Iodine is found in each of the trillions of cells in the human body. It is responsible for the production of all the hormones, proper immune system function, cellular protection, brain function, detoxification, thyroid function and much more. (1) Join me as I explore some very compelling reasons to consider an iodine supplement!
Reason #1: Widespread Iodine Deficiency
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 72% of the world’s population is affected by some type of iodine deficiency disorder. (1) Another study, by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, showed that iodine levels have dropped by 50% in the past 30 years. (2) This is likely due to a reduction in iodized salt consumption, iodine-depleted soils, removal of iodine as a dough conditioner in bread, and the discontinued use of iodine to disinfect machinery in the dairy and meat industry. (1)
Reason #2: Iodine is no Longer in Commercial Breads
In 1980, misinformation led the government to believe that the public was getting too much iodine, and the essential mineral was forcefully removed (by law) as a dough conditioner in all commercial breads, baked goods and pastas. The problem was exacerbated by its replacement, bromide. Bromide is a toxic halide that competes for iodine receptors and inhibits iodine uptake in the body – most importantly in the thyroid and the breasts where it is most needed. (1) In one study, after ingesting 50 mg of iodine, bromide excretion in the urine increased by 50%. (1) Bromide is used as a fumigant on crops, as well as a flame retardant chemical found in most furniture and carpets and even kids pajamas – not something we want to be ingesting!
Reason #3: Breast Health
The breasts are one of the body’s main storage sites for iodine. In fact, the iodine levels found in breast milk are 4 times greater than that taken up by the thyroid gland. Experts say that the iodine in breast milk is needed for the baby’s immunity and brain development. (1) Iodine has been shown to block the uptake of toxic estrogens and increase the uptake of the breast-healthy estrogen, estriol (E3). (1,6) Iodine was also shown to lower or down-regulate several estrogen-responsive genes which enhances the length of successful Tamoxifen Therapy – a hormone therapy commonly used to treat breast cancer. (1,6)
Reason #4: Timed Cellular Death
Normal cells have normal life and predictable life cycle. The programmed timing of cell death is called apoptosis. Abnormal cells do not have a predictable life cycle or timed cell death – they just keep dividing out of control. Iodine has been shown to increase timed cell death or apoptosis in both breast and thyroid abnormal cells. (3) Apoptosis is an essential process that encourages the formation of new, healthy organs as well as the removal and replacement of harmful cells.
Reason #5: Antioxidant Benefits
Iodine has been shown to be a powerful antioxidant. As a cellular-protective agent or antioxidant, iodine out-performed other antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E and phosphatidylcholine. (4)
Reason #6: Fluoride
Fluoride is everywhere from the drinking water, to non-stick pans, toothpastes and many medications. Fluoride was used through the 1950’s to suppress thyroid function in cases of hyperthyroidism in South America and Europe. (5) In numerous studies, iodine supplementation has been found to significantly improve urinary detoxification of toxic halides like fluoride, chloride and bromide – thus taking a significant toxic load off of the thyroid. (1) In one study, one day after supplementing with 50 mg of iodine, urinary excretion of fluoride increased by 78%. (1,5)
Reason #7: Thyroid Function
There are two major reasons why thyroid problems are so common. With iodine deficiency, the thyroid becomes much more vulnerable to up-taking environmental toxins that can block thyroid function. In addition, thyroid hormone (T3, T4) production requires iodine. Iodine is also needed, along with selenium, to convert the less active thyroid hormone, T4, into the more active thyroid hormone, T3.
Reason #8: Breast Lumps and Lymph Health
According to Ayurveda, iodine is a natural lymphatic mover. The breast, thyroid, prostate and gut all have high concentrations of iodine and are very dependent on lymphatic flow. When the lymphatic system becomes congested, scar tissue or fibrous tissue can build up. This is particularly problematic in the breast. Studies have shown that iodine can reduce fibrous tissue build up in the breast. (7)
Reason #9: Prostate Health
Studies have linked high levels of iodine to both thyroid and prostate health. Although circumstantial, it is interesting to note that Japanese men who get 14,000 mcg of iodine per day have better prostate health than American men who get 150 mcg of iodine per day. (1)
Reason #10: Thyroid Medications
Taking a thyroid supplement drives the body to make energy. Iodine plays an important cellular role in the making of energy. The more a thyroid hormone stimulates energy production, the more iodine you may need. Thyroid hormone medications also falsely tell the body that there is no need to uptake iodine. With the thyroid’s need for thyroid hormone being satisfied by a medication, the natural uptake of iodine for the rest of the body can be dangerously affected. (1)
Most experts agree that the current RDA for iodine, at 150mcg per day, may be too low. The new levels that I reported on in my article, “Protect Your Breasts,” indicated the need for 3-6 mg per day to inhibit toxic estrogens from absorbing into the breast. (6) Thyroid expert, Dr. Brownstein recommends a minimum of 1.5 mg of daily iodine and much more in cases of iodine deficiency or thyroid dysfunction. (5)