Iodine is said to be the most misunderstood of the essential trace elements that our bodies need. In fact, it is essential to life itself as all cells require iodine. But controversy about it some years ago has caused unwarranted fear regarding its medical and nutritional use. What is little known too is that iodine deficiency has been increasing worldwide at epidemic levels. Since iodine is a relatively rare element, average diets often do not provide enough of it for proper health. Most soils are simply lacking in iodine; it is seawater—and therefore food from the sea—that has the highest concentrations. What you find on the market as “iodized salt” is not only an inadequate source of essential iodine, but such refined salt conversely has dubious effects on the body. It is a rather poor choice for iodine supplementation.
More recent scientific research and clinical studies have reclaimed iodine to its rightful title as a universal nutrient. Dietary iodine is now recognized as both safe and beneficial. It has long been known that iodine is necessary for healthy thyroid hormone production. The thyroid maintains the body’s overall metabolism, and happens to have the highest concentration of iodine of any organ. In addition, iodine is involved in hormone production throughout the body.
Iodine is therefore crucial in many ways. Children need it for brain development. Adequate iodine intake readily prevents the more common form of mental retardation and reduced intellectual ability, and it helps to control hyperactivity, such as ADHD. It is important for maintaining a healthy immune system. It has antibacterial, antiparasitic, antiviral, and anticancer properties. It is still considered the best antiseptic of all time, and demonstrates low tissue toxicity. It also helps rid the body of toxins, including heavy metals, such as lead and mercury. It can also support proper blood sugar levels and help recovery after surgery. The most common visible symptom of iodine deficiency is goiter—an enlargement of the thyroid gland that was far more common in the past. Obesity, fibrocystic breasts and ovarian cysts in women, prostate diseases in men, Hashimoto’s (hypo-thyroid or underactive) and Graves’ (hyper-thyroid or overactive) autoimmune disorders, and decreased libido, are also associated with iodine deficiency.
Since iodine is key to the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, the harmful intake of radioactive iodine is of special concern. Children are particularly susceptible because their thyroids are still in the process of developing. Adequate levels of essential non-radioactive iodine in the body will block the danger of radioactive iodine finding its way into the thyroid, with its strong potential of causing thyroid cancer. Iodine also helps with regulating stress (the cortisol hormone), with weight gain, muscle cramps, weakness, autoimmune diseases, lung problems, cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory conditions, and it benefits the lymph system and assists the endocrine glands in removing wastes from the body. Iodine is used in water purification, as it quickly kills pathogenic microorganisms. Iodine is also a cofactor for protein utilization.
It is instructive to contrast iodine (a halogen) with the other environmentally toxic halogens of bromide, fluoride, and chloride (all of these are goitrogens that impair thyroid glandular function):
Bromide – Substituted for iodine in commercial bakeries, which came into use for its anti-caking properties. It is also found in many soft drinks, and has a pharmaceutical use in products such as nasal sprays, inhalers, and other prescription drugs. It is used industrially as a fumigant; pools and hot tubs contain bromide. Bromides are known to cause severe depression, lethargy, and irritability, impacting one’s ability to concentrate.
Chloride – Byproduct is dioxins. Splenda is a chlorinated sugar. Although chloride is naturally found in the body’s extracellular fluid, there is a different, harmful, oxidized form of chlorine found in hot tubs, pools, and municipal water supplies. There are many safer alternatives. Perchlorates are another form of chlorides found at high levels in ground water—especially in the Colorado River Basin. They are also found in contaminated human and cow milk. Industrially, it is used in rocket fuel, leather tanning, and fireworks.
Fluoride – Found in the antidepressants Prozac and Paxil. Many toothpaste brands contain fluoride. Put into our municipal drinking water supply, it is a tragedy. EPA reports and thousands of clinical studies, books, etc., point to the dangers of this chemical byproduct from the fertilizer industry, outlawed in much of Europe.
All the above halogens are found in pesticides and insecticides. Imagine the chemical cocktail that genetically modified organisms contain. These halogens can cause brain and neurological problems, as they take space at nerve receptor sites that iodine would naturally occupy. This is because all halogens have a similar molecular configuration. But proper iodine levels will crowd out these harmful halogens and go to correct immunological and biochemical imbalances.
With toxic hot spots like Fukushima, Japan, and rampant air, water, soil, and electromagnetic pollution, a more concerted effort is necessary in facing everyday health challenges. Go organic and be vigilant!
Cofactors required for proper iodine uptake:
Selenium – For the detoxification of heavy metals (i.e. mercury, lead) and counteracting oxidative damage. Helps to keep up adequate glutathione peroxidase levels. Selenium can be found in Brazil nuts.
B Vitamins – They are very critical to this process. These, as well as vitamin C, vitamin D, carotenoids, flavonoids, and antioxidants, are all available in HP&D’s Vita Power.
Extra C – 1 to 4 grams. Try HP&D’s Berry Berry Good, a tart vitamin C boost of berry extracts.
Himalayan or Natural Sea Salt – Salt helps detoxify bromide. Himalayan salt is available from HP&D.
Sea Plants – Provide iodine and help chelate heavy metals. In Japan, health benefits were found in those who consumed 5-14 mg of iodine a day. Try HP&D’s Essence of Sea Plants for natural iodine and trace minerals.
Magnesium – Helps with cramping, and is important, along with other micro-minerals, for proper hydration. Magnesium is found in HP&D’s Macro Night, Vital Minerals (contains other important micro-minerals too), and Supremely Green, a nutritional super-food tonic rich in minerals, including iodine from sea plants.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This information is for research purposes and interested parties, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Please consult your professional healthcare practitioner.
Bibliography (Over 900 references are found in the following materials) :
Abraham, Dr. Guy. Iodine: Bring Back the Universal Nutrient Medicine. Health-Science-Spirit.com/iodine.html.
Abraham, Dr. Guy, Et al. The Original Internist: Special Edition: Iodine: The Universal Nutrient – A Compilation of Published Manuscripts on Iodine from 2002 to 2007. Rolla, MO. Fall, 2007.
Brownstein, David, M.D. Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It 4th Edition. Medical Alternative Press. West Bloomfield, Michigan. 2009.
Piccone, Nancy. The Silent Epidemic of Iodine Deficiency. Life Extension. Nov.-Dec. 2011, Pg. 5
Venturi, Dr. Sebastiano. Evolution of Dietary Antioxidants: Role of Iodine.
Flechas, Jorge w/ Dr. Mercola, Articles and You Tube videos