No, I’m not talking about B-12, folate, copper, or iron. This mineral shortfall is even more insidious because you can’t easily test for it.
It’s intimately connected to GERD, fibroids, weight gain, memory loss, hair loss, infertility, and hypothyroidism.
If you guessed iodine—you would be right!!
Iodine is used in every cell of the body and our bodies actually need two forms of iodine, which are iodine itself and potassium iodide.
This increasingly common deficiency is due to our declining intake of iodine over the last few decades, interestingly paralleling a near three-fold increase in breast cancer in this country.
Quite simply, the entire body needs iodine on a daily basis. Your stomach mucosa and salivary glands soak up nearly as much of the element as the thyroid gland does. And, iodine pumps are not only found in the thyroid gland and breasts—the ovaries, thymus gland, skin, choroid plexus in the brain (which makes cerebrospinal fluid), joints, arteries and bones all have these pumps, too.
All Things Iodine – What You Must Know
Developing A Deficiency
Back in the 1960s, each slice of store-bought bread contained 150mcg of iodine. Now, iodine has been replaced with bromine, a substance that competes with iodine and increases the risk of goiters.
Unfortunately, there are numerous paths that can lead you to a lack of iodine and cause disaster for your thyroid.
If you consume water that contains chlorine, it can displace iodine in your thyroid. Steroids, aspirin, and blood thinning medications can also all trigger iodine deficits, making the displacement of iodine even more severe.
Vegan and vegetarians in particular need to ensure they’re getting adequate iodine as a recent survey showed that 25% of vegetarians and 80% of vegans suffered deficiencies, as opposed to only 9% of participants who consumed animal protein sources.
Energizing With Iodine
The current iodine RDI is a mere 150-220 mcg per day which is incredibly insufficient considering that the thyroid alone can require 5-7 mg with breast tissue following close behind.
You can find iodine in many food sources likes sea vegetables (such as gomasio and Maine harvested seaweeds) and fish, but you have to be extremely careful these days to make sure that your seafood doesn’t also contain dangerous chemicals like mercury and lead.
Also, keep in mind that if you are already taking thyroid supplementation, you may need to see your doctor to adjust the dosage. It may be possible to discontinue the supplementation altogether, but this would be a decision between you and your physician.
Since food sources in our modern age are so often insufficient, I have all of my clients consider iodine supplementation from Prolamine Iodine or Iosol or Iodoral. For those with Hashimoto’s, Iodoral — with its potassium iodide content may be contraindicated — because it can congest the thyroid.
Take The Test
For decades, European naturopaths have utilized a simple test for both assessment and treatment of low iodine and resulting thyroid dysfunction. The steps to which are detailed below:
- Gather a cotton swab and some 2 percent tincture of iodine (Tincture of iodine may be found at most drugstores and supermarkets. It is usually kept with the first-aid supplies and costs less than $2 for a bottle).
- Dip the cotton swab in the iodine and paint a silver dollar-sized patch on your abdomen or thigh. You should now see a brownish stain. Make sure you allow it to dry before covering it with clothing.
- Check the stain frequently. The goal, and the sign of a well-functioning thyroid, is for the stain to remain visible for at least twenty-four hours.
- If the stain disappears in less than twenty-four hours, your body is deficient in iodine. Paint another silver dollar-sized area as soon as you notice the first stain has disappeared. For example, if your initial stain disappears in two hours, reapply the iodine at that time.
- Continue applying iodine until the stain is still visible after twenty-four hours. For people with severe iodine deficiencies, this process may take weeks!
As an easy option, you can also start supplementing with a low dose of iodine and build up gradually if you see your stain is quickly dissipating.
I personally now recommend 1-3 Prolamine Iodine per day or 1-4 drops of Iosol in 8 ounces of water. Since so many of my clients have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, I try to avoid any potassium iodide containing supplement, so I am cautious with Iodoral.
Otherwise, for those with extremely high needs and no sensitivities to iodine, 1-4 Iodoral works well.
Whatever you decide to do, iodine may be the key to unlocking boundless energy day in and day out!