Can a deficiency of crucial iodine lead to weight gain?
Absolutely. It happens in at least two specific ways.
First, iodine deficiency negatively impacts the function of the thyroid gland, which controls just about every system in the body. And second, not having enough iodine in your body allows toxic substances to latch on where iodine should be and do you harm.
Read on to learn more about how these two issues happen, what other symptoms you can watch for that may indicate your iodine intake is too low and how you can turn around iodine deficiency.
When you correct your iodine levels, you can lose weight and achieve other health benefits too.
Iodine Deficiency Causes Low Thyroid
Low levels of iodine in your body can lead to a condition called hypothyroidism, the reduced production of hormones by the thyroid. Since these hormones fuel metabolism – and many other things – weight gain is a near certainty when levels fall critically low.
You see, iodine is necessary for hormone production in the thyroid, but the body can’t make iodine. That means you must get it from food or supplementation. The American Thyroid Association recognizes iodine deficiency as a condition that impacts the thyroid gland.
To learn everything you ever wanted to know about iodine and the thyroid, you can read the book Iodine: Why You Need It, and Why You Can’t Live Without It by Dr. David Brownstein, one of the pioneering researchers on the need for iodine today.
While some have scoffed at some of his claims, he has successfully rebutted them, as he did in one article he co-wrote and had published by Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients in 2005.
He mentions that medical predecessors from generations ago already knew about the connection between the thyroid and iodine. That’s the reason that small amounts of iodine are added to table salt in many countries. But why isn’t more made of this condition now?
The link with weight gain became evident when doctors came to understand the important role the thyroid plays in many vital life functions.
Iodine Deficiency Increases Toxic Halide Exposure
Iodine has some close relatives in the halide mineral family – including fluorine, bromine and chlorine – that are chemically similar to iodine and can attach to the iodine receptors throughout the body. But these chemical relatives don’t do you any good and keep iodine from having its positive effect.
When you suffer from halide uptake, your thyroid can’t get all the iodine it needs and you start to gain weight and experience other negative health impacts.
Halides like fluorine, bromine and chlorine are troublemakers, yet they’re found everywhere. Chlorine is actually added to drinking water, eventhough it:
• Kills good bacteria
• Mimics the impact of estrogen, and
• Causes weight gain by displacing iodine.
Fluoride – a chemical compound containing the element fluorine – is added to water to prevent tooth decay. But some scientists say that it causes depression as well as weight gain and should not be added to water anymore.
Dr. Stephen Peckham has written more than once about the harmful effects of fluoride and its modest impact on dental cavities, including in the Scientific World Journal.
Bromine, unfortunately, is in the soil in many places and is hard to avoid too.
But iodine supplementation can help overcome the impacts of these other halides. When iodine is fighting it out with these halides for your iodine receptors, more of it means a better chance of it winning.
Iodine Deficiency Symptoms
The New England Journal of Medicine has reported that “More Is Better” when it comes to iodine, but many of us are still deficient and not doing anything about it.
In addition to weight gain, here are some symptoms of iodine deficiency to watch out for:
• Enlargement of the thyroid, often called a goiter
• Depression, anxiety or other mental imbalances
• Mental retardation or autism of children when mothers have iodine deficiency during pregnancy
• Slowed brain functioning
• Slowing of metabolism (which leads to weight gain)
• Free-radical exposure that leads to lower immunity
• Anxiety and emotional turmoil
• Soreness or cysts in the breasts
• Decreased organ functioning creating toxicity in the body
• And more.
You may also experience exhaustion, digestion problems, muscle pain, swelling, skin reactions, brittle nails, hair loss and more.
If you have any of these symptoms along with your weight gain, you need to consider whether you have a serious iodine deficiency.
How To Reverse Iodine Deficiency
There’s no test for iodine levels in the body, but if you believe you may have an iodine deficiency at the heart of your weight gain and other symptoms, you can take the following actions to reverse it:
Reduce your halide exposure. That means filtering water and taking more care in what you eat. You can’t eliminate halide exposure, but you can reduce it.
Eat more foods that are rich in iodine. This includes cod, shrimp, lobster, sea vegetables, some organic cheeses and yogurts, cranberries and more.
Consider supplementing with kelp tablets. This brown sea algae is rich in many vital nutrients and appears to have health benefits beyond what has been discovered or studied. But this much is certain: it contains lots of iodine.
So how much kelp makes sense if you choose supplementation? You should consider choosing kelp tablets with 325 mcg iodine per tablet and slowly increase to up to four tablets a day – but not more.
While supplementing your iodine, be sure you take 200 mcg selenium each day to protect you from the adverse effects of too much iodine. If you have diagnosed thyroid disease, this is especially important.
An iodine deficiency could be at least partially to blame for your weight gain. The connection between this chemical element and a wide variety of health issues is proven.
When you don’t get enough iodine, you open the door to a range of health problems, including obesity. So why not try to include a bit more iodine in your life and see if you can lose weight?
And if you have some of the other symptoms of iodine deficiency besides weight gain, you’d better get started right away. Where your overall health is concerned, there’s no time to waste.