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Importance of Iodine

Importance of IodineIodine (I) is essential, which clearly means we need it. Just as we need zinc or magnesium, we need I. The common iodine deficiency disorders include goiter, hypothyroidism, mental retardation, reproductive impairment, and decreased child survival; however that short group is only the beginning of health problems with a lack of iodine. The recent meltdown of the nuclear power stations in Japan may have highlighted the urgent need for Iodine, but even though the threat has passed, the health requirement for I has not diminished. It’s even more important than we have been led to believe.

David Derry MD PhD, “Fibrocystic disease of the breast consists of small or large, sometimes painful lumps in women’s breasts. It varies in the way it shows—not only in different women, but also because it changes from month to month in the same women. Medical doctors generally believe that fibrocystic disease results from the excess number of cells that grow in the breast during the menstrual cycle from the hormonal stimulation.

“Since the number of cells increases in the breast during the cycle, some of the cells have to be removed to restore the normal condition each month. Iodine is the trigger mechanism that causes excess cells to disappear to complete this normal process of cell death. Without enough iodine, the extra cells that develop during the menstrual cycle due to the hormonal stimulation do not resolve back to the normal breast architecture. These leftover cells build up over repeated cycles and cause the lumps, soreness, and larger lesions of fibrocystic disease.

“However, while about 90 percent of North American women have fibrocystic disease, about 40 percent of these women experience no symptoms. Their breasts may be normal to examination, but at that point the disease may be only microscopically detectable with a biopsy.

“Enough iodine enables the excess cells to be cleared out, and the breast to return to its normal resting state; the fibrocystic disease has slowly disappeared from the breast.

Nobel Laureate Albert Szent Györgyi, the physician who discovered Vitamin C in 1928, commented: “When I was a medical student, iodine in the form of KI (potassium iodide) was the universal medicine. Nobody knew what it did, but it did something and did something good. We students used to sum up the situation in this little rhyme:

If ye don’t know where, what, and why
prescribe ye then K and I”.

“Iodine remains the perfect antiseptic with the least side effects of all time. As a perfect antiseptic killing all single-celled organisms, there has to be a common mechanism of a single element like iodine.

“This is part of a general thesis that both iodine and thyroid hormone act as a team to provide a constant surveillance against abnormal cell development, including carcinogenic chemicals that can spread cancer cells within the body.

“Iodine appears to have several more roles in the body. Iodine protects against abnormal growth of bacteria in the stomach (helicobacter pylori is the most clinically significant). Iodine can coat incoming allergic proteins to make them non-allergic; It also deactivates all biological and most chemical poisons in the stomach.

“”I propose that…iodine and thyroid hormones act as a team to provide a constant surveillance against abnormal cell development and the spread of cancer cells within the body including chemicals that are carcinogenic” writes Dr. Derry, who, in addition to holding an MD, also has a PhD in neurochemistry and is a former University of Toronto Medical Research Council Scholar.  “Cancer grows so slowly when using iodine and thyroid hormone therapy that the cancer will not affect the lives of the patients who have it. The treatment is non-invasive, inexpensive and safe.”

Dr.  Derry also credits iodine with several other roles in the body: It protects against abnormal growth of bacteria in the stomach.  It detoxifies chemicals, food poisoning, snake venom, etc. It coats incoming allergic proteins to make them non-allergic, and probably defuses autoimmune disease mechanisms in the same way.

How much iodine is enough? It has been shown that daily doses of iodine above two to three milligrams per day (about half a drop of Lugols from a standard eyedropper) saturate the thyroid within a couple of weeks. At this point, the thyroid gland stops taking up iodine. This means that at a dietary intake above two to three milligrams, all of the iodine goes to all its other functions in the body, such as killing off abnormal cells.

BodyBio has been marketing Iodine for ~10 years, but after extensive testing has added a Liquid Iodine Taste Testing Kit to its famous Liquid Mineral line. This is the absolute best way to take Iodine safely (or any essential mineral) — taste it first. Use your own taste buds to see if you even need it to begin with. We do that for all the trace minerals (which we desperately need) and guess what – Iodine, if anything, is another essential mineral. There’s no reason that we should not rely on our sense of taste for Iodine just as we have for them all.

Dr Derry suggests about half a drop of Lugols solution. That’s equivalent to ~36 drops of BodyBio Iodine (~2.4 mgs of potassium iodide), very close to a ½ drop of Lugol’s. Why reinvent the wheel, follow the expert’s advice as suggested in Dr. Derry’s book; available on Amazon “Breast Cancer and Iodine: How to Prevent and How to Survive Breast Cancer”.

BOOK-BreastCancer-IodinewebAny good Iodine supplement such as  Lugols®, Iodoral®, or BodyBio Iodine # 9, will suffice. However, BodyBio alone guides you to recognize when you have filled up your Iodine stores, when you have enough. Simply by putting 36 drops of BodyBio Iodine in 8 ounces of filtered water you have created your personal testing solution. Just a taste of the solution is enough to guide you. If it has a pleasant taste (hmm good), or, if there is no taste (plain water) – you need it. If the taste is strong or disturbing – do not take it. It does not get any simpler.  http://www.bodybio.com/BodyBio/docs/BodyBioBulletin-LiquidMinerals.pdf.

You can now fill up your Iodine bucket (or any of the essential minerals that we require). If it’s low (most everyone will be), take 36 drops per day and add that into your daily mineral drink. Please check your taste response often, at least weekly, to avoid taking an excess of I or any mineral you do not need. This is too important to put off. Call BodyBio at 888 320 8338 and order the New BodyBio Iodine Test Kit – do it today.   

iodine-samples

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.

Breast Cancer Prevention

hope-for-a-cureThe natural, alternative approach to cancer treatment and prevention can’t make money for an entity because natural substances cannot be patented.  Therefore, little interest in their exploration and development has emerged.  Without funding, classic studies can’t be performed on a large scale.  Yet, there are a few brave souls who delve into the bright possibilities (hope) of promoting natural substances to heal disease, whether they come directly from foods or indirectly via sensible supplementation.   All the while, common elements that traditional and integrative medicine share are the promotion of health by altering one’s lifestyle and using known factors to predict risk of disease.

There are so many components tied to the onset of cancer that it’s hard to tell which have the strongest influence on prevention or promotion.  In 2009, scientists at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute examined a few of these factors and concluded that screening for breast cancer has a positive influence on outcomes, while certain lifestyle interventions may enhance the potential to prevent it.  Estimating breast cancer risk is not a cut and dry matter, but breast density and estradiol levels are strongly associated with disease.  (Cummings. 2009)  Exercise, weight reduction, low-fat diet, and reduced alcohol use are matters to consider because all are associated with reduced risk.  Post-menopausal women appear to fare poorly from breast density factors and are urged to consider chemoprevention if found to be at high risk after all parameters are evaluated.  (Ibid.)  Mammography and self-examination reduce breast cancer mortality by a significant amount, especially among women between ages forty and seventy-four.  (Humphrey. 2002)  Tamoxifen and raloxifene, used for chemoprevention, are not without their side effects, ranging from vision changes to chest pain to hot flashes.  What about alternatives?

Prevention of obesity, or losing weight if already a problem, is essential to addressing breast cancer, both as a risk and as an established disease.  The relationship is complicated, but the association is there.  Body mass index, weight, weight gain, and waist-to-hip ratio have all been positively tied to breast cancer risk in post-menopausal women, though the tie-in is not so strong among pre-menopausal women.  (Carmichael. 2006)  Nonetheless, obesity at the time of diagnosis is significant as a poor prognostic factor.  Weight management as preventive cannot be stressed strongly enough.  Poor dietary choices are the main cause of weight gain, either eating the wrong foods or too much of the right ones.  Eating more plant-based protein and lots of fruits and vegetables, being adequately hydrated, eliminating or limiting simple carbohydrates and sugars, avoiding food preservatives and artificial colors where practicable, and enjoying nuts and seeds are strongly recommended practices.  Look at this as an abundance model rather than a deprivation model.

Certain enzymes are entailed in the incidence and progress of cancer, including breast and other soft tissues.  Their names include aromatase, telomerase, and one simply named AKT.  Inhibition of these substances is one of the goals of cancer researchers, some of whom have found that a food component termed indole-3-carbinol (I3C) is such an inhibitor.  Produced by the Brassica family of vegetables—including Brussels sprouts, cabbages, broccoli, etc.—I3C inhibits cell proliferation and induces cell death (apoptosis) in abnormal breast, prostate, and colon tissues.  What’s more, laboratory-enhanced analogues of I3C were found to be more potent at downregulating AKT in particular and other enzymes in general.  (Kim. 2011)  Additional findings indicated that cell cycle arrest of estrogen-responsive breast cancer lines was initiated by cruciferous vegetable constituents.  (Marconett. 2011)  Under acidic conditions, such as exist in the stomach, I3C is potentiated to its most active metabolite, di-indolylmethane (DIM), the main factor responsible for biological effects inside the body and resulting suppression of cancer cell proliferation.  (Aggarwal.  2005)  I3C supplements are available.

When cells are overstressed and their innate anti-oxidant capabilities are taxed, carcinogenesis may occur.  Several phytochemicals, derived from plants that include herbs and spices and not just fruits and vegetables, have demonstrated excellent chemoprotective characteristics.  Besides the crucifers cited, the simple herb cardamom, a member of the ginger family, shows promise as a provider of DIM to be applied to prophylaxis and treatment not only in carcinogenesis, but also in atherosclerosis and HPV infection.  (Acharya. 2010)  Another Brassica component with breast cancer protection properties is benzyl-isothiocyanate, a material that has exhibited anti-proliferation capability in both breast and pulmonary tissue.  (Kim.  2011)

One of the nutrients in sore supply in humans is iodine, a mineral that has been taken for granted since it appeared as a salt additive years ago.  Iodine deficiency affects almost two billion people on earth and is the number one preventable cause of mental handicap.  With the advent of other salts for culinary use, iodine has been relegated to the back burner.  The consumption of iodine-rich foods, as exemplified by those who eat seaweed as part of their traditional cuisine, does not appear to cause toxicity, but instead may reveal itself as an important element in maintaining breast tissue architecture and function.    (Patrick.  2008)  Seaweed as a dietary preference in Japan, for example, may be associated with the very low incidence of malignant and benign breast disease.  Therapeutic administration of iodine in the presence of selenium has shown anti-oxidant as well as anti-proliferative character.  (Cann.  2000)  Mexican investigators have discovered iodine to be useful as adjuvant treatment in breast cancer therapy, contributing to the integrity of normal mammary tissue.  (Aceves.  2005)  Kelp, yogurt, eggs, strawberries, and seafoods are good food sources.  Revisiting iodized salt is a prudent option.

In active disease, cancer cells may exhibit resistance to radiation.  It is this feature that has led researchers to find a way to make these stubborn cells less so.  Vitamin K, as a newly-synthesized form of K2 (VK2), not only restored radiation sensitivity, but also inhibited growth of cancer cells.  But not just in breast cancer lines.  Lung and colon cancers also responded.  The formation of selective reactive oxygen species, affecting only the cancerous but not the healthy cells, seems to be the driving mechanism.  (Amalia.  2010)   Vitamin K3, a synthetic form also called menadione, is not generally used to make supplements due to its toxic nature, but has been used successfully to alter the course of breast cancer treatment.  (Akiyoshi.  2009)

We don’t think of rest as being part of the armamentarium in treating sickness, but a relationship between sleep and interruption of the circadian clock has been found to have a decided impact on cancer genesis.  When jobs and entertainment interfere with the body’s response to night-time chemical manufacture, maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised that metabolic upset occurs.  Back in the 80’s it was proposed that the increasing use of electricity to light the night could account for the global rise in breast cancer risk.  It was theorized that blindness and long sleep duration reduce risk, and shift work increases risk.

This has spawned an interest in exploring the function of circadian genes, thinking that epigenetic alterations might be causative.  Studies indicate that certain urine melatonin compounds, concentrations of luteinizing hormones, follicle stimulating hormone, and estradiol are indicators of breast cancer risk.  Though not definitive, the implications are not to be ignored.  (Stevens.  2009)  (Davis.  2006)  Getting by on four hours of sleep does a body no good.

Nutrient intake unbalances the scale in favor of breast cancer prevention.  Among the nutrients studied are vitamins B2, B3, B6, B12, folate, and the amino acid methionine.  A study of Chinese women conducted by Vanderbilt University indicates that high folate intake may reduce breast cancer risk and that the association depends on estrogen and progesterone receptor status, particularly as related to pre-menopausal women. (Shrubsole.  2011)   Earlier probes likewise found folate to be preventive in light of hormone conditions, but even more so when combined with vitamin B12.  (Wu.  1999)
(Larsson.  2008)  (Lajous.  2006)  A synergy was discovered when the beneficial effect of folate was accentuated by dietary intake of methionine, vitamin B12, and B6.  (Shrubsole.  2001)  Folinic acid is a form of folate that has vitamin function equivalent to folic acid, but requires no enzymatic conversion.  Folinic acid encourages normal DNA replication and RNA transcription, and has the unique ability to reinforce drug treatment for active disease.

Xanthophylls are pigments that accompany chlorophyll in green plants, and are often identified with lutein.  Being yellow, their color is masked by chlorophyll in mature leaves.  Their job is to absorb certain wavelengths of light not gathered by chlorophyll, then to transfer that energy to the chlorophyll by ramping up electrons.  They are similar to, but not exactly like, carotenes.   Foods that contain xanthophylls have demonstrated protection against the onset of breast and lung cancers, although their claim to fame is protecting vision against both cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.  Research in this arena is somewhat limited, but recommendations for intake align with current dietary guidelines.  (Judy.  2004)  All leafy greens are sources.

Undergoing serious examination as preventive of breast cancer is curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric.  Cancer cells treated with this polyphenol fail to proliferate and invade at normal rate by virtue of protein disruption (Zong.  2011).  Curcumin’s cytotoxicity as an anti-oxidant is dose-dependent, but its presence in the breast cancer war can’t be overlooked.  (Quiroga.  2010)

It’s been estimated that 30%-40% of all cancers can be prevented by lifestyle and dietary measures alone.  The protective elements in a cancer prevention diet may reduce likelihood of disease by more than 60%, and would favor recovery from disease as well.  (Donaldson.  2004)

References

Aceves C, Anguiano B, Delgado G.
Is iodine a gatekeeper of the integrity of the mammary gland?
J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2005 Apr;10(2):189-96.

Acharya A, Das I, Singh S, Saha T
Chemopreventive properties of indole-3-carbinol, diindolylmethane and other constituents of cardamom against carcinogenesis.
Recent Pat Food Nutr Agric. 2010 Jun;2(2):166-77.

Aggarwal BB, Ichikawa H.
Molecular targets and anticancer potential of indole-3-carbinol and its derivatives.
Cell Cycle. 2005 Sep;4(9):1201-15.

Akiyoshi T, Matzno S, Sakai M, Okamura N, Matsuyama K.
The potential of vitamin K3 as an anticancer agent against breast cancer that acts via the mitochondria-related apoptotic pathway.
Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2009 Dec;65(1):143-50.

Amalia H, Sasaki R, Suzuki Y, Demizu Y, Bito T, Nishimura H, Okamoto Y, Yoshida K, Miyawaki D, Kawabe T, Mizushina Y, Sugimura K.
Vitamin K2-derived compounds induce growth inhibition in radioresistant cancer cells.
Kobe J Med Sci. 2010 Sep 28;56(2):E38-49.

Cann SA, van Netten JP, van Netten C.
Hypothesis: iodine, selenium and the development of breast cancer.
Cancer Causes Control. 2000 Feb;11(2):121-7.

Carmichael AR.
Obesity and prognosis of breast cancer.
Obes Rev. 2006 Nov;7(4):333-40.

Cummings SR, Tice JA, Bauer S, Browner WS, Cuzick J, Ziv E, Vogel V, Shepherd J, Vachon C, Smith-
Bindman R, Kerlikowske K.
Prevention of breast cancer in postmenopausal women: approaches to estimating and reducing risk.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2009 Mar 18;101(6):384-98.

Davis S, Mirick DK.
Circadian disruption, shift work and the risk of cancer: a summary of the evidence and studies in Seattle.
Cancer Causes Control. 2006 May;17(4):539-45.

Michael S Donaldson
Nutrition and cancer: A review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet
Nutrition Journal 2004, 3:19

Francini G, Petrioli R, Aquino A, Gonnelli S.
Advanced breast cancer treatment with folinic acid, 5-fluorouracil, and mitomycin C.
Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 1993;32(5):359-64.

Humphrey LL, Helfand M, Chan BK, Woolf SH.
Breast cancer screening: a summary of the evidence for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
Ann Intern Med. 2002 Sep 3;137(5 Part 1):347-60.

Kim EJ, Hong JE, Eom SJ, Lee JY, Park JH.
Oral administration of benzyl-isothiocyanate inhibits solid tumor growth and lung metastasis of 4T1 murine mammary carcinoma cells in BALB/c mice.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2011 Nov;130(1):61-71.

Judy D. Ribaya-Mercado, ScD and Jeffrey B. Blumberg, PhD, FACN
Lutein and Zeaxanthin and Their Potential Roles in Disease Prevention
J Am Coll Nutr December 2004 vol. 23 no. suppl 6 567S-587S

Kim DJ, Reddy K, Kim MO, Li Y, Nadas J, Cho YY, Kim JE, Shim J, Song NR, Carper A, Lubet RA, Bode AM, Dong Z.
(3-Chloroacetyl)-indole, a novel allosteric AKT inhibitor suppresses colon cancer growth in vitro and in vivo
Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2011 Sep 1.

Lajous M, Lazcano-Ponce E, Hernandez-Avila M, Willett W, Romieu I.
Folate, vitamin B(6), and vitamin B(12) intake and the risk of breast cancer among Mexican women.
Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2006 Mar;15(3):443-8.

Lajous M, Romieu I, Sabia S, Boutron-Ruault MC, Clavel-Chapelon F.
Folate, vitamin B12 and postmenopausal breast cancer in a prospective study of French women.
Cancer Causes Control. 2006 Nov;17(9):1209-13.

Larsson SC, Bergkvist L, Wolk A.
Folate intake and risk of breast cancer by estrogen and progesterone receptor status in a Swedish cohort.
Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 Dec;17(12):3444-9.

Marconett CN, Sundar SN, Tseng M, Tin AS, Tran KQ, Mahuron KM, Bjeldanes LF, Firestone GL.
Indole-3-carbinol downregulation of telomerase gene expression requires the inhibition of estrogen receptor-alpha and Sp1 transcription factor interactions within the hTERT promoter and mediates the G1 cell cycle arrest of human breast cancer cells.
Carcinogenesis. 2011 Sep;32(9):1315-23

Patrick L.
Iodine: deficiency and therapeutic considerations.
Altern Med Rev. 2008 Jun;13(2):116-27.

Quiroga A, Quiroga PL, Martínez E, Soria EA, Valentich MA.
Anti-breast cancer activity of curcumin on the human oxidation-resistant cells ZR-75-1 with gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase inhibition.
J Exp Ther Oncol. 2010;8(3):261-6.

Shrubsole MJ, Jin F, Dai Q, Shu XO, Potter JD, Hebert JR, Gao YT, Zheng W.
Dietary folate intake and breast cancer risk: results from the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study.
Cancer Res. 2001 Oct 1;61(19):7136-41.

Shrubsole MJ, Shu XO, Li HL, Cai H, Yang G, Gao YT, Gao J, Zheng W.
Dietary B vitamin and methionine intakes and breast cancer risk among Chinese women.
Am J Epidemiol. 2011 May 15;173(10):1171-82.

Stadel BV.
Dietary iodine and risk of breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer.
Lancet. 1976 Apr 24;1(7965):890-1.

Stevens RG.
Working against our endogenous circadian clock: Breast cancer and electric lighting in the modern world.
Mutat Res. 2009 Nov-Dec;680(1-2):106-8.

Wu K, Helzlsouer KJ, Comstock GW, Hoffman SC, Nadeau MR, Selhub J.
A prospective study on folate, B12, and pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (B6) and breast cancer.
Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1999 Mar;8(3):209-17.

A. Zaniboni, F. Meriggi, G. Arcangeli, P. Marpicati, E. Montini, E. Simoncini and
G. Marini
L-folinic acid and 5-fluorouracil in the treatment of advanced breast cancer: A phase II study
Ann Oncol (1993) 4 (suppl 2): S41-S43.

Zong H, Wang F, Fan QX, Wang LX.
Curcumin inhibits metastatic progression of breast cancer cell through suppression of urokinase-type plasminogen activator by NF-kappa B signaling pathways.
Mol Biol Rep. 2011 Sep 24. [Epub ahead of print]

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.

Enhancing The Worst

burger-on-trayIt’s bad enough when the junk in (or on) your food harms you—you know, the preservatives, the agricultural sprays, the stuff in there that you can’t begin to pronounce, the coloring agents, and whatever—but this is getting ridiculous.  It’s not necessarily the food you prepare at home from scratch that we’re talking about.  It’s not even the Boiled Water Helper that some “cooks” need to put something mostly edible in front of you.  It’s the wrapper, especially the one making cozy with your fast food burger.  And so we moan, “Now, what is it?”

If you’re ready, we’ll give you the list.  Even if you’re not, here it comes:  perfluoroalkyls, polyfluoroalkyl phosphate esters (PAP’s), polyfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCA’s), and everyone’s favorite, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).  You don’t have to remember these, but note that fluorine is a central player in the cast.  Yep, the same stuff in your toothpaste, the label of which tells you not to swallow too much.

Fluorine belongs to a group of chemical elements called halogens, along with chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine, the last of which is essentially unavailable in nature and is radioactive.   The halogens are the only group that contains elements in all three states of matter—fluorine and chlorine are gases, iodine is a solid, and bromine is a liquid.  All are non-metals.  Because they are highly reactive, they’re found in the environment only as compounds.  Iodine is the heaviest element needed by living creatures, and its appropriateness to thyroid health is well-known.  But it’s less reactive than its fellows, so it’s easily displaced.  That means that fluorine and bromine, which is used to bleach flour, can push it aside and take its place in your thyroid gland.   Hypothyroidism, anyone?

Fluorides are moderately toxic and, if conditions are right, can attack intracellular calcium.  It’s readily absorbed and forms an acid that binds with calcium and interferes with several enzymes.  Too much fluoride leads to skeletal fluorosis and mottled teeth.  (Reddy, 2009)  It might be all right to use on the teeth from the outside, but certainly not from inside the body.

What’s this got to do with food wrappers?  The compounds named in the second paragraph are stable synthetic chemicals that repel grease, oil, and water.  If you ever saw the television commercial that boasted of stain-repellent and water-repellent clothing, you’ve seen these chemicals at work.  Though still popular on carpets, they pretty much have been removed from materials that touch the skin.  Hmmm.  However, they are used to make paper and cardboard packaging.  These would be the PFCA’s, which break down into PAP’s, and they wrap your burger so you can eat it while you drive and stay relatively grease free.  Do you microwave popcorn?  Guess what coats the inside of the bag.

Human exposure to PFCA’s is worldwide.  These chemicals are environmentally persistent, as well, and have generated considerable scientific and regulatory interest on a global scale.  (Andersen, 2008)  Research at the University of Toronto found that the PAP in food contact applications does affect blood chemistry in humans, causing changes in sex hormones and cholesterol.  In laboratory animals, which are obviously smaller than people, premature death and developmental delay have been observed.  Some of the effects on rats—tumor growth, for example—may not be applicable to humans.  (D’eon, 2011)  But who knows?  We mentioned that these fluorinated substances are environmentally persistent.  They also persist in the blood stream.  Think of what happens to people who eat fast food every day.

PFOA has been detected in a high percentage of human blood samples and house dust taken from homes in Massachusetts, Maine, New York, Oregon, and California, and it has contaminated drinking water in West Virginia and Minnesota.  Two companies that manufacture the chemicals, DuPont and 3M, were allegedly aware of the potentially harmful effects on humans, but sequestered the data and never told the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of the adverse effects information, as required under the Toxic Substances Control Act.  They got banged for a minimum of thirteen million dollars in fines, with the potential to reach three hundred million.  DuPont settled a class action suit with West Virginia in 2004.  The courts added that the ante will be upped if a definitive link is found between the chemicals and human misery.  This could exceed three hundred million dollars.  Ouch. (http://www.defendingscience.org/case_studies/perfluorooctanoic-acid.cfm)

The Office of Research and Development of the EPA issued a paper in March, 2009, that listed a hundred sixteen “articles of commerce” that contain perfluorocarboxylic acid (aka PFCA).  How come we never heard about any of this?  Of course, typical of many authorities, is the hedge that additional study is warranted before anything definite can be proposed.  The list covers commodities from household liquids to textiles, from Teflon cookware to food contact paper, and even…gets this…dental floss.  Dental floss???  You can check it out at www.oecd.org/dataoecd/47/50/48125746.pdf
Makes you proud, doesn’t it?

It appears that interest in this matter was contagious in the first decade of the new century.  The FDA learned that fluorochemical paper additives migrate into food, after it examined coconut and other oils, butter, water, vinegar, and alcohol.  Buttered microwave popcorn was a star.  (Begley, 2008)  The persistence of the fluorinated entities was supported by Canadian research the following year.  (Benskin, 2009)  Even the State of New Jersey got into the act and looked at drinking water in selected areas, finding detectable levels of PFOA in a variety of sources, but adding that levels are not regulated under State requirements.  That means everything is fine and dandy, right?  Of all the samples tested, 78% were positive for fluoride contamination.  This site http://www.nj.gov/dep/watersupply/pfoa.htm will give you the dope.

This stuff interferes with immunity in humans and wildlife (Dewitt, 2011), could possibly be associated with longer time to pregnancy (Vestergaard, 2012), and might affect your liver (Naile, 2012) and thyroid (Boas, 2011).  We need to call our favorite fast food emporiums and ask a few questions.  Does it matter to you?

References

Andersen ME, Butenhoff JL, Chang SC, Farrar DG, Kennedy GL Jr, Lau C, Olsen GW, Seed J, Wallace KB.
Perfluoroalkyl acids and related chemistries–toxicokinetics and modes of action.
Toxicol Sci. 2008 Mar;102(1):3-14.

Begley TH, Hsu W, Noonan G, Diachenko G.
Migration of fluorochemical paper additives from food-contact paper into foods and food simulants.
Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2008 Mar;25(3):384-90.

Benskin JP, De Silva AO, Martin LJ, Arsenault G, McCrindle R, Riddell N, Mabury SA, Martin JW.
Disposition of perfluorinated acid isomers in Sprague-Dawley rats; part 1: single dose.
Environ Toxicol Chem. 2009 Mar;28(3):542-54.

Boas M, Feldt-Rasmussen U, Main KM.
Thyroid effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals.
Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2011 Sep 10.

Cheng X, Klaassen CD.
Perfluorocarboxylic acids induce cytochrome P450 enzymes in mouse liver through activation of PPAR-alpha and CAR transcription factors.
Toxicol Sci. 2008 Nov;106(1):29-36.

Defending Science
Perfluorooctanoic Acid
http://www.defendingscience.org/case_studies/perfluorooctanoic-acid.cfm

D’Eon JC, Mabury SA.
Production of perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCAs) from the biotransformation of polyfluoroalkyl phosphate surfactants (PAPS): exploring routes of human contamination.
Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Jul 1;41(13):4799-805.

D’eon JC, Mabury SA.
Exploring indirect sources of human exposure to perfluoroalkyl carboxylates (PFCAs): evaluating uptake, elimination, and biotransformation of polyfluoroalkyl phosphate esters (PAPs) in the rat.
Environ Health Perspect. 2011 Mar;119(3):344-50. Epub 2010 Oct 29.

Dewitt JC, Peden-Adams MM, Keller JM, Germolec DR.
Immunotoxicity of Perfluorinated Compounds: Recent Developments.
Toxicol Pathol. 2011 Nov 22. [Epub ahead of print]

Fromme H, Schlummer M, Möller A, Gruber L, Wolz G, Ungewiss J, Böhmer S, Dekant W, Mayer R, Liebl B, Twardella D.
Exposure of an adult population to perfluorinated substances using duplicate diet portions and biomonitoring data.
Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Nov 15;41(22):7928-33.

Naile JE, Wiseman S, Bachtold K, Jones PD, Giesy JP.
Transcriptional effects of perfluorinated compounds in rat hepatoma cells.
Chemosphere. 2012 Jan;86(3):270-7.

NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Determination of Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) in Aqueous Samples
January, 2007
http://www.nj.gov/dep/watersupply/pfoa.htm

J Ostertag SK, Chan HM, Moisey J, Dabeka R, Tittlemier SA.
Historic dietary exposure to perfluorooctane sulfonate, perfluorinated carboxylates, and fluorotelomer unsaturated carboxylates from the consumption of store-bought and restaurant foods for the Canadian population.
Agric Food Chem. 2009 Sep 23;57(18):8534-44.

Reddy DR.
Neurology of endemic skeletal fluorosis.
Neurol India. 2009 Jan-Feb;57(1):7-12.

U.S. EPA , March 2009
PERFLUOROCARBOXYLIC ACID CONTENT IN 116 ARTICLES OF COMMERCE
www.oecd.org/dataoecd/47/50/48125746.pdf

Vestergaard S, Nielsen F, Andersson AM, Hjøllund NH, Grandjean P, Andersen HR, Jensen TK.
Association between perfluorinated compounds and time to pregnancy in a prospective cohort of Danish couples attempting to conceive.
Hum Reprod. 2012 Jan 13. [Epub ahead of print]

 Yamashita N, Kannan K, Taniyasu S, Horii Y, Petrick G, Gamo T.
A global survey of perfluorinated acids in oceans.
Mar Pollut Bull. 2005;51(8-12):658-68.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.

Growing Old With Zinc

zinc-supplementsIf you read—and were enlightened by—the newsletter about aging and omega-3 fatty acids, you’ll likely be interested in this one about zinc and its relationship to aging and disease. For a long time, zinc has been associated with a strong immune system, but its connection to aging is a relatively new exploration. Whether zinc deficiency promotes aging or results from it matters little to those who endure its aftermath in their “golden” years.

What Is This Stuff?

Zinc is a mineral essential to all life. In humans, it plays a functional role in immunity, in growth and development, in neurological mechanisms, and in reproduction, as well as in several avenues of cellular metabolism. It performs a structural role in some proteins as a stabilizer and in cell membranes as a guard against oxidative insults and functional impairment (O’Dell, 2000). Additionally, zinc is a component of “zinc fingers,” which are structural domains that are wrapped around a zinc ion and regulate gene expression by acting as transcription factors by cleaving to DNA. Zinc has been found to be integral to programmed cell death, called apoptosis (Truong-Tran, 2000).

Do I Have Enough?

Possibly not. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that zinc deficiency is widespread and affects the health and well-being of populations worldwide. The International Zinc Nutrition Consultative group (IZiNCG) has determined that zinc intake is inadequate based on the presence and bioavailability of this micro-nutrient in each country’s food supply. Deficiency in children, especially, raises the risk for diarrheal diseases, pneumonia and malaria, the latter a defined danger for populations so exposed (WHO, 2008). Conservative estimates posit that one-fourth of the world’s population is deficient in zinc (Maret, 2006).

Although zinc deficiency is typically diet-related, it can spring from malabsorption, chronic liver and kidney disease, sickle-cell disease, diabetes, malignancy, and as a result of bariatric surgery, heavy metal exposure and possibly the ingestion of FD&C Yellow #5, known as tartrazine (GPN, 2012). The problem of zinc deficiency has been known for decades, but has received scant attention because it was believed that it could never occur in humans (Prasad, 2003). Yet its burden is outstanding and simply resolved with supplementation. The bioavailability of zinc from vegetarian diets is lower than from non-vegetarian diets because meat is not part of the vegan regimen. The legumes and plants common to vegetarian diets contain phytates that bind zinc and inhibit its absorption (Hunt, 2003) (Sandstrom, 1997) (Wise, 1995). Considering that poor agricultural, storage, shipping and kitchen practices can take a toll on any food’s nutritional profile, it can readily be seen that deficit is not the impossibility it once was thought to be. Eleven milligrams a day for an adult male and nine for a female is enough to meet nutritional requirements. Doses for children and pregnant women may be retrieved from the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institute of Health website (IOM, 2001).

What About Aging?

As we age, our DNA replication may become increasingly undependable because of shortened telomeres, possibly setting the stage for chronic, debilitating diseases, including cancer. There is a substantial body of evidence suggesting that a significant percentage of cancer deaths could be avoided by paying attention to proper nutrition.  Only in this century has zinc been tagged as a vital element in host defense against the initiation and progression of this disease, based partly on zinc’s character as supporting more than three hundred mammalian proteins (Ho, 2004). Because cancer is a disease mostly of the middle and older years, it is fitting to maintain a healthy nutritional intake, including supplementation if needed, noting that the elder population is vulnerable to zinc deficiency.

The pertinence of zinc to the entire immune system is well-documented. The presence of chronic inflammation, whether from physical illness, oxidative stress or the mental challenges of daily asperities, may induce sub-optimal zinc levels for most of us. From this was born the recommendation that zinc be supplemented to at-risk populations, notably the aged (Mocchegiani, 2006). It has been proposed that genetic screening for response to zinc intake be considered in order to maintain a healthy immune system, to ensure the activity of anti-oxidant proteins, and to avoid the frailty and degeneration that often accompany old age (Mocchegiani, 2007).

Among the environmental bombardments suffered by the immune system is cadmium exposure, largely from fossil fuels combustion, but also from some fertilizers, metal refining, and tobacco use. Smokers have four times the cadmium levels as non-smokers, and this may be causative of early atherosclerosis and hypertension, both being risk factors for CVD, but also attenuated by high zinc concentrations (Messner, 2009). The long biological half-life of cadmium only compounds the concerns by presenting a cumulative effect, resulting in sterilizing, teratogenic and carcinogenic ramifications (Bin, 1994). The physical attack from cadmium and cohort environmental insults may lead to a state termed immunosenescence, the gradual deterioration of the immune system brought on by natural age advancement. As soon as you agree that, “Hey, this is just the way it is,” you have already decided to lose the race by a considerable margin. A large part of the aging drama can be explained by an imbalance between pro- and anti-inflammatory complexes, most often resulting in low-grade chronic inflammation. This condition is a driving force behind the frailty and the more common conditions associated with aging (Franceschi, 2007).  The Third Zinc Age Meeting in Madrid offered that zinc supplementation presents a strong case in the management of healthy aging (Mocchegiani, 2006), since  zinc deficiency is constantly observed in the chronic inflammation of old age (Vasto, 2007) (Fabris, 1995).

The absolute requirement for zinc is not known to be higher in the elderly, buttheir intake tends to be low. There are social factors that can interfere withsound dietary habits, loneliness being paramount. Insufficient intake of zinc(from food or supplements) may lead to loss of taste sensation, which leads tounwillingness to eat, which continues the vicious cycle. Drugs that promote zincexcretion (including some diuretics), poor absorption and chronic diseases contributeto the deficit. Although it might not turn back the clock, zinc may be able toslow its forward progression.

References

Bin QH, Garfinkel D.
The cadmium toxicity hypothesis of aging: a possible explanation for the zinc deficiency hypothesis of aging.
Med Hypotheses. 1994 Jun;42(6):380-4.

Daaboul D, Rosenkranz E, Uciechowski P, Rink L.
Repletion of zinc in zinc-deficient cells strongly up-regulates IL-1β-induced IL-2 production in T-cells.
Metallomics. 2012 Oct 1;4(10):1088-97. Epub 2012 Sep 14.

Fabris N, Mocchegiani E.
Zinc, human diseases and aging.
Aging (Milano). 1995 Apr;7(2):77-93.

Franceschi C, Capri M, Monti D, Giunta S, Olivieri F, Sevini F, Panourgia MP, Invidia L, Celani L, Scurti M, Cevenini E, Castellani GC, Salvioli S.
Inflammaging and anti-inflammaging: a systemic perspective on aging and longevity emerged from studies in humans.
Mech Ageing Dev. 2007 Jan;128(1):92-105. Epub 2006 Nov 20.

Garfinkel D.
Is aging inevitable? The intracellular zinc deficiency hypothesis of aging.
Med Hypotheses. 1986 Feb;19(2):117-37.

GPN–General Practice Notebook–a UK Medical reference
http://www.gpnotebook.co.uk/simplepage.cfm?ID=886046736
Accessed 15 October, 2012

Emily Ho
Zinc deficiency, DNA damage and cancer risk
The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. Vol 15, Iss 10 , PP 572-578, Oct 2004

Andrea Hönscheid, Svenja Dubben, Lothar Rink, Hajo Haas
Zinc differentially regulates mitogen-activated protein kinases in human T cells
The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. Vol 23, Iss 1 , Pp 18-26, Jan 2012

Hunt JR.
Bioavailability of iron, zinc, and other trace minerals from vegetarian diets.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Sep;78(3 Suppl):633S-639S.
Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2001.
http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/#en2

Mahoney MG, Brennan D, Starcher B, Faryniarz J, Ramirez J, Parr L, Uitto J.
Extracellular matrix in cutaneous ageing: the effects of 0.1% copper-zinc malonate-containing cream on elastin biosynthesis.
Exp Dermatol. 2009 Mar;18(3):205-11.

Maret W, Sandstead HH.
Zinc requirements and the risks and benefits of zinc supplementation.
J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2006;20(1):3-18. Epub 2006 Feb 21.

Messner B, Knoflach M, Seubert A, Ritsch A, Pfaller K, Henderson B, Shen YH, Zeller I, Willeit J, Laufer G, Wick G, Kiechl S, Bernhard D.
Cadmium is a novel and independent risk factor for early atherosclerosis mechanisms and in vivo relevance.
Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2009 Sep;29(9):1392-8.

Mocchegiani E, Malavolta M, Marcellini F, Pawelec G.
Zinc, oxidative stress, genetic background and immunosenescence: implications for healthy ageing.
Immun Ageing. 2006 Jun 26;3:6.

Mocchegiani E.
Zinc and ageing: third Zincage conference.
Immun Ageing. 2007 Sep 20;4:5.

O’Dell BL.
Role of zinc in plasma membrane function.
J Nutr. 2000 May;130(5S Suppl):1432S-6S.

Prasad AS, Fitzgerald JT, Hess JW, Kaplan J, Pelen F, Dardenne M.
Zinc deficiency in elderly patients.
Nutrition. 1993 May-Jun;9(3):218-24.

Prasad AS.
Zinc deficiency.
BMJ. 2003 Feb 22;326(7386):409-10.

Sandström B.
Bioavailability of zinc.
Eur J Clin Nutr. 1997 Jan;51 Suppl 1:S17-9.

Truong-Tran AQ, Ho LH, Chai F, Zalewski PD.
Cellular zinc fluxes and the regulation of apoptosis/gene-directed cell death.
J Nutr. 2000 May;130(5S Suppl):1459S-66S.

Vasto S, Mocchegiani E, Malavolta M, Cuppari I, Listì F, Nuzzo D, Ditta V, Candore G, Caruso C.
Zinc and inflammatory/immune response in aging.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Apr;1100:111-22.

Wise A.
Phytate and zinc bioavailability.
Int J Food Sci Nutr. 1995 Feb;46(1):53-63.

Carmen P. Wong, Kathy R. Magnusson, Emily Ho
Increased inflammatory response in aged mice is associated with age-related zinc deficiency and zinc transporter dysregulation
The J of Nutr Biochem.  Article in Press–published online 17 September 2012.

World health Organization. Published Online: 17 January 2008
Comparative Quantification of Health Risks
Childhood and maternal undernutrition
Chapter 5: Zinc deficiency

Laura E. Caulfield and Robert E. Black
http://www.who.int/publications/cra/chapters/volume1/part2/en/index.html

Zatta P, Lucchini R, van Rensburg SJ, Taylor A.
The role of metals in neurodegenerative processes: aluminum, manganese, and zinc.
Brain Res Bull. 2003 Nov 15;62(1):15-28.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.

The Importance of Mineral Balance

fruitsMinerals are important nutrients found in foods. Alone, they are inactive chemical elements, whether in a rock as calcium or in a cast iron pan. But in the body they become operational, either structurally as bone, for example, or functionally as an electrolyte or hormone. Minerals are the most permanent part of a living organism, responsible for muscle responses, the transmission of messages through the nervous system, the maintenance of pH and the metabolism of food. Because the body is unable to manufacture them, minerals must come from the diet.

There are two groups of minerals in the body, major minerals and trace minerals. The former are required in amounts of 100 milligrams a day or more; the latter in lesser amounts. Different charts from different sources may disagree about some of them, but calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, chloride and potassium are generally listed as major, while iron, iodine, selenium, zinc, chromium, copper and manganese are often named as trace minerals. This group may also include molybdenum, silicon, boron, cobalt, sulfur and a few others. Each of these, both major and trace, has a specific job to do, and none is less important than any other.

In the body, some of these work as a team. Sodium and potassium work together in muscle contractions and relaxation. Calcium and magnesium have a similar working relationship, but each also does something else. The balance of these teams of minerals will be addressed separately later on. What’s important to realize is that mineral depletion of the soil affects food value and ultimately, our health. Even though minerals move up the food chain from plant to animal to humans, deficiency is more common than imagined. Failure to rotate crops, breeding high-yield nutritionally-shallow cultivars, harvesting prematurely to prevent decay in transit, use of biocides, poor storage and handling, and careless cooking practices combine to denigrate food  quality. In 2004, Dr. Donald Davis led a crop nutrient study at the University of Texas Biochemical Institute, tracking the change in food quality of forty-three garden crops over the past few decades, finding statistically reliable declines. (Davis, 2004)

Dietary minerals are present in the human body at a certain mass and concentration necessary to support the biochemical reactions of metabolism dependent upon those minerals. Intake of these is mandatory for optimal health. Deplorably, food cannot provide the necessities. If we consider food insecurity, pitiful dietary choices, chronic illness, injury, imprudent lifestyle or other deviance, a need for mineral supplementation emerges.

If unbalanced beyond the body’s ability to regulate them, minerals can accumulate and cause harm. It’s not a good idea to take minerals merely because there was an advertisement in a popular magazine. For example, selenium is a recognized anti-oxidant mineral. Too much selenium, as might come from regularly eating too many Brazil nuts, can cause fingernails to flake and hair to fall out, garlic breath, pulmonary edema and even cirrhosis. Healthcare professionals, dietitians paramount, will probably dissuade you from taking more than you actually need. Minerals get spent at different rates as they metabolize.

Yes, calcium is needed for bones and a strong heartbeat, but overload can precipitate as kidney stones and cause constipation. Even with perfect foods, diet supplies less calcium than what we need (Ervin, 2004). Chloride helps to make stomach acid and to maintain pH. Deficiency is almost unheard of. Magnesium deficit, however, is real, especially in children who avoid vegetables and because of mindless cooking techniques. Magnesium is a muscle relaxant and a part of more than three hundred enzymes, although most is in bones and teeth. Magnesium overdose can keep you close to the porcelain.

Phosphorus is found in every cell of the body, second in amount only to calcium. It’s part of DNA, contributes to bone and teeth structure, and catalyzes the B-vitamins. Deficiency is unlikely, but overabundance, such as might come from too many cans of soda, can create calcium imbalance. Potassium is an essential electrolyte. Living inside the cell, it controls water and acid-base balance while helping to relax a muscle contraction and to regulate heartbeat. Deficiency is common among the elderly, who are more apt to suffer chronic disease and to take medications that deplete this mineral. Sodium maintains fluid balance and plays a role in muscle contraction, opposite potassium. Diarrhea, vomiting, heavy sweating and chronic illness can compromise sodium stores, but excess is more common.

Chromium enhances insulin function. Cobalt is part of vitamin B12. Copper helps to make collagen and hemoglobin.  Iodine keeps the thyroid healthy and helps to regulate energy production.  Iron helps to manufacture hemoglobin, and may even benefit the immune system. Manganese supports enzyme reactions and the overall health of the nervous system. Molybdenum helps the body to use iron and to burn carbohydrates. Sulfur, found in all cells and tissues, is needed to make collagen and for the synthesis of proteins. Finally, at least for now, zinc is one of the more active minerals, involved in more than 200 enzymatic reactions. It is essential for growth and development, the regulation of insulin, immune function, prostate health and cell membrane integrity. Imbalance can interfere with copper function.

You may be wondering why silver is absent. It plays no natural biological role in humans, and its health effects are hotly disputed, though topical application for wound healing is less so. Ingested silver may cause argyria, resulting in bluish-gray skin and mucous membranes. Fluorine likewise is not essential, though it is present in tea in varying amounts. Topically on teeth, not internally, is okay.

Mineral deficiencies are not spontaneous. Toxicity may occur inadvertently, as from exposure to industrial pollutants, household chemicals or even some drugs. Iron poisoning is the most common mineral toxicity found in children, almost always resulting from overindulgence in vitamins. With mineral supplementation, prudence is the catchword.

References

Behall KM, Scholfield DJ, Lee K, Powell AS, Moser PB.
Mineral balance in adult men: effect of four refined fibers.
Am J Clin Nutr. 1987 Aug;46(2):307-14.

Bushinsky DA.
Acid-base imbalance and the skeleton.
Eur J Nutr. 2001 Oct;40(5):238-44.

Davis DR, Epp MD, Riordan HD.
Changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to 1999.
J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Dec;23(6):669-82.

Ervin RB, Wang C-Y, Wright JD, Kennedy-Stephenson J.
Dietary intake of selected minerals for the United States population: 1999-2000. Advance Data from Vital and Health Statistics, number 341.

Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2004

Daniel König, Klaus Muser, Hans-Hermann Dickhuth, Aloys Berg and Peter Deibert
Effect of a supplement rich in alkaline minerals on acid-base balance in humans
Nutrition Journal. 10 June 2009; 8:23

Motil KJ, Altchuler SI, Grand RJ.
Mineral balance during nutritional supplementation in adolescents with Crohn disease and growth failure.
J Pediatr. 1985 Sep;107(3):473-9.

Nielsen FH, Milne DB, Gallagher S, Johnson L, Hoverson B.
Moderate magnesium deprivation results in calcium retention and altered potassium and phosphorus excretion by postmenopausal women.
Magnes Res. 2007 Mar;20(1):19-31.

Office of Dietary Supplements
http://ods.od.nih.gov/

Sebastian A, Harris ST, Ottaway JH, Todd KM, Morris RC Jr.
Improved mineral balance and skeletal metabolism in postmenopausal women treated with potassium bicarbonate.
N Engl J Med. 1994 Jun 23;330(25):1776-81.

Tucker KL, Hannan MT, Chen H, Cupples LA, Wilson PW, Kiel DP.
Potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetable intakes are associated with greater bone mineral density in elderly men and women.
Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Apr;69(4):727-36.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.

Iodine Deficiency

iodinebookBeyond its role in antisepsis and breast health, iodine is perhaps best known for its regulatory function in the thyroid gland. Educators at the Linus Pauling Institute reiterate the mineral’s essentiality to the thyroid hormones, commonly listed as T3 and T4 on a blood test. T3 is the physiologically active form, while T4 is the more abundant circulating form. In targeted tissues, T4 is converted to T3 by enzymes that depend on selenium for their activity. In this manner, the thyroid comes to control growth and development, metabolism, and reproductive function. Can you see the need for selenium? In the absence of sufficient iodine, the pituitary gland will secrete thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in an attempt to set things straight by increasing iodine trapping mechanisms. If TSH levels are persistently elevated, the thyroid gland may enlarge and form what is known as a goiter.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about a third of the world’s population is deficient in iodine, a deficit that is the most common cause of preventable brain damage in the world. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine declares that iodine is responsible for myelination of the developing central nervous system, and that deficiency is associated with mental retardation, and in extreme cases, cretinism. More than thirty percent of children under twelve has insufficient iodine intake. Although iodized salt was intended to prevent iodine deficiency, the modern diet has put it away in favor of salts whose iodine values are inconsistent and perhaps even absent, as might be the case with the kosher salts that took over the culinary arts. The American Journal of Hypertension and its Polish counterpart report that those adults who choose to avoid salt in any form to control their sodium-sensitive high blood pressure may be realizing small benefit in the long run unless they fortify their diets with iodine from other sources.

Just as we are barraged with loud TV commercials for products in which we have little or no interest, we are likewise assaulted with chemicals and synthetic agents about which we know nothing and whose ubiquitous presence is hidden. Manufacturers of consumer goods apparently feel the need to add things to their products for our own good when, in truth, it’s for their bottom line. Among these ruinous substances is bromine, a member of the chemical family called halides, a group that includes fluorine, chlorine, iodine and astatine, the last having no biological value whatsoever to humans.  Bromine hides in a few forms—as methyl bromide and ethylene dibromide, used as fumigants. In the produce business, they relieve fresh fruits and vegetables of their B vitamins. Bromide is found in cleaners, dyes, water sanitation processes, pharmaceuticals, flame retardants in our kids’ PJs, and in our foods as brominated flour, brominated vegetable oil (BVO) and who knows what else.  BVO is used to make citrus-flavored soft drinks cloudy-looking by emulsifying ingredients to keep the flavoring suspended in the liquid.  Bromine, which has zero use by the body, pushes iodine out of the thyroid gland. Because it acts like iodine and chlorine, the body accepts it. Puzzlement is that bromine is listed in the Hazardous Substances Data Bank of the National Library of Medicine, yet is allowed as a food additive in the Federal Code. In one of his blog postings, Dr. David Brownstein, a celebrated holistic physician, explains that it is vital to maintain optimal iodine levels. Our constant exposure to chemicals like bromine requires daily iodine supplementation because bromine will either prevent iodine absorption or push out that which is already there. At 150 micrograms a day, the RDA for iodine is woefully inadequate to address our physiological needs.  Knowing that bromine is present in some psychotropic drugs helps us to understand why some patients never get well. They are iodine depleted.

There is little doubt among researchers that iodine deficiency is epidemic. Dr. Mark Sircus acknowledges the toxicity of another halogen—fluoride.  He points out that all the halogens use the same receptors in the body, and that the toxic ones will displace iodine at the first opportunity, but also that the intake of supplemental iodine can increase the excretion of the other halides, and even of heavy metals. Note that the toothpaste tube admonishes us not to let a child swallow his fluoridated dentifrice. Adults, likewise, are warned not to swallow more than used on the brush.  Hailed as one of the greatest health achievements of the 20th century, fluoridation of water is now limited, being cited as harmful to the liver and kidneys.

If you or a loved one is concerned about thyroid function, know that fluoride is used in Europe to treat hyperthyroidism because it reduces thyroid activity. If you have symptoms of hypothyroid—fatigue, sensitivity to cold, constipation, dry skin, puffiness, muscle weakness, thinning hair, slowed heart rate and mental fog—look at your toothpaste, your municipal or well water supply, black tea, pesticides, Teflon, moisture barriers, some drugs, refrigerants, certain medical scanning procedures, and your dentist.

An oddity of halogens is that their clinical activity is in inverse proportion to their atomic weights. A lighter one will displace a heavier one. The opposite does not hold. Of those in the body, iodine is the heaviest. Regular use of iodine will mitigate the damage from the others. Knowing that liquid iodine preparations work more efficiently than the solid forms can help you to make the right supplement choice.

References

Victoria J. Drake, Ph.D.
Iodine
Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center. Mar 2010. Update
http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/iodine/

Dunn JT.
What’s happening to our iodine?
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Fluoride history
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Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2002. Available at: www.nap.edu/books/0309072794/html/.
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Grzesiuk W, Dabrowska J, Osikowska-Loksztejn M, Kondracka A, Kolasińska K, Bar-Andziak E.
Effectiveness of iodine prophylaxis in hypertensive patients on salt restricted diet
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Hetzel BS, Clugston GA. Iodine. In: Shils M, Olson JA, Shike M, Ross AC, eds.
Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease.
9th ed. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins; 1999:253-264.

Larsen PR, Davies TF, Hay ID. The thyroid gland. In: Wilson JD, Foster DW, Kronenberg HM, Larsen PR, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 9th ed. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company; 1998:389-515.

R. L. Metcalf . From the “Introduction” to Chapter 7, “Fluorine-containing insecticides”, (Handbook of  Experimental Pharmacol. XX.1, pp. 355-386, Springer, Berlin-Heidelberg-New York, 1966):

Dr. Mark Sircus blogs
http://www.greenmedinfo.com/gmi-blogs/[email protected]

Santoyo-Sanchez MP, Del Carmen Silva-Lucero M, Arreola-Mendoza L, Barbier OC.
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Zhao P, Guo X, Zheng C.
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J Environ Sci (China). 2010;22(10):1629-36.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.