A very wet and windy day in the UK today as I write this. I hope you’re dry and warm wherever you are.
How did I not know this? How did I not know that iodine is essential for so many hormonal functions in the body?
On Saturday I attended a talk organised by Diana Jordan, a lady who organises the Thyroid Surrey Support Group who meet every month to support each other. The speaker was Roderick Lane, a naturopath who specialises in the thyroid.
The talk centred on thyroid health and how you can help yourself by making some good lifestyle choices.
Maybe I should start by stating some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism or an under active thyroid:
• Weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight.
• Coarse, dry hair.
• Dry, rough pale skin.
• Hair loss.
• Cold intolerance (you can’t tolerate cold temperatures like those around you)
• Muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches.
And many more.
Roderick explained many things including how to interpret your blood test results from your doctor and I was surprised to see that the “accepted range” for certain levels was much larger in the UK than in other countries. For example, the BTA/RCP range in the UK is 0.5 – 10.00 whilst in other countries it is much smaller:
US 0.3 – 3.00
Sweden 0.3 – 2.5
Belgium 0.3 – 2.5
Germany 0.3 – 2.5
There are tens of thousands of people prescribed Thyroxine in the UK and if the levels were brought in line with other countries this would be significantly increased.
Whist I picked up lots of useful nuggets – like the fact that low impact exercise is most beneficial to people with hypothyroidism and that the warmer you keep yourself the less the thyroid must work; the main thing I wanted to tell you about is IODINE!
Those of us of a certain age will remember it being used if you cut yourself, the affected area would be pasted with this orange/brown looking liquid and it would take a day or two to disappear. I think it’s still used in operating theatres.
Well Roderick highlighted research dating back hundreds of years and showed that Iodine is key to health & detoxification. It can protect against all sorts of things and used to be used as a treatment for cancer. There is a clear link between iodine deficiency and cancer, see this article. What’s more iodine soap is great for acne!
Iodine is necessary to help the thyroid work effectively – so essential for those with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism and it is vital for all hormonal processes in the body.
Most people need about 12.5 mg a day but many are iodine deficient!
Iodine Deficiency is linked to and associated with the following problems:
• weight gain
• low energy level
• heart disease
• high cholesterol levels
• sexual dysfunction
• bowel problems
• hair loss
• muscle cramps and joint pain
• carpal tunnel/tendonitis
• a feeling of neck swelling/enlargement
• hoarse voice or weak voice
• dry skin and brittle fingernails
• flaking skin
• menstrual irregularities PMT/PMS
• intolerance to cold/low body temperature
• tingling of hands and feet
• high blood pressure
• I tendon pains
• aching feet
• breast lumps
• prostate problems
• general feeling of misery – the “Blah Syndrome”
And many more!
So what can we do? Roderick suggested we do an iodine test and we all did one on Saturday. It was clear that most of us in the room were deficient and those that weren’t have been under Roderick’s care for some time so are being supplemented. So here are Roderick’s instructions:
Iodine Patch Test Instructions
1. Its best to do this test in the morning after showering but it is not required. You can start anytime. Do not apply or use moisturiser or shower gel. This can block the pores of your skin.
2. USE 1-2 DROPS of 15% solution Lugols Tincture of Iodine to paint a 4 cm square on the inside of your wrist. Note: Tincture of Iodine is available online. Be sure it’s the original orange coloured solution and not the clear solution.
3. Write down the time you painted your wrist.
4. Observe the colouration of the patch over the next 24 hours.
5. Record how long your patch takes until it is fully faded. This number in hours is your base line.
Interpreting Iodine Patch Test Results
Overall, the faster the body draws in the iodine, the greater the iodine need is likely to be:
1. Patch begins to slightly lighten after 20-24 hours – NORMAL
2. Patch disappears, or almost disappears in 18 hours – MILD
3. Patch disappears, or almost disappears in 12 hours – MODERATE
4. Patch disappears, or almost disappears in 8 hours – SEVERE
5. Patch disappears, or almost disappears in under 6 hours – VERY SEVERE
Well mine went very light before I left the talk so that’s under 6 hours! Something must be done and I’ve ordered my Lugol’s Iodine 15% (you MUST never take neat iodine) to start to supplement myself.
I will follow the instructions we received on Saturday and start to take two drops daily in water but as I’m not a doctor or practitioner of any kind I cannot recommend you do the same. I do however recommend you investigate this yourself if you do the test and find yourself to be deficient.
One other point to be aware of if you decide to supplement yourself is that, like you need vitamin C to be able to absorb iron into your body, so you need selenium to get maximum absorption of the iodine.
Selenium is an important antioxidant especially in combination with vitamin E and there have been many studies and clinical trials that are worth looking at. Suffice to say that in large-scale clinical trials, selenium and vitamin E taken in combination have been shown to significantly reduce the risk of certain cancers, especially lung, gastrointestinal, prostate and colorectal cancer.
Also as an antioxidant, selenium protects the body and immune system from oxidative damage by inhibiting harmful free radicals that damage cells.
There are so many beneficial reasons to take selenium but again I must suggest you speak to a doctor, naturopath or nutritional therapist.
Selenium is one of those minerals that is wholly dependent upon food choices. It is not a mineral that occurs in abundance in very many foods, the foods that do have it in abundance are:
• Brazil nuts (if the Brazils are grown in a soil that is rich in selenium)
• Tuna (preferably the mercury free kind)
• Organ meats (something that is very rarely eaten in the English-speaking world these days)
• Sunflower seeds
Selenium works in tandem with iodine.
I hope you find this interesting and not too long or boring. I just felt that the info would be valuable to some people out there who may not have optimal health.
Here’s to your health and wellness always,