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Iodine Deficiency - a menace in human nutrition

Dr. John F. Thie, Chairman of the NCA Committee on Nutrition.

Author and presenter on Iodine Deficiency – a menace in human nutrition

Iodine deficiency, unfortunately, is not usually recognized in the human body until the appearance of simple goiter. Yet a deficiency of iodine is ubiquitous, more so than any other element, and if this lack is not overcome the patient cannot be expected to resume optimum health, regardless of what else is done for him. There should be, therefore, a better understanding of iodine need and why it exists, to avoid the menace of its deficiency in human nutrition.

More iodine is used in cattle feed than in human food, and this is in spite of the greater human population. It has been proved time and again that animal performance can be improved by large feedings of supplemental iodine. Race horses, as an example, which have never won a race became consistent winners after large, persistent iodine feedings.

The use of iodine in human nutrition is not of recent discovery. Records show that the Chinese used iodine-containing sea plants for goiter as far back as 1567 B.C. This is over 3500 years ago! Has its use been pushed into the background because of the more lucrative practice of selling antibiotics?

Modern iodine discovery is credited to the French chemist Courtois, who discovered it in 1812 while working with the ash of seaweed. It was given the name of iodine by Gay-Lussac after the Greek word meaning “violet” in recognition of the color of its vapor. Iodine was first used therapeutically in 1819 by Coindet of Geneva for goiter. Shortly after the use of iodine for treating goiter, it was tried on nearly every conceivable condition with some degree of success. Undesirable reactions, however, accompanied its use, mainly due to its being used in iodide form and because of other contaminations. With the development of new drugs, its use diminished, but not the need for it. In fact, its need increased.

Classical clinical symptoms of iodine deficiency are common and, unfortunately, are treated with thyroid substance by those who have not investigated the harm which arises from its use.

Symptoms which may indicate iodine lack in the body are, subjectively: general weakness, undue fatigue after effort, slowing of speech and movements, incoordination, vague muscular and neuralgic pains, paresthesia, oversensitivity to cold (as manifested by patient liking to sit quietly near the fire), cold hands and feet, perspiration diminished or stopped, lack of energy, mental sluggishness, sleepiness and loss of interest, disturbed intellect and memory, drowsiness, apathy, and even stupor.

Certain emotional disturbances may indicate iodine lack, such as attacks of depression or melancholia, interrupted by attacks of excitement, and psychotic features, such as delusions, hallucinations and paranoia.

Among the clinical signs are the characteristic alterations of the skin, nails and hair. The skin may be thickened, dry, rough and scaly (not to be mistaken for other deficiencies, such as vitamin A). It may b e infiltrated and adherent to the subcutis because of the deposition of a mucoid albuminous matter. This may be easily discovered in relation to the adjustive procedures because the cutaneous covering of the first thoracic is infiltrated with this mucoid, albuminous matter and it feels like a thickened pod of fat to the doctor palpating this area. The nails may be rigid and brittle, with slow growth, and having longitudinal rippling. The hair may be dry, coarse and lacking sheen. In some cases of iodine deficiency there is marginal alopecia and alopecia of the lateral eyebrows.

Tonsillar enlargement and/or impaired nasal breathing my indicate iodine lack. Diminution of taste, smell and salivation, a lack of thirst, anorexia, indigestion, flatulence, and constipation may also be among other symptoms indicating an iodine need. These few symptoms mentioned may indicate that this element is sadly lacking in our diet.

The seriousness of the inadequate natural supply of iodine in the USA has not been noted until recently. The health authorities seemed to think that iodized salt would supply the need. It has, however, been instrumental in delaying the appearance or development of acute symptoms of iodine deficiency. The use of iodized salt has not only its limitations, but also gives the false assurance that adequate iodine is being supplied. Even if this were a sufficient source, the various needs and appetites of individuals, along with seasonal variations in demand, would not supply sufficient iodine to everyone.

It should be remembered that the so-called iodine “minimum daily requirement” was set up when the total amount of iodine was thought to be contained in the thyroid gland. The fact is that the thyroid gland contains less than one-fifth of the total iodine in the body. It has now been established that the thyroid gland alone contains twenty to thirty milligrams of iodine and that iodine is present in every cell of the body. Even if the thyroid contained all the body’s iodine, the early calculation was erroneously on the low side. The amount of iodine excreted daily in the feces, the urine, and through the lungs and skin was also ignored. In addition, when the MDR was established, iodides were used as the source of iodine. In establishing the MDR they did not take into consideration smog, which is made up of hydrocarbons and other wastes of modern industry which destroy the air content of iodine. Formerly, much of the iodine in our diets was from that which was evaporated into the atmosphere from the ocean. With the advent of smog and wastes of modern production, iodine is destroyed before it reaches the ground. The chemicals in the air destroy the iodine before we can even have it available for human nutrition.

In times past, patients were sent to the seashore for relief of symptoms now recognizable as produced by an iodine deficiency. Today, even the people living at the seashore are deficient in iodine!

The treatment of iodine deficiency with supplemental iodine is the only satisfactory course of action. Stokes stated that it was necessary to give a million and a half times the minimum daily requirement to get the desired results in certain cases. It must be constantly kept in mind that each individual patient has his own iodine requirement, and it will require the full cooperation of the patient to get him well. It will be a full-time job for him, as each person has his own spinal pattern, so he has his own requirement of iodine, as well as other factors in food.

The Doctor of Chiropractic can make a spinal analysis without much help from the patient, but to determine the iodine requirements of any patient demands his full cooperation as to what results are obtained or not obtained when iodine is used. If the patient “feels nothing” from taking iodine, either he is not getting enough iodine, or it is not being used by his body. These facts must be known by the doctor so that he can manage the patient’s treatment accordingly.

Iodine therapy is often begun by using twenty-eight milligrams of iodine every two hours. If after two or three days the doctor notices no change in the patient and the patient has reported no change in the way that he is feeling, the doctor increases the dosage to twenty-eight milligrams every hour. When the patient notices a diminishing of symptoms and has a general feeling of well-being, described by some patients as a feeling of a “life,” then the amount of iodine is reduced. The amount of iodine given to patients depends on each individual case, and some cases may take only the twenty-eight milligrams of iodine every two hours for one day, when they begin to feel “like a million.” On the other hand, some patients have taken as much as 100 milligrams of a non-toxic iodine like IOSOL in one day before any symptoms manifested.

When the patient states that his symptoms are lessening and he is experiencing a “lift,” the dosage is reduced until he takes only enough iodine to get this “life” each day. If the patient does not experience a “lift” or has no remission of symptoms, now manifests any other symptoms, the dose of iodine is increased until some symptom does show itself. Some symptoms my indicate that the patient is not utilizing the iodine that is being administered. During this process of forcing the deficient body to accept iodine into the storage places of the body, particularly the glands of internal secretion, the patient must be closely observed and questioned for possible deficiency symptoms arising.

One of the most common deficiencies of the sedentary worker is that of a lack of protein in proportion to the carbohydrate and fat in the diet. This is further augmented by the iodine lack, causing an upsetting of the electrical balance of the body by administration of too much sodium and/or potassium. This upsetting of the electrical balance is the beginning of cellular malnutrition. Where cellular malnutrition exists, food is not completely broken down and cannot be properly synthesized in the liver.

Tissue building and rebuilding, therefore, is restricted, energy is reduced, toxic matter is increased, and deamination of amino acids is impaired with resultant accumulation of free nitrogen within the body. Ordinarily, free nitrogen should combine with sulfur, but in malnutrition, foods containing this element cannot be tolerated by the patient, and therefore there is generally a sulfur deficiency.

Feeding Sulphur without feeding sufficient iodine will not overcome the Sulphur deficiency! In all these cases there is an inability to utilize oxygen, and administering oxygen without at the same time feeding sufficient iodine, not iodide, will not make the desire change, and the combination, which should normally result in the formation of nitrogen with oxygen, does not occur.

On the left is the picture of the author this paper.

Dr. John F. Thie. He developed a lay program and sold over 1 million Touch for health books in seven languages. He was also the son of Dr. John C Thie, D.C., M.D. another author and chemist who is the founder of TPCS Distributors which began in 1945.

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