It is not an understatement to say our existence, and the quality of our lives depends on having adequate iodine levels. In spite of this, mainstream medicine generally ignores the importance of this element. The following fifteen facts will reveal not only how important iodine is, but how much better your life can be with balanced levels of this life-giving element.
Facts About Iodine
Length: 2 minutes
15 Must-Know Facts About Iodine
1. Iodine Is an Essential Element
The thyroid creates hormones to regulate metabolism and cellular function. The two most important hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) require iodine for formation. Without iodine, the thyroid underproduces these hormones, leading to hypothyroidism and other metabolic disorders.
2. Iodized Salt Is Not a Good Source of Iodine
Most table salt has been iodized to eliminate iodine deficiency. Unfortunately, the process of manufacturing this salt can include adding artificial versions of iodine and other chemicals, making it anything but healthy. Plus, to make it white, most table salt is bleached. Dietary iodine can be found in better sources. As far as salt goes, I recommend going with Himalayan crystal salt.
3. Iodine Deficiency Remains a Concern
Much of the world continues to suffer from iodine deficiency. While many developing countries lack adequate dietary iodine, people in western countries are increasingly at risk of iodine deficiency from diets based on processed foods. Not only are more and more foods grown in iodine-deficient soils, but processed foods can introduce toxic compounds that disrupt your body's absorption of dietary iodine.
4. Iodine Deficiency and Breast Cancer Have Been Linked
Although breast cancer has a number of causes and taking an iodine supplement is not a cancer-preventative, studies have shown a correlation between breast cancer and thyroid disorders. Both the thyroid gland and breast require iodine to function properly. People in countries with a higher consumption of iodine-rich foods, particularly women who eat seaweed, experience such issues less frequently.
5. There Are Many Good Dietary Sources of Iodine
Most foods rich in iodine come from the sea. Sea vegetables like dulse seaweed, kelp, arame, kombu, nori, sea palm, and wakame are some of the richest sources of iodine. Other sources include fish seafood, eggs, raw milk, dark leafy greens, and prunes. If you choose a plant-based diet, you may need to supplement with iodine, particularly if you are not a fan of seaweed.
6. 'Iodine Allergies' Are Not Caused by Iodine
While many doctors mistakenly refer to iodine allergies, rest assured no one has exhibited an allergy to this vital nutrient. Most allergies attributed to iodine result from a response to iodine-based radio-contrast media "dye" used to sharpen images from x-rays or CT scans. Also, 'iodine allergies' associated with seafood occur as reactions to proteins in the seafood, not as a reaction to iodine.
7. Iodine Helps Fight Harmful Organisms
Iodine has been used for centuries as a means to address harmful organisms. Many hospitals use gallons of iodine daily to create and maintain a sterile environment.
8. Iodine Protects the Thyroid From Radiation
During a nuclear event, radiation in the form of Iodine-131 can be released into the air. Exposure to this radioactive isotope can result in thyroid damage and hypothyroidism. The only way to protect the thyroid is to take non-radioactive iodine, such as atomic iodine to flood the thyroid with a healthy, stable isotope. This prevents absorption of the radioactive iodine by the thyroid.
9. Pregnancy Exacerbates Iodine Deficiency
During pregnancy, women require higher amounts of iodine to meet their daily requirements and that of the developing fetus. If not properly addressed, mild iodine deficiency can cause thyroid imbalance and hypothyroidism that can become a chronic concern, even post-partum.
10. Adequate Iodine Prevents Goitrogenic Effects
Goitrogens are compounds that inhibit hormone creation by the thyroid. These compounds can be found in foods, including otherwise-healthy cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli. While most people do fine eating goitrogenic foods, when people with thyroid conditions eat them, it can lead to goiter and hypothyroidism. Iodine therapy has been recommended and used to address the complications created by these compounds and help the body speed their removal.[10, 11]
11. Inadequate Iodine Leads to Slowed Development
Health authorities discovered years ago that iodine deficiency, especially during fetal growth, led to intellectual disabilities and cretinism, a congenital issue where a child does not properly develop physically or mentally. Dietary supplementation with iodine after birth and during childhood has been shown not to counteract the result of iodine deficiency while in utero. Maintaining appropriate iodine levels during pregnancy (and supplementing when appropriate) is an essential way to support proper neural development.
12. Medications Interrupt Iodine-Thyroid Function
Medications that use or mimic iodine can interrupt thyroid function. Some drugs like amiodarone can lead to hyperthyroidism (the overproduction of thyroid hormones). Other drugs which can impact thyroid hormone metabolism include interferon, lithium, and dopamine.
13. Iodine Encourages Detoxification
Healthy levels of iodine prevent toxic chemicals such as fluorine, chlorine, and bromine from interfering with thyroid function. Exposure to these chemicals occurs daily as they can be found in food, water, and household chemicals. Iodine supplementation helps prevent these chemical toxins from accumulating in the body. This allows the body to pass these toxins out of the system.
14. Iodine Rejuvenates Skin From the Inside Out!
Iodine promotes healthy skin, nails, and hair. It stimulates cellular function resulting in the regeneration of the lower layers of these cells. By rejuvenating the skin from the inside out, so to speak, iodine encourages smooth skin, hair color, and strong nails.
15. Atomic Iodine is the Ideal Supplement
Many iodine supplements use potassium iodide to provide iodine to the body. This iodide form requires the body to break it down into its components (which requires energy and byproducts) before it can be used. Atomic iodine delivers the atomic form — the same highly bioavailable form the thyroid uses for hormone creation. This allows the body to maximize your absorption of the iodine supplement.
Have you noticed a change in your health since starting iodine supplementation? Please share your experiences with us and leave a comment below!
Everything You Need to Know About Iodine
Length: 61 minutes
- PubMed Health. How does the thyroid work? Last updated: January 7, 2015.
- Medline Plus. Iodine in diet. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
- Ahad F, Ganie SA. Iodine, Iodine metabolism and Iodine deficiency disorders revisited. Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2010;14(1):13-17.
- Smyth PP. The thyroid, iodine and breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research : BCR. 2003;5(5):235-238.
- Peter PA Smyth. The thyroid, iodine and breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res. 2003; 5(5): 235–238. Published online 2003 July 29.
- Dewachter P, Tréchot P, Mouton-Faivre C. ["Iodine allergy": point of view] [Article in French]. Ann Fr Anesth Reanim. 2005 Jan;24(1):40-52.
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- Zimmermann MB. The effects of iodine deficiency in pregnancy and infancy. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2012 Jul;26 Suppl 1:108-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3016.2012.01275.x.
- Dakubo JC, Naaeder SB, Tettey Y, Gyasi RK. Pathology and the surgical management of goitre in an endemic area initiating supplementary iodine nutrition. West Afr J Med. 2013 Jan-Mar;32(1):45-51.
- Gaitan E. Goitrogens. Baillieres Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1988 Aug;2(3):683-702.
- Hynes KL, Otahal P, Hay I, Burgess JR. Mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy is associated with reduced educational outcomes in the offspring: 9-year follow-up of the gestational iodine cohort. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 May;98(5):1954-62. doi: 10.1210/jc.2012-4249. Epub 2013 Apr 30.
- Maby-Mottet V, Ollo D, Meyer P. [Amiodarone and thyroid]. Rev Med Suisse. 2012 Nov 14;8(362):2175-6, 2178-80.
- Nishikawa M, Toyoda N, Nomura E. [Drug-induced thyroid dysfunction]. Nihon Rinsho. 2012 Nov;70(11):1958-64.
- Vobecký M, Babický A, Lener J, Švandová E. Interaction of bromine with iodine in the rat thyroid gland at enhanced bromide intake. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1996 Sep;54(3):207-12.
- Basavaraj KH, Seemanthini C, Rashmi R. DIET IN DERMATOLOGY: PRESENT PERSPECTIVES. Indian Journal of Dermatology. 2010;55(3):205-210. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.70662.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.