The Iodine Project

Treating symptoms, not masking them.

Introduction

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How familiar are the following signs and symptoms?

"Exhaustion or fatigue, depression, sensitive to cold or cold hands and feet, weight gain, muscle and joint pains, carpal tunnel, painful soles of the feet, swollen or puffy face, eyes, arms or legs, menstrual abnormalities, fuzzy head, constipation, voice changes, increased response to allergies (itching, prickly hot skin, rashes, urticaria), regular infections such as sinus or thrush, dry hair, skin and nails, hair loss, thin eyebrows (outer third), high cholesterol (which doesn’t respond to medication), or haven’t been well since an infection/virus.

All of the above signs and symptoms can be associated with low thyroid function. The following signs and symptoms are associated with an overactive thyroid: weight loss without actively trying, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, panic attacks, poor concentration, palpitations, rapid pulse, high blood pressure, increased sweating, tremors, diarrhea, tiredness, thickening of the skin, amenorrhea or light menses, muscle pain and weakness (upper arms and thighs particularly), eye problems, bulging eyes, infertility, mood swings, fine and brittle hair.

Most commonly we see the low thyroid function symptoms presenting, however, it is all too easy to relate most of these signs and symptoms to many other conditions. Often our clients have seen their Doctor and been prescribed antidepressants or some may have had a thyroid test within the normal limits and told to go home to exercise and eat less*." The reality is that your body is iodine deficient as well as deficient in other essential vitamins and minerals. *(per http://monarchnaturalhealth.co.nz/nutritional-deficiencies-and-the-thyroid/)

What is Iodine? Why do we need it? How much do we need?

Iodine may just be the most overlooked mineral, yet its importance to overall health and well being cannot be overstated. Iodine is critical for the formation of thyroid hormone in the thyroid gland. When your thyroid suffers, so does the rest of your body. A major connection exists between low thyroid and low adrenal. Low adrenal, also called adrenal insufficiency, can actually cause someone's thyroid problem to be much worse than it would be otherwise.

Why many people are iodine deficient

"
First of all, most of us don’t consume enough iodine. On top of that, we consume many substances that block iodine absorption in our body. There are halogens in our water including fluoride, chlorine, and perchlorate (rocket fuel). Goitrogens also block iodine uptake. There are some notable goitrogens in our food supply. One of them is bromide which is in most commercial bread, as well as some soft drinks (Mountain Dew for example). One of the biggest goitrogens in our food supply (and it’s everywhere in our food supply) is soy. Soybean oil is in salad dressing and mayonnaise. It’s in commercial baby formula. It’s in almost all packaged cakes, candies chips, and crackers. And pretty much every meal you eat at a restaurant cooks their food in soybean oil. Not only that, but most of the cows, poultry and pigs in this country are fed a diet of industrial corn and soybeans. So even if you think you’re not eating lots of soy, you probably are". Health conscious people expect conventional produce to be grown in soils deficient in essential minerals. They may be surprised to find out that organic produce is also often lacking sufficient amounts of iodine.


Iodine has many actions in the body

A shortage of iodine can cause changes to the thyroid gland that directly lead to poor function of metabolism and immunity. Iodine deficiency promotes free radical damage in the thyroid gland that puts the gland itself at risk. Iodine blocks various compounds from binding to and accumulating in the thyroid gland, such as fluoride, perchlorate, and goitrogens. Environmental pollution significantly aggravates an iodine lack and displaces iodine in the body.

Iodine is in high concentration in the ovaries and breast tissue, acting as a buffer to the growth stimulating effects of estrogen and as a promoter of proper estrogen metabolism. Iodine assists the functioning of hormone receptors throughout the body, helping hormones communicate more effectively. Thyroid hormone governs the rate of other hormone formation, and thus governs sexual function.

Iodine is essential for proper brain development and cognitive ability. There have been many studies showing the importance of iodine during gestation when cognitive potential is formed. A mother with adequate iodine levels will be more likely to produce a child with superior brain development.

Therapeutic Uses of Iodine Prior to World War II and Different Forms of Iodine

    Dr. Abraham started this Iodine Project around 1998 when he became aware of the many benefits of treating patients with iodine using doses far beyond the 2 mg a day, which most physicians consider to be potentially toxic. He noted that starting in the 1820s, the French physician Jean Lugol used these higher doses to treat a wide variety of conditions. Dr. Lugol combined elemental iodine (5 %) and potassium iodide (10%) with 85 % water. Since iodine kills infectious agents, Dr. Lugol successfully treated many infectious conditions with this solution, which became known as Lugol’s solution, and which is still available today by prescription. Prior to World War II, many American and European physicians used Lugol’s solution to treat thyroid conditions, using doses higher than 2 mg daily without apparent significant adverse effects.

             Dr. Abraham notes that research has shown that the thyroid gland prefers to utilize the iodide form of iodine, while other organs, such as the breast and ovaries, prefer the elemental form of iodine. Both of these forms are present in Lugol’s solution and in the preparations discussed below. After World War II, the use of Lugol’s solution came to a grinding halt due to the publication of the Wolff-Chaikoff paper mentioned above and for other reasons discussed in Abraham’s papers. Dr. Abraham then suggests that the disease known as “Iodophobia” developed, which he describes as the irrational fear of prescribing iodine in dosages that had previously been used successfully by physicians for decades.  He points out in his preface to Dr. David Brownstein’s book Iodine: Why You Need It; Why You Can’t Live Without It:

     “Of all the elements known so far to be essential for human health, iodine is the most misunderstood and the most feared. Yet, iodine is the safest of all the essential trace elements, being the only one that can be administered safely for long periods of time to large numbers of patients in daily amounts as high as 100,000 times the RDA. However, this safety record only applies to inorganic, nonradioactive forms of iodine.  Some organic iodine containing drugs are extremely toxic and prescribed by physicians. The severe side effects of these drugs are blamed on inorganic iodine although studies have clearly demonstrated that it is the whole molecule that is toxic, not the iodine released from it.”

 

Recent research documents the importance of proper iodine levels

A study reported in the September edition of Endocrine Review noted that iodine is critical for the biological effects mediated by thyroid hormone. Iodine containing enzymes important to the action of the thyroid were also found to increase or decrease thyroid hormone signaling in a tissue-and temporal-specific fashion, independently of changes in thyroid hormone serum concentrations. It was clear to the researchers that these enzymes play a much broader role than was once thought, with great ramifications for the control of thyroid hormone signaling during vertebrate development and metamorphosis, as well as injury response, tissue repair, hypothalamic function, and energy homeostasis in adults.

The September 3 edition of Cancer Causes and Control reports a review of literature focused on risk factors for thyroid cancer. The researchers found that at present, the only recognized measures for reducing thyroid cancer risk are avoiding ionizing radiation and iodine deficiency, particularly in children and young women.

The European Journal of Nutrition, August edition, reports it widely accepted that the rapid rate of growth of the brain during the last third of gestation and the early postnatal stage makes it vulnerable to an inadequate diet. A deficiency of iodine during this critical period in brain development is associated with reduced intellectual ability.

The August 12 edition of Medical Hypotheses reports the World Health organization showing iodine deficiency to be a worldwide health problem. As iodine status is based in median urinary iodine excretion, even in countries regarded as iodine sufficient, a considerable part of the population may be iodine deficient. Iodine deficiency traditionally results in hypothyroidism, goiter, and cretinism. Researchers hypothesized that iodine deficiency may also give rise to subtle impairment of thyroid function leading to clinical syndromes resembling hypothyroidism or diseases that have been associated with the occurrence of hypothyroidism. They described several clinical conditions suspected to be linked to iodine deficiency, including obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), psychiatric disorders, fibromyalgia, and malignancies.

Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, August 6, reports that the trace elements iodine and selenium are essential for thyroid gland functioning and thyroid hormone biosynthesis and metabolism. While iodine is needed as the eponymous constituent of the two major thyroid hormones T3 and T4, selenium is essential for the biosynthesis and function of small numbers of selenocysteine containing enzymes that control thyroid hormone turnover.

The August 1 edition of Lancet reports that 2 billion individuals worldwide have insufficient iodine intake, producing adverse effects on growth and development due to inadequate production of thyroid hormone. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of preventable mental impairment worldwide. The researchers recommended iodine supplements be used to remediate deficiency.

The Alternative Medicine Review, June edition, reports that iodine deficiency is critical in pregnancy due to the consequences for neurological damage during fetal development as well as during lactation. The safety of therapeutic doses of iodine above the established safe upper limit of 1 mg is evident in the lack of toxicity in the Japanese population that consumes 25 times the median intake of iodine consumption in the United States. Japan's population suffers no demonstrable increased incidence of autoimmune thyroiditis or hypothyroidism. Studies using 3.0 to 6.0 mg doses to effectively treat fibrocystic breast disease may reveal an important role for iodine in maintaining normal breast tissue architecture and function. Iodine may also have important antioxidant functions in breast tissue and other tissues that concentrate iodine via the sodium iodide supporter.

Determining iodine deficiency and proper dosage

Due to the fact that iodine deficiency can have serious consequences, it is important for people to use iodine supplementation if they are not regularly getting adequate amounts from food. Good food sources of iodine are dairy products produced from cattle fed iodine-supplemented feed and salt licks, seafood, saltwater fish, seaweed, and kelp. It may also be found in asparagus, garlic, lima beans, mushrooms, sesame seed, spinach, chard, and summer squash.
Some foods block the uptake of iodine into the thyroid gland when eaten raw in large amounts, such as cabbage, kale, peaches, pears and spinach. Though you may try to get a high enough iodine intake from eating the foods listed above, due to the mineral depletion of soil, content of mercury in sea products and the fact that you need 12.5mg per day you should consider iodine supplementation. An excellent supplement is Iodoral which you can purchase here.

Pregnant women, the elderly and adolescents are more predisposed to iodine deficiency. More women than men are short on iodine. In addition to low thyroid functioning, symptoms of iodine deficiency include depression, weight gain/loss(in cases of hyper), weak heartbeat/ rapid heartbeat(hyper), extreme dry hair and skin, swelling of the legs, decreased ability to concentrate, muscle cramps, puffiness or swelling of the eyes, insensitivity to light (adrenal), insatiable appetite for sweets or salts(adrenal), and chronic aches and pains. Fatigue is a common symptom, characterized by the urge to fall asleep when not active. Hypersensitivity to cold, or cold hands and feet is another frequently reported symptom. When the metabolism is not up to par, there is less energy and heat produced." (adaptation from http://www.naturalnews.com/024566.html)

Expert: More Iodine Is Better

"Iodine Nutrition -- More Is Better," is the title of an editorial accompanying the Teng study. Editorialist Robert D. Utiger, MD, is a thyroid expert at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

Utiger says that Teng and colleagues' conclusions are overcautious.

"Low iodine intake is more worrisome than the slight risk at the higher levels of intake," Utiger tells WebMD. "To eliminate iodine deficiency even in a small percentage of the population, the intake for the whole population has to be high. I am willing to pay the price of a few cases of mild symptoms at the high end to get a reduction in the very severe consequences at the low end."

Too much iodine does not worry nutritionist Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

 

 

        Iodine is not just good for whole body health because it belongs in every cell, it helps your body excrete the toxic heavy metals that accumulate in your body. Check out this awesome study done using 8 random patients to test iodine suffiency and excretion of heavy metals. (scroll down to the graph)

 In the 1930's they did a study on animals to test iodine deficiency in regards to goiter, they learned that insufficiency of iodine causes the thyroid to atrophy!

 

Check out the full list of symptoms to see just how much the deficiency of this mineral wreaks havoc on your body. 

 

        I've started this website so that I can track my family's journey to health with the assistance of iodine. I have found much information in regards to the importance of an iodine rich diet and want to share what is making my family healthier every day. On this site you will find a compilation of information from many different sources on the web, some tidbits from me and even studies supporting the information.

So I am beginning The Iodine Experiment today. Though I have used iodine over the past 6 weeks at a very low dose, my mother and I have both noticed some wonderful changes that include weight loss, dramatic increase in energy and stamina, decreased sensitivity to light (no more sunglasses!), increased mental function, no longer craving sweets and salts( I couldn't get enough!) and sleeping better just to name a few, and that's with only 2mg per day! You can read our story here.

          I have introduced a couple friends to Iodoral and they will be starting the "experiment" as well, you can find their stories here.

 

Want to join the experiment? If you are already taking iodine click here to become a member, or Order a bottle for $40 to try it out for yourself!

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