Iodine is a trace mineral that is vital to the function of the thyroid gland. The human body does not make iodine, so all iodine intake must come from either our diet or from supplements. Thankfully good iodine levels are easy to achieve with proper nutrition. Despite how easy it is to have a healthy intake of iodine, deficiency is common. According to the World Health Organization, 2.2 billion people in 130 countries are at risk for iodine deficiency.
This mineral is crucial to help maintain healthy body weight, as well as to promote energy levels. Your muscles, liver and your pituitary gland require iodine to function properly. Small children require iodine for healthy brain development. Iodine is also essential for proper bone development in a healthy fetus and infants.
Iodine is required for the thyroid to function correctly. Iodine deficiency can cause hypothyroidism. Your thyroid affects your mood, immune system, and your weight. If you have gained weight, have dry skin, no longer tolerate cold adequately, or feel lethargic often, you may have an iodine deficiency. Many people do not get enough iodine in their diet. Your primary care provider can order a simple test to determine if you are iodine deficient. Dietary changes or supplements can fix the problem quickly.
Did you know that once upon a time iodine was used for a multitude of health problems? Everything from healing wounds, diseases, and killing off bacteria and viruses. Iodine was once a conventional medicine. Many are under the mistaken impression that we get enough iodine simply from iodized table salt. Yet many people today are iodine deficient. Did you know that most food manufacturers don’t use iodized salt in their products? Americans today have cut back on table salt usage and for a good reason. Today's foods and drinks have chlorine, fluoride, and bromide, all of which block iodine receptors in the body. Even some foods block iodine, such as soy and gluten. If you want to take advantage of natures amazing mineral, you might want to consider iodine rich foods or supplements.
In the United States, the recommended daily intake of iodine is a mere 150 micrograms (mcg) per day. In Japan, the average person consumes 12 mg or 12,000 mcg of iodine per day. This is about 50 times the average that Americans consume. In Japan, the average life expectancy is 83 years old, while in the United States life expectancy is only 78 years old. Japan also has half of the infant mortality rate compared to the united states. The one major thing that stands apart from a citizen of the United States versus someone from Japan is iodine intake.
In the United States, one in eight women will develop breast cancer. Yet in Japan where iodine intake is 50 times that of an American, rates of breast cancer and thyroid problems are much lower. Japanese women who emigrate to the United States and adopt a western diet have a much higher incidence of breast cancer. In the United States thirty years ago when iodine intake was much higher, only one in 20 women developed breast cancer.
Studies have shown iodine has anticancer functions. Scientific tests were performed where breast cancer cells were exposed to iodine, and the cancer cells were less likely to not only spread, but also the growth of cancer itself was inhibited. Because the cancer was slowed when exposed to iodine, it is safe to conclude that iodine does indeed help to fight cancer. While no doctors recommend ceasing cancer treatments, the introduction of iodine-rich foods or supplements cannot harm and may aid a cancer patient on the road to recovery.
Iodine is used by the body to protect us against environmental toxins. Did you know that iodine can help the body to remove toxic halogens such as bromide, fluoride, and chloride? Breast cancer patients were shown in one study to have double the bromide levels of non-cancer patients. Since iodine can assist the body to detox itself naturally, it is vital that we monitor our iodine intake. In today's society, there are tons of toxic chemicals that go to our food and water. One example would be bromine which is used by many water treatment plants as an antibacterial additive. Poisoning with bromine can cause dullness, apathy, difficulty concentrating, headaches, and even mental retardation. Iodine can help to remove toxins like bromine from the body.
Iodine can provide pain relief for breast pain, ovarian cysts, ovulation pain, and PMS. One study published in The Breast Journal found that 75 percent of the women treated with molecular iodine experienced pain-free breasts. More research on iodine and pain relief is being conducted around the world every year. If you have breast pain, you may not be getting enough iodine in your diet.
There are varying degrees of iodine deficiency. Severe cases of iodine deficiency will show clinical symptoms, while mild cases will be harder to diagnose. One of the significant issues with iodine deficiency is that very few doctors ever test for it. Iodine deficiency can cause impairment of motor skills, thyroid problems, high cholesterol, weight gain, and fatigue. Those who suffer from long tern deficient levels of iodine can suffer from obesity, joint pain, infertility and even heart disease. Your primary care doctor can order a test if you are concerned about your iodine levels.
Iodine is only harmful if you consume too much. Symptoms of too much iodine can mimic the symptoms of too little iodine, such as an enlarged thyroid gland. The upper limited recommend for an adult is 1,100 mcg. Iodine supplements can interact or interfere with medicines that you take, so you should consult with your primary care provider before taking any type of iodine supplement. It is far better to increase your iodine via natural foods than to use supplements.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.