while at school this past weekend, in my Vitamin and Supplement module, we did a really interesting experiment, with Iodine! Now if you have an allergy to iodine, you could not partake in this one, but if you don't, you should try it sometime.
We applied a small patch of Iodine to our arm, allowed it to dry, and then waited, watched, and waited some more.. Why? Well, it is a great way to see if your body is low in Iodine. If over time, the patch fades, it means your body is absorbing the Iodine because the levels are low in your body! It will disburse through the skin, and continue to get lighter over time. Now obviously, you will not want to scrub it with soap and water during this time, so you can get an accurate conclusion.
I decided that this experiment would make a great blog post, so I took pictures at certain time marks, so I would have them to share with all of you!
Take a look... these are my results!
I think that I may have needed that Iodine!
Like most people I know, I was not to familiar with the essential reasons why we should have the recommended amount of Iodine in our bodies.
What is it essential for? How do we include more of it in our daily intake?
Well Iodine is essential for normal metabolism, growth and development as it is a component of thyroid hormones. If you are deficient in Iodine, that could lead to some issues such as hypothyroidism, goiter, and cretinism. It could also play a part in fibrocystic breast disease.
WOW! Iodine kind of plays an important role in our bodies...
So what are some good sources we can get iodine from? Well we can eat vegetables that are grown in iodine rich soil, iodized salt, seafood, and milk are some good sources. However, the iodine content of our soil that are vegetables are grown in, vary with location. And the truth is, the soil that we use to grow in today, is sadly not as nutrient rich in any of the vitamins or minerals we need to have optimum nutrition.
So I dove a little deeper, in a great reference book I have from school, "The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements & Herbs", by Nicola Reavley, to do some more research.
We need Iodine, we naturally have between 20-50 mg of iodine in our bodies... but what I found interesting is that over 60% of that is concentrated in our thyroid gland. The rest is in the thyroid hormones in our blood, ovaries, and muscles.
Huh... that may start to explain a few things for me personally...just thinking out loud...
So I kept digging...
Thyroid hormones are vital for growth and development of all organs, especially the brain, reproductive organs, bones, skin, hair, nails, nerves, and teeth. Our thyroid is a important factor in manufacturing our protein, it is involved with cholesterol synthesis, carbohydrate absorption as well as the conversion of carotene to vitamin A. It is a vital part of regulating body weight.
Iodine is a component of the thyroid hormones triiodothyronin and thyroxin, they determine the metabolic rate of the body! This also affects the body's conversion of food into energy, as well as the way energy is used.
Well, I don't know about you... but I'm beginning to think that Iodine is way more valuable then I ever knew! It helps support the proper function of the thyroid, which in turn helps keep our bodies in a state of balance, over all.
Can I supplement Iodine?
Well, I would always say that like anything else, prior to starting anything new with vitamins, minerals, or supplements, I would suggest you confer with your physician. Because we are all individual, have different needs, health conditions, medications, and situations that may need special attention. You can always ask for certain tests to see if you are deficient in any vitamins, or minerals. They can even check to see if your thyroid is functioning efficiently. (I do have my own personal opinions about that particular thyroid testing, that's for another post!)
However, with that being said.. Iodine supplements come in various forms such as calcium iodide, ammonium iodide, potassium iodide, and kelp. If you are anything like I am, I am really not a big fish eater (and when I say that, I mean I do not eat any form of fish!) You may benefit from a supplement. The recommended dietary allowances are 150micrograms (mcg) for men & woman. If you are pregnant it states 175mcg, lactating, 200mcg. Too much of a good thing, is not always good. Dietary intake, including food sourced and supplemental sources of Iodine should never exceed 1000mcg daily for any extended amount of time.
Know your supplements, know the quality, and know what your body needs!! I am happy to help answer any questions you may have, if I don't have the answer, I can help guide you to someone who may be able to help!
Janice Robinson, CCHC