When I was in medical school, I learned that you need iodine to make thyroid hormones. And that’s pretty much all I was taught about iodine.
Today, that’s still all mainstream doctors know about iodine.
They almost never make the connection that this nutrient protects you against breast cancer.
With a little research, I noticed that women in Japan have a significantly lower breast cancer rate. The Japanese eat between 3 and 13 mg of iodine per day.1And breast cancer rates of Japanese women are a whopping 66% lower than American women.2
Here in the States, the U.S. Dietary Reference Intakes for iodine is only 150 mcg per day. That means the average Japanese woman consumes about 25 times more iodine than the average American woman.3
Mainstream medicine pays almost no attention to this important mineral — except to tell you to avoid it in its most common form. As a result, 96% all Americans are iodine deficient.4
In today’s toxic world, we need even more iodine than our ancestors did. A major reason for this is the amount of mercury in our environment.
Mercury, a heavy metal and a major industrial pollutant, is the most toxic non-radioactive poison on earth. And it has contaminated much more than fish. It’s in vaccines, dental fillings, fungicides and even the air we breathe. Exposure to even a tiny amount leads to serious health consequences.
You see, mercury competes with iodine in your cells by binding to iodine-receptors. Before long, mercury pushes iodine completely out of your cells, making you deficient.
An iodine deficiency can lead to breast cancer.
Here’s what happens… When a woman’s iodine levels are low, her ovaries produce more estrogen. When estrogen hits receptors in the breast cells, it stimulates growth — for healthy and cancerous cells.
Most doctors don’t realize that an iodine deficiency could make such a big difference to your breast-cancer risk. But it does.
Just look at what happens to Japanese women who move to the U.S. and stop eating iodine-rich foods… their breast-cancer rates shoot up to American levels.6
Iodine deficiency can also cause:
- Weight gain
- Low energy
- Heart disease
- Cognitive decline
There’s a good chance you are not getting enough of this essential nutrient. Fortunately, all iodine deficiency disorders and related health dangers can be prevented by an adequate intake of iodine.
Your body can’t make iodine. You have to get it from external sources. I advise my patients to get at least 300 mcg of iodine every day for optimal health.
How to Boost Your Iodine Levels
My favorite food-source for iodine is seaweed. Just three tablespoons of seaweed has 750 mcg of iodine. Common seaweed is iodine-rich and a powerhouse when it comes to fighting breast-cancer tumors.
Seaweed is also rich in selenium. This is an essential cofactor in the enzymes used in thyroid and breast tissue. Your body needs it to use iodine.
A Japanese study in 2001 even found seaweed more potent than fluorouracil, the chemotherapy drug used to treat breast cancer.7
But I advise my patients to avoid seaweed from Japan. There’s still a contamination risk from the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011.
Instead, I recommend these three types of seaweed:
- Alaria: This Maine-grown edible brown seaweed is a great alternative to Japanese wakame. And like wakame, it has high levels of omega-3s, calcium, iodine, thiamine and niacin. Its mild flavor is delicious in soups and salads.
- Dulse: This red, slightly spicy seaweed has more protein, minerals and vitamins than almost all land vegetables. Use it in soups and salads. Or buy dulse flakes and eat them straight from the packet. Make sure it’s from northeastern U.S., Canada or Ireland.
- Kombu: A Japanese cuisine favorite and one of Japan’s five basic tastes — in addition to sweet, sour, salty and bitter. It’s used in miso soup, or added to rice. It’s a potent source of iodine and protein-building glutamic acid. I recommend kombu from Iceland.
I also recommend:
- Salt: Contrary to popular belief, salt is not your enemy. You can’t live without salt. You need it to digest food. Your heart, adrenals, kidneys and liver can’t work without it. Salt is an easy way to increase your daily iodine level.
It’s completely safe. It’s inexpensive. And it’s available in every grocery store. But stay away from the overly processed table salts. It’s not natural and full of chemicals.
I recommend sea salt. Sea salt is salt mined from the sea. It is higher in minerals than table salt, and considered a more natural form.
- Shellfish: Oysters, clams, scallops, and lobster are great sources of iodine. Shellfish is also rich in selenium. This is an essential cofactor in the enzymes used in thyroid and breast tissue. Your body needs it to use iodine. Shellfish also has vitamins D, A, E, and B12.
To Your Good Health,