WHAT IS IODINE?
Iodine (I-), a trace mineral, is a chemical element with the atomic number 53. Iodine is an essential trace element.
WHAT DOES IODINE DO FOR US?
The thyroid gland is controlled by the pituitary gland which is controlled by the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a center in our brains which is responsible for some metabolic processes and some autonomic nervous system processes. It operates using electrical signals or neurohormones which are called hypothalamic-releasing hormones. These are involved in the stimulation or inhibition of hormones from the pituitary gland.
The pituitary gland having been signaled by the hypothalamus then releases a hormone called THS, thyroid stimulating hormone, which in turn causes the thyroid gland to send T3 and T4 hormones into the blood stream to stimulate our bodies metabolism.
So, how does iodine play a role? Iodine is collected in the thyroid gland from the blood stream. It is used in conjunction with the amino acid tyrosine to form the thyroid hormones T3 (thyroxine) and T4 (triiodothyronine). They are stored in a protein called thyroglobulin in the thyroid gland. From this protein they are released for duty as needed.
Thyroid hormones are responsible for controlling our basal metabolic rate through gene transcription. The basal metabolic rate is the rate at which our body expends energy.
The making of proteins from amino acids; sensitivity to other hormones; and growth and development both in the womb and after birth are three other actions performed by thyroid hormones.
Independent of the thyroid gland iodine/iodide plays a role in the modulation of the estrogen pathway and alters gene expression inhibiting the estrogen response to its receptors thus inhibiting cancer growth in genetically damaged breast cells.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DON’T GET ENOUGH IODINE?
Because iodine is rare in many soils its deficiency leads to problems in both land animals and humans. It’s deficiency is the leading cause of intellectual disabilities because of its role in thyroid hormone production. Thyroid hormones have a vital role in brain development.
Hypothyroidism is what results from iodine deficiency. The symptoms include extreme fatigue, goitre (enlarged thyroid), mental slowing, depression, weight gain and low body temperature.
Mental retardation and learning disabilities in the fetus can result from deficient levels of iodine during pregnancy or deficient levels in babies and small children.
As well iodine deficiency is implicated in both breast cancer and stomach cancer.
When iodine is deficient the breast tissue will exhibit goitre like symptoms and the cell will become atypical leading to increased malignancies.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE GET TOO MUCH IODINE?
Consumed as the water soluble iodide ion, iodine is a valuable substance in human biology at levels of 70 micrograms for most people and up to 290 micrograms a day for lactating mothers.
Elemental iodine (I2) is toxic when taken by mouth at about 30 milligrams or 2.4 grams. Even when used as a tincture of iodine it can cause tissue damage if it is used over a prolonged time.
Iodine sensitivity can lead to allergic reactions and has been known to cause anaphylactic shock.
WHERE DO WE GET IODINE?