Over the last few years, iodine has become a hot topic of debate in the nutrition world. Suddenly, we are seeing books about it, new supplements on the market and specialized tests for it. I can think of no other mineral that is the source of as much confusion or controversy.
With the bad rap table salt gets today it’s hard to believe that this humble seasoning—a staple of American homes—once worked some public health magic. When iodized salt hit the scene in the 1920s, goiters and other serious symptoms of iodine deficiency plummeted across much of the United States.
When I think about iodine, I picture that brownish-red disinfectant and antiseptic liquid used for cuts and surgery. Before you start getting ideas, don’t even consider drinking the stuff! Iodine is an essential micronutrient, but because your body doesn’t produce its own, you need to get it from your food. Given how serious an iodine deficiency is, it’s worth taking a moment to discuss it.
Iodine deficiency can lead to more than just goiter. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, iodine deficiency is the leading cause of preventable mental retardation in the world today. In fact, it was found that iodization actually raises IQ levels.
Now, there’s one reason you can feel good about adding a little more salt to your dinner (but not too much, because that’s not good for you either).
Iodine is found in every single one of our body’s hundred trillion cells. Without adequate iodine levels life is impossible. Iodine is the universal health nutrient and brings health on many levels.
According to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements, tests have shown that the population in the United States is “iodine sufficient.” Most Americans who eat a varied diet get enough iodine even if they don’t use iodized salt. They are at little risk of iodine deficiency, which can lead to goiters (swollen thyroid glands in the neck) and dwarfism and is a leading cause of mental impairment worldwide.
However, some pregnant women are at risk of low iodine levels, which potentially endanger their babies.
The most important cause of mental deficiency and brain damage in children world-wide is iodine deficiency.
If you want to do more living in life I strongly suggest you go ahead and give iodine a try. Nevertheless, do please educate yourself on the matter and be safe.
Most brands of sea and kosher salt, however, do not have iodine added. There's a common misperception that sea salt comes by the mineral naturally, due to the fact that sea water (and foods such as seaweed and fish) contains iodine. However, the information I turned up indicated that the amount of iodine in most sea salt is negligible—certainly not enough to supply the 150 micrograms needed daily by the average adult. And even iodine-rich foods don't supply enough, unless you eat seaweed almost every day.
Iodine is found in the ocean and thereby anything that comes from the ocean, such as seafood and seaweed. Iodine also leaches into the soil but only does so coastally. It means that crops and livestock grown along the coasts have some quantity of iodine. Humans hunting and foraging along the coast will be sufficient in iodine, while populations migrating inland will not.
According to the World Health Organization, iodine is the most common nutrient deficiency—affecting 2 billion people around the world. It’s really a shame, because iodine is cheap and the costs of iodine deficiency (both in financial and human terms) are large.
Doctors have been prescribing potassium iodide for more than a century, long before we figured out how to unleash the power of the atom. Pediatricians gave it to coughing children to break up mucus since at least the early 1900s. It wasn't until the 1950s that clinicians realized the compound could saturate the thyroid and prevent it from absorbing radioactive iodine in the event of a nuclear attack or accident.
GOOP is at it again with the dangerous medical advice. This time they are leaving the vagina alone and focusing their dangerous energy vibrations on your thyroid.
Today, iodine deficiency is claimed to be the world’s single most significant preventable cause of brain damage and mental retardation. The detrimental effect of iodine deficiency on the mental and physical development of children as well as on the productivity of adults has been recognized.
Iodized salt is so commonplace in the U.S. today that you may never have given the additive a second thought. But new research finds that humble iodine has played a substantial role in cognitive improvements seen across the American population in the 20th century.
Vegans, who eliminate all animal products from their diet, are more at risk of iodine deficiency than vegetarians (who usually consume iodine-rich dairy foods); those who do not restrict animal products and eat dairy foods and fish typically have the highest iodine intake.
There are two main reasons why iodine deficiency may be making a comeback.
Until recently, about 25% of the iodine in the diet was from wheat, because iodine was used in the processing of flour. Now, however, a lot of flour in the U.S. is processed with a chemical cousin of iodine, bromide (potassium bromate), which helps makes flour doughier, rise higher, and gives the loaf a better appearance. But bromide is a double-edged sword: not only has it replaced iodine, it may block the activity of iodine. That's also true for two more of iodine's chemical cousins - chlorine and fluoride, both of which are common in drinking water.
Iodine supplementation — specifically the use of potassium iodide — is potentially protective in two ways. First, if the the thyroid gland is saturated with stable iodine, it is less prone to take up any radioiodine because, in crude terms, there is no room at the inn.
Second, while iodine is essential for thyroid function and deficiency can cause hypothyroidism, high-dose iodine intake can actually cause hypothyroidism as well.
A little bit of research will reveal that a supposed 80% of the world is deficient in Iodine. Iodine is critical for proper production of the thyroid and production of the Thyroid hormones which relate to having an abundance of Dopamine. Iodine is also essential in over 300 cellular reactions and the truth is it is almost entirely absent in most peoples diets.
Who I Most Susceptible to an Iodine Deficiency?
Women, athletes who sweat a lot, construction workers, vegans, vegetarians, and those who work outside are at risk of developing an iodine deficiency. Twenty-five percent of vegetarians are deficient in iodine, and up to 80% of all vegans are deficient, as compared to only 9% of those who eat meat.
But it’s not just vegans who are doomed. We all are susceptible to an iodine deficiency. The reason why is because of other halogens in the environment – chlorine, bromine, and fluorine. These are antagonistic towards iodine in the body. Chlorine and fluoride are added to tap water for a constant daily toxic exposure to them.
The lack of this micronutrient can cause different medical problems (usually due to hypothyroidism caused by a thyroid that does not make enough hormones). These conditions include goiter (a visible swelling of the thyroid) as well as serious birth defects. In fact, iodine deficiency is the most common preventable cause of mental retardation.
Sea kelp is a natural source of vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D and E, as well as minerals including zinc, iodine, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper and calcium. In fact it contains the highest natural concentration of calcium of any food - 10 times more than milk.
Seaweed: It’s not just for sushi anymore. In fact, kelp, a form of seaweed, has made its way into kitchens of health-conscious people all over the world — and that’s perfectly OK with me.
Considered by many to be a superfood because of its wide variety of nutrients, kelp has been a staple of several Asian cultures for centuries.
The World Health Organisation estimate that over 2 billion people world-wide have insufficient iodine – areas such as the Andes, the Alps, the Himalayas and flooded river valleys such as the Ganges are amongst the most iodine-deficient parts of the world.
We will continue to be exposed to iodine from many sources in amounts that are determined by commercial rather than health considerations. Regulating iodine nutrition in the United States would be unrealistic (almost un-American) and probably impossible to execute. Rather, we suggest the following actions...
Despite the fact that iodine is likely the most studied nutrient on the planet, so many ask about iodine because a small (but vocal) group has made claims that run contrary to the knowledge we have built up over the last century.
The following is a specific discussion about these claims...
Iodine deficiency wrecked my life.
How did this happen?
No, I didn’t live in a Third World Country where iodine deficiency is the leading cause of mental retardation. I grew up in New Jersey eating plenty of seafood and vegetables sprinkled with iodized salt.
Iodine is an essential trace element, which is vital for normal growth and development of the body. Around 60% of the iodine in the human body is stored in the thyroid gland. Its health benefits play a very important role in the normal functioning of the thyroid gland, which secretes thyroid hormones that control the base metabolic rate of the body. In fact, without it, thyroid hormones could not even be synthesized.
Our mission is to be the authoritative voice for iodine nutrition. We support and catalyze global and national iodine programs, working with key public, private, scientific and civic stakeholders. We focus on universal salt iodization as the most cost-effective and sustainable solution for prevention of iodine deficiency disorders.
f you believe you have a lack of iodine in your system, you have come to the right place.
You may have been given a medical diagnosis for your health issue, when the underlying cause could be a deficiency in this basic element.
The lack of iodine has been linked to breast cancer, autism, mental retardation, and hypothyroidism in animals.
The Iodine Global Network is delighted to launch The Iodine Blog.
Here, we bring you stories from the field, where our regional and national coordinators and partners are working on the frontlines of the global fight against iodine deficiency.
Iodine is a trace element that is naturally present in some foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. Iodine is an essential component of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).