January 10, 2013

Fight Cancer with Iodine


Did you know there’s a super-cheap mineral (that you’re probably not getting enough of)? And that it could help in the fight against certain types of cancer?

That mineral is iodine. In nature it’s pretty scarce. Mainly because it’s found in the ocean and only in very small quantities in soil and in certain foods.

Decades ago, America put an end to iodine deficiency by including it in table salt (iodized table salt). But more recently, rates of iodine deficiency are increasing at an alarming rate. In fact, iodine deficiency here in America has quadrupled in the past 40 years, with most Americans experiencing a 50 percent reduction in iodine levels. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. Bromine exposure. Bromine is found in baked goods, plastics, medications, pesticides, soft drinks and more. It contributes to iodine deficiency because when it gets into your body, it displaces iodine, not allowing your body to take in what little iodine may be available.
  2. Perchlorate contamination. This is an active chemical in rocket fuel that’s made its way into our food and water supply – and even used to enhance flavor in certain foods! Once ingested, it decreases your body’s ability to use iodine.
  3. Less salt intake. With the mainstream media telling us to eat less salt, we’re now avoiding what was once our main source of iodine! What’s more, healthier versions of salt, such as Sea and Kosher salts contain little to no iodine. Also, salt used in cooking loses over 60% of its iodine content.

So what does all this have to do with cancer?

Glad you asked! In the context of breast cancer, iodine plays a critical role in the health of women’s breast tissue. In fact, breast tissue that is iodine deficient commonly shows elevated levels of lipid peroxidation, which is one of the earliest signs of cancer development.

There is also both anecdotal and emerging scientific evidence for iodine’s role in preventing breast cancer. The Japanese have one of the highest intakes of iodine in the world, since they eat a diet rich in seafood and sea vegetables.

It’s also no coincidence then, that Japanese women (whose iodine consumption is 25 times higher than that of American women) have breast cancer rates that are a small fraction of that seen in the U.S.!

In one animal-model study, iodine given to cancer-prone rats slashed the breast (mammary) tumor rates by almost 2.5-fold. [1] And as far as other kinds of cancers, boosting iodine levels in the body has been linked to a reduction in the rate of stomach cancer. [2]

So the moral of the story here is to make sure you’re getting enough iodine in your diet. Don’t take it in supplement form, as there is evidence that it could cause issues with your thyroid. Instead, aim to eat plenty of iodine-rich foods every day.
That means eating plenty of whole eggs, milk (raw if possible), sea vegetables, certain types of seafood (like mussels, for instance) and yogurt.

Other than that, limit your exposure to substances that interfere with your body’s utilization of iodine. That means choosing baked goods that are bromine-free. This will usually be displayed on the label. Try to avoid plastic containers and instead use glass. Also, drink filtered water and use iodized salt directly on food (only if you don’t have high-blood pressure! Check with your doctor first.).

So there you have it. Make sure you get enough of this cheap mineral and help your body stay healthy!

CC Photo by stu_spivack

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