All About Iodine
Iodine is a rare metallic element that can be mined from only one place in the world, Chile. It is also a by-product of the oil industry in many countries of the world. It is a purplish solid with an atomic weight of 126.904.
Iodine is an essential trace element for humans that must be ingested. At least 160 micrograms is required daily. Since 1929 in Canada, and 1924 in the States, potassium iodide has been added to table salt, thereby greatly decreasing the incidence of cretinism and goiter. Seventy-five micrograms is added to each gram of salt.
However, in 1982, the average North American consumed about 8 grams of table salt a day or 600 micrograms. In 1993, the average North American was getting only two grams of salt a day or only 150 micrograms a day. This amount would not meet the needs of a physically active person, or breast-feeding or pregnant woman.
In fact, recent evidence suggests that at least 25 percent of women in North America are iodine deficient at some point in their lives.
Dietary iodine intake depends on the iodine content of the soil and water, and the types of foods consumed. Certain foods are naturally high in iodine such as seafoods and seaweeds. But vegetables and fruits can be deficient in iodine if the soil they were grown on lacked iodine, which is usually the case.
Around the Great Lakes, in a large area known as the goiter belt, there is a little or no iodine in the soil or water. The incidence of both FCBD and breast cancer is higher in these goiter areas. However, most areas in Canada and the U.S. have soils that are deficient in all trace minerals including iodine.
Only small amounts of iodine can be ingested from foods and then the amount absorbed is variable depending on many co-factors. For example, smoking cigarettes and consuming an excess of certain foods such as soybeans, the brassica family eaten raw (cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, mustard greens, cauliflower and broccoli) peanuts and millet, especially if grown on iodine deficient soil, can block iodine absorption by the thyroid.
Getting More Iodine
Elemental or free iodine, (meaning iodine that is biologically free or available for use by the tissues), is the specific type of iodine that is lacking in breast tissues in FCBD.
This free iodine has a completely different action from the thousands of compounds that contain the element iodine. For example, sodium and potassium iodide mix with water to form a solution that is 95 percent iodide and five percent elemental iodine.
In the past, if more iodine was required, it had to be bound to a salt or a protein. For example, in table salt and in Lugol's solution, it is bound to potassium and in caseinated iodine, it is bound to the milk protein casein.
In 1981, a Canadian scientist and inventor, Dennis O'Dowd, discovered and patented a series of methods and devices to control the dissolution of elemental iodine directly into water. O'Dowd now specializes in iodine water purification systems. He found that when 100 parts per billion of iodine is added to drinking water, 60 to 70 percent less chlorine is required. Such systems are now being used in 16 Canadian cities and towns, and may prove useful should future supplementation of iodine be necessary.
Ghent And Eskin At The New Frontier
In 1972, when Dr. Ghent first began to study the effects of treating FCBD with iodine, he used Lugol's solution, and subsequently, casein bound iodine in pill form with the brand name iodaminol and finally elemental iodine.
At first, Dr. Ghent used a device invented by Dennis O'Dowd. Drs. Ghent and Eskin subsequently developed their own unique and highly effective method for dissolving the iodine crystals in water and delivering precise dosages of aqueous iodine. Most recently, Dr. Ghent developed an entirely new system of delivery of elemental iodine in the form of gelatin capsules, taken orally, with lactose and cornstarch as fillers.
In the first study, one group of 233 volunteers received Lugol's solution for two years and one group of 588 received iodaminol for five years. The results of this study were intriguing.
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