One of the biggest health problems around is iodine deficiency. A massive percentage of people are thought to be deficient in iodine – as many as 97%, which is a big indicator that our diets are not nearly as balanced as they should be.

In some areas of the world people have a lot more iodine in their diet; for instance, the Japanese consume a lot of seafood and seaweed products (e.g. kelp, which contains high levels of iodine), but in the west we don’t really eat so much of those types of foods. It is possible to get iodine from food sources we are familiar with here, but going by the statistics we aren’t really eating enough of them.

It is possible to supplement iodine, but it is important to note that are different types, and that it is dangerous to consume those bought in pharmacies, intended for topical use. The two types of iodine that we can drink for health benefits are Nascent iodine and Lugol’s iodine.

Iodine has many health benefits

Iodine deficiency can lead to many different diseases and conditions, some of which are very serious – and potentially fatal.

Iodine is necessary to keep the thyroid gland healthy, thus protecting from radiation. As the thyroid will function correctly with sufficient amounts of iodine present, it can effectively regulate bodyweight, leading to loss of unwanted fat.

Iodine helps thyroid problems like hypothyroid and hyperthyroid disorders and goiter, and another issue that it can treat is fibroids and cysts of all kinds.

When you have enough iodine, you are less likely to suffer from diabetes, constipation, high blood pressure, and cancer. It has the power to fix many of the body’s health issues, so if you find that you are deficient, this might be the answer to many of your current health problems – even those that we have come to accept as normal, like brain fog and lethargy.

A lack of iodine is even thought to reduce the IQ, so you can look forward to clear thinking and more productivity if you get your levels in balance. Iodine cleans the blood, gives us energy, and aids in relaxation by reducing nervous tension.

The list of benefits doesn’t end there either: iodine is antifungal, anti-carcinogenic, antiseptic, antibiotic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-parasitic and antiviral. 

Some common chemicals cause thyroid disorders

Iodine detoxes toxic chemicals from the body, such as perchlorate, fluoride, bromide and mercury. Those with amalgam fillings could benefit greatly from taking iodine.

Another common chemical that causes the thyroid to lose its iodine stores is chlorine, and we consume this in large amounts though common water supplies – if we are not purifying our own water.

Fluorine (commonly found in many brands of tea) has the same effect as chlorine, and table salt (sodium chloride) is another; it doesn’t have any health benefits and is actually just a form of poison.

Another little known fact is that bromine is a chemical found in fire retardants on memory foam mattresses and some sofas, and it can poison the body in a big way, leading to thyroid issues. It blocks the body from absorbing iodine, which is very dangerous for your health and can be difficult to reverse. If you smell chemicals on your bed and sofa (especially when new), there’s a good chance that it contains this chemical. It is necessary to check with the manufacturer as to which chemicals have been applied.

One sign of bromine poisoning is tiny red dots just under the skin that look like tiny blood blisters. They are called cherry angiomas, and if you have more than one or two on the body, it could be that there is a level of bromine poisoning present in the body. Commercial bread products commonly contain bromine too, so it might be worth monitoring your bread intake or baking your own, if you don’t want to give up eating bread.

For bromine poisoning it is necessary to remove the source of the chemical from your diet or lifestyle, and then increase your iodine intake. This can lead to an uncomfortable detox but it is very important to go through this in order to protect the thyroid and get your iodine levels back to where they should be.

How to know if you need iodine, and how to get it

If you are not sure about your iodine levels, you can get a mineral test done to find out. Most people will find that their levels are below the ‘safe zone’, according to the naturopaths who use such testing methods as the highly accurate Oligo mineral testing system.

You can also prevent deficiency by making sure you consume plenty of iodine-rich foods:

Sea vegetables

Make sure you’re getting enough sea vegetables, such as kelp, arame, hiziki, kombu, and wakame. It is important to try to obtain the cleanest, organic sources – some commercial products (like kelp powder) have unwanted chemicals and heavy metals in them that offset the good you’re doing. Check with the manufacturer for a heavy metals report if you’re unsure.

A good source of kelp is useful though, as it has the most iodine in it by far when compared to other food sources. A tablespoon of kelp should contain around 2000mcg of iodine.

Common fruits and vegetables

Go for baked potatoes (skin on), as one average-sized potato contains 60mcg of iodine. Radishes, carrots, asparagus, tomatoes, spinach, cabbage and lettuce, peas, mushrooms, onions and rhubarb are also going to boost your iodine levels.

Organic strawberries are great, with one cup providing around 13mcg of iodine. Bananas and cranberries are also good; cranberries are especially so (with 400mcg of iodine in 4 ounces) but the cartons of juice also contain a lot of sugar so it’s better to go for the fruit itself.

Other iodine-rich food sources

The jury is out on salt in general, but the less-processed kinds like Himalayan and Celtic salt contain plenty of iodine, if you’re going to eat salt anyway. A single gram of Himalayan salt has 500mcg of iodine in it.

Navy beans are an iodine-rich food source, with half a cup bringing you 32mcg. Non-vegans who supplement cod-liver oil will also get some iodine from that.

Overconsumption of iodine is also dangerous

When supplementing, you can also paint iodine solution onto the body and it will be absorbed through the skin. The longer it takes to disappear, the better your iodine levels are. So if for example you paint some on the inside of your arm and within two hours it has gone, you’re likely to be iodine deficient.

It is important to consume the right amounts, as too much iodine is also detrimental to the thyroid gland. If you were to supplement Lugol’s iodine, for example, you might take about 5 drops per day in water, on a rotation of 5 days on followed by 2 days off. When your iodine levels return to normal, it is enough to take 2 drops per day on the same basis, as a maintenance dose.

Iodine is a very important part of a healthy diet, but there are also many other aspects that should be considered. Alkalinity is one, proper hydration is another, and it is necessary to keep on top of your vitamin and mineral consumption. A lot of people let this slide because it can be so confusing, but that’s what pH health are here to help with. Try us.