(Modified 12.9.17) Iodine is one of the most important minerals for the human beings. Our body requires it for healthy cellular and metabolic functioning. Especially our mental health depends on it and one of the main roles for the mineral iodine is to help manufacture thyroid hormones which also play a vital role in brain health.
“Iodine deficiency is the world’s most prevalent, yet easily preventable, cause of brain damage.” -Says WHO about micronutrient deficiencies. “…Iodine deficiency disorders (IDD), which can start before birth, jeopardize children’s mental health and often their very survival.”
Due to the worldwide epidemic of iodine deficiency manufacturers started adding iodine to salt (salt iodization) and the problems seemed to solve for a while but the epidemic is claimed to be back. Salt has gotten a really bad reputation in the past and that’s why almost banned in many families. On the other hand, the processed food contains a huge amount of salt. But it’s important to note that the type of salt makes a big difference in whether it is healthy or not (see my previous post of salt).
“It’s impossible to achieve your optimal health if you do not have adequate iodine levels. I have yet to see any item that is more important for promoting health than iodine.” -Says Dr David Brownstein, who has been working with iodine for the last two decades. He says over 95 percent of the patients in his clinic are iodine deficient.
Until recently, about 25% of the iodine in the diet was from wheat, because iodine was used in the processing of flour. But nowadays the processing is made with a chemical called bromide (potassium bromate) which improves flour baking qualities. Unfortunately, this replacement of iodine has not only decreased the iodine intake among people but also seems to block the activity of iodine. The same thing appears with other chemical cousins of iodine such as chlorine and fluoride which might be common in the tap water, depending on the area where you live. Iodine deficiency leads to an increased risk for cancer of the breast, thyroid gland, ovary and prostate which are very common these days.
Research has shown that a lack of dietary iodine may lead to:
- Enlargement of the thyroid gland (2)
- Lethargy (3)
- Fatigue (4)
- A weakness of the immune system (5)
- Slow metabolism (6)
- Autism (7)
- Hashimoto’s disease (8)
- Anxiety and depression (9)
The World Health Organization (WHO) iodine daily recommends:
- 50 mcg for infants (first 12 months of age)
- 90 mcg for children (2-6 years of age)
- 120 mcg for school children (7-12 years of age)
- 150 mcg for children and adults (beyond 12 years of age)
- 200 mcg for pregnant and lactating women
Salt not the only source of iodine
Iodized salt has more iodine than natural salt but unfortunately, this highly refined and processed sodium chloride is a totally different product than its natural origin and lacks nutrients, such as iodine that has been later added to some table salts. It makes me wonder, why eating “iodized salt” where only ONE mineral is added while you are still missing the rest of the over 80 minerals?
Occasionally, I like to add some iodine rich Spirulina into my green smoothies. Sometimes I like to use a lot of cranberries or prunes in my foods and raw desserts, but I have also bought a quality iodine supplement to make sure I get enough iodine even in those days when busy. And yes, even though I always recommend mineral rich Himalayan salt for my raw desserts, I do use iodized salt to prepare food for my children. I don’t want them to eat too many supplements (they already take vitamin D and omega-3) and they are not quite ready for the taste of Spirulina yet… A simple tip to receive the important iodine from your food: eat organic as often as possible and avoid soda.
10 Great sources of Iodine
- Sea vegetables (seaweed) and Spirulina
- Cod fish
- Raw milk
- Turkey breast
- Navy Beans
- Raw eggs
- Baked potatoes, with skin
- Prunes, dried
- Iodine Supplements
This is the supplement I use to make sure to get enough of iodine.
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