Medical Disclaimer: The information in this article is provided for general informational and educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Readers should do their own research and consult with a healthcare professional before supplementing with iodine. Iodine as referred to in this article is the type of iodine found in food and dietary supplements, not the iodine that is used as antiseptic (Tincture of iodine, Betadine, Povidone).
If you are interested in learning more about iodine deficiency and supplementation, please read Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It by Dr. David Brownstein and The Iodine Crisis by Lynne Farrow.
In 1968, women had a 1 in 20 chance of developing breast cancer during their lifetime. Fifty years later, the odds have risen to 1 in 8.
During the same time frame, the rate of thyroid cancer has risen 182%, and the rate of prostate cancer has more than tripled.
There are many factors that have likely contributed to these rising cancer rates, including chemicals in our food and environment, consumption of animal products and processed foods, and sedentary lifestyles. But there is also an essential element that has gone missing from our diet—and been replaced by a carcinogen.
During the 1960s, iodine was used in the commercial baking industry as a dough conditioner. One slide of bread contained the recommended daily allowance of iodine, and for many people, bread was the main source of iodine in their diet.
During the 1970s, potassium bromate (a form of the chemical bromine) replaced iodine in the production of bread and other baked goods. Potassium bromate is still used widely in the United States baking industry today, though it’s been banned in Europe because it causes cancer.
Sadly, not only did the replacement of iodine with bromine reduce our iodine intake dramatically, it introduced a dangerous chemical into our bodies. And bromine wasn’t just added to bread—it quickly became an unavoidable part of our environment, as it was used as a fire retardant and added to rugs, upholstery, mattresses, stuffed animals, cars, and electronics. Forms of bromine are also used in vegetable oils, sodas, sports drinks, toothpaste, and cosmetics.
Bromine is a halide, as is iodine, and they compete for absorption and receptor binding in the body. As bromine builds up in our bodies, it prevents iodine from binding to receptors and being absorbed by our bodies. So, not only are we not getting enough iodine in our diets, but the little we do get is being bullied out of the way by bromine.
Iodine is used by every cell in our bodies, and it is necessary for life. It regulates hormone production and metabolism, enhances brain development and function, and detoxifies our bodies from toxic heavy metals and halogens. Iodine is also responsible for maintaining healthy tissue structure of the glands of the body, including the thyroid, breasts, prostate, ovaries, and uterus.
When there is insufficient iodine in the body, we can develop cysts, nodules, fibroids, polyps, and eventually cancerous tumors. In the brain, insufficient iodine leads to intellectual disability, ADHD, autism, low IQ, and depression.
Low levels of iodine and high levels of bromine in the body can cause a myriad of other health issues that many of us accept as normal, especially as we get older. Some of these are headaches, unexplained weight gain or the inability to lose weight, fatigue, brain fog, feeling cold, infertility, hair loss, dry skin, allergies, hearing loss, frequent urination, constipation, menstrual irregularities, and low libido. Low iodine and high bromine levels can also cause chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.