Iodine

Iodine is an essential trace mineral that we normally obtain in our diet from iodized salt. Deficiency of iodine results in goiter or enlarged thyroid gland. Goiter is usually accompanied by hypothyroid conditions such as fatigue, coldness, constipation, weight gain and poor memory.
In 1924, iodine was added to table salt to remedy the massive iodine deficiency that was occurring in the United States. Iodine is normally supplied by things from the sea, such as fish and seaweed. Up until the late 1960’s, dough conditioners that contained iodine were commonly used, increasing the average daily intake of iodine to more than four times the current RDA of 150 mcg.
In the late 1960’s, these dough conditioners were replaced with bromine which interferes with the absorption of iodine. We also get exposed to bromides from many different chemical sources. So even if we get enough iodine in our diet, we end up deficient due to other factors that limit our uptake of iodine.
Traditionally, iodine has been linked to thyroid issues, but recent research has linked iodine to other conditions including cracked skin on the hands and feet, frequent sinus infections, cysts of the ovaries, uterus and / or breasts, fibroids, hot flashes, and emotional changes during cold weather.
Women tend to need more iodine than men. Breast and ovarian tissue uptake iodine at about the same rate as the thyroid. One iodine researcher found that about one woman in seven is iodine deficient. This is very close to the ratio of breast cancer in women.
Iodine desensitizes estrogen receptors in the breasts resulting in less cell growth while promoting cell death of malignant cells. Kelp, a natural source of iodine has been studied to show its anti-tumor effect. Females on thyroid hormone replacement and no iodine have about twice the risk for breast cancer as females on thyroid hormone replacement and supplemental iodine.
Supplemental iodine can be very beneficial to those with chronic auto-immune issues such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia or even cancer.
Iodine supplementation works well only if you are deficient in iodine. A great test of iodine status is to paint a spot of iodine on your skin and see how long the stain stays there. If the stain is intact in 24 hours, you have sufficient iodine and do not need to supplement. However, if the stain is gone to significantly faded, you might benefit from supplemental iodine.
Potassium iodide made the news in the last few years as we all watched the Japanese nuclear plant after the disastrous earthquake. Iodine was “the remedy” for the radiation that leaked from the nuclear power plant because it would tie up the receptors in the thyroid gland and prevent it from taking on the radiation.
The protocol for using potassium iodide for protection against radiation involves taking relatively high doses for short periods of time. Taking any nutrient in large doses over long periods of time results in imbalance. If you take supplemental iodine, do a skin test periodically and/or monitor thyroid function to make sure you are not getting too much.

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About NaturalCowgirl

Margaret Durst has been involved with natural health for over 20 years. In her early 30s, she was faced with a medical diagnosis that recommended a lifetime of prescription drugs. In her heart, she knew that there must be an alternative way to healing and health and thus began her journey into natural health. Along the way, Margaret has trained with many different natural health practitioners and earned a degree in Naturopathy. She established her nutritional consulting practice and opened The Green House in 2003 to enable her mission of helping people navigate the natural health maze. People have praised Margaret for intuitive ability to help people address their health issues and goals with diet and lifestyle choices and successfully take responsibility for their health and wellbeing. This comes from Margaret’s deeply held beliefs in the body’s innate ability to heal and in the tools nature provides for health and healing.
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4 Responses to Iodine

  1. Sean says:

    Is there any harm to too much iodine?

    • As I mentioned in the article, too much will cause imbalances in other minerals. Nature was designed to work in certain ratios – when those are out of balance, there will be repercussions.

  2. Jackie Marie says:

    In your statement,(“A great test of iodine status is to paint a spot of iodine on your skin and see how long the stain stays there. If the stain is intact in 24 hours, you have sufficient iodine and do not need to supplement. However, if the stain is gone to significantly faded, you might benefit from supplemental iodine.”)……Do you mean the iodine(mercurochrome) used for treating cuts or is it the one you take internally? I am confused.

    • All of the iodine liquids I know of that you take internally are clear – so not very useful in a skin test. I use a topical iodine that is very red/orange and that leaves a nice stain that I can monitor. I think I got it at either the pharmacy or the feed store.

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