Iodine, The Forgotten Mineral

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Dr. Olivia discusses Iodine in your diet

Iodine is one of the most forgotten nutrients in daily supplements, and is also becoming one of the hardest nutrients to get in your diet.  So first, let’s talk about RDI’s.  RDI stands for recommended daily intake and this is defined as the minimum amount you need to get of a certain nutrient in order to not develop deficienciesRDI’s are not established to improve health, but meant to represent the lowest level of nutrient intake to prevent disease.  Today, we are still using RDI’s that were established 60 years ago.  The problem with this is that nutrient content if foods have fallen almost 50% compared to 60 years ago.  So eating wonderful foods like broccoli, cauliflower and strawberries does not mean you are getting all the nutrients to meet your daily needs because those very foods had twice the vitamin content 60 years ago as they do now.  The reason for this… our farming practices and eating imported foods that are not in season.  Food is always more nutritious when grown on soil that is full of nutrients, and when picked once it has ripened.  If you are eating foods that are imported and not in season, chances are they were picked up to a month ago, while green, and they ripened while being shipped from other parts of the world.  This is why when food is in season it has so much more color and flavor.  You can literally taste and see the nutrients.  Notice a green banana doesn’t really have much flavor, or a strawberry in the winter literally has no taste.

Today’s focus is Iodine.  Daily minimum for iodine is 150 mcg (micrograms) daily.  The U.S. government required that all salt contain iodine to ensure the public was getting adequate amounts of this very important nutrient.  So, if you’ve made the switch to sea salt, great job, but… sea salt contains no iodine.  So, I am not saying to switch back to table salt (which often contains aluminum) but be aware you may not be getting your daily nutrient needs.  Today there is a major increase in iodine intake due to lower intake of salt.  Most people in the U.S. consume about 240mcg of iodine per day.  In contrast, people in Japan consume more than 12,000 mcg (50x more than the American diet).

The incidence of breast cancer in the U.S. is the highest in the world and in Japan the lowest.  The life expectancy is the U.S. is 77.8 years (50th out of 224 countries surveyed).  In Japan it is 82.1, the highest of all industrialized countries.  The infant mortality rate is half of the rate in the United States.  Today, 1 in 7 American women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime.  Thirty years ago, when iodine consumption was twice as high as it is now, 1 in 20 women developed breast cancer.  Animal studies show that iodine prevents breast cancer (as does vitamin D, which works together with iodine).


  • Is absorbed by the thyroid to help it function optimally. 
  • Deficiency has been linked to fibrocystic breast changes.
  • Has reported to improve libido, brain fog, increase in energy, assist in weight loss. 

People with a severe and prolonged iodine deficiency are prone to hypothyroidismOften you see symptoms long before hypothyroidism can traditionally be diagnosed.  Some symptoms include: weight gain in spite of decreased appetite, dry skin, coarse hair, constipation, seasonal affective disorder, cold hands and feet, and edema or swelling.



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