The pineal gland is a pea-sized gland that sits in the deep center of the skull. It may be most well-known for its production of melatonin. It has been credited with having a hand in promoting sleep, boosting mood, enhancing sex, and even increasing longevity by as much as 10-25%. (1,2)
The pineal gland is vulnerable to stress, poor lifestyle habits, and irregular sleep. (11)
This precious little gland is also vulnerable to accumulating toxic levels of calcium and fluoride as we age. These render it less able to produce adequate levels of vitality-supporting melatonin. (9)
The pineal gland lies outside of the blood-brain barrier in an area of the brain where blood flow is weaker. This seems to make the pineal gland a landing site for calcium and fluoride particulates. (10)
Fluoride, in particular, has been shown to build up in the pineal gland, and thus alter both pineal and thyroid function. (5,6)
Calcium and fluoride accumulation in the pineal gland has been linked to decreased numbers of functioning pinealocytes and reduced melatonin production. In rodents, it was associated with early sexual maturation. (12)
A Quick Review of the Pineal Gland
Perhaps this gland’s most important role is in the production of melatonin, which governs the body’s day, night, and seasonal circadian rhythms. The adherence to the circadian clock is a foundational principle in Ayurvedic medicine and an exciting new branch of this year’s Nobel Prize-winning science that promises to revolutionize western medicine, referred to as “Circadian Medicine.” (3,8)
With emerging science pointing at the health risks of chronic disruption of the circadian clock as a result of shift work, there is renewed interest in maintaining healthy function of the pineal gland. (3,4)
Sunlight is processed through the retina of the eyes, and that information, in the form of light, travels to the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus, which informs the pineal gland on how to regulate our hormones based on the circadian rhythms. For the pineal gland to be activated, it cannot have too much or too little light, it has to be just the right amount. (1)
In mammals, the pineal gland regulates sex hormones and the seasonal nature of mating. In one study, when bears lost pineal function, the normal reproductive cycle of bearing young in the spring was lost. This cycle of seasonal fertility is critical for species survival.
While this effect is less clear in humans, when the pineal gland is either over- or under-stimulated, there is a direct correlation to sex hormone production in humans. (1) Pineal circadian activity decreases significantly during the four months of light-restricted hibernation, followed by a surge of light, pineal activation, and sex hormone production. (20) During times of darkness, the pineal gland produces melatonin, which supports healthy sleep cycles and slows sex hormone production (if the cycles are balanced). (1)
The proper production of melatonin through the pineal gland is closely linked to heart, brain, mood, and immune health, as well as longevity and healthy sleep. (4)
Iodine Flushes Fluoride
Iodine is a halogen, alongside fluoride, bromide, and chloride. Excluding iodine, these halogens are toxic to the body and, to make matters worse, they compete for the iodine receptors in the thyroid.
Iodine deficiency may be a contributing reason why the thyroid is so vulnerable to environmental toxins such as fluoride.
While the incidence of iodine deficiency in the U.S. has lowered in recent years, it is still a global health concern according to the World Health Organization. (12) In particular, those who limit meat, dairy, and commercial iodized salt are still at risk. A study from 1998 showed that iodine levels have decreased by 50% in the general population over the past 30 years. (16)
In numerous studies, iodine supplementation was found to significantly increase the urinary detoxification of both fluoride and bromide. (6)
In one study, only one day after supplementing with 50mg of iodine, urinary excretion of bromide increased by nearly 50% and fluoride excretions increased by 78%! (13) This is a significant toxic load off the thyroid and pineal gland!
In another study, when fluoride levels were high in drinking water, there was a significant reduction in thyroid function, and the effect was worsened when there was an iodine deficiency.
In fact, when iodine levels were normal, there was minimal effect from the fluoridated water. (5,6)
Research has indicated that the current RDA for iodine, at 150mcg per day, may be too low.
In Japan, the rates of breast and hormonal health are some of the greatest in the world. This may be connected to their daily iodine intake. While our RDA is just 15% of 1 milligram, reports on the iodine intake for the average Japanese person varies. Early studies suggest their daily iodine intake at 14-15 milligrams (17) while others suggest their daily intake is 336 micrograms. (18)
In one report, average habitual dosages are as much as 1500 micrograms per day and even higher for the older population who generally eat a more traditional, non-westernized diet. (19)
After reviewing much of the current science available, the average intake ranges from 1-3 milligrams (1000-3000 micrograms) per day, which is the dose that studies suggest supports optimal breast health. (17)
Dr. John’s Recommendation
To achieve optimal breast health and thyroid support from iodine supplementation, I suggest one capsule of LifeSpa’s Iodine HP (12.5mg) once every 2 weeks. One large dose of iodine mimics a large sea vegetable meal that helps to flush accumulated toxic halogens like fluoride, bromide, and chloride our through the urine. (13)
Disclaimer: Due to the high-potency dose of iodine in Iodine HP, individuals should consult their healthcare practitioner prior to use regarding any medical conditions, including thyroid conditions, and any possible interactions with medications. High doses should be monitored by a knowledgeable healthcare professional.*
Testing is an important aspect of supra-dose iodine supplementation and should guide the use of iodine in mg doses. Experts use spot/urine testing and load testing with subsequent (24/h) urine analysis to help determine iodine need and sufficiency.*