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“Everyone Knows Someone Who Needs This Information!” (TM)

Here’s Part 10 on my series about Iodine, a critical element for your health that most of us are severely depleted in! This week’s input includes my synopsis of some of the information provided by the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.

___   Iodine is a non-metallic trace element, and it is required by humans for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Serious Iodine deficiency is an important health problem throughout much of the world, as most of the earth’s Iodine is found in oceans, and Iodine content in the soil varies with region. Seaweeds, sea veggies and ocean fish are the main sources of this CRITICAL element.

The older, land-locked countries or internal areas of large land masses have an old exposed soil surface, so more  Iodine has been leached away by erosion and weather. In mountainous regions, (such as the Himalayas, the Andes, the Alps) and in annually-flooded river valleys, (such as the Ganges an Nile), these are among the most severely iodine-deficient areas in the world.

Severe lack of Iodine causes irreversible brain damage.

Function

___   Iodine is an essential component of the thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).  So, Iodine is essential for normal thyroid function, your metabolism and your ability to control your weight. Your body must also be able to convert T4 into the active form, T3 and some groups of people have problems doing this chemical conversion, so they do not have enough “energy”, and also gain weight.

To meet your body’s demand for thyroid hormones, your thyroid gland traps Iodine from the blood and then incorporates it into thyroid hormones. These are stored and released into the circulation when needed, and travel to all tissues and organ systems.

In target tissues, such as the liver and the brain, T3, the physiologically active thyroid hormone, can bind to thyroid receptors in the nuclei of cells and then regulate gene expression.

In target tissues, T4, the most abundant circulating thyroid hormone, can be converted to T3 by selenium-containing enzymes. So having enough selenium in your diet is also important, as again, most people are selenium-deficient.

This process is how thyroid hormones regulate a number of physiologic activities in your body, including:  growth, development, metabolism and reproductive function.

___   The regulation of thyroid function is a complex process that involves the brain (hypothalamus) and pituitary gland, as well as the thyroid gland itself. You can read more about it at:   Scientific Iodine Information

But, it is important to know that, in response to decreased blood levels of T4, the pituitary gland increases its output of TSH, and that persistently elevated TSH may lead enlargement of the thyroid gland, also known as goiter.

Deficiency

___   Iodine deficiency is now accepted as the most common cause of preventable brain damage in the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) affect 740 million people throughout the world (that’s about 10% of all humans! But 35% are in jeopardy, due to deficiency of Iodine.). Nearly 50 million people suffer from some degree of IDD-related brain damage.

IDD’s result in: mental retardation, hypothyroidism, goiter and varying degrees of other growth and developmental abnormalities.

Estimates are that over 35% of the world’s population (almost 2 billion people) has insufficient Iodine intake (as measured by urinary iodine excretion below 100 µg/L. Moreover, this analysis estimated that 36.5% of school-age children (6-12 years old) worldwide (285 million total children) has insufficient Iodine intake, and are therefore at risk for brain damage.

Since the 1990’s, major international efforts have produced dramatic improvements in the correction of Iodine deficiency, mainly through the use of iodized salt and iodized vegetable oil in iodine-deficient countries.

Adequate Iodine intake will usually reduce the size of goiters, but the reversibility of the other effects of hypothyroidism depends on an individual’s stage of development. Iodine deficiency has adverse effects in all stages of human development, but is most damaging to the developing brain of fetuses and infants.

In addition to regulating many aspects of growth and development, thyroid hormone is critical for the myelination of your central nervous system, which is most active before and shortly after birth. The  myelin sheath covers nerves, the way insulating rubber or plastic does for electrical wires, and it prevents the short-circuiting and disruption of our nerves’ messages. MS, Multiple Sclerosis, is a dis-ease where the nerves have been deprived of their myelin sheath; it is presently increasing in incidence.

The effects of Iodine deficiency by developmental stage

Prenatal development

Fetal Iodine deficiency is caused by Iodine deficiency in the mother, and one of the most devastating effects of that deficiency is congenital hypothyroidism, (referred to as cretinism). It results in irreversible mental retardation.

Newborns and infants

Infant mortality is increased in areas of Iodine deficiency. When Iodine deficiency is corrected, there is an increase in childhood survival. Infancy is also a period of rapid brain growth and development and normal brain growth depends on Iodine intake. Deficiency results in impaired intellectual development.

Children and adolescents

Iodine deficiency in children and adolescents is often associated with goiter, and  goiter peaks in adolescence. It is more common in girls, as the female thyroid is twice the size of the male’s gland; so girls automatically need more Iodine. Any Iodine deficient child can show lower IQs and a higher incidence of learning disabilities than matched groups from Iodine-sufficient children. A meta-analysis of 18 studies concluded that Iodine deficiency alone lowered mean IQ scores in children by 13.5 points. That’s HUGE!

When I taught school, I had two children in one year’s class who had IQ’s of 70 (as well as others in the same class with IQ’s above 135); it was a teaching night-mare with such disparate needs (but I enjoyed the challenge of teaching the brightest to excel). However, teaching the two at IQ 70 was nearly impossible. It is heart-breaking to know that if it was Iodine related, it could have been eliminated by proper pre-natal and post-natal care for those kids. It’s another reason why I am trying to hammer this lesson home so hard!

Adults

Inadequate Iodine intake can still result in goiter and hypothyroidism in adults, during any part of their life. The effects of hypothyroidism are more subtle in adult brains, but research suggests that low-functioning thyroid due to Iodine deficiency results in slower response times and impaired mental function.

Pregnancy and Lactation

Daily Iodine requirements are increased in pregnant and breast-feeding women. And, Iodine deficiency during pregnancy has been associated with increased incidence of miscarriage, stillbirth and birth defects, as well as decreased intelligence for the child.

Moreover, severe Iodine deficiency during pregnancy and lactation affects the fetus, infant and child. Iodine-deficient women who are breast-feeding cannot provide sufficient Iodine to their infants (who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of Iodine deficiency).

A daily prenatal supplement providing the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of Iodine will help to ensure that pregnant and breast-feeding women consume sufficient Iodine during these critical periods. Check if you can get this! Not all pre-natal vitamins include Iodine and Selenium.

Increased Cancer Risk

Because Iodine deficiency results in increased Iodine trapping by the thyroid, Iodine-deficient individuals of all ages are more susceptible to radiation-induced thyroid cancer from the radio-active Iodine produced from the environment due to human activity (nuclear energy industry and above-ground atomic testing). If you are eating seaweeds, in sufficient quantity, your thyroid will first take up the healthy Iodine 127 isotope, and reject the radio-active, toxic Iodine 131 version, (which will otherwise hog your Iodine receptors in deficiency disease states causing ill health for you and disturbed metabolism).

Nutrient Interactions

Selenium deficiency can also exacerbate the effects of Iodine deficiency, as selenium-dependent enzymes are also required for the conversion of thyroxine (T4) to the biologically active thyroid hormone (T3). Additionally, deficiencies of vitamin A or iron may also exacerbate the effects of Iodine deficiency.

Goitrogens – Substances Causing Thyroid Damage

Some foods interfere with Iodine utilization or thyroid hormone production; culprit substances in these foods are called goitrogens.

Cassava, which contains a compound that is metabolized to thiocyanate and that blocks thyroidal uptake of Iodine. Some species of millet and cruciferous vegetables (cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens) also contain goitrogens. Further, the ever-touted  soybean isoflavones, genistein and daidzein, have been found to inhibit thyroid hormone synthesis. Most of these goitrogens are not of clinical importance unless they are consumed in large amounts or there is coexisting Iodine deficiency (which exists in most Americans).

Results also indicate that tobacco smoking may be associated with an increased risk of goiter, in iodine-deficient areas.

Individuals at risk of Iodine deficiency

Vegetarian, vegan and meat-eating diets that exclude iodized salt, fish and seaweed have been found to contain very little Iodine.

Urinary Iodine excretion studies suggest that Iodine intakes have also declined in Switzerland, New Zealand, as well as in the U.S. (but recently the US was showing progress, as was Switzerland) . This lack may be happening due to dietary recommendations to eat less salt, so iodized salt intake needs to be replaced with use of ocean fish and / or use of seaweeds and sea veggies.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)

Dr. Guy Abraham, MD, world-expert in Iodine says the RDA is set way too low. Read about this in the early part of my series.

The RDA for Iodine was reevaluated by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) of the Institute of Medicine in 2001, and it was slightly increased. These are the currents RDA’s.

I apologize for the formatting here. I’ll try to make a table when time permits. Meanwhile, please just persist to read it.
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Minimal RDA Intake: double-click on the image to enlarge it

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Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for Iodine
Age Group UL (mg/day)
Infants 0-12 months Not possible to establish*
Children 1-3 years 200 mcg/day
Children 4-8 years 300 mcg/day
Children 9-13 years 600 mcg/day
Adolescents 14-18 years 900 mcg/day
Adults 19 years and older 1,100 mcg/day (1.1 mg/day)

*Source of intake should be from mother’s milk, food and formula only.
___ Children with cystic fibrosis may also be more sensitive to the adverse effects of excess Iodine.
___ Individuals with Iodine deficiency, nodular goiter or autoimmune thyroid disease may be sensitive to these intake levels which are considered safe for the general population.
======================================================================

You can get too much Iodine and that is detrimental, just like too little is, but it’s almost impossible to get too much if you get you just get your Iodine from normal portions of food. It is rare for diets of natural foods to supply more than 2,000 mcg of Iodine/day, and most diets supply less than 1,000 mcg of Iodine/day.

The exception is people living in the northern coastal regions of Japan, whose diets contain large amounts of seaweed. They have been found to have Iodine intakes ranging from 50,000 to 80,000 mcg (50-80 mg) of iodine/day, and are healthy! But, they built-up those tolerances over a life-time of use. For you, use just a small serving of seaweed daily or a nori wrap or some seaweed stock or ocean fish a few times a week to get a reasonable quota.

Food sources

The Iodine in most foods depends on the Iodine soil content. Seafood is rich in Iodine because marine animals can concentrate the Iodine from seawater. Certain types of seaweed (e.g. brown kelps like wakame and kombu) are also very rich in Iodine, for the same reason.

Processed foods may contain slightly higher levels of Iodine due to the use of Iodized salt or food additives, such as calcium iodate and potassium iodate.

Dairy products are relatively good sources of Iodine because Iodine is used to clean cow’s udders before milking and it is commonly added to animal feed in America. But, be aware that in the U.K. and northern Europe, Iodine levels in dairy products tend to be lower in summer when cattle are allowed to graze in pastures with low soil Iodine content.
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The table below lists the Iodine content of some foods in micrograms (mcg); 1000 mcg = 1 gram. These values should be considered approximate. See how they affect your Optimal Iodine goal. Double-click on the image to enlarge it.

*A three-ounce serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards.
** may be greater than 4,500 mcg !!!
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I’ll continue next week.

Best to all — Em

Please read additional articles in my Archive on the upper navigation bar. Please highlight this article at your favorite Web 2.0 site; sharing this information is critical. Thanks!

(c)2010 Em at https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com
If you desire to use my article or quote more than one paragraph of it, please write for permission to use it at the About Me tab on the upper navigation bar. Thanks!

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“Everyone Knows Someone Who Needs This Information!” (TM)

I’ve written five articles on the subject of Iodine because it’s amazingly essential for our Health! How come you haven’t heard about it before? Well, it’s complacency and ignorance in current Public Health circles and in your doctor’s office. The scientific research is quite clear, and you need to take about 20 – 25 minutes to read the other 4 parts in this series, for background. If you are a regular reader, then just continue in this article’s text after these links.

LINKS to the previous articles in the series. Please read first. It won’t take long and your health really does depend on knowing this!

Diabetics – Iodine and Health, Part 1
Diabetics – Iodine and Health, Part 2
Diabetics – Iodine and Health, Part 3
Diabetics – Iodine and Health, Part 4

___ In this edition, as one of the topics, let’s discuss Iodine, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding, first.

Thyroid hormone and your thyroid gland, together with iodine, are the most important factors by far for completion of a normal pregnancy and delivering a normal baby.

Iodine is put into the mother’s milk by the lactating breast to levels that are 30 times the levels in the mother’s blood (your body can only put iodine in your breast milk if you have enough to give). I do not know how much (if any) is put into baby formulas. It would not be the first time that formula-makers have missed an essential ingredient. Maybe the amounts used would help explain the rash of learning “disabilities” and generally lower IQ scores in past decades, as Moms feeding their babies by breast milk has declined.

If you find after delivery or while nursing, that your thyroid has become sluggish and you have ‘low thyroid” symptoms (like fatigue, cold extremities, weight gain etc.), then maybe your body is giving all your Iodine stores to your baby and leaving you with nothing left to operate your thyroid and metabolism with. In those circumstances, your immunity is also put at risk, along with many other possibilities to erode your health. Making sure that you maintain proper Iodine levels for you and your baby is critical. You have to learn what foods are iodine rich and then eat them everyday in normal-size portions.

Iodine has very important functions for your child’s brain development before and after birth.

Iodine deficiency in pregnant or nursing mothers can lead to statistically significant neuro-cognitive deficits in their infants. Lack of iodine creates metabolic havoc and may create irreversible developmental brain damage during gestation and in the first several years of life, according to Peter Laurberg, from Aalborg Hospital in Denmark, and his colleagues. If it is bad enough, your child could become a cretin, which is not reversible.

Just start eating seaweed, daily. It tastes good; it really does. Next week, I’ll include more recipes, but meanwhile, Japanese and Macrobiotic cuisines offer the best chance to find some more recipes, along with Korean and Chinese cuisines, to a lesser extent.

[[Never buy Chinese source seaweed unless you are sure there is NO ecological damage in the area where it is harvested. With China’s pollution, this is almost impossible.]]

And, if you are concerned or interested, then take Dr. Abraham’s Iodine Loading Test to find out your body’s Iodine status (his lab is Optimox). All three labs mentioned below supply their own protocol for details on collection of urine samples, pooling samples for 24 hr. and sending a 2 ounce aliquot to the Laboratory for analysis. It would always be best to confirm that you can take this test when you are already pregnant; I don’t know the answer to that.

Dr. Abraham: OPTIMOX CORPORATION
P.O. Box 3378, Torrance, CA 90510-3378
or Call Toll Free in America: (800) 223-1601
Optimox Iodine Loading Test

If you go through the Hakala Research Lab in Colorado, USA you will not need a doctor’s prescription for this test. Hakala Labs

Labrix Clinical Services Inc. in Oregon City, Oregon, USA is another lab which can do this test for you.
LABRIX CLINICAL SERVICES INC.
619 Madison Street STE 100
Oregon City, OR. 97045
Phone: 1 (503) 656-9596
Toll Free in America: 1 (877) 656-9596   Fax: 1 (877) 656-9756
Email: info@labrix.com
Labrix Iodine Testing – explanation

Dr. Jorge Flechas’ Lab: FFP Laboratories
576 Upward Rd. Suite 8
Flat Rock, NC 28731
Toll Free: 877-900-5556
Fax: 828-697-9020
Email: ffp_lab@yahoo.com

___Dr. Ryan Drum, PhD, one of the world’s experts on seaweeds, the best source of Iodine, also mentions that there is a generational aspect to whether you and your future grandchildren will have a body optimizing Iodine and providing protection for any babies you, your daughters and grand-daughters produce.

Read more here: How Seaweed Heals and How To Get Enough Iodine Read especially if you have chronic disease, have had recent trauma, surgery or are having chemotherapy. Additionally, seaweeds can help if you need anti-viral treatment or get pneumonia. Brown seaweeds are also the only vegetarian source of thyroid hormone able to be used by humans. Dr. Drum also discusses using seaweed as treatment “for prevention of Dioxin and PCB uptake” and to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (which he regards as poisoning the brain’s fatty tissue) in troops who have been exposed to chemicals during warfare.

___ It is critical to raise your iodine consumption gradually if you are deficient. Let your organ systems accommodate. You just can’t “catch up quickly” to levels the Japanese use. Too much, too quickly can cause other equally serious health problems. Stay with the amounts Dr. Ryan Drum, PhD, Dr. Abrahams, Dr. Flechas, Dr. Brownstein suggest and work up to 50mg of Iodine a day, over a number of months, even as much as a year.

___ Unless your food happens to be organically-farmed where seaweed actually has been applied as fertilizer, almost no land plants provide iodine, and, as Dr. Drum alerts us, unfortunately, my favorite whole sea salts (Celtic salts) do not have enough, either. There’s just not enough left in even gently-evaporated sea water; you must eat ocean plants (seaweeds) or ocean fish which eat ocean plants to get your Iodine requirement everyday, as Nature intended.

Dr. Ryan Drum, PhD also says, “Individuals with “seafood allergy” seem especially sensitive to iodine. Contrary to some practitioners and their believing patients, he says nobody has “iodine allergy”. No iodine, no life.” Use seaweed as your source rather than fish if you have concerns.

___ SEAWEED IODINE CONTENT from Dr. Drum
Icelandic kelp, 8000 parts per million
Norwegian kelp 4000ppm
Atlantic kelp 1500-2000ppm
Pacific kelps 500-1200ppm
Fucus spp. (species) 200-500ppm
Wakame 50-150ppm
Sargassum 35ppm
Nori 15 ppm

These numbers are estimates and will vary considerably by season, location, age of the plant and harvest practices. Sources for buying these were provided in my previous articles.

___ Dr. Drum has learned that the Japanese and other Asians who eat much more seaweed than the rest of the world does, apparently soak their Kombu and other seaweeds in freshwater for 10-30 minutes prior to using in miso broth (dashi) and other cooking. He says this effectively removes about 60% of the iodine (Hazutosi).

Curiously, he was also told by Japanese nationals that the kombu was then also left in the miso broth for 10-20 minutes and then discarded. It can be used several times, if left to dry out again. And, if you intend to use it several times, then maybe forego the “soaking in fresh water” and just allow the first dashi to have 60% iodine and remaining 2 later dashi soups to have a lesser amount, at least sometimes.

For people like the Japanese and Okinawans, who eat large amounts of seafood and sea veggies, the soaking or prolonged rinsing of high-iodine content seaweeds may reduce the risks for excess iodine-induced disease. But, notice that the all-pervasive “sushi” wrap is made from nori, which has low levels of iodine, and therefore does not require pre-treatment.

Sprinkling dry, cut nori on rice, as a garnish on anything or wrapping sushi, is a good way to get started, along with using about 1t of powdered Japanese-sourced or American-sourced Kombu a day, (to a max in later months of a total of 1Tablespoon of kombu powder per person, spread between 3 meals and snacks most days).

___ Dr. Ryan Drum, PhD also sheds light on another likely wide-spread set of conditions which seaweed can alleviate – potassium deficiency. And, you likely need to take a daily supplement of selenium (this is another mineral researchers find chronically lacking in the general public, and especially in diabetics).

Dr. Drum says, ” I believe that almost any craving for salt in our dietary times of heavily salted (with only “table-salt” i.e. sodium chloride), home-cooking, restaurant meals and preserved foods is a strong indication of potassium deficiency, especially in pregnancy.”

Potassium is an essential mineral, needed for even minimal nerve and muscle functioning. It is also a cross-membrane transporter ion for your brain’s neurotransmittors (like serotonin – which prevents depression) and also for transporting your hormones. This may also help to explain the huge increase in those with depression and other endocrine system disorders, like diabetes.

Dr. Drum has observed that “adding high-potassium foods, especially seaweeds, to the diets of people with A.D.D. (instead of Ritalin) can significantly improve behavior and mental functioning” in children and in adults.

Similarly, fibromyalgia patients, who are: exhausted, forgetful, moody and agitated, as well as those with: anxiety disorders and depression are all favorably improved with high-potassium diets and seaweeds.

Talk to your physician about this and have your doctor contact Dr. Drum (contact info is on his web-site http://www.ryandrum.com.
Potassium supplementation and levels must always be monitored carefully. Too much and too little are both bad.

Well, we’re not done yet, but it’s enough for now.

Best to all — Em

Read more in the Title Archive on the upper navigation bar.

(c)2009 Em at https://diabetesdietdialogue.wordpress.com
If you would like to quote from or include this article, please contact me at the About Me page above in order to get permission. Please respect my copyright. Thanks!

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