Did you know that fluoride was used through the 1950s to suppress thyroid function in cases of hyperthyroidism in South America and Europe? (1)
Today, fluoride is everywhere from the drinking water, to non-stick pans, toothpastes and many medications. It is estimated that the average American takes in somewhere between 1.6 to 6.6 mg/day of fluoride each day. (1)
Research in the fifties showed that all it took to suppress the thyroid was 2-5 mg of fluoride per day for a couple of months. (1) Most Americans are easily exposed to these levels daily, putting the thyroid at significant risk.
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Iodine Boosts Fluoride Detox
Iodine is a halogen, alongside fluoride, bromide and chloride. Except for iodine, these halogens are toxic to the body and, to make matters worse, they compete for the iodine receptors in the thyroid. In addition to an increasing load of toxic halogens in the environment, according to the World Health Organization, more than 72% of the world’s population is deficient in iodine. (5)
In the past 30 years, iodine levels have decreased by 50% in the general population. (5) Iodine deficiency may be the major reason why the thyroid is so vulnerable to environmental toxins.
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In numerous studies, iodine supplementation has been found to significantly increase in the urinary detoxification of both fluoride and bromide, (6) thus taking a significant toxic load off the thyroid. In one study, only one day after supplementing with 50 mg of iodine, urinary excretion of bromide increased by nearly 50% and fluoride excretions increased by 78%. (5,6)
Research has indicated that the current RDA for iodine, at 150 mcg 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 mgs per day to inhibit toxic estrogens from absorbing into the breast, which may be linked to breast cancer. (6) Thyroid expert Dr. Brownstein recommends a minimum of 1.5 mgs of iodine daily, and much more in cases of iodine deficiency or thyroid dysfunction. (5)
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Hidden Thyroid Concerns
The Colorado Thyroid Disease Prevalence Study estimated the rate of hypothyroidism is 10% of the general population, (2) but because of an over-dependency on the TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test, many thyroid problems go undiagnosed. According to Dr. Brownstein, the true prevalence of hypothyroidism is closer to 40% of the general population. (4) This means 30% of hypothyroid cases go undiagnosed and untreated. (4) Could one of those cases be you?
The Not-So-Gold Standard
The TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test has become the preferred thyroid screening test, and is considered by some physicians to be the only test needed to diagnose an over or under-active thyroid. The thyroid-stimulating hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland to stimulate the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones.
Thyroid hormones assist the body in using energy, regulating body temperature and keeping the brain, heart, muscles and other organs functioning properly. If the thyroid gland is unable to produce thyroid hormones, in response, the TSH level will rise. If the TSH rises above 2.0 mlU/L, most thyroid experts believe this the beginning of sluggish thyroid function (hypothyroidism).
Many doctors only test the TSH as part of a general work-up for patients, instead of testing the actual thyroid hormones, T3 and T4. Unfortunately, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that the TSH test alone is an unreliable thyroid screening. (3,4)
The evidence suggests that the TSH normal range may be too high. Today, the normal TSH range is .5-4.5 mlU/L. There are many experts in the field that suggest the new normal range should be .5-3.0 mlU/L. This would increase the number of folks in the US diagnosed with a thyroid problem from 13 million to 26 million. This number would be even higher if they lowered the high normal to be 2.0 mlU/L, as many experts suggest.
So, check your old blood tests and take a closer look at your thyroid function.
Many folks who have a “normal” TSH test are actually found to have low T3 or T4 thyroid hormone levels. The thyroid converts the less active T4 hormone into the more active thyroid hormone called T3. Folks who have low T3 or T4 levels are often not treated because the TSH came back as normal. There are many factors that can cause poor thyroid function.
Perhaps the most dangerous to normal thyroid function: fluoride!