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DO YOU HAVE AN IODINE DEFICIENCY?
A lack of iodine in your body can lead to problems with your thyroid.
Iodine is extracted from the bloodstream to make thyroid hormone and without enough iodine, you cannot make enough thyroid hormone and this will prevent your thyroid from working correctly.
Symptoms of a serious iodine deficiency can be an enlarged thyroid, fatigue, weight gain and hair loss, especially the outer third of your eyebrows. Some mild to moderate symptoms of deficiency can include:-
Changes to your metabolism
Trouble concentrating or remembering things
Sensitive to cold
Iodine is found in every single one of the hundred trillion cells in your body and without enough iodine levels, your body will not be able to function optimally.
An iodine deficiency has also been linked to fibrocystic breasts.
METABOLISM OF IODINE IN THE THYROID
Iodine enters the body in the form of iodate or iodide from food and drink every day. The iodate converts to iodide in your stomach which is rapidly absorbed. The thyroid gland then uses the iodide but levels can be low because the thyroid uses it quickly and it can also be eliminated in your poop. It has been estimated that around 75% of the iodide enters the thyroid and some is used to make hormones.
Your hypothalmus and pituitary gland controls the thyroid and the thyroid produces thyroxine which is T4 and triiodothyronine which is T3. You need iodine for each of these.
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN IODINE AND YOUR BRAIN FUNCTION
All cells and tissues depend on T3 and T4 thyroid hormones to regulate your metabolism. The human body is extremely sensitive to metabolism problems and depends on a variety of proteins and amino acids to perform all of the functions.
The brain is especially sensitive to a deficiency in iodine and not enough T3 and T4 hormones.
When you do not have good levels of iodine, your brain may not make enough neurotransmitters that are important for your mental health. Neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, acetylcholine, epinephrine, serotonin and GABA are constantly influencing your mood, your brain processes and emotions all the time every day.
HOW DOES IODINE BENEFIT YOUR BRAIN FUNCTION?
T3 and T4 are involved in a chemical reaction which is necessary for your brain to function. T3 and T4 thyroid hormones are involved with gene expression and the transcription of genes. Your genes need to be turned on by stimulation from hormones, or your brain cannot produce neurotransmitters or the right number of neurotransmitters for regulation of your mental health.
A study has identified that over 30 genes are involved in GABA, norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine production. That is a lot of genes!
WHAT CAN REDUCE IODINE IN THE BODY?
Chlorine, fluoride, and bromide could lower iodine levels in the body by blocking iodine receptors. Chlorine is now used to purify water instead of iodine. Fluoride can be found in toothpaste and drinking water. Bromines have replaced iodine in commercial baked goods over 30 years ago. These minerals can be toxic to your thyroid and can reduce iodine levels in your body.
Soy and gluten could also be involved in blocking thyroid function by inhibiting the uptake of iodine.
WHAT IS THE RECOMMENDED DAILY AMOUNT OF IODINE?
In the USA, the recommended daily allowances (RDA) for iodine intake is 150 mcg in adults, 220–250 mcg in pregnant women, and 250–290 mcg in breastfeeding women.
You can find more information about the recommended daily amounts of iodine in the thyroid UK website here.
This recommended daily allowance is far too low though and the soils that fruits, vegetables and herbs are grown in can be depleted of iodine levels so the foods we are eating can have less amounts contained within them.
Dr. David Brownstein has written a book about iodine and he has said:-
“After testing individuals and finding low iodine levels, I began to use smaller milligram amounts of iodine/iodide (6.25 mg/day). Upon retesting these individuals 1-2 months later, little progress was made. I therefore began using higher milligram doses (6.25-50 mg) to increase the serum levels of iodine. It was only with these higher doses that I began to see clinical improvement as well as positive changes in the laboratory tests.”
Dr Brownstein has sometimes used between 200 and 300 milligrams of iodine daily, with higher doses for more serious and difficult diseases.
Here are some more quotes from Dr Brownstein:-
“With Iodine Supplementation, hypothyroid and autoimmune thyroid symptoms improve. Cancer therapies are more effective when iodine deficiency is rectified. Most importantly, people feel better when the body is given the proper form and amounts of iodine.” Dr. David Brownstein
“Iodine is not only necessary for the production of thyroid hormone, it is also responsible for the production of all of the other hormones of the body. Adequate iodine levels are necessary for proper immune system function. Iodine contains potent antibacterial, antiparasitic, antiviral and anticancer properties. Iodine is also effective for treating fibrocystic breasts and ovarian cysts”. Dr. David Brownstein
“Some of the conditions that would benefit from adequate iodine supplementation are and are not limited to: ADD, Atherosclerosis, Breast Diseases, Excess Mucus Production, Fatigue, Fibrocystic Breasts, Hemorrhoids, Headaches and Migraines, Hypertension, Infections, Liver Diseases, Ovarian Disease, Parotid Duct Stones, Prostate Disorders, Thyroid Disorders, Vaginal Infections and more….”
Dr Brownstein’s book is called “Iodine, Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It.”
WHAT FOODS CONTAIN IODINE?
Sea Salt does contain some levels of iodine.
One of the best sources of iodine is seaweed such as kelp, nori or wakame.
You can eat this as a nori wrap, buy it in dried or powder form to add to food. Iodine is really concentrated in seaweed.
1 tablespoon of Kelp contains about 2000/mcg of iodine
1 tablespoon of Arame contains about 730/mcg of iodine
1 tablespoon of Hiziki contains about 780/mcg of iodine
1 one inch piece of Kombu contains about 1450/mcg of iodine
1 tablespoon of Wakame contains about 80/mcg of iodine
You can download a fact sheet from the UK Iodine website here
OTHER SOURCES OF IODINE
CELTIC SEA SALT
Celtic sea salt is an excellent alternative to table salt and a good source of iodine.
Watercress is a very good source of good amounts of iodine.
They are rich in antioxidant and a great source of iodine. About 110g or 4 ounces of cranberries contain approximately 400/mcg of iodine.
Many beans are a great food source of iodine and navy beans may top the list. Just 1/2 cup of these beans contain about 32/mcg of iodine.
Strawberries can have up to 10% of your daily iodine needs in just a single serving. One cup of fresh strawberries has approximately 13/mcg of iodine.
A potato is one of the richest sources of iodine. Leave the skin on and one medium-sized baked potato has about 60/mcg of iodine.
About 80g of turkey breast can provide around 34 micrograms of iodine.
If you eat around 5 dried prunes a day, they can provide you with fibre, boron, vitamins, minerals and around 13 micrograms of iodine.
Canned tuna of around 80g can provide around 17 micrograms of iodine. It also provides the body with vitamin D, iron, protein and minerals.
A hard boiled egg can provide around 12 micrograms of iodine. It also supplies the body with vitamin A, E, antioxidants, calcium, protein and zinc.
A medium sized banana provides around 3 micrograms of iodine.
About 28g of Cheddar cheese can provide around 12 micrograms of iodine.
A half cup serving of green beans provides around 2% of the daily value of iodine. Green beans are a great source of folate, vitamin B, C, protein and potassium as well.
An iodine deficiency can have an impact on growth and development and also affect your thyroid from functioning correctly.
Your thyroid stimulating hormone controls your thyroid hormone. The secretion of TSH will rise when iodine levels fall below around 100 mcg a day. Very low iodine intake can reduce your thyroid hormone being produced. If your iodine levels fall below around 10-20 mcg a day, you can be at risk of hypothyroidism.