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Iodine & Thyroid Health

I received a lot of responses from my readers about my last blog post (Yay, success in getting the conversation started!). Your curiosity was piqued by my supplement routine, in particular how iodine comes into play. Some of you have heard conflicting information about iodine and thyroid issues. In my experience, supplementing with iodine rich foods and a high quality iodine supplement has made a world of difference.

Why iodine is important

Iodine is essential for these reasons: (1) your immune system relies on this mineral to function, (2) iodine is a natural antiseptic and, (3)a fragile balance exists between iodine levels, the thyroid gland, and overall health. The function of the thyroid gland is to take iodine and convert it into thryoid hormones (T3 & T4). Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine. Without iodine, energy levels plummet, hormones can become imbalanced, and physical and emotional states can suffer.

In addition to supporting the thyroid, there are many other benefits of iodine. It’s a terrific cleanser and detoxing agent for the body. It can prevent harm from radiation (and your thyroid is particularly sensitive to radiation damage), it helps to aid digestion and regularity, and assists in improving brain development. Iodine can be a critical cancer preventative too.

Why we are deficient in iodine

Today, our agricultural methods leave soils depleted of minerals, making it very difficult to get iodine in foods. We are not eating enough of the foods I list below. Sadly, the modern diet is full of processed foods, instead of iodine-providing plant, fruit and sea-based foods.

It’s hard to detect if you have insufficient iodine on a blood test, so one quick clue is to look at the coloration of your fingernails. If your fingernails don’t have healthy color to them, chances are you’re lacking enough iodine.

Doesn’t table salt have iodine?

If you think table salt is a good source of iodine, think again. Today’s table salt is actually a manufactured form of sodium (sodium chloride). It does contain added iodine, but that is served with a side of chemical additives and zero nutritional value. Table salt is processed, bleached, and given a chemical bath.

Stay away from table salt and choose only natural, sea salts like these instead:

  • Redmond Real Salt
  • Natierra Himalayan Pink Salt
  • Celtic Sea Salt

The best food sources of iodine

Thankfully, organic methods don’t deplete the soil and produce more nutrient rich foods. Prioritizing organic foods is an important first step to take.

Next, consider that most of the world’s accessible iodine is in the ocean, therefore sea-plants and seafood are rich sources.I recommend adding in as many of these foods as possible (don’t let this list overwhlelm you, just bring in one or two of these a day):

  • Nori, wakame, kelp, or dulse seaweed
  • Wild caught cod, lobster, and shrimp
  • Leafy greens (arugula, spinach, romaine, red leaf, butter lettuces, parsley and dandelion greens)
  • Navy beans
  • Potatoes
  • Cranberries
  • Organic strawberries

Iodine supplements

Look for spirulina, bladderwrack, or kelp capsules, or a high-quality nascent iodine designed for oral/internal use. This form of iodine is safer and viewed as more effective than the potassium iodine supplement form. Nacent Iodine holds the atomic form of iodine and the body more easily absorbs and utilizes the supplement because of this. My preferred supplement is Global Healing Center Nascent Iodine Detoxadine.

If you think your thyroid issues could be related to iodine deficiency, don’t hesitate to start incorporating the foods above as part of your healthy diet (that you can start anytime!) and then check out an iodine supplement. Remember, these are changes and supplements that have worked for me, but we’re all unique. Consult your doctor before starting any supplement routine.

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