Iodine #1: The Next Big Thing? AKA: How to Cure Fibrocystic Breast Disease
Competency # 16 Minerals
Reference: J of Amer Physicians and Surgeons, Vol 11. #4. 2006 . D. W. Miller
Iodine. Remember your mother putting it on your cuts when you were a kid? It’s in your salt too, which your doctor told you to cut down on. So you did. All of us did. What happened? Well a variety of things. First of all, our iodine consumption in the last 30 years dropped in half. This is an interesting story. Here’s the basic science.
Iodine is strongly concentrated in blue green algae and seaweed-like kelp. There is reasonable evidence that iodine was the first antioxidant that allowed algae to make sugar and in turn, produce oxygen. The iodine prevented the oxygen from damaging the algae, allowing our planet to develop an oxygen-containing atmosphere. With that, the model was started as iodine being a critical player as an antioxidant. It should be the 12th most abundant element in our bodies. Unfortunately, it’s not. There is virtually no iodine in any soils in the Midwest USA, and in much of the world for that matter. Deficiencies in iodine turn up most obviously in the inability to make thyroid hormone properly. Without any iodine, your thyroid starts to swell and get larger and larger, making a huge swollen gland that can look like a water balloon in your neck. That’s called a goiter. Adding iodine to salt made goiters go away in Western society, though you can still find folks with goiters in India and China and Africa.
But iodine isn’t just taken up in thyroids. Almost all of our tissues take it up, particularly our glands that excrete things. Our salivary glands, our breasts, our ovaries, prostates, pancreases, stomachs all take up abundant iodine. And here is what’s interesting. The Japanese eat 100 times the iodine we do because they eat so much seaweed. They eat 3-15 mg a day. In America, we say you only need 160 micrograms a day, and 1.2 mg a day is way too much. (That’s because we have only looked at the thyroid) Interestingly enough, the Japanese have the LOWEST rate of breast cancer in the world, and virtually no fibrocystic breast disease. And to take the story a little bit further, did you know that you can make rats develop fibrocystic breast disease by completely depriving them of iodine? And reverse it by giving them the iodine back.
And did you know that if you give women iodine, 3-13 mg a day for 6 months, you can reverse fibrocystic breast disease in women? Did you know that fibrocystic breast disease is correlated with developing breast cancer? And did you know that the Japanese, on immigrating to America and eating an American diet start to develop breast cancer, just like other hamburger eating Americans who shun seaweed?
WWW: What will work for me? This is over the top. 80% of American women have fibrocystic breast disease and 30% say they have pain from it off and on. Do we have the makings of a whole new way of treating fibrocystic disease of the breast? Maybe. There is no evidence that 10 mg a day of Iodine is toxic. Next week, more on iodine! I’m learning.