- plus thyroid disorders, poisoning, and a lot more
Iodine is the only mineral, which is compulsorily added to foods because it is can prevent goiter. Studies show that iodine also plays a role in the metabolism, the energy levels, estrogen balance and even helps prevent breast cancer. What is more, iodine can help the body get rid of environmental toxins such as fluoride compounds. Many experts believe that the official iodine recommendations are too low, and it is important to make a note of the fact that refined table salt often contains anti-caking agents like aluminum, and that sea salt is not enriched with iodine.
Our underground contains very little iodine, and in year 2000, compulsory iodine enrichment of table salt was reintroduced in Denmark, because the iodine intake was lower than international recommendations. Bakers are also instructed to use iodine-enriched salt in their bread, but even if the iodine intake has slightly increased, it is still too low, especially among pregnant women. There are also other factors that impair the body’s iodine status, and we will take a closer look at them later on.
The first time compulsory iodine enrichment of salt was introduced was in the United States in 1916. Many countries followed the example
Iodine has many functions in the body
The thyroid gland, which normally weighs 20-25 grams, is situated in the throat and is shaped like a butterfly. Science has believed for a long time that the only function of iodine has been to support the two thyroid hormones, T4 and T3, which control the metabolic processes in the entire body. However, recent studies show that iodine also plays a role for sex hormones, metabolism of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and for cancer cells’ programmed self-destruction also known as apoptosis. In other words, too little iodine can cause a long list of diseases.
|WHO estimates that two billion people get too little iodine|
Iodine and goiter
If we fail to get enough iodine, the thyroid gland steps up its hormone production, which causes it to increase in size. Goiter is normally a harmless condition, but it is also seen with autoimmune thyroid diseases like Hashimoto’s disease, which causes the metabolism to slow down, and with Graves’ disease that speeds up the metabolism. In complicated cases, the enlarged thyroid gland may turn into a large, deformed lump on the throat and weigh up to one kilo.
Pregnant women who lack iodine may give birth to retarded children
It goes without saying that a human fetus that grows rapidly over a nine-month period has a very active metabolism, even in the brain. If a pregnant woman is very iodine-deficient, there is a risk of having a baby with dwarfism, mental retardation, and physical handicaps. This condition is called cretinism and affects one in 4,000 babies worldwide. In the 1800s and 1900s in Switzerland, there were whole villages in the Alps where the inhabitants were more or less retarded because iodine had been washed out of the mountain soil. It is therefore extremely important for pregnant and breastfeeding women to get enough iodine, as even an infant can develop cretinism if it gets too little iodine from the mother’s milk.
Iodine and selenium are important for our metabolism and for treating thyroid disorders
Iodine supplements are often the easiest way to control your metabolism, but many people lack selenium, which controls the thyroid hormones. Selenium-containing enzymes remove an iodine atom from the inactive T4 hormone, thereby converting it to the active T3 hormone. In low-selenium countries such as Denmark it makes perfect sense to use supplements of selenium yeast to help the body regulate the balance between T4 and T3. Patients with autoimmune thyroid disorders such as Hashimoto’s disease and Graves’ disease should, however, always ask their physician before starting to use selenium supplements. Danish scientists have initiated a large study including four hospitals where they will be combining regular hormone therapy with selenium supplementation.
An iodine deficiency creates hormonal imbalances
The ovaries contain large iodine quantities, just like the thyroid gland. This means that an iodine deficiency may cause changes in the estrogen production of the ovaries and changes in the estrogen receptors of breast cells. American scientists have discovered that women, who live in states where iodine deficiencies are widespread, produce more estrogen, while the cells in their breast tissue have increased estrogen sensitivity. Both factors increase the risk of breast cancer.
Iodine and breast cancer
Iodine’s ability to protect against breast cancer has been revealed in animal studies. Epidemiological studies have also shown that population groups that get more iodine from the diet have a lower risk of breast cancer.
Iodine protects against breast cancer by regulating the estrogen balance and controlling the MCF7 gene in breast cancer cells. This was demonstrated in a study that is published in the International Journal of the Medical Sciences. The researchers behind the study suggest that iodine may be useful as add-on therapy for treating hormone-dependent breast cancer.
Asian diets with iodine and selenium lower the risk of breast cancer
According to the WHO, European and American women are five times more likely to develop breast cancer than Japanese women who eat a traditional Japanese diet. The Japanese get quite a lot of iodine from fish and seaweed, and these foods are also rich in selenium, which has several anti-cancer mechanisms. The Japanese do not have a tradition of eating dairy products, which is another significant difference between the Japanese and Wester diet.
Iodine is important for the synthesis of fatty acids and for the self-destruction of cancer cells
The thyroid gland, the breasts, the prostate gland, the colon, and the nervous system contains tissues that convert the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid (AA) to delta-iodolactone. This iodine compound causes cancer cells and worn-out cells to self-destruct (a process known as apoptosis that is essential). However, cancer cells are only able to self-destruct if the iodine levels are sufficiently high.
Lack of iodine may cause:
Bromine and fluoride displace iodine
Iodine, bromine, and fluoride belong to the group of halogen minerals that have many things in common and are therefore able to displace each other. Many fluoride compounds and bromine are particularly toxic, and the more of these compounds we are exposed to, the more iodine we need to protect ourselves.
Fluoride is used in toothpaste and mouth rinses. Polyfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are found in Teflon pans, pizza trays, baking sheets, rain clothes, and waterproofing agents.
According to studies, the Danish groundwater in many places is that heavily polluted with other fluoride compounds such as PFOS (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) that concerned experts call for action now.
We are exposed to bromine from pesticides and bromated fire retardants in textiles, plastic, computers, and televisions.
It is a good idea to avoid exposure to these compounds if possible. Always spit out your toothpaste after brushing your teeth, choose kitchen utensils without Teflon, and buy eco-labeled baking sheets.
Iodine helps the body get rid of toxins
Iodine helps the body get rid of environmental toxins – especially halogens such as fluoride, bromine, and chloride. The toxicity of these compounds increases your need for iodine.
Goitrogens in food can prevent the body from utilizing iodine
Goitrogens are natural substances in food. If ingested in too large quantities, they may block the thyroid gland’s ability to utilize iodine. The foods that contain the most goitrogens are soy, tofu, peanuts, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and different types of cabbage. Baking, cooking, and frying, and steaming plus fermenting is able to neutralize the goitrogens to some extent. In spite of the goitrogens, most of us benefit from eating broccoli and other types of cabbage, which are very nutritious. It is best to choose fermented soy products such as tamari (a good soy sauce), miso, tempeh, and natto. Tofu is not fermented.
Goitrogener i fødevarer kan blokere for udnyttelsen af jod
Goitrogener er nogle naturlige stoffer i fødevarer, der i for store mængder kan blokere for skjoldbruskkirtlens evne til at udnytte jod. Der er flest goitrogener i soja, tofu, jordnødder/peanuts og korsblomstrede grønsager som broccoli, hvidkål og anden kål. Varmebehandling som kogning, stegning, dampning samt fermentering (gæring) kan til dels neutralisere goitrogenerne. De fleste af os har stadig godt af at spise broccoli og anden kål, som er meget nærende. Og det er bedst at vælge fermenterede sojaprodukter som tamari (god sojasovs) miso, temph og natto. Tofu er ikke fermenteret.
We get iodine from fish, shellfish, algae, fish sauce, eggs, and iodine-enriched table salt. Seaweed and spirulina are particularly good iodine sources. The amount of iodine in sea salt is very limited and not sufficient to cover the daily need.
How much iodine do we need?
The official recommendations are 150 micrograms daily for adults. WHO and UNICEF recommend that children get 250 micrograms of iodine daily.
Leading scientist say the adults may need as much as 2-5 mg of iodine daily for optimal coverage. This intake level supports the upper safe intake level that has been established by FAO. In the case of a dysfunctional thyroid gland or cancer, it may be necessary to get as much as 15-50 mg daily, but this should always be at the advice of the physician.
Iodine compounds and supplements
Iodine if found in different organic and inorganic compounds that also include iodine for cleaning wounds and radioactive iodine. Healthy people should strive to get a lot of organic iodine from fish, shellfish, and seaweed that produce a lot of iodine in the form of iodides. Kelp and Spirulina supplements are also good sources of iodine.
Supplements of sodium iodide (Nal) are available in tablet form.
Lugol’s iodine, which is named after the French dotor J. GA Lugol, is a solution consisting of 5% iodine and 10% sodium iodide mixed with 85% distilled water. Most studies with supplements are carried out with Lugol’s iodine, which appears to be safer in higher dosages.
Pills with Lugol’s iodine are sold under several brand names. Always consult your physician before taking larger quantities of iodine. It may be a good idea to consult a doctor specialized in orthomolecular medicine.
Iodine content in micrograms per 100 grams of food
What type of salt should I choose?
Sea salt and Himalayan salt contain a variety of other minerals and salts, all of which are healthy. However, they do not contain all that much iodine. It is therefore a good idea to get iodine from other sources if you prefer to use sea salt in your cooking.
Avoid refined table salt that contain anti-caking agents like aluminum.
Kristian Sjøgren. Derfor skal der være jod I dit husholdningssalt. Videnskab.dk 31. oktober 2018
Silas Mortensen. Mineraltilskud i salt virker. Videnskab.dk 2009
Rychlik W. The need for iodine supplementation. OMS 12.06.2017
Frederick R. Stoddard et al. Iodine Alters Gene expression in the MCF7 Breast Cancer Cell Line: Evidence for an Anti-Estrogen Effect of Iodine. International Journal of Medical Sciences. 2008
Pernille Lund. Har du problemer med dit stofskifte? Ny Videnskab 2015
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