Our bodies utilize a near-endless range of elements and nutrients to keep us healthy, many of which are easily found in different foods and supplements. One such element is iodine, which is particularly important for thyroid function and breast health. In our latest free webinar, Susan Eichorst, PA-C, MMSc, discusses the importance of iodine and why we might not be getting enough of it in our daily lives.
What is iodine?
A trace element, iodine is naturally present in seaweed, egg yolks and fish like cod or tuna. It is also available as a dietary supplement. Most notably, it has been added to table salt in the form of potassium iodide since 1924, which significantly reduced childhood goiter, a thyroid condition associated with iodine deficiency.
Why is iodine important?
Iodine is a nutrient that’s essential in the production of thyroid hormones T1, T2, T3 and T4, which allow the thyroid to effectively regulate metabolic rate, growth and development for optimal functioning. Iodine is also used by the breasts, ovaries, uterus, prostate, skin, brain and more — nearly all cells require iodine in some form to function properly. It has been found to improve several health concerns, like cognition, cholesterol, immunity, menstrual irregularities and allergies.
In addition, iodine has been found to relieve certain symptoms, such as the pain and brain fog associated with fibromyalgia. It can also help with breast cancer, having been found to cause apoptosis, or cell death, in breast cancer cells. Upping your iodine intake can also support the regression of breast calcifications that may become cancerous while easing the pain associated with fibrocystic breast tissue.
What causes iodine deficiency?
● There’s not enough iodine in our food. While the addition of iodine to table salt has helped curb cases of severe iodine deficiency, it’s a small amount incapable of fulfilling all the body’s needs. Not to mention, many Americans steer clear of salt due to blood pressure concerns.
● The RDA is insufficient. Similarly, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iodine was established to prevent goiter but is not enough to prevent cancer or support optimal thyroid, endocrine and immune function. We don’t just want you to be able to prevent disease — we want to give you the tools necessary to live your healthiest, most fulfilling life.
● Halides can block receptors. Another significant disruptor comes in the form of halides, which compete for iodine receptors. These halides — bromide, fluoride, chloride and perchlorate — are common in our food and water supply, which can make it harder to achieve optimal iodine levels.
○ Bromide is used as a flame retardant and dough softener. It is unnecessary for humans, can cause harm to breast tissue and has been banned in multiple countries.
○ Fluoride is a known neurotoxin found in tap water and dental products that’s harmful in high doses.
○ Chloride in the form of chlorine is found in tap water and can be absorbed through the skin in the shower.
○ Perchlorate is used in rocket fuel and fireworks; its presence in drinking water is not regulated by the EPA.
Be sure to seek out products without flame retardant, avoid processed foods and commercially made baked goods and filter your drinking water.