Iodine deficiency: problem in developed nations

Iodine deficiency is on the rise

Most people assume that iodine deficiency was just a problem of the past.  After all, we don’t actually SEE anyone walking around with goiter these days.

However, iodine deficiency has increased 4 fold in the last 40 years in the developed world.  It is estimated that 74% of people are at least mildly deficient.  Iodine is a required nutrient to be obtained through food, water, or supplementation.  It is required for thyroid and organ function, hormone synthesis, cognitive function, and normal growth and development in children.  Just because someone doesn’t have visible symptoms such as an enlarged throat doesn’t mean they aren’t extremely deficient.  The RDA’s “recommendation” of iodine intake is just at the amount at which it takes to prevent visible symptoms.  Gee, thanks.

iodine deficiency

Do you have any of the following symptoms?

  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Brain fog
  • Difficulty getting up in the morning, despite getting enough sleep
  • Feeling like you just drag through the day, nearly every day
  • Lowered immunity/frequent colds or flu
  • Hypothyroid or hyperthyroid
  • Constipation
  • Emotional imbalances such as depression, anxiety, or lack of interest/motivation
  • Digestion issues
  • Unexplained low energy/chronic fatigue
  • osteoporosis
  • muscle wasting (older women especially)

Many researchers are looking into correlations between iodine deficiency and chronic health conditions…

Severe symptoms include:

  • Thyroid enlargement (goiter)
  • Severe anxiety and depression
  • Mental retardation
  • Fetal hypothyroidism which leads to brain damage
  • Possibly autism
  • Low IQ

Where is iodine naturally found?

Seaweed and other ocean plants are rich in iodine, and that’s about it.  Unfortunately due to industrial agriculture practices and pollutants, our soil is now depleted of many minerals including iodine.  This is especially common in areas of high altitude or floods.  In the early 1920’s table salt began to be fortified with iodine, however, as of more recently companies are failing to add enough.  In addition, many people have switched from table salt to sea salt. Most sea salt does not contain any iodine.  People have also cut back on salt intake for “health” reasons like lowering blood pressure and reducing cardiovascular disease risk.

Quite alarming is the way wheat is currently being processed.  A chemical cousin of iodine, bromide, is used to make bread rise and give it a better appearance.  Bromide blocks the activity of iodine.  This is also true for chlorine and fluoride which are both common in drinking water.  These chemicals bind to cells where iodine should bind.  A short time of iodine supplementation will displace and detoxify you from these harmful chemicals that are making you sick.

My iodine experience

For months and months, maybe even years, I have had periods of low energy (especially in the morning!), had a tough time mustering up motivation for tasks, past severe digestive issues, and brain fog.  I always chalked it up to not enough sleep, physically tiring workouts, a low carb diet, etc.  But I still felt low energy and brain fog after getting plenty of sleep, eating plenty of carbs, and resting my body from workouts for several days or longer.  Recently I listened to a nutrition podcast and they were talking about iodine….a light bulb turned on in my head.  I’ve been using sea salt for a decade and don’t consume any sources of iodine at all.

I discussed dosage with a pharmacist and began taking a supplement.  Just 2 days into using it the difference in how I felt was like night and day!  I am absolutely amazed that 2 doses of anything could make such a difference.  My energy, cognitive alertness, and even motivation are dramatically improved.  I’ve been using it for nearly 2 weeks now, and I am sleeping much better, wake up feeling rested, and my brain fog is gone.

Not sure if you’re deficient? Try this easy test!

Get a bottle of the red iodine used for cleaning wounds and paint a circle on any part of your body.  If the circle disappears within 5 hours, you are likely very deficient.  5-12 hours moderately deficient, 12-24 hours mildly deficient.  If you’re not sure still, you can get your thyroid checked through testing.

Iodine IS something you can get too much of, so speak with an M.D., holistic Dr, or pharmacist regarding proper dosage.


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