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Potential Therapeutic Benefits of Iodine in Many Conditions. Factors That aggravate Iodine Insufficiency.

 

Iodine’s role in helping to prevent and treat cancer needs much more exploration and research, but there is suggestive evidence that it plays a role in preventing and/or treating cancer (especially involving the thyroid gland, breasts, prostate, ovaries and uterus). Max Gerson MD, whose successful alternative therapy involved using fresh vegetable juices and intensive detoxification, recommended iodine containing Lugol’s solution for all of his cancer patients.

 

Iodine insufficiency problems are aggravated by our use of agents that interfere with the utilization of iodine (sometimes called goitrogens because they may cause an enlargement of the thyroid gland). These include the halogens (class of chemicals to which iodine belongs) fluoride, bromine and bromides, and chlorine. Fluoride, added to 50% of the U.S. water supplies, is also present in most toothpastes, and is used in fluoride dental treatments for children. It is also present in many processed foods and beverages. Fluoride can interfere with iodine utilization. For more information about fluoride, check out the article “The Dangers of Fluoride and Fluoridation” on our website. Bromine replaced iodine in most baked goods in the 1980’s because of the concern that iodine might be toxic. In fact, it is the bromine that is toxic and which can also interfere with iodine utilization. Bromine is also used to clean hot tubs and is present in many medications. Chlorine, used to treat swimming pools and present in many of the public drinking water supplies, also interferes with iodine levels in the body. Safer water purification systems, like ozone and iodine, itself, exist, but are currently not widely used.

 

Most people get iodine in their diet from seafood and iodized salt. However, only about 50% of Americans use iodized salt and because of concerns about high blood pressure, many people have reduced their salt intake. One gram of salt contains 77 mcg of iodine. Because of the high chloride content in table salt, some experts estimate that only about 10% of the iodine in iodized salt is actually absorbed. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iodine is 150 mcg (somewhat higher for pregnant women and certain other groups). Though 150 mcg daily may be sufficient to prevent an enlarged thyroid (goiter) and cretinism (severe iodine deficiency in babies leading to mental retardation and impaired development), these values are far short of the optimal values of 12,500 mcg (12.5 mg) recommended by Dr. Abraham. But, even using the lower values, many people still do not get the RDA and tests have shown that the average blood levels of iodine have decreased significantly over the past 30 years, in part no doubt, due to the substitution of bromide for iodide in baked goods in the early 1980’s

 

According to the last national nutritional survey (NHANES III 1988-1994), 15% of the U.S. adult female population is iodine deficient, as defined by the World Health Organization: levels of iodine/iodide below 50 mcg/L in collected urine. Therefore, 1 in 7 women in the U.S. are frankly iodine deficient. Keep in mind that these figures are much lower than those found by using the iodine loading test and 24-hour urine collection for iodine discussed above.

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