Iodine – The Mineral That Charges Your Energy Battery
Iodine is a mineral required for human health and optimal immune function. The thyroid gland manufactures thyroid hormone from iodine and tyrosine. Tyrosine deficiency is uncommon but iodine deficiency is extremely common. Although many people are deficient in iodine, most are totally unaware of this.
What are the consequences of iodine deficiency
- If severe or long term, impaired intellectual capacity, especially in children, when it can cause permanent brain damage
- Sluggish thyroid function, which leads to a low metabolic rate with consequent easy weight gain and fatigue
- Increased risk of infections – both viral and bacterial
- Increased risk of nodules and cysts in the thyroid gland and the breasts
- Increased risk of some types of cancer, including thyroid cancer
- It is important that you are not deficient in iodine if you suffer with any chronic infection, especially hepatitis C or B
Iodine is a good antibiotic
Iodine is a good antibiotic and antiseptic whether taken internally (by mouth) or applied externally. Iodine kills most organisms on the skin within 90 seconds. When applied to the skin (topical application), iodine is capable of killing all classes of organisms from bacteria, tuberculosis, fungi, yeasts, and viruses. Iodine exhibits activity against bacteria, molds, yeasts, protozoa, and many viruses. Iodine is an excellent antibiotic, antiviral and antiseptic and has few side effects and no development of bacterial resistance. Iodine can help us in ways that antibiotics can no longer do.
However its use as an antibiotic agent was overlooked by modern medicine with the advent of numerous antibiotic drugs. The body’s ability to resist infection and disease is hindered by long-term deficiency of essential minerals including iodine, zinc and selenium. Iodine provides us with a safe way to strengthen our own immune system against invading microbes while simultaneously correcting a widespread and critical nutritional deficiency that causes immunological unresponsiveness.
Good food sources of iodine are iodized salt, some seafood (not farmed seafood) and edible seaweeds. Iodine can be used externally and also taken internally in the form of kelp tablets or iodine supplements such as Thyroid Health Capsules.
There are large areas of the world where soils are extremely deficient in iodine and one billion people are at risk of severe iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency is far more likely if you live inland away from the ocean.
Some ridiculous myths about iodine!
Occasionally you will hear people make unscientific statements such as –
–Don’t take iodine if you have a thyroid problem – well that is a generalization that is meaningless, and I have even heard some medical doctors say this!
The correct information is that if you are deficient in iodine, your thyroid gland will suffer, especially if you have an underactive thyroid or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or thyroid cysts or cold thyroid nodules or a thyroid goiter. Now if you have an overactive thyroid condition, it is important to check your body’s content of iodine with a urine test. If you have adequate iodine, you do not want to take extra iodine, as it may make the already overactive thyroid condition worse. If you are very deficient in iodine, taking a small dose of iodine will not aggravate your overactive thyroid.
–Don’t take too much iodine because it’s dangerous – well you would have to take a lot of iodine for a long time and also have a tendency to overactive thyroid conditions to get any side effects from iodine. Anyway it’s unnecessary to take too much iodine; you don’t need more than 160 to 350mcg daily.
Taking too much iodine can cause problems in people that already have certain types of thyroid problems, such as hot nodules or hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). Administration of large amounts of inorganic iodine via medications (ie Amiodarone), radiology procedures (iodinated intravenous dye) and dietary excess (via seaweeds such as dulce or kelp etc) can cause or worsen hyperthyroidism.
How is iodine deficiency prevented?
Over the last 80 years, world-wide efforts have been made to prevent iodine deficiency and the elimination of iodine deficiency has been a major goal of the World Health Organization. Iodized salt has been the mainstay of treatment for iodine deficiency worldwide. Iodination of water supplies also has been effective in some countries.
The Institute of Medicine has set the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for iodine in adult men and women at 150 μg per day. Individuals who add table salt to their food regularly should use iodized salt. One teaspoon of iodized salt contains approximately 400 μg of iodine. Only about half of all the types of multivitamins in the U.S. contain iodine.
The RDA of iodine is 220 μg per day for pregnant women and 290 μg per day for breastfeeding women. The effects of iodine deficiency are most severe in pregnant women and their babies, so the American Thyroid Association has recommended that all pregnant and breastfeeding women in the U.S. and Canada take prenatal multivitamins containing at least 150 μg of iodine per day.
Each capsule of my Thyroid Health Capsules contains-
- Vitamin D 3 1000 IU of vitamin D 3
- Iodine 160 μg
- Selenium 100 μg
- Zinc 5mg
(Note μg = mcg and are units of measurement for many trace minerals)
If you wish to increase your iodine levels quickly take 2 capsules daily with food. You will also be boosting your levels of selenium and vitamin D 3 which also support healthy immune function. Once your iodine levels are satisfactory, you will only need one capsule daily.
I have found that around 50% of my patients are deficient in iodine. The best way to test your body’s level of iodine is with a urine test, which measures the concentration of iodine in your urine.
An ideal urinary iodine concentration is between 100 and 300 μg/L.
For more information see my book Your Thyroid Problems Solved.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.