Your Thyroid & Iodine Supplements
When you think of awareness ribbons, what colors come to mind? Like most people, you probably know about pink ribbons for breast cancer awareness, yellow for suicide awareness, and many others. But, did you know that thyroid awareness is represented by a blue paisley ribbon? Thyroid disease awareness uses a light blue color, but the pattern used on the ribbons is currently blue paisley.
Paisley was chosen because of how some of the shapes in the paisley design actually are shaped similarly to the thyroid itself, which is a butterfly type shape. While this thyroid awareness campaign is not nearly as widespread as the campaign for breast cancer awareness, the cause is just as important. Interestingly, there are about 270,000 breast cancer patients while thyroid diseases are estimated to impact around thirty million Americans.
What is the Thyroid?
Your thyroid is a lovely butterfly-shaped gland at the front of your neck. When you go to the doctor and they press on your neck, they are checking for nodules or swelling around your thyroid. Your thyroid relies on iodine in order to perform its very important job in your body.
Theoretically, humans can get enough iodine from food. But that isn’t necessarily true. Seafood is high in iodine, but most people don’t include it in their diets. Tuna is a great source of iodine, but you run the risk of mercury toxicity. Sea vegetables and seaweed are excellent sources of iodine, but are not a staple in many American diets. You also run the risk of radiation toxicity due to Fukushima.
Vegetables have a reasonable amount of iodine, but due to modern farming practices, the soils are depleted of iodine. On top of that, most people are exposed to fluoride and bromide. Fluoride can be found in most public drinking water in your home and in toothpaste. Not to mention the fluoride treatment you often receive at the dentist’s office. Bromine is found in nearly every processed food. If your crackers, cookies, bread, or pasta are made from flour, then it can almost be guaranteed that you are eating bromide. Fluoride and bromide block your thyroid from absorbing iodine from your diet.
Dr. Brownstein, thyroid and iodine expert, has found that 97% of his patients are iodine deficient. In 2019 Texas Women’s University concluded that there is significant medical research showing iodine deficiency is increasing, especially among women. Your body needs iodine to make thyroid hormones. Low iodine = low thyroid (hypothyroidism) = Low Energy.
Table salt is the main source of iodine in the American diet, and that solution doesn’t seem to be working very well. Supplemental iodine is the next best option. Iodoral is a potassium iodide supplement. Lugol’s solution is the original iodine supplement, but it only comes in a liquid form. This can be difficult to find and inconvenient. Not only that, but Lugol’s solution stains anything it contacts; skins, clothes, and countertops to name a few. Lugol’s liquid solution can cause your stomach upset as well.
Optimox Iodoral Tablets
Relying on Optimox Iodoral tablets is a much more convenient and reliable method for your iodine intake. The doses are available in 12.5 or 50 mg tablets. The tablets can be broken in half, so you can easily start with 6.25 mg if needed. Depending on the dose you are taking, you can get anywhere from 30 to 180 servings per bottle. The 12.5 mg dose contains 5 mg of elemental iodine and 7.5 mg of potassium salt iodide. This is the exact same formulation as Lugol’s liquid solution and is the form of iodine used in the early 1900’s through 1995.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for iodine was set after World War II. The RDA specifies the LEAST amount of any nutrient your body needs. In the case of iodine, the RDA is the least amount of iodine needed to prevent goiter and hypothyroidism. But what if you want optimal health? You will likely need more iodine. Original studies for iodine used 9mg of iodine per day. In Japan the traditional diet contains around 13.8 mg of iodine per day.
Signs of Iodine Deficiency
Integrative physicians usually offer a urinary iodine loading test to determine a supplemental dose for your body. Besides performing a urinary test, some signs of iodine deficiency are:
- Dull and brittle nails
- Hair loss/balding
- Gray or dulling skin
- Low energy
- Poor concentration
- Low thyroid function/labs
- Cold intolerance
- Weak heartbeat
- Weight gain
- Inability to lose weight
- Puffy face
- Difficulty with learning
All of these symptoms correlate to hypothyroidism (low thyroid function). Hypothyroidism is an epidemic according to many integrative medicine practitioners. Unfortunately, many primary care doctors are unaware and untrained on proper testing for thyroid dysfunction. An antidepressant prescription will never solve the root problem of low thyroid function.
Thyroid function and iodine levels are integrally tied to fertility. Iodine is imperative for those trying to get pregnant and for fetal development.
The Thyroid & Your Metabolism
Your thyroid health is key to a healthy metabolism. If you are iodine deficient and have hypothyroidism it will be extremely difficult to lose weight. Your thyroid is the thermostat for your metabolism. If your thyroid is low, you will not be able to use and burn calories for energy and weight loss. Many people experience effortless weight loss once they supplement with iodine and their thyroid hormones return to balanced levels.
If you suspect iodine deficiency, consider a small dose of Iodoral. You can contact your integrative medicine practitioner or schedule a 15 minute free consult with me. We can discuss the blood tests that will give you an accurate picture of your thyroid health and an iodine loading test.
Carly Neubert BA, NC
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