It would be quite a skill to avoid fluoride these days. Most water supplies have it, as do most toothpastes, non-stick pans, and many medications such as Prozac (flouxetine). It is estimated that the average American gets somewhere between 1.6 and 6.6mg of fluoride each day.
The World Health Organization considers safe levels of fluoride in drinking water to be <1mg per liter. Studies in New Mexico have found that just 1.5mg/L of fluoride in water is linked to a reduction in the thyroid hormones T3, T4, and TSH.10
What most people don’t know is that fluoride was used through the 1950s to suppress thyroid function in cases of hyperthyroidism in South America and Europe.1
Thyroids at Risk from Halogens
The thyroid needs iodine to make a hormone called T3 (triiodothyronine). Iodine is in a class of minerals called halogens, along with bromine, chlorine, and fluorine, the element of which fluoride is the negative ion. When iodine is low in the body—the World Health Organization claims 40% of the world’s population live in areas at risk for iodine deficiency3, 4—the other available halogens can uptake into and block the thyroid gland.
Fluoride has become ubiquitous in our food and environment. Low iodine levels combined with excess environmental fluorides may cause fluoride to uptake into the thyroid gland. From there, it may compete with iodine and act as an effective thyroid suppressant, just like it did in the 1950s.
Research from the ’50s shows that what was needed to suppress the thyroid was just 2–5mg of fluoride per day for a couple of months.1 Most Americans are easily exposed to these levels, putting our thyroids at risk.
In numerous studies, iodine supplementation has been found to significantly increase the urinary detoxification of both fluoride and bromide,5 thus taking a significant toxic load off the thyroid. In one study, only one day after supplementing with 50mg of iodine, urinary excretion of bromide increased by nearly 50% and fluoride by 78%.6, 7
Are You Getting Enough Iodine To Protect Your Thyroid From Fluoride?
Research has indicated that the current RDA for iodine, 150mcg per day, may be too low. The new levels that I reported on in my article How to Protect Your Breasts indicate the need for 3–6mg per day to inhibit toxic estrogens from absorbing into the breast.2 Some of the recent studies suggest that just 1–3mgs per day of iodine may be sufficient.5
We RecommendHow To Protect Your Breasts
To help support optimal function of your thyroid, consider limiting fluoride exposure and adding iodine into your diet as a food or supplement.
We RecommendThe Complete Guide to Iodine Deficiency
8 Food Sources of Iodine: Iodine-Rich Foods8
- Cod, sardines, salmon, shrimp
- Yogurt, plain
- Salt (iodized), not exposed to air for more than 4 weeks
- Milk (cow’s)
- Fish sticks
- Eggs, boiled
Diets at risk for iodine deficiency include those void of ocean fish and sea vegetables, reduced salt diets (or consuming sea salt replacements instead), and vegetarian or vegan diets.
Vegetarians, who get their nutrition from iodine-depleted soils, generally have significantly low levels of iodine. In one study, iodine deficiency was noted in 25% of vegetarians and a whopping 80% of vegans.9
We Recommend6 Keys to a Healthy Plant-Based Diet
Dr. John’s Iodine Recommendation
1. For thyroid and fluoride protection, I suggest 12.5mg of an iodine/iodide supplement (such as our Iodine HP) once every 2 weeks to flush unwanted halogens from the thyroid.
2. For thyroid function and nutritional support, I suggest temporary supplementation of Thyroid Support.