I have been reading a bunch of scientific papers by David Brownstein and G. Abraham on iodine, as I have suspected that iodine deficiency may be partly to blame for the fact that 1 in 4 American women has a thyroid problem (countless men, too), and most of those are undiagnosed.
You may know that your thyroid is responsible for regulating metabolism. If you have hypothyroidism, among a host of other symptoms, you are likely to have low energy and gain weight easily (and have a hard time losing it), regardless of your caloric intake. (And hyperthyroidism, which is that gland revving and eventually burning out, often manifests with buggy eyes and manic energy.) If your way of testing your thyroid is to go to an M.D. and ask for a test, you likely tested only T3, and that doesn’t show anywhere near the whole picture. Also, the M.D.s accept a “normal” range that is inappropriately huge.
You need to go to a clinic specializing in hormones, and usually those are run by nurse practitioners. Locally (Utah County), three clinics specialize in this, but I recommend Francine at Wellnique in Orem, who prescribes only bioidenticals rather than synthetics. Get a full-panel blood test and have her analyze the interplay of a variety of factors including T3, T4, progesterone, and testosterone. (Unfortunately most insurance companies won’t pay for this.) You have to have iodine to synthesize T3 and T4. And iodine is frankly hard to come by in food sources.
North Americans and Western Europeans have a high rate of goiter, or thyroid enlargement as felt by palpating the neck. That’s a classic sign of iodine deficiency. The studies I reviewed showed anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of Caucasions to have this disorder, rather easily rectified for most with iodine supplementation.
I’ve included a link below to quite a few iodine studies, for the meticulous, analytical, and detail oriented among you. To find out if you are iodine deficient, you can get an iodine patch test from a pharmacy (Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo has it, locals). You paint a 2″ by 2″ square on your inner forearm with the iodine. If it is absorbed within 24 hours, you are iodine deficient (and you likely will be). If the iodine isn’t absorbed, then you don’t need iodine supplementation.
You won’t be surprised to hear me say that the best way to get highly bioavailable iodine is through plant food: the Japanese get it through sea vegetables, like seaweed, kelp, and dulse. They have very low rates of breast and reproductive cancers and other iodine-deficiency problems, whereas we have high rates of all those problems. If you like nori sheets, eat a few every day. Roll hummus and/or veggies in it, or tear it up and put it in soup. I personally don’t like it, so I season food with kelp, but that’s not enough. I am using a Lugol solution of iodine and potassium iodine to try to achieve the average Japanese rate of iodine through seaweed consumption.
These are some papers regarding research on iodine: