Issues of Iodine

What are the Functions of Iodine?

Controlling the Metabolic Rates: Iodine is required by the body for the synthesis of the thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4 – containing 4 iodone atoms) and triiodothyronine (T3 – containing 3 iodine atoms). These hormones play an important part in the controlling of the basic metabolic rate (BMR). Also, these hormones help regulate the heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and body weight.

Maintaining the Energy Levels: Iodine aids in the proper utilization of calories and this way it ensures optimum levels of energy in the body. This mechanism also prevents the storage of excess amounts of calories as fats in the body.

Maintaining the Health of the Reproductive System: Iodine supports the growth and the maturity of the genital organs. Pregnant women need adequate amounts of iodine to lower down the possibilities of stillbirths. Iodine is also important in preventing neurocognitive conditions like cretinism in babies. Iodine is also known for promoting abilities like speech, hearing, motion and growth in babies.

Treating Fibrocystic Diseases Effectively: Fibrocystic breast disease is caused due to increased estrogen production and is known to most women simply as having “lumpy breasts”. Iodine may decrease breast tissue sensitivity to estrogen. It has been found that patients who are treated for low thyroid hormone have decreased breast pain and breast nodules. This suggests that low thyroid hormone or iodine deficiency may be a factor in fibrocystic breast disease.

Assisting in Programmed Cell Death: Iodine assists in the process of programmed cell death or apoptosis. This process allows the development of new organs apart from ensuring the elimination of cancer cells or diseased cells which might cause harm to the individual. In a study it was found that human lung cells (with genes spliced into them that enhance iodine uptake and utilization) implanted in mice undergo apoptosis and shrink when given iodine. Researchers believe that this anti-cancer function of iodine may well prove to be it’s most important benefit apart from thyroidal influence.

What are the Deficiency Symptoms of Iodine?

Development of Goitre, or enlargement of the thyroid gland, is usually the earliest visible symptom of iodine deficiency. The enlargement of the thyroid results from overstimulation of the thyroid gland by thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), as the body attempts to produce increased amounts of thyroid hormone. Goiter can occur for many other reasons as well, but iodine deficiency is among the most common causes worldwide.

Iodine deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism, which in turn, can cause an abnormal gain in the body weight due to deposition of excess calories as fats. Conventional medicine’s response to hypothyroidism typically ignores causes and prescribes synthetic thyroxine hormone in an attempt to balance out the health equation with another unnatural substance; this is nothing new. But hypothyroidism is a national epidemic, affecting roughly 10% of the female population in the US and in no way sparing men. It has created a stable, ever-expanding market for these cash cow thyroid drugs (the leading thyroid drug was #7 on JAMA’s list of ‘most commonly prescribed’ in 2006; one year later it was #4).

Iodine deficiency can also cause depression, frustration and poor levels of perception.

Constipation and fatigue are the other conditions brought about by iodine deficiency.

Iodine deficiency raises the risk of infertility, misscarrige and stillbirth in pregnant women. In some serious cases, mental retardation often gets associated with cretinism characterized by physical malformation.

Children with IDD can grow up stunted, apathetic, mentally retarded, and incapable of normal movements, speech, or hearing. Globally, 2.2 billion people (38% of the world’s population) live in areas with iodine deficiency and risks its complications.

Breast Cancer: The Iodine and Thyroid Connection

Fibrocystic disease of the breast consists of small or large, sometimes painful lumps in women’s breasts. It varies in the way it shows—not only in different women, but also because it changes from month to month in the same women.

Since the number of cells increases in the breast during the cycle, some of the cells have to be removed to restore the normal state each month. Iodine is the trigger mechanism that causes excess cells to disappear to complete this normal process of cell death. Without enough iodine, the extra cells that develop during the menstrual cycle due to the hormonal stimulation do not resolve back to the normal breast architecture. These leftover cells build up over repeated cycles and cause the lumps, soreness, and larger lesions of fibrocystic disease.

However, while about 90 percent of North American women have fibrocystic disease, about 40 percent of these women experience no symptoms. Their breasts may be normal to examination, but the disease may be only microscopically detectable with a biopsy.

Fibrocystic disease over decades of hormonal stimulation eventually tends to cause some cells to change to cancer cells. Lack of iodine contributes to appearance of fibrocystic disease, so women who have fibrocystic disease may be more susceptible to breast cancer. Although breast scars from fluid leakage out of the cysts are often permanent, iodine given therapeutically in the correct doses gradually may help to get rid of all fibrocystic disease except for the scars.

How much of Iodine is enough?

The thyroid gland needs approximately 6mg/day of iodine for sufficiency. The breasts need at least 5mg of iodine; that leaves 2mg (13mg-llmg) of iodine for the rest of the body. This 2mg is still well above the RDA (14x the RDA) of 150mcg/day of iodine. Either way, this would explain why the RDA for iodine is inadequate and why it is necessary not only to get your iodine levels evaluated but, more importantly, to supplement with the correct amount and form of iodine.

Also Iodine remains the perfect antiseptic with the least side effects of all time. As a perfect antiseptic killing all single-celled organisms, there has to be a common mechanism of a single element like iodine. In fact, the reaction of iodine with tyrosine destroys the protein and consequently the cell itself. If, in vertebrates and multicellular organisms, the tyrosine molecule is hidden from the surface when it is normally functioning, the iodine will not trigger any apoptosis. However, during abnormal development, it could be that tyrosine or histidine molecules are slowly exposed to the surface. Extracellular iodine bathing the cells could then trigger the apoptotic mechanisms. The second phase of cancer spread involves thyroid hormone indirectly. The connective tissue barrier and function is controlled and strengthened by adequate levels of connective tissue thyroid hormone. Thus thyroid hormone controls the connective tissue barrier, and prevents the spread of cancer cells.

When you should not supplement Iodine?

If you have Thyroid cancer

If you are on thyroid medication: do not take Iodine without testing.

Iodine allergy. Mostly, it occurs after a person is given an injection containing contrast dyes, in which iodine is added for improving X-ray images. This is why doctors must first perform iodine allergy test and then go for dye tests. Whenever iodine allergy occurs, either there is some external reason (like injections etc.) or there is over dose of iodine in the body.

Iodine Overdose: mostly caused by procedures. Effects of iodine overdose are far more severe in small children than in adults. Some common signs and symptoms of overdose of iodine that are noticed in both adults and children are given below. Abdominal pain which can vary from mild to moderate, Metallic taste can be felt in the mouth, quite frequently. Pain in throat and mouth. Low or no urine output. Shortness of breath. Shock and seizures. Mental confusion. Excessive feeling of thirst. Diarrhea. Fever. Vomiting. Coughing


How much is too much?

The amount of naturally occurring iodine present in these food substances is not so high that it can cause iodine overdose. It mainly occurs due to medicines which contain iodine as an ingredient. It includes Pima syrup, Lugol’s solution, tincture of iodine, etc. Those who are undergoing radioactive iodine therapy for treatment of thyroid disease by can also get iodine overdose.

Iodine Testing

1st Option: ZRT Lab’s Iodine Test in Dried Urine. That is one of the easiest ways to take control of your health and wellness while understanding the importance of underlying symptoms and your potential risk for iodine deficiency. It now only requires a few minutes to collect urine on a filter strip 2 times a day as opposed to the inconvenience of a 24 hour collection that requires a bulky container for collection. Cost is just $75. Insurance unfortunatelly will not pay for it as for many innovations.

2nd option: ZRT’s Comprehensive Iodine Thyroid Test in Dried Urine and Blood Spot. While measurement of urinary iodine levels may provide useful information on one’s iodine nutritional status, iodine sufficiency does not always guarantee that adequate amounts of thyroid hormones will be synthesized by the thyroid gland. ZRT has combined the advanced technology of iodine determination in dried urine (DU), with that of thyroid hormone measurements in finger prick dried blood spots (DBS) to create the Comprehensive Iodine Thyroid Test. The Iodine-Thyroid Profile is designed to evaluate not only the availability of iodine, but also its capacity to be utilized for thyroid hormone synthesis. The thyroid glands capacity to utilize iodine for thyroid hormone synthesis is determined by measuring thyroglobulin, TSH, total T4, free T4, free T3, and TPO antibodies in finger-prick whole blood dried on filter paper. Cost is just $315. Insurance unfortunatelly will not pay.

We all are different! The best way to determine is TEST it!