In medical school, I was taught that iodine deficiency was a thing of the past. It took me a short time into my holistic practice of medicine to realize that what I was taught about iodine was incorrect. In fact, I have been writing about iodine and its importance to health for nearly 15 years. When I started researching iodine in the late 1990s, I was shocked to discover that iodine deficiency was still occurring across the United States. When I began testing my patient’s iodine levels I found the vast majority—over 97%–were iodine deficient and most were severely iodine deficient.
At that time, I asked myself, “How and why could this be happening?” As I researched more and more about iodine the answers became clear. Iodine deficiency was still present because our food supply was (and still is) woefully inadequate in iodine. Declining mineral levels in our soil coupled with more pollution in the oceans made a perfect storm for iodine deficiency. However, the iodine deficiency epidemic was increasing because of our increasing exposures to toxic halides fluoride and bromide. These toxic elements competitively inhibit iodine in the body. Our water supply has been contaminated with fluoride and our food supply has been adulterated with bromine in the form of brominated flour and vegetable oils. Bromide is also found in many commonly used consumer items as a fire retardant.
Researchers from Texas Women’s University just released a 2019 article titled, “A Review of Iodine Status of Women of Reproductive Age in the USA.” (1) The authors summarized the studies that assessed iodine status of women of reproductive age in the USA. The authors state, “Despite the USA being considered iodine sufficient for the general population, the US dietary iodine intakes have decreased drastically since the 1970s, with iodine deficiency reemerging in vulnerable groups such as women of reproductive age. …a majority of the articles reviewed demonstrate emergent iodine deficiency in this population of women of reproductive age, indicating alarm for a public health concern needing immediate attention.”
Iodine is an essential element that we cannot live without. Every cell in the body needs and requires iodine to function optimally. The most vulnerable population for iodine deficiency are women of child-bearing age. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy can cause permanently lowered IQ in children along with a host of neurologic and endocrine problems including mental retardation, autism, ADHD and thyroid problems. In adults, iodine deficiency can be linked to the epidemic rise in cancers of the glandular tissues—including the thyroid, ovary, uterus, prostate, breast and pancreas.
Folks, I have been sounding the iodine-deficiency alarm for nearly two decades. I have written numerous articles and books about the epidemic of iodine deficiency. I encourage you to educate yourself about iodine deficiency as waiting for public health officials to act is like waiting for Godot.
In our toxic world, our iodine requirements have gone up compared to our predecessors. With our tainted food supply, it is extremely difficult to ingest enough iodine through the diet. Therefore, I recommend iodine supplementation to nearly every patient. Most of my patients take from 25 and 50 mg/day. My book, Iodine: Why You Need It Why You Can’t Live Without It will provide you with the information you need to make the proper choices about iodine supplementation. And, keep in mind, for women of pregnancy age, iodine supplementation should be started before pregnancy.
To All Our Health,
(1) Biol. Tr. Elements Res. 2019. 188:208-20