Iodine is a trace element that is naturally occurring in some foods, often added to others and available as a dietary supplement. It is an essential component of the thyroid hormones T4 and T3. They regulate many important biochemical reactions, including protein synthesis and enzymatic activity and are critical determiners of metabolic activity. They are also required for proper skeletal and central nervous system development in fetuses and infants. So many people have thyroid problems and much of it can be traced to a lack of iodine in the diet. (You can visit the website for Dr. David Brownstein, Michigan, who specializes in this knowledge, for more information too).
Unfortunately mostly all Americans are iodine deficient. Our processed foods, breads, even our table salts, have eliminated iodine and replaced it with potassium iodate added to bread as a dough conditioner. Iodate was added with the purpose of oxidizing sulfhydryl groups of flour proteins and thereby improving the rheological properties of the dough. Cheaper ingredients as well as longer shelf life is part of the reason for the switch.
Symptoms of iodine deficiency are many:
Fibrocystic breast disease; Ovarian cysts and cancer; Breast cancer; Fibromyalgia; Chronic Fatigue syndrome; Fluorine, bromine, chlorine and perchlorate toxicity; Hemorrhoids; Fungal infections; Uterine fibroid tumors; Thyroid problems; Nodular vasculitis; Pyoderma; Recurrent/chronic infections; Nephrotic Syndrome; Bronchial asthma; COPD;
Cretinism in offspring; Dupuytren’s and keloids; Obesity; Sebaceous Cysts; Hormone resistance syndrome; Hypertension Diabetes (both) and Cardiac arrhythmias, WHEW!
The best thing to do is ask your doctor for a simple blood test to check your iodine levels and go from there with a daily iodine supplement (Iodoral for example), switching to non-processed natural salt (available in health food stores) for cooking and table, and increasing the diet with seaweed, seafood and sea kelp or fish like haddock or cod.