Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Iodine deficiency and testing for iodine deficiency

Andi, from Dubuque, Iowa, has sent in a very thoughtful question on the reasons, causes, and cures for iodine deficiency.  I will attempt to address each point:
Iodine deficiency can eventually result in thyroid problems, as the thyroid requires iodine to self-regulate and stay healthy. 
Yes, people on healthy (lower sodium) diets could eventually achieve iodine deficiency, because iodized salt is a main source of iodine in our diets.  People on low-salt diets (such as for blood pressure) can get plenty of iodine by using iodized sea salt sparingly.  It really doesn't take much! 

As for the similarities between chlorine, fluoridne, and iodine, check out the Periodic Table of the Elements here:    You'll notice that these three elements are in the same column, column 17.  That means they all have the same number of electrons in their outer shell (7) which determines the chemical reactivity of the element.  Chlorine, bromine, and iodine have some similarities in terms of reactivity.  However, the body is generally very good at distinguishing between chemical species.  Chlorine in drinking water, at low levels, might displace some iodine in the body, but without more details from the "lock" and "key" analogy your nutritionist described (he is probably referring to an enzyme, or a cell-membrane transporter/channel for iodine) I cannot be certain. I need more information on that question.

For good thyroid health, use moderate amounts of iodized sea salt.  The hormonal changes due to peri-menopause and menopause can also cause thyroid problems, and many women in middle age experience hypo- or hyper-active thyroid disorder.  Also, general fatigue can be caused by hyponutremia (low sodium levels) if you drink a lot of water and avoid salt in foods. 
Hope this helps!        


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