Here at The Balance You Need, we extend our deepest sympathies to everyone who has been affected by Japan’s deadly earthquake and ensuing tsunami. Here in the United States, New Yorkers panicked over fears that radiation from Japan will be blown nearly 7,000 miles to the United States, are rushing to health-food stores. Potassium iodide pills, which offer protection against radiation sickness, have largely vanished from stores. Fortunately, experts agree that we will not be affected by this radiation, but people would rather be safe than sorry.
Do I hear an Amen for this wonderful Natural Element that will protect us from all these manmade maddening atrocities? Hence, we thought we would put together some information on the element and cover; the history of Iodine, the functions of Iodine on the body, availability of Iodine, foods high in Iodine, Iodine deficiency health problems, Iodine’s protective properties against radiation, and natural Iodine supplements.
History of Iodine
Iodine was discovered by Bernard Courtois in 1811. He was born to a manufacturer of saltpeter (a vital part of gunpowder).
At the time of the Napoleonic Wars, France was at war and saltpeter was in great demand. Saltpeter, produced from French niter beds, required sodium carbonate, which could be isolated from seaweed washed up on the coasts of Normandy and Brittany.
To isolate the sodium carbonate, seaweed was burned and the ash was then washed with water. The remaining waste was destroyed by adding sulfuric acid. One day, Courtois added too much sulfuric acid and a cloud of purple vapor rose into the air.
Courtois noted that the vapor crystallized on cold surfaces making dark crystals. Courtois suspected that this was a new element but lacked the money to pursue his observations. However, he gave samples to his friends, Charles Bernard Desormes and Nicolas Clement, to continue the research on this new discovery.
He also gave some of the substance to Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac, a well-known chemist at that time, and to physicist Andre-Marie Ampere.
On 29 November 1813, Dersormes and Clement made public Courtois’s discovery and described the substance at a meeting of the Imperial Institute of France.
On December 6, Gay-Lussac announced that the new substance was either an element or a compound of oxygen and it was Gay-Lussac who suggested the name “iode”, from its Greek word (iodes) for violet (because of the color of Iodine vapor).
Ampere had given some of his sample to Humphry Davy. Davy did some experiments on the substance and noted its similarity to chlorine. Davy sent a letter to the Royal Society of London stating that he had identified a new element, Iodine.
Why is Iodine so important to the body?
Iodine is an essential nutrient to the body, which means it is required for normal body function AND is not produced in the body, therefore, must be obtained from outside the body. The functions of Iodine in the body are as follows:
-Required for manufacture of thyroxine (controls metabolic rate)
-Essential to the normal development of the fetal nervous system
-May protect against the effects of radioactivity
-Can regulate the effects of estrogen on breast tissue
-An essential (required) component of healthy connective tissue
-Iodine is needed for the normal metabolism of cells (process of converting food into energy)
-Humans need Iodine for normal thyroid function and for the production of thyroid hormones.
Availability of Iodine
Iodine is rare in the solar system and Earth’s crust (47th in abundance); however, Iodine occurs in slightly greater concentrations in seawater than in rocks 0.05 compared to 0.04 parts per million, respectively.
Therefore, seaweed (kelp), tends to be high in Iodine as well, 0.03 – 0.45 dry weight percent.
Fun fact-Aside from Tungsten, Iodine is the heaviest element to be essential in living organisms.
Iodine Food Sources
Obviously, this is all well and good, but how do we get Iodine into our systems?
–Sea Vegetables, Kelp, Ocean Botanicals. Seafood is naturally rich in Iodine
-Cod, sea bass, haddock, and perch are good sources
-Table salt with Iodine
-Other good sources are plants grown in Iodine-rich soil
Iodine Side Effects
When a body does not get enough Iodine, problems can arise. A deficiency of Iodine may occur in places that have poor diets or Iodine-poor soil. After months of Iodine deficiency in a person’s diet, they may develop a goiter (abnormally large Thyroid Gland) or Hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is an abnormally high level of thyroid hormones which typically speeds up the body’s metabolism. This can cause major problems in cell function, growth, and division. Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism may include a rapid heartbeat, tremor of the fingers and hands, weight loss, and the inability to tolerate heat.
Furthermore, Iodine deficiency tends to occur more often in women than in men, and is more common in pregnant women and older children. These categories of people should be supplementing their diets with Iodine as much as possible.
Natural Iodine Supplements
Since Seaweeds purify all of the world’s oceans, they can do the same for our bodies. Seaweeds like kelp, dulse and Irish Moss can protect us from a wide range of toxic elements in the environment, including radiation by products, converting them into harmless salts that our bodies can eliminate.
Natural Iodine in seaweeds can reduce, by almost 80%, radioactive Iodine-131 that is absorbed by the thyroid. Seaweeds are so effective that even the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission recommends that people consume two to three ounces of seaweeds a week for maximum protection against radiation poisoning. Doesn’t that sound yummy?!
Fortunately, there is a natural whole food supplement that contains Iodine. One of the best Iodine products for potential radiation protection is Body Balance, which is a select blend of nine sea vegetables, and Aloe Vera. Body Balance is a liquid, therefore the absorption rate is at an astounding 98%. This is a perfect way to get the amount of seaweed that the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission suggests without having to actually CHEW seaweed (if you are wondering, Body Balance tastes great with a bit of Black Cherry added for flavor).
You can read more about the total benefits of Sea Vegetables and Aloe Vera on the “Benefits of Sea Vegetables” and “Benefits of Aloe Vera” pages. To learn more about Body Balance and/or order the product, visit our “Body Balance Detailed Information” page.
Regardless of whether you are worried about radiation poisoning or not, there is no arguing that we need more Iodine in our diets.
The Choice Is Always Yours!
Health Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The statements and products are not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any diseases.