It is not an understatement to say our existence, and the quality of our lives, depends on having adequate iodine levels. In spite of this, mainstream medicine generally ignores the importance of this element. The following fifteen facts will reveal not only how important iodine is, but how much better your life can be with balanced levels of this life-giving element.
By Guest Writer Dr. Edward F. Group
1. Iodine is an essential element
The thyroid creates hormones to regulate metabolism and cellular function. The two most important hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) require iodine for formation. Without iodine, the thyroid under-produces these hormones leading to hypothyroidism and other metabolic disorders.
2. Iodized salt is not a good source of iodine
Most table salt has been iodized in an effort to eliminate iodine deficiency. Unfortunately, the process of manufacturing this salt can include adding artificial versions of iodine and other chemicals, making it anything but healthy. Plus, to make it white, most table salt is bleached. Dietary iodine can be found in better sources. And, for salt, go with Himalayan Crystal Salt.
3. Iodine deficiency remains a problem
Much of the world continues to suffer from iodine deficiency. While many developing countries lack adequate dietary iodine, many western countries suffer iodine deficiency from diets based on processed foods. These foods introduce toxins which disrupt absorption of dietary iodine. This problem afflicts women more often than men.
4. Iodine deficiency and breast cancer have been linked
Although breast cancer has a number of causes and simply taking an iodine supplement shouldn’t at all be interpreted as a standalone cancer-preventative, studies have shown a correlation between breast cancer and thyroid disorders. Both the thyroid and breast require iodine to function properly. It has been noted in countries with a documented consumption of iodine rich foods that both problems occur less frequently in women. 
5. Good dietary sources of iodine are…
The best dietary sources of iodine come from the sea. Fish such as cod, shellfish and shrimp provide healthy doses of dietary iodine. Sea vegetables like dulse seaweed, kelp, arame, kombu, nori, sea palm and wakame provide the richest source of iodine. Other high quality sources of iodine include eggs, organic milk and yogurt, dark leafy greens and prunes.
6. ‘Iodine allergies’ are not caused by iodine
While many doctors mistakenly refer to iodine allergies, rest assured no one has exhibited an allergy to this vital nutrient. Most allergies attributed to iodine result from an allergic response to iodine-based radio contrast media used to sharpen images from x-rays or CT scans. Studies have found the reactions resulted from molecules in the contrast media, not iodine. It is worth noting that while mild symptoms may be the usual response, anaphylactic response and death have occurred. Those ‘iodine allergies’ associated with seafood occur as reactions to proteins in the seafood, not as a reaction to iodine.
7. Iodine helps fight harmful organisms
Iodine has been used for centuries as a topical application to harmful organism infection. To this day it has proven effective against most varieties. Hospitals continue to use gallons of iodine daily to fight harmful microorganisms and maintain a sterile environment.
8. Iodine protects the thyroid from radiation
During a nuclear event, radiation in the form of Iodine-131 can be released into the air. Exposure to this radioactive iodine can result in thyroid damage and hypothyroidism. The only way to protect the thyroid is to take iodine (atomic iodine is best) to flood the thyroid with a healthy, stable iodine. This prevents absorption of the radioactive iodine by the thyroid.
9. Pregnancy exacerbates iodine deficiency
Women during pregnancy require higher doses of iodine to meet their need, and the need of the developing fetus. Pregnant women suffering from mild iodine deficiency have been shown to develop more severe deficiencies. If not properly addressed, the thyroid imbalance and hypothyroidism can become a chronic problem even post-partum.
10. Adequate iodine prevents goitrogenic effects
Goitrogens inhibit hormone creation by the thyroid. These compounds can lead to goiter and hypothyroidism. Iodine therapy has been recommended and used to address the problems created by these compounds and help the body speed their removal. 
11. Inadequate iodine leads to slowed development
Health authorities discovered years ago that iodine deficiency, especially during fetal growth, led to mental retardation and cretinsim. Dietary supplementation with iodine after birth and during childhood has been shown not to counteract the result of iodine deficiency while in utero.  Maintaining appropriate iodine levels during pregnancy, and supplementing when appropriate, is one of the best ways to support proper neural development.
12. Medications interrupt iodine-thyroid function
Medications that use or mimic iodine have been found to interrupt thyroid function. Some drugs like amiodarone can lead to hyperthyroidism (the over-production of thyroid hormones).  Other drugs which can impact thyroid hormone metabolism include interferon, lithium, and dopamine. 
13. Iodine encourages detoxification
Healthy levels of iodine prevent toxic chemicals such as fluorine, chlorine, and bromine from interfering with thyroid function. Exposure to these chemicals occurs daily as they can be found in many foods, water and household chemicals. According to renowned iodine expert Dr. Brownstein, iodine supplementation does not allow these chemical toxins to accumulate in the body. This allows the body to pass these toxins out of the system.
14. Rejuvenates skin, from the inside out!
Iodine promotes healthy skin, nails and hair. It stimulates cellular function resulting in the regeneration of the lower layers of these cells. By rejuvenating the skin from the inside out – so to speak – iodine encourages smooth skin, hair color and strong nails.
15. Atomic iodine is the ideal supplement
Many iodine supplements use potassium iodide to provide iodine to the body. This iodide form requires the body to break it down into its component parts (which requires energy and by-products) before it can be used. Atomic iodine delivers the body a dose of iodine in the atomic form – the same form the thyroid uses for hormone creation. This highly bioavailable form of iodine allows the body to maximize the iodine supplement.
Have you noticed a change in your health since starting iodine supplementation? Please share your experiences with us and leave a comment below!
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM
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