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Are You Iodine Deficient?
Answer These Questions and Find Out
If you answer yes to more than three of these questions, it is highly likely that you are deficient in an essential nutritional element-iodine. If you answer yes to even two or three of these questions, increasing your iodine may be a key to improving your health.
Why People are Iodine Deficient
Iodine is a rare element on Planet Earth. Among the elements, it is 62nd in abundance in the earth. Iodine is most prevalent in seawater, so plants from the sea (seaweed), fish and other seafoods are good sources of iodine. People who consume seaweed and ocean foods on a regular basis are less likely to be iodine deficient but people who don't will likely have very little iodine in their diet. Seafoods harvested from waters polluted with mercury are not good sources of iodine because mercury displaces iodine
Iodine deficiency is common is because there are many chemicals we are exposed to in that rob the body of iodine. These include halogens (such as chlorine, fluoride, and bromide), mercury, aspirin and other salycilates and unfermented soy products. What little iodine we do get is often "kicked out" of the body.
The USRDAs (Recommended Daily Allowances) is just enough to prevent severe symptoms of iodine deficiency, such as goiters, stunted physical growth or mental retardation. It isn't enough to create optimal health. While iodized salt has resulted in a reduction in goiter in many inland states, many people are starting to avoid salt because they believe it is bad for their health.
The primary use for iodine is in the production of the thyroid hormones. One in ten adult American women has a diagnosed thyroid problem, yet some endocrinologists have suggested that as many as one in four women have some form of undiagnosed thyroid dysfunction. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that between 1 and 1.5 billion people worldwide are at risk for thyroid disorders. WHO recognizes iodine deficiency as the single greatest preventable cause of mental retardation. It is clear that iodine deficiency may be a very common problem.
Iodine Is Essential for The Thyroid
Many thyroid disorders are an iodine deficiency. Dr. David Brownstein, M.D., in his book, Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It, states that iodine deficiency may be involved in more than just low thyroid (hypothyroid function). It may be involved in autoimmune thyroid disorders including Graves' and Hashimoto's disease. Iodine supplementation may be an inexpensive answer to solving many people's thyroid issues.
The highest concentration of iodine in the body is found in the thyroid gland, the thyroid isn't the only organ that needs iodine. Every cell in the body needs iodine. Some of the other organs and systems that have large concentrations of iodine include breast tissue, salivary glands and the gastric mucosa, the ciliary body of the eye and the cerebrospinal fluid and brain.
Iodine works in the body to emulsify (make water-soluble) fats, oils and waxes. It loosens fatty substances from surfaces and activates lecithin. Iodine helps the immune system because it is antibacterial, anticancerous, antiviral and antiparasitic. Besides helping the body burn fats, iodine helps prevent infections of various kinds. It even has anticancerous properties.
Besides thyroid and immune disorders, a lack of iodine may be involved in breast, prostate and uterine cancer, fibrocystic breast disease, chronic infections, parasites and other ailments.
Conditions that have shown improvement by increasing iodine intake and/or improving thyroid function:
Chronic Sinus Problems
|Coronary Artery Disease |
Excess Mucus production
Fatigue and lethargy
|Multiple Sclerosis (MS) |
Parotid Duct Stones
Correcting Iodine Deficiency
Iodine is most abundant in sea vegetables or seaweeds. In cultures where seaweeds are consumed as a regular part of the diet, there are few, if any, thyroid problems. In coastal areas of Japan, where larger quantities of iodine are consumed there are remarkably low levels of breast, endometrial and ovarian cancers and few prostate problems in men.
The amount of iodine consumed by people living on the Japanese coastline averages about 13.8 mg. daily, which is over 100 times the USRDA is. Dr. Guy Abraham, one of the world's leading researchers on iodine, suggested that 13 mg. per day was the amount required for optimal health, at least for women. This is based on 6 mg. being required by the thyroid, 5 mg. by the breast tissue and 2 mg. for the rest of the body.
Dulse is available in liquid form, extracted in glycerine. This is a pleasant-tasting way to increase iodine intake and for children. About 1/4 teaspoon (15-20 drops) of Liquid Dulse will supply 225 micrograms (mcg.) of natural iodine. A full teaspoon will supply about 1 mg. of iodine.
Kelp is a good source of iodine and can be taken in capsules or sprinkled on food. It is an important ingredient in many thyroid formulas.
Another seaweed, bladderwrack contain di-iodotyrosine, a chemical configuration containing iodine and the amino acid tyrosine. There are two of these configurations (hence the di- ). All the thyroid gland has to do is join two of these di-iodotyrosine molecules together and it has produced T4 or thyroxin, the main thyroid hormone. This helps explain why herbs like bladderwrack have been historically used to aid weight loss programs. Bladderwrack is present in Cellu Smooth a formula used to help burn cellulite and fat deposits. It is found in Ultimate GreenZone.
Kelp has been sprinkled on foods as a salt substitute. Seaweeds are high in both sodium and potassium, important mineral electrolytes, they have a mildly salty flavor. Other seaweeds will help such as Spirulina and Super Algae.
Besides the seaweeds, black walnut is a source of iodine. especially Black Walnut ATC, which is concentrated 4 to 1 by extracting the herb and then drying the extract on the whole herb powder.
Black walnut has traditionally been used for parasites and infections and part of its action may be due to its iodine content. One doctor participated in an unpublished fibromyalgia study with a respected doctor in the natural health field. In the study, fibromyalgia patients were divided into three groups. The other doctor used Omega-3 essential fatty acids with his group. A second group received a new drug. Kimberly Balas was in charge of the third group and was supposed to pick an herb to act as a placebo. She picked Black walnut.
Both the Omega-3 essential fatty acids and the Black walnut outperformed the drug, so the study was never published. Kim has continued to use black walnut successfully with fibromyalgia sufferers and now understands that its iodine content may be one reason it has helped.
Natural Sea Salt is another way to increase iodine intake. Many people think that salt isn't good for you, but this is only a problem with commercial salt, which is full of additives and fillers. Natural salt is healthy and a good source of iodine.
How can I Tell If I Have Low Thyroid?
At least 10% of the female population have low thyroid and some experts believe the actual number to be 30-40%. Medical tests don't always work when identifying problems with the thyroid but one test that appears to be very effective is the basal body temperature test.
This test tells the amount of energy your body burns at rest. Your base metabolism is largely determined by hormones from your thyroid and adrenal glands. Your metabolic rate is at least partially indicated by resting body temperature, so this test measures your resting body temperature over a period of five days. (This test will not be accurate if you sleep with an electric blanket or in an over heated room.)
Testing Basal Temperature
Other Symptoms of Low Thyroid
Other symptoms of thyroid problems include: anemia, dry skin, edema, fatigue, goiter, hair loss, high or low blood pressure, edema around the eyes, poor eyebrow growth, a puffy face and sluggish reflexes.
Many people suffering from thyroid problems have successfully used herbal formulas to improve their thyroid conditions. These formulas contain iodine rich seaweeds along with other herbs (or nutrients) that can aid thyroid function. Thyroid problems often involve the liver, pituitary and other organs as well, so these formulas provide broader acting benefits.
TS II with Hops - Contains two seaweeds, kelp and Irish moss to supply iodine. The formula contains parsley, hops and capsicum. TS II is the best formula for people who have thyroid problems coupled with a tendency to stress and anxiety. It not only feeds the thyroid, it calms the nerves. A related formula Target TS II increases the pituitary's stimulation of the thyroid.
Thyroid Activator - is stronger than TS II. It contains the same sea vegetables, Irish moss and kelp, plus black walnut. Thyroid Activator contains parsley, watercress and sarsaparilla. Many people don't get the results they desire from these formulas because they don't take enough. Optimal results are seen when taking 3-4 capsules of TS II with Hops or Thyroid Activator taken three times a day.
Thyroid Support is for those who need a stronger formula. Thyroid Support combines thyroid glandular substance with nutrients needed to synthesize thyroid hormones. Thyroid Support contains I-tyrosine (the amino acid base of thyroid hormones), kelp a source of iodine and the nutritional co-factors zinc, copper, B6 and manganese. It contains protease, stinging nettle and a pituitary and hypothalamus glandular. People often get better results with higher doses than the amount recommended on the label. Sometimes 1 three times a day or 2 twice daily works better. Thyroid Support is best taken with food.
There are many chemicals that rob iodine from the body but the worst are the halogens. Because they have similar electrical properties, these halogens (fluoride, chlorine and bromides) easily displace iodine in the body.
Chlorine is used to purify water. Unlike iodine, which helps emulsify fat and keep it water soluble, chlorine makes fats gummy so they more readily adhere to surfaces. This may be one reason why the rise in cardiovascular disease paralleled the chlorination of water supplies world-wide. Drinking water purified by a Nature's Spring Reverse Osmosis water treatment appliance is one way to protect yourself against chlorine.
Bromides are even worse than chlorine and are finding their way into our environment in increasing quantities. This is shown by the fact that the amount of bromide found in breast milk has increased ten-fold during the last decade. Bromides have no therapeutic or nutritional value, but they do adversely affect the accumulation of iodine in the thyroid and the skin.
Many hot tubs and swimming pools are switching to bromide for water purification. In the 1960s, bakers stopped using iodine as a dough conditioner and started using bromides instead. Instead of contributing to iodine intake, breads made from brominated flour now help rob iodine from the body.
Since iodine is needed to make thyroxin, the hormone that triggers fat to burn in the body, is it any wonder that the increase in exposure to these iodine robbers has paralleled an increase in obesity?