Iodine Part 2 (Iodine Deficiency)

Mountain Light

Causes of Iodine Deficiency.


Seaweed is a principal source of iodine and consequently near to the sea land and food crops receive a good amount of iodine from spray. Inland however there is often a natural shortage of Iodine. Cretinism is historically common in Alpine regions such as Switzerland. Cretinism results from impaired infant development due to iodine deficiency induced hypothyroidism.

Iodine cycling; dissolving from rock, being washed into the ocean, processed by marine organisms and then evaporating into the atmosphere, seeding clouds and returning to land by raindrops, does not appear to provide an adequate supply on its own in many places.

Industrial Farming

Soil mineral depletion from intensive industrial farming methods is one of the major causes of iodine deficiency and mineral deficiency in general. Tomatoes are estimated to have only 1/50th of the mineral nutrient content they had only 40 years ago.

Double Nobel Laureate, Linus Pauling, believed that a lack of minerals was at the root of all illnesses. Vitamins have the job essentially of transporting minerals in the body.

Today we have GMOs, RoundUp™ Ready seeds, herbicides, pesticides and fungicides to add to this silent crisis. 90 years ago it was already considered impossible to eat enough fruit and vegetables to meet basic nutrient requirements. Farming does not focus on improving nutritional content – but on growth rates, appearance, pest resistance and other commercial factors. Oddly, today, there is no actual information around to show whether or not serious organic farming has corrected this to any extent for those who choose those products.

Toxic Halides

Epidemic levels of iodine deficiency are probably mostly due to the presence of toxic halides; bromide, fluoride and chlorine derived perchlorate. Perchlorate functions as oxidizers in propellants for rockets, fireworks and matches. It is sprayed on food packaging to reduce static electric charges.

Those halides and perchlorate physically displace the iodine in the body. This especially affects the glandular system where iodine is concentrated; thyroid, breast, prostate, ovaries etc. Iodine is displaced due to fluorine, chlorine and bromine being more reactive than iodine.

Bromine and perchlorate damage the transport system of iodine into the body cells. 300mg/day of vitamin C can help this. David Brownstein M.D.

Inadequate RDA – Iodized Salt

Geography and toxic chemicals certainly generate iodine deficiencies. However, the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of iodine is only set at a level required to prevent goiters and cretinism. Those getting this RDA will still remain iodine deficient with respect to all the other associated disorders. This concerns the thyroid, endocrine, immune system and cancer which can require 100 times or more than the RDA level.

Iodized table salt is intended to provide the RDA of iodine. However, the iodine in iodized salt is only 10% bio-available. Iodized salt actually uses iodide (potassium iodide – KI) – which does not protect glands such as the breast or prostate. Iodized salt has a short shelf life – half of it evaporates within 20 to 40 days of opening. Cooking with salt (iodized) loses up to 62.4% of its iodine.

The iodide in table salt is very easily oxidized into iodine by (1) moisture in the salt. (2) humid or excessively aerated environment. (3) exposure to sunlight. (4) exposure to heat. (5) acid reaction in the salt. (6) presence of impurities.

Iodine being highly reactive is volatile and will evaporate. Refined table salt can have a load of other chemicals added to deal with preservation. The imbalance of minerals in table salt may additionally lead to blood pressure control problems. Even so called “unrefined” sea salt does not provide the correct mineral quantities or balance. Many people end up on a low salt diet to avoid those problems. Either way they don’t get additional iodine or appropriate balanced minerals.

Thyroid Hormone Treatment Negative Effects

The treatment of thyroid problems with thyroid hormones causes an increase in metabolism, creating a greater demand for iodine. When there is an existing iodine deficiency that is not corrected then an even greater iodine deficiency results. (Researchers have shown a 200% increase in breast cancer risk with treatment of women for 15 years with thyroid hormones.)

Goitrogenic Agents

Many chemicals from the environment and medications are classified as goitrogenic – blocking iodine from entering the thyroid and consequently causing goiters.

  • Amiodarone (medication for irregular heart beat)
  • Antibiotics
  • Dioxins (toxic industrial byproducts)
  • Heavy metals
  • NSAIDs
  • Lithium and benzodiazepines (depression and anxiety drugs)
  • Oxazolidines (from paint)
  • Pesticides
  • Thiocyanate (in cigarettes)

Goitrogenic foods include cruciferous vegetables but they are only a problem when eaten raw. They are fine when cooked, steamed or fermented.

The main goitrogenic foods to strongly avoid are soy and canola oil (colza).

Goitrogenic nuts: almonds, cashews, peanuts, pine nuts
Goitrogenic seeds: flax, hemp, pumpkin
Giotrogenic grains: all grains with gluten and also millet as it impares TPO (thyroperoxidase) activity.

Gluten is potentially goitrogenic. It can be a catalyst for thyroid autoimmune symptoms with the immune system over-reacting to gluten and then mistaking the thyroid for gluten.

Additional Factors causing Iodine Deficiency

  • When someone is fat they need more iodine to satisfy the demands of the fat cells.
  • Excessive sweating causes a substantial loss of iodine.
  • Plant foods provide lower quantities of iodine than animal foods.
  • Thyroid hormone T4 has to be converted to T3 to become the active form of thyroid hormone. Iodothyronine deiodinase, a selenium-containing enzyme, is responsible for this conversion. Selenium deficiency decreases deiodinase protein and activity. If iodine supplementation doesn’t help then sometimes selenium can instead.
  • Iron and zinc deficiencies are also linked to impaired thyroid function.
  • Stress management is important because stress hormones have a direct effect on the ability of the thyroid to convert T4 into usable T3. This can eventually create thyroid hormone resistance. Exercise is important for reversing hormone resistance and making thyroid receptor sites more sensitive to thyroid hormones.

Consequences of Iodine Deficiency.

100X RDA Cancer Defense

Iodide is converted into iodine in the thyroid gland.

The RDA will not even provide enough iodide to allow this process to produce enough iodine to adequately produce the T1, T2, T3 and T4 hormones.

100X the RDA of iodide must be be supplied for the thyroid gland to correctly generate the basic chemicals (iodo-lipids) that protect us from cancer.

Once enough iodine is formed, it undergoes “organification” and becomes part of lipids (cholesterol and fats), and proteins. One important iodo-lipid is δ-iodolactone. δ-iodolactone is a key regulator of apoptosis. Apoptosis is the programmed cell death that all of our normal cells have.

δ-iodolactone is an anti-cancer substance (and kills virus infected cells).

δ-iodolactone production is also impaired if the enzymes for organification are damaged by toxic halides.

Iodinated lipids are not detected in the body when there is iodine deficiency or less than 100X RDA.

100X RDA Autoimmune Defense

δ-iodolactone also acts as a control brake in the oxidation of iodine. This prevents oxidation damage of the thyroid cells (from excess hydrogen peroxide) during the oxidation of the iodide (conversion to iodine).

Both shortage of δ-iodolactone or selenium (in glutathion) lead to runaway oxidation damage to the thyroid cells and to autoimmune thyroid diseases.

Thyroid problems generally begin with runaway oxidation damaging thyroid cells (from hydrogen peroxide) due to iodine deficiency. Eventually the damage lowers thyroid hormone production. This impairs mitochondria from producing energy and the hydrogen peroxide needed to oxidize iodide. Over time, we get “burn out”. Feedback loops like this are hard to follow and lead to counter intuitive outcomes which vary over time.

Anyone dealing with blood tests for thyroid and pituitary hormones and antibodies should seriously study Dr Brownstein’s book (Iodine – why you need it!). He brings extensive insights into the real meanings and relevance or the results and the use of iodine supplementation as a support. You will not get this critical support from your doctor. Your local pharmacy will not even stock Lugol’s solution.

Insane Medical Practice – Radioactive Iodine

Potassium iodide is taken to avoid absorption of radioactive iodine contamination. Iodide is taken up by the thyroid.

However, Grave’s hyperthyroid disease and thyroid cysts are frequently treated with high doses of radioactive iodine – a known powerful carcinogen.

It’s known that hyperthyroidism and cysts are regular outcomes of iodine deficiency. Only iodine deficiency will permit the uptake of this radioactive iodine by the thyroid and subsequent destruction of the thyroid.

Why don’t the doctors instead just give normal iodide to normalise the thyroid? Criminal insanity perhaps?

Iodine Antioxidant – Anticancer

Iodine and vitamin C can function as both an antioxidant as well as an oxidant. This dual effect makes Iodine a strong anticancer agent. One of the best signs of health in the body is a balance between antioxidants and oxidants. Iodine and vitamin C can help maintain that balance, placing them among the most powerful anti-cancer agents known.

Lipids include fats that make up our cell membranes throughout our body. Iodine can become incorporated into lipids (iodo-lipids) inside the cell. When iodine is incorporated into the lipids, it helps to stabilize them and also helps each cell to maintain a normal life cycle by decreasing lipoperoxidation in the body.

The iodo-lipid δ-iodolactone is as mentioned already a key regulator of apoptosis (programmed cell death). Cancer of course being the dysfunction or absence of programmed cell death.

Iodine can cause cancer tumours to shrink and necrose from the centre. This has been observed with nodules in the breast, thyroid, uterus and ovaries.

The connection between breast cancer and iodine deficiency is well researched and known. It involves estrogen hormone balance and epigenetics (Following section). Why is there no appropriate medical action taken to actively prevent such cancers from even starting? Cancer inducing mammograms only find cancer when it’s already present. That’s NOT prevention!

The fact is that there is almost no change in survival rates for breast cancer over the past 70+ years. The 100 years old “cut, burn, poison” industry is doing very well (surgery, radiation, chemotherapy).

Iodine – Balancing Hormones – Anticancer Role

Most female estrogen is produced in the ovaries. Some estrogens are also produced in smaller amounts by other tissues such as the liver, pancreas, bone, adrenal glands, skin, brain, adipose tissue, and the breasts. Estrogen in males is mainly secreted by the adrenal glands and by the testes. Females produce ten times more estrogen than males.

The three major forms of female produced estrogen are E1: estrone, E2: estradiol and E3: estriol. Balance of those hormones is vitally important for brain function, skin lubrication, breast development, bone and cardiovascular health, weight control, preventing mood swings, diabetes and breast/ovarian/uterine cancer.

Lugol’s solution (iodine and iodide) helps maintain the balance of estrogens, normalizing the ovarian production of estrogens. This tilts the system towards E3: estriol which appears to have a protective effect for breast cancer. Lugol’s solution has also been shown to alter gene expression (epigenetics) in breast cancer cells. Iodine down-regulates several estrogen responsive genes and increases BRCA1 activity which modulates estrogen activity in the breast. (BRCA1 abnormalities increase risk for breast cancer.)

Iodine deficiency makes estrogen balance impossible, increasing ovarian estrogen production and the sensitivity of estrogen receptors in the breast, creating an increase the risk of breast cancer.

Synthetic estrogens found in plastics, pesticides and drugs, as well as entering the food chain are much longer lasting than natural estrogens and accumulate in the body fat tissue. They can mimic, block or cancel out the effect of natural estrogens. Synthetic estrogens play a major role in hormone-sensitive cancers like breast, prostate, ovarian, and uterine cancers, which have reached epidemic proportions.

Child Development

Before and during pregnancy Iodine is needed for a fetus to have normal neurological development. Unfortunately, iodine deficiency is common even in developed countries. In the U.S. alone iodine levels have fallen over 50% during the last forty years making iodine deficiency occur at epidemic rates.

In-utero iodine deficiency has been associated with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, cretinism, dwarfism, mental retardation and with poor height and bone maturation of children. One 10 year study found that ADHD prevalence in an iodine deficient area was 69% compared to 0% in an iodine sufficient area.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.) in 2011 stated that ADHD is the most common neurobehavioral disorder of children. Steeply increasing numbers already affect 18.7% of children between the ages of 8 and 17. There was also an 11 point deficit in IQ in those children born in the iodine deficient area.

Growth hormone deficiency occurs in both children and adults when the pituitary gland produces too little human growth hormone. Growth hormone deficiency in children is not uncommon and appears to be increasing.

Researchers state “…improved growth in iodine-deficient children receiving iodine is likely due to improved thyroid function as both thyroid hormone and human growth hormone are essential for normal growth and development.”

In children and adolescents human growth hormone stimulates growth in height. In mature adults, human growth hormone stimulates muscle growth, fat metabolism and energy production.

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