Why We Have A Problem With Iodine Deficiency

Iodine is an essential mineral commonly found in seafood or sea plants. Your thyroid gland uses it to make thyroid hormones, which help control growth, repair damaged cells and support a healthy metabolism.

Causes Of Deficiency

If you are not eating seafood or sea plants regularly, then you are probably Iodine deficient. As a matter of fact, up to a third of people in the world are at risk of an iodine deficiency! 

According to Dr. David Brown, author of IODINE: WHY YOU NEED IT, WHY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT IT, some may think that the iodization of salt (i.e., iodized salt) has eliminated iodine deficiency disorders in the United States. However, the data does not support that conclusion. Over the last 30 years, studies by National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show iodine levels have dropped 50% in the United States. 

Iodine is added primarily to refined salt. Refined salt is a lifeless, devitalized product that has had all of its minerals removed and has also been exposed to toxic chemicals that gives it its white color. The ingestion of refined salt leads to many health problems and it needs to be avoided. Unrefined salt should be the salt-of-choice. I recommend using true Himalayan Pink Salt for instead. For more information on the health benefits of unrefined salt, read Salt Your Way to Health.

In addition, iodine depletion in the soil contributes to iodine deficiency. Over the years, poor farming techniques have led to deficiencies of iodine and other minerals in the soil. Crops grown in iodine-deficient soil will be deficient in iodine.

Diets That May Cause Iodine Deficiency 

1. Diets without ocean fish or sea vegetables 

2. Inadequate use of iodized salt including low-sodium diets 

3. Diets high in the consumption of bakery products (e.g., breads, pasta) which contain bromide 

4. Vegan and vegetarian diets 

The most significant change in the iodine status of recent times occurred with the changing of the food industry. In the 1960’s, iodine was added to the commercial baking industry as a dough conditioner to aid bread and pastry manufacturers. bromine replaced iodine in the baking industry. Bromine is a halide (as are iodide,  fluoride, and chloride). All halides compete with one another for absorption and receptor binding in the body. Bromine interferes with iodine utilization in the thyroid as well as wherever else iodine would concentrate in the body. 

Due to the interference of iodine binding in the body, bromine is a known “goitrogen”—it promotes the formation of goiter in the body. Bromine is a toxic substance that has no therapeutic use in our bodies. Bromine also can bind to iodine receptors in the breast and is a known carcinogen to the breast. On the other hand, iodine has anticarcinogenic properties. 

We now have two major reasons why iodine deficiency disorders have become much more common. 

1. The substitution of bromine for iodine in the bakery process lowered the iodine utilization. 

2. Bromine began effectively binding to and inhibiting iodine from binding to its own receptors. 

The consequence of replacing iodine with bromine has been to make a bad situation worse. Iodine deficiency has been accelerated and, due to increasing bromide levels, iodine is now being competitively inhibited horn binding to its own receptors. The medical consequences include increased thyroid disorders including autoimmune thyroid disorders (Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease), and thyroid cancer. 

Furthermore, the rise of other cancers including breast, ovarian, uterine, and prostate may be related to this phenomenon.There are many symptoms of iodine deficiency that are often overlooked. You can read a list of those here. Due to all of this, it is recommended that most people take a good iodine supplement. There are both pill and liquid forms available. Call our office for recommendations!


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