Iodine, a Crucial Element
September 1, 2020
Iodine is crucial for healthy breasts and thyroid function and every cell in the body.
72% of the world’s population is affected by iodine deficiency.
Why Are We Deficient in Iodine?
- Fear of using salt on medical advice, especially those with hypertension.
- Less than 50% of households in United States use iodized salt.
- Radioactive iodine used in diagnostic testing exacerbated an iodine-deficient state.
- Exposures to chemicals and toxins. Goitrogen is a substance that decreases iodine uptake as well as inhibits iodine from binding where it is needed.
- Goitrogens include: Chlorine in pools, cleaning products, water supply, steam from dishwasher, sucralose (Splenda).
- Fluoride in water supply, toothpaste, dental treatments, mouthwash.
- Bromide in some soft drinks (Mountain Dew & some Gatorades), baked goods (they used to contain iodine but it was replaced with bromide in the 1970’s), pesticides, hot tubs, fumigant of produce, and some medications
- Declining mineral levels due to soil erosion and poor farming techniques.
- Failure to eat sufficient iodine-containing foods.
- A combination of any or all of these.
IMPORTANT Iodine Deficiency Facts:
- Iodine deficiency has increased more than fourfold over the past 40 years.
- Nearly 74% of normal, “healthy” adults may longer consume enough iodine
- Iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) affect between 800 million and 2 billion people.
- Iodine plays a central role in healthy function of your thyroid gland- Thyroxine T4= Tyrosine + 4 Iodine
- Thyroid hormones control your body’s metabolism, regulating everything from body temperature and heart rate to glucose consumption and even blood lipid levels.
- A symptom of iodine deficiency is a goiter- an unsightly painful enlargement of the thyroid gland that manifest as enormous swelling around the neck and larynx
- The danger of low dietary iodine is further compounded by your body’s decreased ability to utilize it, the result of contamination by ubiquitous environmental toxin called perchlorate.
- The US recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for iodine is 150-290 micrograms.
- Daily doses for optimal health of 3,000-6,000mcg have been used without side effects
- The average Japanese consumption of iodine ranges from 5,280 to 13,800 mcg of iodine with no harmful effects.
- Too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) results in: a slower than normal heart rate, a chronic feeling of being cold, constipation, unexplained weight gain, dry skin, hair loss or coarse dry hair, weakness, muscle aches, depression and fatigue. In extreme cases people could experience cognitive declines
- In hyperthyroidism, the goiter is the result of inflammation of the gland as it is under attack by an overactive immune system.
- In hypothyroidism, the goiter develops as the thyroid attempts to make more thyroid hormone in the absence of sufficient dietary iodine.
- Iodine deficiency disorders can produce symptoms of low thyroid function (hypothyroidism) even without abnormalities in measured thyroid hormone levels.
- Recent evidence suggests that iodine deficiency is linked to obesity, cognitive impairment, psychiatric disorders, fibromyalgia, and a variety of cancers.
- Iodine is essential to the developing newborn brain, so the mother’s body must have a direct means of supplying iodine to the nursing infant.
- Iodine has been shown to exert a powerful antioxidant effect equivalent to Vitamin C
- Iodine also helps regulate levels of the stress hormone cortisol and contributes to normal immune function.
- Abnormal cortisol levels and deficient immune function are significant contributors to the risk of breast cancer.
- Thyroid dysfunction elevates low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol levels and raises the risk of atherosclerosis.
- Low thyroid function is also associated with higher waist to hip ratios, an obesity related factor for cardiovascular disease.
- People living in iodine deficient areas have higher rates of stomach cancers.
- Stomach cancer patients in a landlocked area of Iran were 2.5 times as likely to have a severe iodine deficiency than control patients.
Iodine and the BREAST:
- Human breast tissue and breast milk contain higher concentrations of iodine than the thyroid gland itself, which contains just 30% of the body’s iodine stores.
- Iodine deficient breast tissue exhibits chemical markers of elevated lipid peroxidation, and shows alterations in DNA and increases in estrogen receptor proteins, one of the earliest factors in cancer development.
- Japanese women consume a diet high in iodine rich seaweed which provides them with an iodine intake 25 times higher than the average American women.
- Japanese women also have breast cancer rates roughly 1/3 of those found in American women.
- Continuous iodine given to cancer-prone rats cut mammary tumor rates nearly 2.5-fold- breast cancer cells avidly absorb iodine, which suppresses tumor growth and causes cancer cell death.
- Adding dietary iodine reduces the size of both benign and malignant breast tumors- and effect credited in part to iodine’s direct reduction of lipid peroxidation levels.
- Selenium is an essential cofactor in the enzymes used in thyroid and breast tissue to make optimal use of dietary iodine.
- Women with fibrocystic breast disease obtain substantial relief from oral iodine at doses of 3,000-6,000mcg.