Why is iodine important to help the body function optimally?
Did you know that iodine exists in your interstitial fluid and that it surrounds all your cells? In a new video, integrative oncology and metabolic medicine expert Dr. Thomas Lodi discusses just how vital iodine is and why it is so important for the human body.
Quick refresher: What is iodine?
Iodine is a mineral needed by the body to produce thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones control metabolism and aid in proper bone and brain development, especially during pregnancy and in the early growth stages. It is naturally found in fish, seaweed, shrimps and other seafood, dairy products and in some fruits and vegetables. It is also added to ‘iodized salt.’
Iodine deficiency is one of the most common causes of mental retardation. It is crucial for healthy brain development, which is why pregnant women must ensure adequate iodine intake to prevent irreversible brain damage.
According to Dr. Lodi, if there is enough iodine in the body, cancer will not be able to grow or spread. “If you put iodine on a cut, it won’t get infected. And, if you are a Boy Scout or a Girl Scout, you learn you can add iodine to pond water and drink it,” he said. “Iodine is an antimicrobial and by the same mechanism that it kills organisms, it also kills cancer cells.”
Some studies have found that there is “substantial evidence” showing how “iodine deficiency is a modifiable risk factor” in certain types of cancer, particularly in the breast and stomach. Aside from being a “primitive antioxidant,” iodine also has anti-inflammatory properties, which together with its antioxidant actions, “affect several molecular pathways that are part of differentiation and apoptosis in cells.” Apoptosis or programmed cell death is important in supporting the immune system and keeping the tissues healthy.
When the body is saturated with Iodine you can prevent metastasis and prevent tumor growth
He furthered, “If cancer doesn’t grow or spread, it is no more dangerous than a pimple. If your body is saturated with iodine, you can prevent metastasis and prevent tumor growth.”
Dr. Lodi noted, however, that, despite its powerful antioxidant properties, iodine is “totally overlooked” by many healthcare professionals. As an example, he cites Hashimoto’s disease.
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition that can cause hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid. When this happens, the person’s immune system cells attack the thyroid gland instead of defending the body against bacteria and viruses. In effect, the thyroid gland’s ability to make hormones—which are crucial to metabolic processes—is affected.
Signs and symptoms may include a constant feeling of fatigue, unexplained weight gain, dry hair and skin, constipation, fluid retention, stiff joints, changes in cognitive ability and a goiter. Women are more likely to get Hashimoto’s disease. The risk is also higher if there is a history of autoimmune diseases in the family or if there is constant exposure to excessive levels of radiation.
Dr. Lodi stressed the value of iodine in helping manage Hashimoto’s disease and cancer, among other chronic diseases. “We need iodine to be healthy. Without it, we are dead,” he said.