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Advanced Search Search Tips. Posted by Andrea Lewis on December 04, The mineral iodine is essential for good health, and because our bodies cannot manufacture it, it is critical that we eat foods that contain it. A common criticism of both vegetarian and vegan diets is that they avoid many of the foods that contain iodine.
Ironically, there are whole foods that contain as much and, in some cases, more iodine than the most recommended animal sources. The foods I have listed contain varying amounts of iodine, but most contain as much or more than the animal sources that are often recommended to those low on the mineral.
For example, one medium potato contains more iodine than a glass of cow milk, 3 ounces of shrimp and 3 ounce of turkey breast. And, of course, most of the sea vegetables beat out all of the animal products by a very wide margin.
In my estimation, one can get far more and better quality iodine from whole foods than from animals. The importance of iodine in one's diet can not be overstated. There is a widespread belief that iodine is only needed by the thyroid gland, when in fact the entire body requires iodine for optimal functioning.
In addition, according to family practitioner and iodine specialist, Dr. Jorge Flechas, MD, thyroid hormones are also created in the white blood cells of our bone marrow and in women's ovaries. Flechas also contends that iodine is required by our cerebral spinal fluid, salivary glands, pancreas, breasts, stomach, brain, muscles, skin and thymus. An iodine deficiency in any of these organs and tissues can cause problems.
In the muscles, a deficiency may cause fibromyalgia, pain, fibrosis, nodules and scar tissue. The salivary glands may become unable to produce saliva and lead to dry mouth.
Dry skin and an inability to sweat are also acute signs of iodine deficiency. Reduced alertness and lowered IQ is how iodine deficiency affects the brain; in gestating fetuses and young children, a deficiency can have life long repercussions. Iodine has also been shown to help prevent cancer, by helping the body properly program cells to go into apoptosis PCD — programmed cell death when they mutate, thus preventing the proliferation of cancer.
David Brownstein, MD, a family physician and holistic medicine practitioner, has written on this topic in regards to breast cancer, in his newsletter Natural Way to Health. You've probably heard about the relationship between iodine and your thyroid.
You were probably told to use iodized salt to protect your thyroid. But what doctor ever told you about iodine and breast cancer? In fact, there is a long history in the medical literature of treating and preventing breast diseases with iodine. Your breasts contain one of the highest concentrations of iodine in your body.
And when it comes to your breasts, iodine deficiency is associated with cyst formation. Many women develop fibrocystic breast disease, with cysts turning into small lumps called nodules. In prolonged iodine deficiency, these nodules become hyperplastic, meaning that an enlargement has formed due to an abnormal multiplication of cells. Hyperplasticity is a precursor to cancer. Thus, long-term iodine deficiency can lead to breast cancer.
But here's the good news: Iodine therapy can kill cancer cells! And you can't just load up on more iodized salt or any old brand of iodine and expect to see a benefit. The recommended daily allowance RDA of iodine in the USA is only mcg per day for adults, mcg during pregnancy and mcg while breast feeding, which are all considered minimum levels.
And compared to a nation like Japan, which has significantly lower prostate, breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer rates, and where the average daily iodine intake from food sources is approximately RDA , one cannot help but recognize that the U.
RDA for iodine is rather minuscule. Obviously, pregnant and lactating women and growing children are most in need of getting sufficient amounts of iodine in their diet, but the rest of us need it too and not just to avert potentially dire health problems; there are a few mundane health and beauty issues at stake as well. Iodine has been credited with helping to improve the rate of hair growth, boosting metabolic rate to one's optimal level, and insuring that one reaches their optimal height in adolescence.
When I say optimal, I mean optimal for the individual. The human body cannot create iodine the way it can Vitamin D, so we must consume iodine-rich foods regularly to get our dosages. Flechas, the human body can hold a total of mg of iodine, but not everyone in the medical field is convinced that it is safe to consume such large amounts. Especially as Americans are not accustomed to high amounts of the mineral. Keep in mind, the Japanese have been consuming large quantities of iodine for milennia, and this fact may make a difference in one's response to high amounts of the mineral.
RDA for iodine was set to prevent goiter, not with one's overall health in mind. At doses at and above mcg of supplemented iodine per day, some of the study participants developed subclinical hypothyroidism, which appeared to be dose dependent.
Subclinical hypothyroidism refers to a reduction in thyroid hormone levels that is not sufficient to produce obvious symptoms of hypothyroidism such as fatigue, dry skin, depression or weight gain, just to mention a few common tell-tale signs. So, these findings suggest it might not be wise to get more than about mcg of iodine per day, and supplementing with as much as mg 12,, mcg's could potentially have some adverse health effects.
Does this mean that Drs Flechas and Brownstein are wrong? Keep in mind that the aforementioned study was using a mostly iodine supplement regimen and not a diet-only regimen, which may have yielded different results. After all, the mcg per day that Dr. Flechas recommends is far below the amounts consumed daily in Japan, in foods; so, it should be apparent that the issues caused by supplementing with high doses of iodine is more than likely an iodine source issue and not strictly an iodine amount issue.
Whatever amount of iodine one decides to consume, remember that nutrients from food are always complete and more effective for health when they come from foods. I'm not knocking supplements, for some they may be necessary, but all things being equal, supplemental nutrients simply cannot compare to the nutrients found in food.
Also, one is less likely to overdose on a nutrient if it is consumed in food, as Nature intended. So, with this point in mind, eat plenty of iodine-rich foods with the goal of at least reaching the U. RDA, if not surpassing it. All prices are in USD. Copyright Skinny Limits. Sign in or Create an account. Search Advanced Search Search Tips. There are multiple products on the market … Broccoli Smoothie I didn't know about putting broccoli in a smoothie until I finally tried this ….
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