On the heels of an excellent Thyroid Patient STTM Community Call on iodine with guest Stephanie Buist (see below), it was just announced by the Food Standards Authority of Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) that Australia will add the micronutrient iodine to bread. New Zealand already started that practice in September of last year.
The announcement mentions the importance of iodine to thyroid functioning, as well as for infant brain and nervous system, both during and after pregnancy. For the latter, it states “Not having enough iodine during pregnancy and early childhood can cause developmental delay and lead to reductions in mental performance. This damage prior to 2-3 years of age is irreversible.”
Apparently, the soils of Australia and New Zealand are not too prolific in iodine, and patient levels have been revealing that fact for decades. But Stephanie Buist, the friendly and knowledgeable owner of the yahoo group Iodine, as well as a thyroid cancer survivor, states that even most US soils are becoming depleted. It’s not just a problem of the northern US “goiter belt”, Europe or Africa anymore.
The importance of iodine goes even farther than thyroid functioning, pregnancy and infant brain development. It has a key role in breast health, your immune system, bones, estrogen metabolism, lung health, eyes, and cancer prevention. The iodine4health website lists many benefits as well as areas not understood yet.
How much do we need? Experts like Abraham, Flechas and Brownstein will emphatically state that we probably need more than is recommended. At least 50 mg of iodine may be necessary for awhile to bring your levels back up to healthy amounts, besides stop the the side effects of iodine on hashimotos disease. i.e. thinking you are getting enough iodine naturally from foods, or even from natural desiccated thyroid like Naturethroid, Erfa’s Thyroid, or compounded, may not be so.
How do you find out if you are iodine deficient? Stephanie stated on the Community Call that the majority of folks probably are deficient. But if you want to be sure, you can do the Iodine Loading Test.
What are good iodine supplements? Lugols is an liquid variety, and my husband and I personally use it in our morning juice or Emergen C (my husband uses Emergen C in water since he’s diabetic, and it’s a good way for him to get his Vitamin C). In pill form is Iodoral, developed by Abraham. You can google either and find some website sources. Also good to take with iodine supplementation is magnesium, Vitamin C, and selenium, which helps with the detox effects.
You can listen to the recording of Stephanie’s and my conversion on iodine by going to the link below for Episode 5 of the Thyroid Patient STTM Community Call. (Yes, I will correct the skipping you hear in my voice next time.)
Read Diana’s experience with iodine helping her get off desiccated thyroid. Not something we can all do, but it happened to her!
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6 Responses to “Australia is adding iodine to their bread”
jeffrey dach md
I found both David Brownstein’s and Derry’s books on Iodine to be quite helpful. Current research from Mexico, India and Japan supports the use of Iodine in prevention and treatment of breast cancer.
jeffrey dach md
I visited this topic because I’ve been confused about the proper level of iodine supplementation, and reading Dr. Holmes’ gracious and rational post together with Lorie’s reactive and ill-mannered post clarified WHY I’m confused, but hasn’t resolved my confusion. I have been assuming that the proper RDA of iodine for me is 150 micrograms, and have been supplementing accordingly. Actually, I have been taking only about 100 micrograms daily for a few months, and have noticed a pleasant boost. I have a hard time imagining taking iodine in milligrams any more than I would take T4 or T3 in milligrams – yikes! But I will look into the research Lorie offers. I do however want to say that such a snarky attitude really makes us seem as thoughtless and offensive as the people (physicians) we are trying to educate.
For Dawn in the UK and others: When I was first told to take iodine I couldn’t tolerate it. My nurse practioner told me there is a protocol to follow so that people who have trouble can use the iodine. It involves drinking salt water. I have adrenal fatigue and need a lot of salt so this was no problem for me. After a week, I was to start taking a small amount of iodine and work up. With this method I have had no problems and have found the iodine is very beneficial for me. Please don’t assume you don’t need a nutrient because you had a reaction. Sometimes that means that you need it very badly. It may mean you reacted to something else in that salt. Salt is incredibly varied. I agree that getting tested makes sense, if you can find a knowledgeable doc who knows which test to do. I also agree that adding things to the food supply is screwed up, however, at least here in the States, 98% of the population doesn’t know enough about nutrition to fill a thyroid tablet and there are many millions who can’t afford good food, let alone supplements. I don’t have a good solution.
My dear Dr. Holmes….
You really need to read up on current iodine supplementation information. You are woefully uninformed. The Wolff-Chiakoff effect is bogus and has been disproved. If you were up to date on iodine research, you’d realize that. Also, with the MD attached to your name, I assume you studied chemistry, if not in Med school, at least in high school. Are you not aware of the halides assaulting our bodies daily and competing with deficient amounts of iodine in our daily diet? Fluoride is in our water and some medications (antibiotics, asthma med to name a few types) and food (Do you drink black tea or green tea, dear doctor? Those teas contain fluoride too), bromide in our foods supply (as a dough conditioner in breads, in gatorade and mountain dew as bromated vegetable oil) and also thanks to pesticides and herbacides, in our environment thanks to fire retardant chemicals in our homes (furniture, carpet, computers) and medication. And not to mention the chlorine in our water supply, and in pesticides. So the paltry 150 mcg of iodine is never in any way going to saturate our bodies with iodine, and our bodies are toxic with fluoride, bromide and chlorine. Witness the rampant conditions of fibrocystic breasts, thyroid disorders, prostate and breast cancer, which are just a few conditions that are symptomatic of poor iodine body saturation. I invite you to read the research on iodine and discover the findings of Dr. David Brownstein, Dr. G. E. Abraham, Dr. J.D. Flechas and John C. Hakala R.Ph. http://www.optimox.com and http://www.iodine4health.com are a couple of sites to get you started.
Yancey R. Holmes, MD, FACE
It’s true that iodine is necessary for normal thyroid function. The recommended minimum daily intake of iodide is 150 mcg for nonpregnant adults, 220 mcg for pregnant women, and 290 mcg for lactating women. The average intake in the United States is now about 150 to 200 mcg/day. Here, iodized salt contains 76 mcg of iodide/g. In many countries, however, it contains less, and in some countries iodized salt is not available. As a result, iodide deficiency is the most common cause of goiter, hypothyroidism, and mental deficiency worldwide.
Iodide excess can also cause thyroid dysfunction. Sources of excess iodide include over-the-counter and prescription medications that may be ingested or applied to the skin or vaginal mucosa, radiographic contrast agents, and dietary supplements (kelp, seaweed). In the context of a person’s usual dietary iodide intake, the amount of iodide in many of these substances is very large. As an example, a patient undergoing vascular imaging may receive several thousand mg of organic iodide. Those substances that contain organic iodide are partially deiodinated to form inorganic iodide, the form that has thyroidal actions. Some of these substances, such as amiodarone, are stored in fat and may provide excess iodide for months after the last dose is administered.
That being said, be cautious! Fortunately the human body has such wondrous ability to adapt and stay healthy in response to many conditions. For a person with normally functioning thyroid regulation iodine supplementation should not cause any prolonged thyroid disfunction. For someone with autoimmune hypothyroidism you could cause enough change to require a dose adjustment. For someone who had had a thyroidectomy it won’t do anything but could interfere with proper imaging for follow up of those with thyroid cancer. Lastly, for a person with autonomous thyroid function such as Grave’s disease or Multinodular goiter you could make yourself sick with thyrotoxicosis.
My recommendation to anyone wanting to take iodine supplement is to have your levels checked before and four to six weeks after starting iodine. Check sooner if you are having symptoms but remember there may be a temporary period of hypothyroidism for a couple of weeks due to the Wolff-Chaikoff effect before thyroid auto-regulation can correct things.
I bought some German salt with iodine added as we don’t have that in the UK and my body went crazy, I was jittery and nervous. I have Hashimotos. I do hope they don’t add it to bread in the UK or I will have to start making my own bread..sigh
Glad it can help some people but I do wish they wouldn’t add stuff to the food supply, if they think people need stuff it should be an option to take it. It smacks too much of Big Brother and one of the reasons they get to put Fluoride in water because people let them do so many other things without shouting.
What is good for one person isn’t good for another.