, new research has shown that taking too much iodine may also lead to a subclinical version of the condition, which is a milder form that is often missed by laboratory tests. Along with sometimes exhibiting many of the same symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as fatigue and difficulty losing weight, people with subclinical hypothyroidism may have an increased risk of heart disease.
As long as the Australian Government does not publish medical statistics, all references here relate to the United States. However, I don’t think we will be very different.
Dr Mercola reports that:
More than 11 percent of all Americans—and more than 15 percent of American women of child-bearing age—presently have urine iodine levels less than 50 mcg/L, indicating moderate to severe iodine deficiency.i An additional 36 percent of reproductive-aged women in the U.S. are considered mildly iodine deficient (<100 mcg/L urinary iodine). Iodine levels have significantly dropped in the United States in recent decades due to several factors, including:
- Bromine exposure: When you ingest or absorb bromine (found in baked goods, plastics, soft drinks, medications, pesticides and more), it displaces iodine, and this iodine deficiency leads to an increased risk for cancer of the breast, thyroid gland, ovary and prostate — cancers that we see at alarmingly high rates today.
- Declining consumption of iodine-rich foods, such as iodized salt, eggs, fish, and sea vegetables
- Soil depletion
- Less use of iodide in the food and agricultural industry
- Fluoridated drinking water
- Rocket fuel (perchlorate) contamination in food
What’s this doing to our country’s health? The Japanese consume 89 times more iodine than Americans due to their daily consumption of sea vegetables, and they have reduced rates of many chronic diseases, including the lowest rates of cancer in the world. The RDA for iodine in the U.S. is a meager 150 mcg/day, which pales in comparison with the average daily intake of 13800 mcg/day for the Japanese.
There is a large body of evidence suggesting that low cancer rates in Japan are a result of their substantially higher iodine levels, as iodine has documented antioxidant and anti-proliferative properties.
What are the best sources of natural iodine? Toxin-free sea vegetables and spirulina haravested from uncontaminated waters. Organic free range eggs also contain iodine. Any supplements should be obtained after an assessment of your iodine needs. Quality practitioner-only products which meet stringent TGA guidelines are recommended over purchasing on line where there is no guarantee of quality.
Some more interesting facts about iodine:
Iodine deficiency causes fibrocystic breast disease and cyclic breast pain. An iodine deficiency manifests as hyperplasia:
- goitre = cysts, nodules, scar tissue, enlargement
- ovary = cysts, nodules, scar tissue, enlargement (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
- breasts = cysts, nodules, scar tissue, enlargement, tenderness (fibrocystic breast disease). Breast tissue uses more iodine than the thyroid, hence iodine deficiency increases dramatically during puberty (breast
- Endometrium = cysts, nodules, scar tissue, enlargement
- Possible link to cysts in kidneys, liver and brain as most tissue is iodine dependent.
Goitre increases risk of endometrial, breast and ovarian cancers.
Enzymes in tissue that aid in iodine absorption are destroyed by fluoride and bromide.
Use of thyroid hormone in women doubles the risk of developing breast cancer (AMJ 1976) as it inhibits the body’s ability to absorb iodine. Risk increases exponentially with length of medication.
Bromide inhibits iodine absorption. In the 1800’s Dr Grove used bromide to “fatten up your children”. 1920’s Bromoselsa was used to relieve hangovers, nausea and headaches being then linked to schizophrenia and primary psychoses (enters nerve tissue) (NEJM).
Bromide is added to Gatoraid, oils, softdrinks, Mountain Dew (to disperse citrus flavour), as well as baking products and added to flour. Bromide is used to spray fruit (especially strawberries) and injected into soil.
Bromide used to solidify vegetable oils (margarine type spreads). Bromide is a Central Nervous System depressant. The high amounts of caffeine added to soft drinks counteracts the depressive effect.
Iodine removes bromide from cells. Many suspected cases of ‘iodine allergy’ are actually increased rates of removal of fluoride and bromide from the body rather than a detrimental reaction to the iodine itself.
There are many more functions of iodine, including chelation of heavy metals and protecting brain tissue. More at www.helpmythyroid.com