Until recently, about 25% of the iodine in the diet was from wheat, because iodine was used in the processing of flour. Now, however, a lot of flour in the U.S. is processed with a chemical cousin of iodine, bromide (potassium bromate), which helps makes flour doughier, rise higher, and gives the loaf a better appearance. But bromide is a double-edged sword: not only has it replaced iodine, it may block the activity of iodine. That's also true for two more of iodine's chemical cousins - chlorine and fluoride, both of which are common in drinking water.
Iodine is one of the most important minerals - your body requires it for healthy cellular and metabolic functioning. Low iodine can contribute to an increased risk of both under-active and overactive thyroid. Furthermore, low iodine might also contribute to fibromyalgia and CFS.
How Do You Know Your Iodine Levels Are Low?The accuracy of iodine testing hasn't always marked the best way. Much as we like to have a piece of paper that gives definitive test results, sadly these results are often not reliable. The following symptoms may shed light:
- Breast cysts or tenderness, or breast cancer. I consider these markers for iodine deficiency.
- CFS, fibromyalgia or unexplained fatigue.
- Thyroid disease or thyroid cancer.
- Low body temperature of under 98 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Try the latest Iodine Load Test
It's a good idea for everyone to get at least 150-200 mcg. daily. There are several ways to make sure you do just that:
- Seafood tends to be high in iodine. An especially rich source is seaweed, such as kelp. This is why the average Japanese women who eats a lot of seaweed gets 12,500 mcg of iodine in her daily diet - and maybe why she's a lot healthier than the average American woman, who is lucky if she gets 150 mcg daily. It also may be why breast cancer is much less common in Japan than in the U.S., where the breast cancer rate is three times higher than Japan's!
- If you eat a lot of soy products, cut back - especially unfermented soy (e.g., soy milk, soy cheese, and soy protein added to food). Large amounts of soy can block thyroid function, though this is less of a problem with fermented soy products, like tempeh and tofu.
- If your local water contains fluoride, consider a filter that eliminates it. Avoid bromide, too, when you can.