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Iodine: A Dietary Necessity

By Jan Nelson MSN, NP-C, ABAAHP


     The human body requires at least 60 mineral for optimum health, however only 8 minerals are found in high quantities in most of the foods we eat. “You could trace every disease and every aliment to a mineral deficiency,” Dr. Linus Pauling. A deficiency in various nutrients altered immunity, even when deficiency is relatively mild reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Low levels of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, Vitamins A, C, E, B6 and folic acid dramatically weaken immunity. Our diets have become increasingly deficient in iodine as well. A change from iodized salt to sea salt and/or low salt diets have resulted in nearly 74 percent of adults showing deficiencies.

     Interestingly enough, research conducted by James Adams at Arizona State University included hair analyses on 51 autistic children, 29 mothers of autistic children, and a control group. The study found iodine deficiency in mothers could be a cause or exacerbating factor for autism. The study also found that children with autism spectrum disorder had up to 45% lower levels of iodine than the control.

     Seventy percent of patients given iodine supplements showed an improvement in their fibrocystic breast disease, Canadian Journal of Surgery. Breast tissue is rich in the same iodine transporting proteins used by the thyroid gland to take up iodine from the blood. This provides for a direct form of supplying iodine to a nursing infant which is essential for the developing newborn brain. Iodine has an antioxidant effect equivalent to Vitamin C. There have been several studies that indicate iodine deficient breast tissue show elevated lipid peroxidation, an early factor in cancer development.

     Japanese women consume diets high in iodine rich seaweed which provides them with roughly 25 times higher amounts of iodine than the average American woman. Breast cancer rates are one-third of those found in American women.

     The thyroid gland, breast tissue, and portions of the digestive tract are similar in that they all contain rich concentrations of iodine.

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