Whereas doctors once dismissed iodine as having just one purpose, a wealth of evidence now demonstrates it plays a multitude of roles in the human body. Dr. Guy Abraham explains how, far from just acting as a precursor for the production of thyroid hormones, iodine and iodide supplements can provide a range of benefits.
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Iodine exists as a halogen element, and shares some properties with the other halides, such as fluorine, bromine and chlorine. Although these other minerals have toxic effects in the human body, iodine remains a nutritional mineral. Dr. Abraham, a researcher and one of the leading experts in iodine deficiency, explains each cell in the human body has a receptor for iodine.
Iodine deficiency now affects 96 percent of the U.S. population, according to Dr. David Brownstein. The physician and author of “Iodine: Why You Need It and Why You Can't Live Without It” reaches this figure from the tests he has conducted in his clinic. A shortage in the mineral can result in impaired immune response, lowered thyroid function and hormonal imbalance.
Brownstein points to the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) for iodine as a cause for the widespread deficiency. He notes the official recommendations of 150 micrograms are based on the minimum amount required to maintain some level of function at the thyroid, but do not take into account the needs of other organs. He believes most individuals require far more iodine than this figure and sees supplements as a convenient way to achieve this.
Replenishing your iodine stores through supplements may deliver a number of benefits. Abraham explains iodine exerts an impressive anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral effect which supports the function of the immune system. It also converts estradiol, a strong form of estrogen, into the benign estriol; this change can help women who suffer from estrogen dominance, together with the increased fat storage and mood disturbances that go with it. Iodine, at higher doses, reduces the rate of thyroid auto-immunity, a common cause of hypothyroidism.
Types of Supplements
Lugol's solution, the liquid product pioneered by a French doctor, remains the most common form of iodine supplement. It contains both elemental iodine and potassium iodide. You can add this to water to consume. Iodoral stands out as a tablet product with the same blend of elemental iodine and potassium iodide.
While optimum requirements may vary from one individual to the next, Abraham sees 12.5 milligrams as a suitable dose for most people. Although much higher than the RDA, he points out this represents less than the average daily intake for Japanese citizens, who reach a higher total through their consumption of seaweed.