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What is Iodine?

You’ve probably heard of iodine before, but you may not be aware of exactly what iodine is and the immense history behind the use of this vital element. From the various types of iodine to the amount required for optimum health, there is a lot to know about this water-soluble trace element.

 Iodine is Required for Health

Traditionally taken from the sea, as it is rarely found within the Earth’s crusts, iodine is required by the body for a number of functions. First and foremost, your thyroid glands utilize iodine to make thyroid hormones. A lack of iodine can cause the thyroid gland to swell up (known as goiter) in an attempt to increase the uptake of iodine from the blood.

Iodine is also instrumental in brain development, with an inadequate amount actually leading to the most avoidable form of mental retardation known as iodine deficiency-related retardation. Infants, in fact, may actually face lethal consequences if their mothers are severely deficient in iodine. Spiking miscarriage and stillbirth rates, and iodine deficiency can have major repercussions.

Quite simply, iodine is among the most essential substances you can give your body on a daily basis. In fact, this realization led to the amazing history behind iodine.

History of Iodine – The 20s and Now

It wasn’t until 1924 that iodine was added to salt in order to address the widespread number of iodine deficiencies sweeping the nation during that time. Specifically, Great Lakes and Pacific Northwest region were experiencing outbreaks of goiter – the swelling of the thyroid that is entirely avoidable through the utilization of proper iodine levels. The reason? Soil levels were drastically lacking in iodine, and the general public was avoiding foods rich in idoine such as kale, cranberries, and strawberries.

But it’s not the 1920’s anymore. These days, processed chemicals have become the norm due to price cutting measures and an ideology of better living through synthetic chemistry. Salt that was previously harvested and sold with minimal processing now exists only as natural, sea salt sold in health food stories. Today, table salt is actually a manufactured form of sodium that is known as sodium chloride.

Sodium chloride does contain added iodine, but also comes with a host of chemical additives and a loss of nutritional value. After being bleached, processed, and loaded with substances like fluoride sodium bicarbonate, modern day table salt is more of a health hazard than an iodine-containing health substance. Skip it.

Getting Enough Iodine

One telling study performed by the University in Texas at Arlington actually revealed that table salt will not do the trick, even if you are willing to intake the toxic ingredients associated with the manufactured substance. In fact, they found that salt alone cannot properly address any iodine deficiency.

When looking into the iodine levels within over 80 different types of common iodized salt brands, they found that a shocking 27 of them did not even meet the US Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation for healthy iodine levels. A level that has been continually pinpointed as being below optimal.

The Best Iodine

For peak iodine levels I recommend the use of what’s known as nascent iodine, which is a supplemental form of iodine that is generally considered to more safe and effective than potassium iodine. Nascent iodine uniquely holds an atomic form of iodine with an incomplete number of electrons. Simply put, this allows for a higher electromagnetic charge that the body can seamlessly absorb and utilize. This is absolutely essential for detoxification processes.

The thyroid gland synthesizes thyroid hormones and iodine is an essential trace mineral that is crucial for the thyroid to function properly. An adequate amount of iodine in your diet ensures the thyroid is able to manage metabolism, detoxification, growth and development.

 Research has shown that a lack of dietary iodine may lead to enlargement of the thyroid gland, lethargy, fatigue, weakness of the immune system, slow metabolism, autism, weight gain and possibly even mental states such as anxiety and depression.

The good news is that there are many popular foods with iodine, all of which are easy to incorporate into your daily diet.

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for iodine is 150 micrograms daily for everybody over the age of 14. The RDA for children ages 1-8 is 90/mcg every day, ages 9-13 is 120/mcg every day. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it is recommended that you get 290/mcg every day.

1. Sea Vegetables

The ocean hosts the largest storehouse of iodine foods, including Kelp, Arame, Hiziki, Kombu, and Wakame. Kelp has the highest amount of iodine of any food on the planet and just one serving offers 4 times the daily minimum requirement. 1 tablespoon of Kelp contains about 2000/mcg of iodine, 1 tablespoon of Arame contains about 730/mcg of iodine, 1 tablespoon of Hiziki contains about 780/mcg of iodine, 1 one inch piece of Kombu contains about 1450/mcg of iodine, 1 tablespoon of Wakame contains about 80/mcg of iodine. I recommend sprinkling these into soups or salads.

2. Cranberries

This antioxidant rich fruit is another great source of iodine. About 4 ounces of cranberries contain approximately 400/mcg of iodine. I recommend buying fresh organic berries or juice. If you buy cranberry juice from the store, be aware of how much sugar it contains.

3. Organic Yogurt

A natural probiotic, yogurt is an excellent iodine food you should add to your diet. One serving holds more than half of your daily needs. 1 cup contains approximately 90/mcg of iodine. Other than yogurt, here is a list of probiotic foods you should consider incorporating into your diet for added health benefits.

4. Organic Navy Beans

Many beans are a great food source of iodine and navy beans may top the list. Just 1/2 cup of these beans contain about 32/mcg of iodine. Beans aren’t just an iodine food, they are also incredibly high in fiber.

5. Organic Strawberries

This tasty red fruit packs up to 10% of your daily iodine needs in just a single serving. One cup of fresh strawberries has approximately 13/mcg of iodine. Try buying fresh, organic strawberries from your local farmer’s market, they do not disappoint!

6. Himalayan Crstal Salt

This form of salt, also known as gray salt, is an excellent source of naturally-occuring iodine. While many types of table salt are iodine-enriched, they are also stripped of all their natural health properties and are chemically processed. Just one gram of himalayan salt contains approximately 500/mcg of iodine.

7. Dairy Products

Milk and cheese are good sources of iodine, just one cup of milk holds around 55/mcg. To avoid many of the negative digestive effects of eating cow’s milk and cheese, I personally would recommend opting for raw organic goat’s milk and goat’s cheese; a healthier alternative for extracting iodine from dairy.

8. Potatoes

The common potato is an easy addition to most meals and is one of the richest sources of iodine in the vegetable kingdom. Leave the skin on and one medium-sized baked potato holds 60/mcg of iodine.

Iodine Supplements

If you’re not a fan of the iodine foods listed above, then you can always take an iodine supplement. There are many different types of iodine supplements on the market, so knowing the differences between each is vital. I recommend a transformative nano-colloidal detoxified nascent iodine supplement, which the body is quickly able to turn into its own effective mineral iodides for maximum absorption.