Volume 4 Issue 3

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T h e S I L E N T E P I D E M I C o f I o d I n e d e f I c I e n c y In 2008, researchers concerned about the growing threat of iodine deficiency analyzed 88 samples of iodized table salt— the main supply of this critical micronutrient for most people. Less than half of those tested contained amounts of iodine sufficient for optimal health. Coupled with the trend of reduced salt consumption, rates of iodine deficiency are now reaching epidemic levels. In the developed world, iodine deficiency has increased more than fourfold over the past 40 years. Nearly 74% of normal, "healthy" adults may no longer consume enough iodine. In this article, the latest data on this dangerous trend are presented. You will learn of iodine deficiency's profound impact on overall health. You will discover iodine's vital role in thyroid function and its link to obesity, cognitive impairment, heart disease, psychiatric disorders, and various forms of cancer. You will also find out how iodine can help ward off breast cancer and fibrocystic breast disease. U n k n ow i n g l y R o b b i n g O u r B o d i e s In nature, iodine is a relatively rare element. It's found in abundance in the ocean. Its presence in soil, on the other hand, is very low in many places around the world, including the United States. Iodine is essential to life and especially crucial for brain development in children, making its deficiency the number one cause of preventable mental retardation worldwide. It also plays a central role in healthy function of your thyroid gland. is is why the most visible symptom of iodine deficiency is goiter—the unsightly, painful enlargement of the thyroid gland that manifests as an enormous swelling around the neck and larynx. While goiter was relatively common a few generations ago, most middle age and younger Americans have never seen it. is is largely due to the industry practice of salt iodization in this country, first implemented in the 1920s aer the effects of iodine deficiency were recognized and since emulated around the world. (e Morton company was the first to add iodine to salt in 1924, aer a successful public health campaign.) Unfortunately, as evidenced by recent FDA findings, many table salt makers are now failing to add iodine in quantities sufficient to support optimal health. Other consequences of iodine deficiency, so-called iodine deficiency disorders (IDD), are subtle and may inflict greater damage. It is estimated that IDDs affect between 800 million and 2 billion people worldwide; reduction in salt intake is likely to drive those numbers still higher.

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