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Iodine Deficiency More Common Than You Think – Are You At Risk?

Author: Dr. Al Sears, 03/16/2010

Remember the red stuff your mom put on cuts and scrapes?

It contained iodine, a mineral that kills germs. But iodine is more than just an antiseptic you put on your skin. It’s a trace element essential for life. A teaspoon is all you need in a lifetime, but most people in the U.S. are deficient.

The tragedy is that many doctors don’t recognize iodine’s role in disease. You may suffer from chronic fatigue and hear “there’s no cure.” Your cholesterol or blood pressure is too high, and nothing short of drugs brings it down. Or the doctor tells you the cysts in your breasts or ovaries lead to cancer.

You may have one of these things as a result of a simple iodine deficiency.

Almost 2 billion people in the world don’t get enough, and over 50 million people have brain damage caused by iodine deficiency. It’s the most preventable kind of brain damage in infants and children, yet 36.5% of school age children are deficient.

Brain damage also affects adults. Even a small deficiency can lower your I.Q. by 15 points. It may be the deciding factor whether you can get a job and keep it.

Our ancestors didn’t have this problem. In ancient times, the water and soil were rich with minerals. Plants absorbed the iodine. Animals ate the plants. Man hunted, fished, and gathered the animals and plants.

But today, our modern day diet consists of foods grown by commercial farming corporations on depleted soil. Our water is polluted. We suffer the consequences.

We have to find a way to mimic the environment of our ancestors and find good sources of iodine.

Iodine helps prevent oxidative stress that leads to chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, or arthritis. It’s also critical for thyroid function. When your thyroid doesn’t work well, you can develop heart disease. Your cholesterol goes up, and you can have a heart attack.

You also need it for metabolism – to convert your food to energy. If you don’t have enough iodine to keep your thyroid healthy, you get sluggish and store fat on your body. You may also develop symptoms like fatigue, depression, and weight gain.

That’s not all. When you’re short on iodine, a lot of other things can go wrong:

  • Breasts: A lot of iodine is concentrated in breast tissue. When you don’t have enough, you can develop fibrocystic breast disease. Up to 93% of American women have it. This is when your breasts become very painful and have nodules and cysts in them. The longer you have this disease, the higher potential for breast cancer.
  • Skin: 20% of iodine is stored in the skin. Most in the sweat glands. If you don’t have enough iodine, you get dry skin.
  • Digestion: Iodine is concentrated in the stomach. When you don’t have enough, you develop a condition that feels like you have too much stomach acid. But it’s just the opposite…you don’t have enough. If it goes on long enough, it can develop into stomach cancer.
  • Eyes: Tear glands in your eyes contain large amounts of iodine. Lack of iodine can cause dry eyes.
  • Mouth: Salivary glands in your mouth contain large amounts of iodine. Lack of iodine can cause dry mouth.
  • Ovaries: Iodine is concentrated in the ovaries. Women who lack iodine develop cysts. The greater deficiency, the more cysts. It can also lead to a disease called polycystic ovarian disease.