And how you can cure it with just a few sprinkles of salt
Last month, I mentioned an increasing trend of iodine deficiency in this country. This problem certainly isn’t as publicized as vitamin D deficiency (as we discussed in the previous article), but it can be just as dangerous.
Iodine is a critical component of hormones necessary for normal thyroid function and metabolism. But iodine also has other important functions in virtually every cell in the body—especially glands such as the adrenals and the pancreas.
The most well-known effect of iodine deficiency is goiter. When you don’t get enough iodine, the thyroid can’t produce enough thyroid hormone. When thyroid hormone is deficient, the pituitary gland in the brain sends more thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH makes the thyroid gland grow in a vain attempt to produce more thyroid hormone. And, eventually, you develop the enlarged thyroid of goiter.
Goiter has thankfully become rare in this country. But that doesn’t mean iodine deficiency has gone away.
Just the opposite, in fact.
Thanks to inadequate government dietary recommendations, history may be repeating itself. The risk of iodine deficiency—and all of its consequences—is back with a vengeance. And, unfortunately, it’s even more widespread than it was years ago.
The No. 1 cause of preventable brain damage
Goiter is only one of the problems caused by insufficient iodine intake. Deficiency has also been linked with fatigue, reproductive disorders in women, and prostate, breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers.
Prolonged iodine deficiency also has severe effects on the normal development of the brain and nervous system. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, iodine deficiency is “the number one cause of preventable brain damage.”
The key word here is “preventable.” Indeed, iodine deficiency is easily preventable…if you don’t follow the government’s dietary recommendations.
Iodine deficiency makes a raging comeback
Sources of iodine have traditionally come from the ocean, where sea salt is naturally “iodized.” So historically, only people living inland and at high altitudes were especially susceptible to iodine deficiency. In the US, the Great Lakes region and the Appalachian mountains were at highest risk. (In fact, these areas were once known as the “Goiter Belt.”)
To combat this problem, salt manufacturers began adding iodine to common table salt.
But once again, so-called government health “experts” have sabotaged the health of millions of people by scaring them away from salt. Their misguided efforts to restrict salt intake are based on the premise that salt plays a role in hypertension. Not only is this notion completely unproven (as I told you in my Daily Dispatch “The Great Salt Scam”), it is probably contributing to the dangerous resurgence of iodine deficiency, particularly in young women.
This sad situation presents a hazard not only to this young generation but to the next generation as well. Which now risks being born to an epidemic of iodine-deficient (and otherwise malnourished) young women.
The easiest ways to get the iodine you need
In this instance, the government RDA is actually correct. Unfortunately, their other recommendations may be keeping people from reaching it.
The U.S. Institute of Medicine’s (IOM’s) recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of iodine is as follows:
• Adults and adolescents: 150 mcg/day • Pregnant women: 220 mcg/day • Lactating women: 290 mcg/day • Children aged 1-11 years: 90-120 mcg/day • Infants: 110-130 mcg/day
The World Health Organization’s recommendations are similar, although they recommend 200 mcg/day for pregnant and lactating women and 50-90 mcg/day for infants younger than 1 year.
The good news is, protecting yourself from iodine deficiency is very easy to do. This is one instance where you don’t even need to rely on a supplement. You can generally get all the iodine you need simply from eating salt-water fish and seafood (which is also very healthy in many other respects). And of course, iodized salt.