Whole Life Magazine

December 2017 / January 2018

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Photos: Genie Davis, Photo bottom right: Julian Observer's Inn Photos: Genie Davis, Photo bottom right: Julian Observer's Inn Y ou've probably seen the small disclaimer on every salt package, " is salt supplies iodide, a necessary nutrient," or " is salt does not contain iodide, a necessary nutrient." But have you ever wondered why? Iodine is a trace element essential for a number of crit- ical functions in the body, including fetal brain develop- ment, immune support, and thyroid and breast health. Yet surprisingly more than two billion people around the world are deficient. Public health experts report that adding small amounts of iodine back to salt may be one of the simplest and most cost-effective steps to tackle Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) in over 118 countries. In fact, iodine deficiency remains the single greatest cause of preventable brain damage and intellectual disabilities in the world. "As we collect data on iodine there are evidence-based large studies verifying the e ect of low iodine intake on health so the World Health Organization recommends supplementation," explains Dr. Sangeeta Pati, M.D., Medical Director of Sajune Institute for Restorative and Regenerative Medicine. But if iodine is so important why are so many people de - cient? Two reasons. G I D e rst issue has to do with the soil. Iodine doesn't occur naturally in most foods. It's ingested primarily through food grown in iodine-rich soil. However frequent ooding across mountain ranges around the world has washed away iodine, while widespread deforestation and soil erosion also adds to the problem. T S I B D At one time bakers added iodine to bread to condition the dough. Shortly a er, people noticed several health conditions improved including goiter, depressed immune functioning, in- tellectual disabilities, and headaches. Before the 1920s, iodine de ciency was rampant in the Great Lakes, Appalachians, and Northwestern U.S., a geographic area once known as the "goiter belt." In 1917 Dr. David Marine started an iodine program for children and saw a signi cant drop in goiter. en in 1922 Dr. David Cowie proposed the U.S. adopt a salt iodization program to eliminate goiter. But around the 1960s bread makers started to replace iodine with bromide (potassium bromate) because it made the dough more elastic and better able withstand bread hooks and other commercial baking tools. Here's the problem: Bromide competes with iodine in the body, so does uoride in toothpaste, and the chloride and uoride added to drinking water. All three elements conspire against iodine in the body. In addition, there's concern with the safety of bromide. In 1982 Japanese researchers published a series of rat and mice studies linking potassium bromate to cancer in the thyroids, kidneys, and other body parts. As a result, while many countries around the world banned potassium bromate, the U.S. FDA claims the amount still add- ed to bread is within "safe limits." ( e Center for Science and Public Interest petitioned the FDA to remove bromate from all baked items.) C A I D Fetal and pregnancy problems In a 2007 report published in the University Medical Journal researchers wrote, "If pregnant women's diets do not contain adequate iodine, the fetus cannot produce enough thyroxin and fetal growth is retarded…. e most important biological role played by thyroxin is in the early fetal stage of life. It ensures the growth, di erentiation, and maturation of di erent organs of the body, and particularly the brain." Severe iodine de ciency in pregnant women has been linked to miscarriages, stillbirth, pre-term delivery, and congenital ab- normalities in their babies. "Even mild iodine de ciency during pregnancy which may be present in some women in the Unit- ed States, may be associated with low intelligence in children," writes the American yroid Association. Pregnant and nursing mothers may lose more iodine than they need which can lead to a serious de ciency even a er pregnancy and breastfeeding due to changing hormone levels. Iodine The Critical but Forgotten Mineral | by Laura G. Owens December/January 2018 21

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