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Iodine and Thyroid Disease

It seems that thyroid disease is more prevalent now than ever in our society. More and more people are prescribed remedies like Synthroid and levothyroxin to treat hypothyroidism, the disease that slows the activity of the thyroid gland. A better understanding of the disease and some causes rooted in diet may be able to normalize thyroid function. The thyroid gland is tiny, but it can affect so many finctions of the body and mind. A malfunctioning thyroid might be the cause of: fatigue, depression, joint soreness, weight gain, infertility, increased sensitivity to the cold, dry skin, puffy face, hoarseness, elevated blood cholesterol levels, muscle aches and stiffness, thinning hair, impaired memory and more. To my surprise, it has even been linked as a cause of carpel tunnel. Iodine is known as a halide, a class of elements that also includes chlorine, fluorine, bromine and perchlorate. These other halides compete with iodine, and are often taken in by the iodine receptors in place of iodine. The prevalence of these other halides in processed food, water supplies and livestock feed contributes to low iodine levels. In the 1960s, communities began fluoridating drinking water. In 1980, many bread companies replaced iodine in flour with inexpensive bromine. The result is a generation struggling with low thyroid levels. It's caused by a lack of iodine in the tyroid gland and soft tissues in the body. Iodine was once plentiful in our soil, but modern agricultural practices have depleted this essential element from our farmlands. Many processed foods are known as “goitrogens.” That is, they block the absorption of iodine into the body. Dr. John Bergman, a Huntington Beach, Calif. chiropractor, advocates for natural solutions for hypothyroidism. If you have 47 minutes, watch his brilliant video on YouTube. Avoid those “goitrogens” and seek fresh foods that can be natural sources for iodine. These include sea vegetables like kelp and kombu, blueberries, strawberries, potatoes, navy beans, spinach, scallops, cod, cow's milk, shrimp, eggs, sardines, salmon and tuna. Foods you want to avoid include anything made with soy, soybean oil, soy sauce and cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower, broccoli, bok choi, cabbage, garden cress, kale and brussels sprouts. Sodas and sugared beverages also tend to block iodine absorption. Supplements like tyrosine, iodine and selenium can combat the ill effects of goitrogens and help restore thyroid function. In an article titled “The Great Iodine Debate” by Sally Fallon Morrell (, studies are reported where 12.5 mg up to 50 mg of iodine helped purge bromine and other halogens from the system, restoring thyroid function in part or in whole. In your kitchen, avoid those iodine-inhibiting foods and opt for healthier options that promote overall thyroid health.


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