Are You Iodine Deficient?

Answer these questions and find out…

  • Are you overweight, or do you have difficulty losing weight?
  • Do you get cold easily or have a consistently low body temperature?
  • Do you have problems with dry skin, or hair falling out?
  • Do you suffer from a lack of energy?
  • Do you often feel depressed or lethargic?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder of any kind?
  • Do you drink, swim, soak or bathe in chlorinated or bromated water?
  • For women only: Have you had fibrocystic breast disease, endometriosis or breast cancer?
  • Do you suffer from fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome?

If you answer yes to more than three of these questions, it is highly likely that you are deficient in an essential nutritional element—iodine. In fact, if you answer yes to even two or three of these questions, increasing your iodine may be a key to improving your health.

Why Are So Many People Iodine Deficient?

There are two reasons why many people are deficient in iodine. First, iodine is a rare element on Planet Earth. Among the elements, it is 62nd in abundance in the earth. Iodine is most prevalent in seawater, so plants from the sea (seaweed), fish and other seafood are the most abundant sources of iodine. People who consume seaweed and other ocean-based foods on a regular basis are less likely to be iodine deficient, but people who don’t, will likely have very little iodine in their diet. Also, seafood harvested from waters polluted with mercury will not be good sources of iodine because mercury displaces iodine.

The second reason why iodine deficiency is common is the many chemicals we are exposed to in modern society. These chemicals rob the body of iodine. They include halogens (such as chlorine, fluoride, and bromide), mercury, aspirin and other salycilates and unfermented soy products. As a result, what little iodine we do get is often “kicked out” of the body.

Like many of the other US RDAs (Recommended Daily Allowances), the amount of iodine recommended is just enough to prevent severe, overt symptoms of iodine deficiency, such as goiters, stunted physical growth or mental retardation. It isn’t enough to create optimal health. While iodized salt has resulted in a reduction in goiter in many inland states, many people are starting to avoid salt because they believe it is bad for their health.

The primary use for iodine is in the production of the thyroid hormones. One in ten adult American women has a diagnosed thyroid problem, yet some endocrinologists have suggested that as many as one in four women have some form of undiagnosed thyroid dysfunction. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that between 1 and 1.5 billion people worldwide are at risk for thyroid disorders. WHO also recognizes iodine deficiency as the single greatest preventable cause of mental retardation. It is clear that iodine deficiency may be a very common problem.

How Do I Correct Iodine Deficiency?

 Iodine is most abundant in sea vegetables or seaweeds. In cultures where seaweeds are consumed as a regular part of the diet, there are few, if any, thyroid problems. In coastal areas of Japan, where larger quantities of iodine are consumed there are remarkably low levels of breast, endometrial and ovarian cancers, and few prostate problems.

The amount of iodine consumed by people living on the Japanese coastline averages about 13.8 mg. daily, which is over 100 times the U.S. RDA. Dr. Guy Abraham, one of the world’s leading researchers on iodine, suggested that 13 mg. per day was the amount required for optimal health, at least for women. This is based on 6 mg. being required by the thyroid, 5 mg. by the breast tissue and 2 mg. for the rest of the body.

One of the best ways to get more iodine is to eat more seaweed, such as kelp, dulse, Irish moss, bladderwrack and others. A full teaspoon of Liquid Dulse will supply about 1 milligram (mg.) of iodine. Kelp is another good source of iodine and can be taken in capsules or sprinkled on food. It is an important ingredient in many thyroid formulas like Thyroid Activator and TS II with Hops.

Black walnut appears to be one of the few land-based plants that contains a significant amount of iodine. ATC Concentrated Black Walnut is the best form to take.


Selected References

Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It by David Brownstein, M.D.

Overcoming Thyroid Disorders by David Brownstein, M.D.

The Iodine Solution: An Important Key to Restoring and Maintaining Your Health, DVD featuring Kimberly Balas and Steven Horne by Tree of Light Publishing

The Comprehensive Guide to Nature’s Sunshine Products by Tree of Light Publishing