We really can’t separate hypothyroidism from iodine deficiency. They should be looked at together.
Most of the time hypothyroidism and/or iodine deficiency are unsuspected by doctors and most of them don’t test for it.
If one has fatigue, depression, weight gain, memory loss, hair loss, muscle cramps, dry skin, decreased libido, cold feet, confusion, delirium or even heart failure, he/she should suspect hypothyroidism and iodine deficiency first.
Really nothing could be simpler to diagnose and treat.
Anyone can test themselves for hypothyroidism or iodine deficiency. Low basal (at rest) body temperature is a prominent indicator of low thyroid function.
Take underarm temperature for three days, before you get out of bed, and take the average. If you are running as much as one degree or more below 98.6 you can suspect hypothyroidism.
You can request an iodine-loading test from your doctor. I would start my iodine test by just rubbing food grade iodine (Lugol’s) on a small spot, maybe two inches across on my arm. If the iodine disappears overnight, I would take this to mean an iodine deficiency. Even if too much iodine is taken it will be excreted. Iodine has a detoxifying effect on the body.
Chances are that most of us have an iodine deficiency. I think that we can assume this because iodine is generally low in agriculture soils everywhere.
Iodine is important for the whole body, but it is concentrated in the prostate gland, the thyroid and breast tissue.
According to David Brownstein, M.D., in his excellent book, Iodine, Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, "If a person suffers from iodine deficiency, using thyroid hormone supplementation without first correcting (or simultaneously correcting) the iodine deficit will exacerbate the body’s deficit of iodine."
So iodine and thyroid hormone go together. Thyroid hormones raise the body’s need for iodine. Alternative doctors always recommend Armour Thyroid which is natural thyroid hormone (from pigs) and available from compounding pharmacies.
Points from Dr. Brownstein:
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized that iodine deficiency is the world’s greatest single cause of preventable mental retardation.
- Iodine supplementation markedly increases urinary excretion of fluoride and bromide.
- Dr. Brownstein says that more than 90 percent of his tested patients exhibit laboratory signs of iodine deficiency.
- In the brain, iodine concentrates in the substantia nigra, an area of the brain that has been associated with Parkinson’s disease.
- Iodine deficiency is one of the main underlying causes of many varied illnesses including thyroid disorders, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, cancer (including cancer of the breast and prostate) and other health issues.
- The thyroid gland and the breast primarily utilizes iodine. The prostate gland concentrates iodine. Breast cysts have been treated with iodine for more than 50 years. Iodine deficiency is a causative factor in breast cancer and fibrocystic breast disease.
- The relationship between hypothyroidism and breast cancer has been reported for more than 100 years.
- Thyroid hormone is essential for normal brain development.
- In children, iodine deficiency can result in mental retardation as well as goiter.
- Research has found an almost 50 percent increase in perinatal mortality due to iodine deficiency.
- Many studies have shown that children who live in iodine deficient areas have lower IQs as compared to children living in iodine sufficient areas.