Excerpt from What Doctors Fail to Tell You about Iodine and Your Thyroid by Dr. Robert Thompson.
Americans are experiencing a dramatic drop in iodine levels and a corresponding deterioration in our collective health. Between the early 1970s and the early 1990s, we experienced an average drop in iodine levels of 50%. In just 20 years! That’s shocking and sobering.
What’s more, Dr. David Brownstein, author of Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, says that about 90% of us lack sufficient iodine for optimal health, according to his tests on more than 5,000 patients. This has also been my experience in the patients I have had tested.
The low iodine blues
So what happens when your iodine levels are too low?
Thyroid disease: Low thyroid function (hypothyroidism) is often the most obvious sign of low iodine intake. Conversely, low iodine levels can also cause autoimmune thyroid disease, including Hashimoto’s and Graves’ diseases, which can trigger excessive thyroid function, called hyperthyroidism. People with hypothyroidism may be fatigued, overweight, cold intolerant, depressed and have dry skin and hair. Low thyroid function causes all of the body’s processes to slow down. Thyroid hormones are responsible for metabolic rate, energy production and brain function and development.
Breast, prostate, ovarian, thyroid and other cancers: Iodine has been validated as an anticancer agent. It works primarily by interrupting the lifespan of the wildly dividing cancer cells and protects against both hormonally related and non-hormonal cancers.
Breast disease: The link between iodine and healthy breasts was recognized as far back as 1977. Low iodine levels have been associated with fibrocystic breast disease, as well as lack of ovulation, menstrual irregularities, and infertility. Breast tenderness almost always disappears with increased iodine intake.
Obesity: Possibly related to hypothyroidism, the health risks of obesity are well known, ranging from increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer. Numerous studies show the link between iodine deficiency and obesity, especially in children.
Mental retardation: Infants born with iodine deficiency are at extremely high risk of mental retardation and cretinism (stunted physical and mental development). This may also increase their risk of developing autism.
Infertility, menstrual disturbances and miscarriages: Hypothyroidism and low iodine levels are connected to infertility and a wide variety of reproductive disorders, including irregular menstruation, low sex drive, failure to ovulate, miscarriages and, in women with autoimmune forms of hypothyroidism, stillbirth.
Parkinson’s disease and other brain disorders: A variety of neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease have been connected with low iodine levels, perhaps related to the need for iodine to manufacture certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.
Allergies and asthma: People with low iodine levels have thicker bronchial secretions and more risk of asthma and allergies.
Inability to sweat and risk of heat stroke: Since 20% of the body’s iodine stores are located in the skin, low iodine levels impair the body’s ability to sweat. When you can‘t sweat, you get overheated and risk a heatstroke.
Our national iodine deficiency has become quite alarming. Some have even called it an epidemic. For more, take a look at the book!