Monday, April 4, 2011

Iodine - critical timing

I have been using iodine since I found out that my hypothyroidism and low iodine are interconnected.  In my reading about iodine and how mothers pass their deficiencies on to children who then develop immune problems, I also began giving it to my two boys in small doses.  Ironically, that was just before the Fukushima disaster.  Since things have heated up in Japan, I have been following Dr. Brownstein, the doctor of iodine, on his blog about how to deal with this disaster as it unfolds. 

If you aren't already supporting your family with iodine and your kids exhibit ANY signs of an ASD, I would recommend getting some ASAP.  Iodine has been very hard to find, but Swanson's Vitamin and Ebay do still have some J. Crow Lugol's, my favorite, as it's liquid and easy to hide in any drinks.  I have read that J. Crow ran out recently and that the prices are increasing.  Could be hearsay, but to me, it's not worth the risk, especially since I already know I NEED iodine and so do my kids, so I stocked up on three more bottles!

Below is his latest blog entry, pretty scary stuff! 

Japanese Radiation Update 7: Why You Should Consider Iodine Therapy

I just wanted to give you a quick update on the Japanese nuclear disaster. It is clear that there has been a meltdown at the reactor core. The amount of radioactivity released into the air and the ocean is very large. This may surpass the amount released at Chernobyl.

There is no question that radioactive particles will be carried by the jet stream and deposited over North America. In fact, there have been multiple reports of radiation spikes occurring in a number of states. Now, the amount of radiation reported has been low. But, do not let that fool you. If you are iodine deficient, your body will try to absorb iodine from whatever source it can get it from, radioactive particles from Japan included.

As I mentioned in a previous post, it is important to ensure that you are iodine sufficient. How can you do that? The first step is to work with a health care provider who is knowledgeable about iodine. Next, you can get your iodine levels checked. Many labs will do this with a simple urine test. FFP labs and Hakala Labs do the most complete test on iodine, the 24 hour loading test. I describe this test in more detail in my book, Iodine Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, 4th Edition. You don’t need a doctors order to complete this test.

Finally, ensure that you are taking adequate amounts of inorganic, non-radioactive iodine in order to maintain whole body iodine sufficiency. Iodoral (Optimox), Iodozyme HP (Biotics) and Lugol’s solution are examples of this type of iodine that are effective for maintaining whole body iodine sufficiency. The amount of iodine needed to achieve whole body sufficiency, for most of my patients, varies between 6-50mg/day. What do I mean by ‘whole body sufficiency’?

Many people and experts talking about the problems with radioactive iodine focus on the thyroid. The thyroid gland has the largest concentration of iodine in the body. However, every cell in the body needs and requires iodine to function optimally. The breasts, ovaries, uterus, prostate, and other tissues also contain large amounts of iodine. If the body is deficient, these tissues will take up radioactive iodine if given the chance. The whole premise of ortho-iodo supplementation that I discuss in my book is to ingest enough iodine in order for all the tissues of the body to be iodine sufficient. The consequences of iodine deficiency are severe—increases in cancer of the breast, ovary, uterus and thyroid. Radioactive iodine exposure in an iodine deficient state will increase the risk of cancer. Again, I discuss this in much more detail in my book.

The best results with iodine therapy are when it is combined with a holistic treatment regimen. This includes taking vitamin C and salt. Furthermore, correcting nutrient imbalances and detoxifying will help. Finally, ensure that you stay hydrated.

There is no need to panic over the Japanese disaster. You can use this situation as a wake-up call to ensure that you are doing all that is possible for maintaining your optimal health. Finally, remember to educate yourself about iodine so that you can make the best health care decisions.

posted by Dr. David Brownstein @ 5:11 PM   0 comments

More information on iodine thanks to the Iodine Group at

Iodine is detected in every organ and tissue in the body.  It is found in high levels in the thyroid, breast, stomach, saliva, ovaries, liver, lung, heart, and adrenals. It is essential in pregnancy. 

Often, iodine is treated as if it is important only to the thyroid, and the effects of iodine on the rest of the body are ignored.  However, iodine seems to impact every organ and system of the body.

Much of the research has been done on the thyroid since iodine is essential for the formation of thyroid hormones and the thyroid hormones affect every cell of the body.  The primary thyroid hormones are T3 and T4, named for the number of iodine atoms contained.  For example, T3 contains three iodine atoms and T4 contains four iodine atoms.  Recent research indicates that T2 and T1 are also important hormones.

Many studies have been done on the metabolism of iodine by the thyroid.  The NIS (Sodium/Iodide Symporter) allows iodide to be taken into the thyroid cells at levels of concentration much higher than the levels in the blood.  Once the iodide is in the cell, it undergoes a complex metabolic process as it gets transformed into the thyroid hormones.

There is an extensive body of research and theory on iodine and the breast.  The breast contains NIS receptors and is known to concentrate iodine in the excreted milk.  Iodine is considered important for proper breast structure and health.  The specific form of molecular iodine (I2) (versus iodide, I-) is considered to be essential for a healthy breast.

Research on iodine and the breast focuses on (1) fibrocystic breast disease, (2) breast cancer, (3) iodine metabolism and (4) relationships between thyroid issues and the breast. 

Iodine is known to be essential for the development of the brain.  Cretinism, a severe form of mental retardation with physical difficulties as well, is caused by severe iodine deficiency in the mother during pregnancy.  It is the best known of the Iodine Deficiency Diseases and is still a problem in much of the world.  Many suspect that lesser forms of mental retardation are also caused by iodine deficiency.

      Iodine and the Heart 
Iodine is essential for the heart.  The thyroid hormones (which are molecules containing iodine) have major effects on the heart and circulatory system. 

Iodine is accumulated by the immune system, especially by neutrophils during phagocytosis (engulfing of bacteria and other foreign bodies).  A potent antimicrobial system is created with a peroxidase, hydrogen peroxide, and a halide.  This system is highly effective against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other micro-organisms. During this process, iodoproteins such as monoiodotyrosine (T1) are created.

Iodine is concentrated in the stomach and is being studied in relationship to stomach cancer.  Iodine is also important in the production of stomach acidity, bowel movements, and candida.

Much of the body's iodine is found in the skin.  Moreover, iodine can be absorbed through the skin.  Exactly what the iodine is doing in the skin and the various factors that affect transdermal absorption are not yet clear.

In addition to thyroid hormones, iodine also affects other hormones.  Iodine affects estrogen metabolism, reported to transform estrone and estradiol to estriol.  Iodine affects the ovarian production of estrogen and also affects estrogen receptors (at least in the breast).

Ovaries concentrate iodine and have NIS symporters.  Ovarian iodide uptake varies with sexual activities and is enhanced by estrogens.  Iodine deficiency is related to ovarian cysts and ovarian cancer.

There is a long history of the therapeutic use of iodine for lung issues.  It has been used in asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.  It is presently being studied in lung cancer.

Iodine occurs in large quantities in the ciliary body and lachrymal glands of the eye.  It has been related to cataract formation and glaucoma, and is seen as useful in treating eye infections.  Iodide has been found to be protective against UVB radiation. 

The salivary gland concentrate iodine 20 to 100 times serum levels.  The function of the iodine in the saliva is not yet clear.  Povidone-iodine is used as a disinfectant in dentistry for periodontal issues.

Several studies have now shown a relationship between iodine and bones.

Iodine has been studied as an antioxidant in human blood and has been found to be as powerful as Vitamin C.

Some of the most fascinating work on iodine has been in the field of evolution, where scientists have been researching how iodine came to be concentrated by certain parts of the body.

Studies on iodine and pregnancy

Maternal exposure to endocrine-active substances and breastfeeding.

Dorea JG.
Am J Perinatol. 2006 Jul;23(5):305-12. Epub 2006 Jun 23
[abstract only]

"Women pass on low levels of hazardous environmental contaminants and naturally occurring substances during pregnancy and nursing. In addition to estrogenic activity, these substances exhibit antiestrogenic, antiandrogenic, and androgenic actions, and because they can affect thyroid metabolism, they are described as endocrine-active substances (EAS). Specific topics related to EAS metabolism by mothers, fetuses, and infants are discussed. There is strong evidence that the assumed risk of EAS in early human development is exacerbated by interrupting neonatal priming provided by breastfeeding. The benefits of breastfeeding are fundamental to attenuate possible EAS effects on infants due to long-term intrauterine exposure. Breastfeeding is a guarantor of health benefits, whereas its alternative (infant formula) is a predictor of some health limitations. Mothers concerned with exposure to environmental contaminants should be advised of the proven benefits of breastfeeding and the possible health limitations of formula feeding."

Early (in uterus and infant) exposure to mercury and lead.

Dorea JG, Donangelo CM.
Clin Nutr. 2006 Jun;25(3):369-76. Epub 2005 Nov 22.
[abstract only]

"Mercury and lead are toxic metals widely spread in the environment with bio-accumulative features that raises public health concerns. Both metals are equally dispersed in the human food chain but exposure and risk of toxicity during early human development are modulated by the diet and nutritional status. Understanding how Hg and Pb occur and interact with nutrients is fundamental to establish guidelines for diminishing exposure and the risk of toxicity. The risk of fetal and infant exposure to Hg can be influenced by maternal amalgam filling (inorganic Hg) and fish consumption (monomethyl Hg), whereas the risk of exposure to Pb is complex: maternal absorption depends on nutrient interactions (Ca and P); and maternal body Pb accumulation responds to all factors known to interact with bone and calcium metabolism. Maternal exposure to Hg and Pb is more important during fetal development than during breastfeeding. Moreover, these metals (especially Pb) are frequently higher in infant formulas which do not carry the nutritional and psychological advantages and protection of breastfeeding. Infant's reference dose is lower for Hg than for Pb, but risk of Pb contamination for fetuses and infant (breast- or formula-fed) is higher and lasts longer than Hg. Breastfeeding is essential to complete infant development. Interruption or suppression of breast-feeding with cow's milk-based formulas is not an option to environmental pollution."

Breast-milk mercury concentrations and amalgam surface in mothers from Brasilia, Brazil.

da Costa SL, Malm O, Dorea JG.
Biol Trace Elem Res. 2005 Aug;106(2):145-51.
[abstract only]

"Human milk is the best source of nourishment for the newborn because of its incomparable balanced nutrition and psychological benefits to the infant's development. Dental fillings containing metallic Hg are the primary source of inorganic Hg contamination of humans. We studied Hg concentrations in the breast milk of mothers during the first month (7-30 d) postnatal in relation to the number of amalgam surfaces. The concentration of total Hg was determined in 23 samples of human milk collected from lactating mothers with a varied number of amalgam dental restorations. The average number of amalgam surfaces was 6.87 (5.81, SD) with a range of 0 to 20. The mean concentration of total Hg in breast milk was 5.73 ng/g (range: 0-23.07). The Pearson correlation coefficient was significant (r = 0.6087, p = 0.0057) between breast-milk Hg and number of amalgam surfaces. In 56.5% of low-fish-eating mothers, the amount of Hg likely to be ingested by breast-fed infants is above the World Health Organization reference."

Maternal thiocyanate and thyroid status during breast-feeding.

Dorea JG.
J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Apr;23(2):97-101. Review.
[abstract only]

"Cyanogenic glucosides are naturally present in plant foods especially in staple foods (cassava) consumed by millions of people in tropical countries. Most traditional processing methods are effective in detoxifying such goitrogens to safe levels of consumption. Nevertheless, residual cyanide (CN) is rapidly metabolized to thiocyanate (SCN) by existing metabolic pathways. There are concerns that goitrogens may reach the nursing infants through breast feeding or cow's milk based formulas. SCN adverse effects are commonly observed in relation to cigarette smoking. Breast-feeding is effective in protecting infants from anti-thyroid effects of eventual or habitual maternal exposure to CN exposure in food (cassava) or recreation habits (cigarette smoking). SCN goitrogenic effects occur secondary to iodine deficiency in special circumstances of high consumption of incomplete detoxified cassava and insufficient protein intake. Only during inadequate protein nutrition can SCN aggravate endemic iodine-deficient disorders (IDD)."

Maternal mercury transfer.

Dorea JG, Barbosa AC.
Environ Res. 2003 Oct;93(2):113-4.
[citation only]

Iodine nutrition and breast feeding.

Dorea JG.
J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2002;16(4):207-20. Review.
[abstract only]

"A survey of the databanks Medline and Web of science identified studies dealing with maternal and infant iodine nutrition during breast feeding. The iodine concentration of human milk varies widely due to maternal iodine intake. Mean breast milk iodine concentrations are reported as ranging from 5.4 to 2170 microg/L (median 62 microg/L) in worldwide studies. In the few studies that compared length of lactation, gestation length, and parity number, these factors did not significantly affect milk-iodine concentrations. In studies of maternal iodine deficiency, untreated goiter had no impact on breast milk iodine when compared with controls. Iodine in human milk responds quickly to dietary iodine intake, either supplemented or consumed in natural foods. Easily absorbable iodine from foods, supplemental sources, iodine-based medication or iodine-based antiseptic solutions used during parturition, is taken up by the maternal thyroid and mammary glands through the Na(+)/I(-) symporter system. This transmembrane carrier protein transports iodine against a high concentration gradient. Hormonal iodine in breast milk occurs mainly as T-4, but depending on maternal iodine intake, high concentrations of the inorganic form (iodide) are found. In less developed countries, where natural-food-iodine intake is low, adequate maternal iodine nutritional status depends exclusively on enforcement of food iodination. In industrialized countries, maternal iodine intake has increased as a function of increasing consumption of dairy products. The human infant is sensitive to maternal iodine nutrition during fetal development and later during breast feeding. Environmental factors, not directly related to maternal iodine intake, such as intake of selenium and organochlorine pollutants, can affect thyroid hormone homeostasis in breast-fed infants. In spite of low iodine concentrations found in milk of mothers consuming low-iodine natural foods, long lasting or even life-lasting benefits to the breast-fed infant are demonstrable."

Selenium and breast-feeding.

Dorea JG.
Br J Nutr. 2002 Nov;88(5):443-61. Review.
[abstract only]

"The objective of the present review is to discuss Se nutrition during breast-feeding, encompassing environmental and maternal constitutional factors affecting breast-milk-Se metabolism and secretion. A literature search of Medline and Webofscience was used to retrieve and select papers dealing with Se and breast milk. Although Se in natural foods occurs only in organic form, breast milk responds to organic and inorganic Se in supplements. Inorganic Se (selenite, selenate), which is largely used in maternal supplements, is not detectable in breast milk. The mammary-gland regulating mechanism controls the synthesis and secretion of seleno-compounds throughout lactation, with a high total Se level in colostrum that decreases as lactation progresses. Se appears in breast milk as a component of specific seleno-proteins and seleno-amino-acids in milk proteins that are well tolerated by breast-fed infants even in high amounts. Se in breast milk occurs as glutathione peroxidase (4-32 % total Se) > selenocystamine > selenocystine > selenomethionine. The wide range of breast-milk Se concentrations depends on Se consumed in natural foods, which reflects the Se content of the soils where they are grown. Se prophylaxis, either through soil Se fertilization or maternal supplements, is effective in raising breast-milk Se concentration. In spite of wide variation, the median Se concentration from studies worldwide are 26, 18, 15, and 17 microg/l in colostrum (0-5 d), transitional milk (6-21 d), mature milk (1-3 months) and late lactation (>5 months) respectively. Se recommendations for infants are presently not achieved in 30 % of the reported breast-milk Se concentrations; nevertheless Se status is greater in breast-fed than in formula-fed infants."

Expression of thyroid-related genes in human thymus.

Spitzweg C, Joba W, Heufelder AE.
Thyroid. 1999 Feb;9(2):133-41.
[abstract only]

"There are several thyroid antigens including human sodium iodide symporter (hNIS), thyrotropin receptor (TSH-R), thyroid peroxidase (TPO), and thyroglobulin (Tg) that have been considered to be thyroid-specific proteins involved in the pathogenesis of autoimmune thyroid diseases. We examined the expression of these thyroid-tolerance related genes in normal human thymus, the lymphoid organ responsible for the induction of central T-cell self. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) amplifications were performed with 4 pairs of oligonucleotide primers specific for the hNIS, TSH-R, TPO, and Tg genes, respectively. Gene-specific transcripts were confirmed by Southern hybridization using digoxigenin-labeled internal oligonucleotide probes. To monitor cDNA integrity and quantity, all samples were coamplified with a pair of intron-spanning human beta-actin-specific oligonucleotide primers. Furthermore, using a highly sensitive immunostaining technique and antibodies specific for these 4 antigens, we examined whether NIS-, TSH-R-, TPO-, and Tg-specific immunoreactivity can be detected and localized in normal human thymus. RT-PCR and Southern hybridization revealed expression of each of these 4 thyroid-related genes in normal human thymus. In addition, immunohistochemical analysis of frozen tissue sections derived from normal human thymus showed marked immunoreactivity for NIS, TSH-R, and Tg as well as weaker staining for TPO. Control reactions using isotype matched nonimmune immunoglobulins were consistently negative. Taken together, our results suggest that NIS-, TSH-R-, TPO-, and Tg-RNA are present and actively processed to immunoreactive NIS-, TSH-R-, TPO-, and Tg-like protein in human thymus. These data support the concept that pre-T lymphocytes may be educated to recognize thyroid-related epitopes expressed in thymus, and, thus, to generate self-tolerance against these thyroid-related antigens."

No comments: