Are you tired, run-down, listless?Do you poop out at parties?
Are you unpopular?
The answer to all your problems is in this little bottle: IODINE.
This lens is about iodine and other ways of feeding and keeping your thyroid and other glands happy. Since starting iodine myself, I've discovered that I'm actually awake when I wake up in the mornings, not to mention getting things done around the house I formerly had no patience or energy for!
I recently started on potassium iodide and within a day or so, I became restless and took all the cans out of my kitchen cabinet. Some of them had been there for years! When my husband came home, he said, "What happened?" I threw out three loads of cans and organized the rest.
A couple of days after that, I became dissatisfied with the refrigerator. It was time to clean! I took everything out and when my daughter came home, she said, "What happened?"
The next day I scrubbed another part of the fridge and continued to freak out my family. Then I tackled the stack of papers I'd been avoiding.
"Are you on crack?" my husband asked, laughing.
"No," I said, "It's iodine, baby!"
Round Up the Usual SuspectsRecognize any of these, like Brain Fog?
Below is a list of common symptoms of low thyroid or hypothyroidism:
Fatigue and weakness
Low basal temperature (cold intolerance)
Dry and coarse skin
Cold hands and feet
Poor memory, forgetfulness, dementia
Nervousness and tremors
Immune system problems
Heavy menstrual periods, polycystic ovaries
Fibrocystic breast disease
Insulin resistance, diabetes
Poor cognition or cretinism in children
And more, unfortunately
Introducing the Halogen Family(A slightly dysfunctional family at that!)
Here are the four largest halogens and their relative atomic weights:
Fluorine . . . . . . . . 19
Chlorine . . . . . . . . 35.5
Bromine . . . . . . . . 80
Iodine . . . . . . . . .127
Halogens with a lower atomic weight displace those with a higher atomic weight, but not vice-versa. So while bromine can displace iodine, bromine can't displace chlorine. But fluorine, chlorine, and bromine can ALL displace iodine!
Think about it . . . do you drink or shower in chlorinated water? And does your community add fluoride to your water? Do you ever eat white bread products? Eat a lot of table salt? Drink supermarket milk? How about swim in pools or spas?
These all matter because they're sources of iodine-displacing halogens. Table salt is sodium chloride, so just eating fast food with its high sodium content can do it! Swimming pools and spas are usually treated with chlorine for their sanitizer, and sometimes also bromine. Decades past, iodine was used as a dough conditioner, but now bromine as taken its place, as well as is used to bleach wheat flour that blinding white color. Bromine is also hiding in many soft drinks, such as Gatorade and Mountain Dew - look for "brominated vegetable oil" on the label. Iodine was once used to sanitize cows' udders, but now bromine is used commercially. And fluoride is hard to avoid, unless you deliberately choose toothpaste without fluoride or drink water filtered to remove it.
This is just one reason many are iodine deficient, because these other displacing halogens have been knocking their iodine brother out of the picture.
So What Do Halogens Have to Do with the Thyroid?They can make for a chunkier neck!
Two-thirds of the body's iodine is found in the thyroid gland. Iodine is found in every cell in the body and the thyroid is only one of the organs in the body that stores iodine. Iodine is used by every hormone receptor in the body. The absence of iodine causes a hormonal dysfunction that can be seen with practically every hormone inside the body, all of which interact with the thyroid.
So as you see, if the more toxic halides are knocking the iodine out of your system, your entire body suffers, but especially the thyroid.
The woman pictured above could use some iodine supplementation and a little thyroid TLC.
Filter Halogens from Your WaterA fluoride filter will generally also filter out chlorine and bromine - a nice thing for the thyroid!
Where Do I Find Iodine?Enjoy Iodine-Rich Foods
Good Dietary Sources of Iodine:
Seaweed (like nori, used to wrap sushi rolls)
Kelp or dulse powder
Unrefined sea salts, iodized sea salt
Deep-water fish (wild caught is safer for you)
Fish sauce (used in Thai cooking)
Eggs (the yolks contain the iodine here)
Some of the less common foods on this list you may find in a health food store or an Asian market - both are fun places to shop! I once took my children to a Japanese market and there was an entire aisle devoted to the various seaweeds. My girls took home different flavors of nori, including teriyaki, some wrapped in individual portions! Kids actually enjoy nori and my daughter's friends at school would beg her for some.
The following may be good sources of iodine, IF the soil they are grown in is rich in iodine:
Baked potato (with the peel)
Spinach and other greens
Try to get organic produce as there is a better chance of the soils having been enriched. You also may be able to taste the difference!
And while coconut is not rich in iodine, it does feed the thyroid! I use expeller-pressed coconut oil because it is odorless and flavorless (the rest of my family is not hep on coconut like I am). But those who enjoy the flavor of coconut can use the "extra-virgin" variety of coconut oil. And don't forget shredded coconut, and now coconut flour, which is a gluten-free flour.
But beware, there are foods that are unfriendly to the thyroid because they block the uptake of iodine! Check it out!
Avoid Goitrogenic Foods
Goitrogenic foods block iodine absorption. Enjoy in moderation:
Kale, cabbage, peanuts, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi, and turnips. (Yeah, I know, limiting the Brussels sprouts is going to be hard!)
COMPLETELY AVOID ALL SOY PRODUCTS!
Not only is soy highly goitrogenic, it's also estrogenic! I avoid it like the plague. So unless you ladies really want extra estrogen or guys want less testosterone, forget it.
Actual Iodine SupplementationIt gets stronger as the list gets longer
Dulse tablets or powder
Kelp tablets or powder
Liquid iodine, such as Lugol's solution, Iosol, or nascent iodine
Iodine tablets, such as potassium iodide
Glandular bovine or porcine thyroid supplements
But how do you know if you need a supplement? This part is up to you! Do you see your neck a big pudgier than before? Do you have any of the symptoms listed in the first section? Below I'll give you a couple of free to inexpensive tests you can do at home to see if iodine supplementation may help you.
Note: Do NOT take tincture of iodine orally! It can be used as an antiseptic for external first aid, but please don't swallow it!
A Word About L-Tyrosine
Tyrosine is an amino acid that helps the body utilize iodine. It's found in diary products, lima beans, bananas, almonds, sesame seeds, poultry, and fish.
If you want to supplement with this amino acid, take L-tyrosine on an empty stomach with water or juice 30 minutes before a meal. It is most effective taken with 25-mg of Vitamin B6. Do not take L-tyrosine with proteins such as milk or with any other amino acids, because the other amino acids would compete with the L-tyrosine. Ask your doctor if you should supplement.
Consider the Thyroid-Adrenal AxisIt'll keep you from burning your adrenals out . . .
The thyroid and all the other endocrine glands affect one other. If you feel you may have chronic fatigue or other symptoms of adrenal fatigue, it would be a good idea to feed your adrenal glands as you feed your thyroid, because if you only pep up the thyroid, you could burn out your adrenals!
If you'd like to feed your adrenals, make sure you're getting enough good-quality protein. (If you're a vegetarian, make sure to combine your proteins so the amino acids dovetail in the same meal.)
Vitamin C concentrates in the adrenals, so get a good vitamin C product with amla or rosehips, as too much plain ascorbic acid can be hard on the adrenals!
You can also supplement with freeze-dried glandular adrenals from bovine sources. I like the kind from New Zealand.
B vitamins are also important in supporting the adrenals; brewer's yeast tablets are a simple way to get extra Bs without paying an arm and a leg!
Avoid stimulants, like tobacco, caffeinated beverages and energy drinks, and too much sugar (yeah, I know, between losing the Brussels sprouts and now your coffee, I'm really on your list).
And make sure you get enough sleep! It is healing.
Excess Iodine is Rare, But . . .
A few people break out in pimples from too much iodine, too fast! If this happens to you, cut back on your iodine supplement or go off of it for a few days before resuming, because what is happening is a detox reaction. It's actually helping to get heavy metals like lead and mercury out of your system.
If you really want to lose any excess iodine sooner, eat some white bread, drink some fluorinated water, drink some Gatorade . . . you get the picture.
NOTE FROM ME: I DO NOT AGREE WITH THIS STATEMENT THAT THEY POSTED ABOVE:"If you really want to lose any excess iodine sooner, eat some white bread, drink some fluorinated water, drink some Gatorade . . . you get the picture."
DO NOT DO THAT! Eat some raw broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc... instead.
A Simple Iodine Deficiency TestGuess Which Twin is Deficient?
According to Bruce Fife, N.D. in "Eat Fat, Look Thin," you can perform this simple test at home to see if you are iodine-deficient:
Paint a 1" diameter area of 2% iodine solution (like Lugol's, sold in most drug stores, or Amazon, in this lens) on your skin where it won't show. If you are getting enough iodine, the red stain will remain for about 24 hours. If it disappears sooner, your body is deficient and is absorbing the iodine. The more deficient you are, the more quickly it will disappear.
Online IodineAnd no sales tax, either!
You can get any variety of iodine products from Amazon at great prices - and perhaps no shipping!
The Basal Body Temperature TestAs originated by endocrinologist Dr. Broda Barnes
Take your early morning body temperature two days in a row. The night before the test, shake down a thermometer - be sure that it is shaken down and below 95 degrees.
On awakening the next morning, put the thermometer under your arm with the bulb in the armpit with no clothing between it and your armpit. Leave it there for 10 minutes (use snooze alarm if you wake up to an alarm). Just drowse for that time lying still.
After 10 minutes, take the thermometer out, and read it, writing down the result right away. (On waking, most people don't think clearly and might forget the reading). This is known as your Early AM Basal Temperature, and the "normal" should be between 97.8 and 98.2.
This reading taken by armpit is somewhat lower and somewhat more accurate than by mouth. If you have a low-grade infection this may read higher than your "normal," therefore if it is in that range above, you should repeat the above procedure every other day for a week or so. If you are a menstruating female, also do it on the 2nd and 3rd day of your period.
If your temperature is lower than the range, you are probably hypothyroid, and if higher, then you are probably hyperthyroid or you have an infection somewhere.
This Goes Beyond Iodine SupplementationPlease tell me you'd notice this on yourself!
I once saw a lady at a shopping center with a goiter just a bit bigger than the one in this picture. She should see an endocrinologist for some actual thyroid hormone.
I Think My Thyroid is Messed Up!Now What Happens?
If you've tried supplementation, or your problem seems greater than can be helped by "over the counter," get help.
Make an appointment with an endocrinologist who is not afraid of prescribing natural thyroid, such as Armour. Mary Shomon has a good resource for doctors in your area.
If you're specifically interested in treatment with Armour thyroid, then click here to find a doctor close to you!
Before you see a doctor, though, it's good to read up on the thyroid prior to your visit. It'll help you to make more informed decisions.
Read Up on Your Thyroid
Solved: The Riddle of Illness
If seeing so many books is overwhelming for you, I recommend you check this one out of your library or order from Amazon. It makes the case for thyroid supplementation.
Solved: The Riddle of Illness
by: Stephen Langer, James Scheer
Solved: The Riddle of Illness $16.02 (as of 03/14/2011)
Other Uses for IodineAs Reported in Earthclinic.com:
Grow stronger nails: Paint the nails with white or colorless iodine daily. The nails become less brittle and grow longer.
Grow hair: Applied white iodine to the scalp to grow hair. There may be a crusty spot, but it will fall off and then small hairs can be seen. Be patient, this is a long process.
Remove skin tags: Apply twice daily. It may take several weeks, but after a while the skin tag will turn black and fall off. (Beats having the doctor burn it off, ow!)
(Regular iodine can be used as well, but this stains the skin and nails.)
Water purification: Iodine destroys bacteria, viruses and cysts, and its action is dependent on its concentration, the water temperature, and duration of contact. Use 8 drops/liter of 2% food-grade iodine, or 4 drops/liter of the 5% liquid iodine. It will destroy all pathogens if left for 10 minutes at 68 degrees. Lower concentrations and lower water temperatures will take longer.
If you add 50 mg of vitamin C powder after adding the iodine, the water is said to be nearly flavorless! Or add lemon or lime juice, but then don't let anything contaminate the water after this. This can also be used in your pet's water to keep it clean (it may also provide your pet with a boost!).
Skin wounds: Liquid potassium iodide, such as in Lugol's solution, is antiseptic. Swab the area of concern with iodine and cover with a bandage. This is also good for burns as it lowers the risk of infection.
Get rid of your headache: Swab one or both wrists with iodine for headache relief.
White Iodineit's not easy to find!
For the Bomb ShelterForewarned is Forearmed!
Some people store high-dose tablets of iodine in case of a nuclear accident, which could cause the release of a radioactive iodine plume into the environment.
Radioactive iodine (I-131) is a by-product of nuclear fission that occurs only within a nuclear reactor or during detonation of a nuclear bomb. What makes radioactive iodine so dangerous is that the body cannot distinguish it from ordinary iodine. As a result, if swallowed (in contaminated food or water), or inhaled (it can remain in the atmosphere for days), it will be absorbed into the thyroid gland and may lead to thyroid cancer, especially in children.
Potassium iodide (KI) tablets were distributed en mass following the Chernobyl nuclear accident just hours after the explosion. In the years following the accident in areas where people received the drug, the incidence of thyroid cancer has not increased. But where potassium iodide was not distributed, previously rare forms of juvenile thyroid cancer have begun appearing at epidemic rates, with over 11,000 known cases. This number continues to rise and is not expected to peak until 2010.
What is interesting to me is that some doctors treat hyperthyroidism the same way - by giving the patient radioactive iodine to destroy the thyroid. One pill is all it takes. Then the patient is dependent upon thyroid medication for life. How sad, when hyperthyroid patients also respond well to iodine supplementation!
Something to think about.
Do You Have Any Iodine Stories to Share?You can ask me questions, too . . . .
To view a map of nuclear reactor sites, click on these links.