Guest Author - Colleen Forgus
Perhaps you have heard of a connection between iodine and the thyroid gland, but don’t really know how it works. We’ve all seen the canister of iodized salt that fills our saltshakers, but haven’t thought about why we actually need iodine. Maybe you even remember your parents or grandparents applying iodine to a wound when you were a child. For most people, that is about as far as our knowledge of iodine goes.
The reality is, iodine is one of the most vital nutrients to maintaining a healthy body. Iodine has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-cancer qualities. Surgeons still use iodine to sanitize the skin prior to surgery. According to David Brownstein, M.D., “Every cell in the body contains and uses iodine.” However, in studies conducted by Dr. Brownstein and his colleagues of 30,000 people in the United States, 96% were found to be iodine deficient. Worldwide, it is estimated that over 70% of the population is iodine deficient.
Iodine is necessary to the proper function of the thyroid, as well as the health of breasts, ovaries, prostrate, skin, brain and many other areas of the body. Since the thyroid influences every single hormone and gland in the body and is also a heavy iodine user, it is very obvious why thyroid problems are on the rise.
Iodized salt does not provide an adequate or beneficial source of iodine for several reasons. First, there are many unhealthy chemical processes involved in the creation of iodized salt. Second, people are working to lower their overall salt consumption in an attempt to eliminate high blood pressure. The iodine added to table salt evaporates in a matter of days when it is exposed to air. Additionally, many sources of salt, such as Kosher salt, contain no iodine at all.
The only beneficial source of iodine in salt is from natural, unrefined sea salt. The other sources of iodine in our diets come from seaweed, ocean fish, vegetables grown in iodine rich soils (most soils have been completely depleted of iodine through improper soil management), through meat and dairy products that have been supplemented with iodine (and hormones and antibiotics), or from the fresh ocean air.
In the 1960's, producers of bread and baked goods used iodine as a dough conditioner. At that time, one piece of bread contained the U.S. recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iodine. However, the U.S. RDA for iodine is much lower than in other countries, such as Japan, who consume and absorb over 100 times the amount of iodine as the amount recommended in the U.S.
In the early 1980's, the government instructed bread producers to stop using iodine, mistakenly believing the quantities we were consuming were no longer safe and necessary in our diets. Instead, a substance called bromine was used in place of the iodine. Bromine is very toxic to our bodies and actually interferes and competes with iodine utilization in the body.
Removing iodine from bread and replacing it with bromine was a watershed event. It severely increased the levels of iodine deficiency, while adding a highly toxic substance to our diets. During the past 30 years, thyroid autoimmune disorders, hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer have been on the increase. Further, breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer and ADHD have reached epidemic proportions - and all have been strongly linked to iodine deficiency.
Iodine can be obtained through increasing the consumption of food products from the ocean, but taking an iodine supplement is much easier and provides a more consistent source of iodine. Help your thyroid and your body – add some iodine to your diet today.
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