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Iodine Thyroid Connection

Iodine was discovered in 1811 by the French chemist Bernard Courtois. Iodine is an essential element for not only the thyroid but for other body tissues as well. The breast actually requires a fair amount of iodine to be healthy, and women with fibrocystic breast disease have been shown to have low iodine status. In order for iodine to enter the thyroid gland, you must have a healthy transport mechanism which is optimized with vitamin C and magnesium. Twenty-five percent of the iodine in the body is stored in the thyroid gland.

Approximately one-third of the world's population lives in iodine-deficient areas which can lead to thyroid dysfunction and enlargement of the thyroid known as goiter. The recommended daily intake of iodine in North America is 150 micrograms. During pregnancy, the dose is increased to 175 micrograms and then 200 micrograms when breastfeeding. These recommendations were based on preventing goiters but not on optimal thyroid function and the synthesis of T4 and T3. Iodine was added to flour in the 1960s which provided a small dose of iodine per slice of bread. Iodine was replaced by the toxic compound bromide in the early 1980s due to misinformation from the medical community. Bromide is a goitrogen which inhibits the uptake of iodine into the thyroid gland.

Thyroid nodules can form due to an iodine deficiency. Over 95 percent of thyroid nodules are benign and most people will develop a nodule by the time they are fifty. Iodine supplementation has been shown to reduce the size of thyroid nodules. A nuclear thyroid scan can be done to assess if the nodules are "hot" or "cold." Cold nodules should be more thoroughly evaluated as they are the most common type of nodule that are cancerous.

Hypothyroidism and goiter (enlarged thyroid) can result from an iodine deficiency. If the hypothyroidism is congenital, it can lead to mental retardation, lower IQ and stunted growth. The symptoms of iodine deficiency closely relate to those of hypothyroidism which include: weight gain, tenderness around the breast bone, fatigue, cold hands and feet, insomnia, dry eyes, and cracking heels. Iodine was added to table salt to reduce the incidence of goiter but due to recent recommendations to avoid salt, the benefits of iodized salt-reducing goiters has not been maximized. This has led to nearly 200 million Americans with goiters.

Iodine can be found in kelp, seaweed, asparagus, Swiss chard, spinach, seafood and iodized salt. It is important to understand that iodine does not remain in the body for long periods of time so it must be consumed on a regular basis.

Iodine is important not only for the thyroid but also for the prostate gland and breast. Studies have shown that if rats are given iodine-blocking agents, they develop fibrocystic breast disease and calcification. Researchers have also been able to increase breast cancer rates in the animals simply by restricting their intake of iodine. Iodine protects the breast cells from turning cancerous due to its effect on estrogen molecules. Iodine has a similar effect on the prostate gland as well.

A few medical physicians are purported to treat not only thyroid disorders but fibrocystic breast disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, prostate health and immune function with high doses of iodine. The information that these physicians present is very intriguing but it appears that their original conclusions have gaping holes that must be accounted for. These physicians are promoting high doses of iodine in the range of 12.5-50.0 mg of iodine per day. This is based on research of the average daily intake of Japanese mainlanders. Unfortunately, the studies were misquoted thereby leaving no sound research to support such high doses of iodine. I would like to thank Dr. Jeff Moss for his exhaustive research on this topic. If you are a health care practitioner, please visit Dr. Moss's website and read the entire newsletter series on iodine which is the most exhaustive compendium ever compiled on iodine. It will help clarify how much iodine one should take, how much iodine is ingested by the Japanese, its potential negative side effects, and how to test for iodine deficiency.

According to papers published by Aceves and Cann, the average daily dose of iodine intake by Japanese is 5,280 micrograms/day or 5.28 mg/day.22,23Also, an FAO/WHO world report states that the average daily intake of iodine by the Japanese is in the range of two to three milligrams per day.24 Nagataki states in a recent paper: "The average of dietary iodine intake due to the ingestion of seaweeds is 1.2 mg/day in Japan."25Contrary to what some medical physicians have led us to believe, experts in Japan do agree that iodine in excess can be detrimental and the average daily dose of 12 mg of iodine per day is false.

What Form of Iodine is Best?

Iodine and iodide have different effects in the body as each one has high affinities for certain glands. Let's clarify these points. Iodide is the most effective form of iodine for the thyroid gland itself. Molecular iodine is the most effective form of iodine for optimal breast health and for the treatment of fibrocystic breasts. We use a product that is a combination of iodine and iodide which contains 1.8 mg per drop. Iodine status can be measured by performing a 24-hour urine collection. This test is done without taking any iodine as some practitioners are promoting. This is an accurate test unlike the iodine patch test. Painting iodine on the skin and recording how long it takes for the stain to go away has no validity whatsoever for iodine status.

The Halides
The halides are a group of elements on the periodic table which interact inside of the body. They include bromine, fluorine, chlorine and iodine. Iodine is a vital nutrient for the health of the thyroid gland but the other halides can negatively affect thyroid function.

Bromide
Bromine is found in kelp/seaweed, nuts, citrus-flavored soft drinks, water purification, pesticides, fumigants, photographic film, dyes, flame retardants, carpet, upholstery, electronics, mattresses and over-the-counter antitussives. Symptoms of bromine toxicity include: gastrointestinal inflammation, asthma, thyroid dysfunction, goiter (enlarged thyroid), headaches, kidney inflammation, low blood pressure and throat inflammation.

Fluoride
Fluorine, also known as fluoride, is found in toothpaste, fluoridated drinking water, infant formula, cereals, non-organic grape juice, wine, beer, soda, tea (higher in decaf), freon, insecticides, fluoridated salt and non-stick coatings. It is also found in many prescription drugs such as anesthetics (Enflurance, Isoflurance, Sevoflurance), fluconazole, fluoroquinolone, antibiotics, Prozac, efavirenz, fluorouracil, flurbiprofen, fenfluramine, cerivastatin, Paxil, fluvoxamine, astemizole, cisapride, fluvastatin, fluocinonide, fluocinolone (topical corticosteroids, fluticasone, flunisolide, fluocinolone acetonide, fludarabine, fludrocortisones) and antimalarial drugs.

Symptoms of fluoride toxicity include: low blood calcium, ligament calcification, bone softening, heart arrhythmias, headaches, nerve pain, vertigo, anemia, lung irritation and male reproductive system toxicity.

Factors That Affect the Uptake of Iodine
Certain drugs can influence the uptake of iodide into the thyroid gland. These include: hydrocortisone, lithium, dexamethasone, sex steroids, RU486, amiodarone, bromide and ketoconazole. Retinoic acid and adenosine actually increase the uptake of iodide into the thyroid.
Foods such as goitrogens can also impact iodine uptake. A goitrogen is a substance that inhibits the uptake of iodide into the thyroid. The goitrogenic activity of a food can be eliminated by lightly cooking, steaming or fermenting. Goitrogens include:

Vegetables in the genus Brassica.

What to Consider Before Beginning Iodine Supplementation.

With this information in mind, it's clear that iodine can be used safely and effectively but more importantly is the optimization of iodine flow into and out of the thyroid gland. Too much or too little can significantly affect thyroid function, so how can each person be thoroughly evaluated before commencing iodine supplementation? Finding a functional medicine practitioner such as myself to address these questions is vital. Dr. Jeff Moss presents excellent criteria:

Check for genetic predisposition towards thyroid disorders and/or reactions to iodine supplementation. The best way to clinically determine genetic predisposition is to learn about family history.

Evaluate for the presence of systemic inflammation that could adversely affect NIS (iodine transporter) activity using modalities such as clinical examination, white cell count, differential, and C-reactive protein. If present, use functional medicine modalities to reduce inflammation as much as possible.

Evaluate for the presence of metal or chemical toxicity. In particular, gain information about the following:

Significant intake of natural sources of thiocyanates such as vegetables in the brassica family and foods such as cassava, lima beans, linseed, bamboo shoots, and sweet potatoes.

Alcohol use.

Commonly used pharmaceuticals such as cortisone, testosterone, estrogen, and lithium.

Key Points About Iodine.

The following are the most important points that should be understood about iodine:

There are too many variables with autoimmune thyroid disease that must be thoroughly evaluated before beginning iodine supplementation due to the fact that iodine can make this condition much worse. Iodine suppresses antibody production giving the illusion that the condition is improving.

Dr. Nikolas Hedberg, D.C., D.A.B.C.I. Finds the underlying causes of disease and helps patients get well naturally. His truly unique and innovative practice is in Asheville, NC where patients travel from all over the world to seek his services. Dr. Hedberg uses state-of-the-art scientific laboratory diagnostic testing to uncover the underlying causes of disease. He utilizes a variety of natural medicines, nutrition and lifestyle modifications to correct the imbalances found on testing. His goal with each patient is to find the underlying cause, correct it without harmful drugs and teach each patient how to maintain an optimal state of health and well-being. He is the author of the book, The Thyroid Alternative.Dr. Hedberg has appeared on television, radio and has been published in many journals, magazines and newspapers distributed all over the world. To find out more visit Http://www.drhedberg.com or call 828-254-4024.

Article Source: Http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nikolas…

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