Epidemic of Deficiency
Most people in our highly industrialized world are deficient in iodine. While most of us are only mildly familiar with iodine, mostly thinking of it as an additive to table salt, it is actually a vitally important mineral that removes harmful microbes from you body, is a powerful anti-inflammatory, and is responsible for your overall glandular health.
If it is so vital, why are we deficient? Shouldn’t something so important be plentiful? The answer is two-fold. Iodine is primarily found in seafood and seaweed. Due to the pollutants and toxins found in our oceans, many people do not eat as much naturally-occurring iodine as they once did. And if you do, the negatives likely outweigh the positives (thankfully there are pure supplements out there). And while we are consuming less iodine overall, the foods and products we use promote iodine depletion, robbing us of the little iodine we do have. Grain-based products contain bromide, which blocks your iodine receptors. Fluoride, which is found in so many things, like toothpaste, water, and even Prozac, does the same thing. Chlorine from water also impacts our iodine levels. With so many factors working against us, it’s no wonder that so many of us have an iodine deficiency. This is obvious when looking at the uptick in thyroid issues and certain cancers.
Iodine’s Role in our Health
Iodine is a powerful anti-microbial, which is why it is the disinfectant of choice for surgeons and in many other fields. When a sufficient amount of iodine is present in your blood, it kills harmful microbes and helps us fight infection. When someone has reoccurring sinus or respiratory infections, or is always battling a stomach virus, that can indicate low levels of iodine.
Iodine and the Thyroid
Your thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck, relies on iodine to function properly. It takes iodine from your bloodstream to make thyroid hormones. When you have low levels of iodine, your thyroid swells up in an attempt to absorb additional iodine from your bloodstream. This swelling is one cause of goiter, which can trigger a series of health events that can lead to poor thyroid health. Iodine is also an essential ingredient in stomach acid, it’s presence helping to maintain a balanced gut biome. Remember the connection between gut health and thyroid health?
Iodine and Cancer
Finally, the iodine-cancer connection. Iodine is an antioxidant, battling the free radicals that are known to cause cancer. Even more importantly, Iodine is vital to glandular health and a deficiency leads to your body’s inability to correctly manage cell growth, which results in cysts that can eventually turn cancerous. Iodine therapy can actually reverse and repair these cysts. Iodine’s connection to the thyroid, and thyroid’s direct connection to breast and ovarian cancers, means that an iodine deficiency could actually be the smoking gun with the rise in these kinds of cancers. Another role iodine deficiency plays in the proliferation of cancer is in iodine’s ability to oxygenate cells. Studies have shown that when oxygen levels in cancerous cells fall, they become almost immune to treatment. Even radiation treatment. It stands to reason that increased iodine, and thus, increased available oxygen, would cause these cells to be more vulnerable to treatment.
Honestly, from thyroid health and its connection to certain cancers, to inadequate cell oxygenation strengthening cancer cells, it becomes clear that iodine deficiencies are wreaking havoc on our health, not only as a nation, but worldwide. Iodine supplementation is not just a good idea, it’s vital to your overall health and well-being. And you need more than you’re getting from your salt shaker. Make sure you research and find a good, high-quality supplement to add to your healthy diet. Your body will thank you.