Iodine for Hypothyroidism: Friend or Foe?

Iodine for hypothyroidism is a controversial topic, with experts on both ends of the spectrum arguing for and against its use. But if you have hypothyroidism, or know someone who does, it’s important to understand that iodine is often not a preferred form of treatment, and in many cases can make your condition worse.

Before we delve into why that is, you’re probably wondering about all of the good things you’ve heard about iodine, so allow us to explain…

Your Thyroid Needs Iodine to Function

Your body does not make iodine on its own, which means you must get it through your food. If you don’t get enough, you will be unable to make sufficient amounts of thyroid hormone.

Your thyroid depends on iodine to produce two hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). The numbers in these hormone names are actually a marker of how many iodine atoms are attached, with T4 containing 4 atom molecules, then releasing one to convert into T3, the hormone’s active form.

It’s estimated that 2 billion people worldwide — including 266 million school-age children — have insufficient iodine intake,[1] and the resulting iodine deficiency is, in fact, the most common cause of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) worldwide.

If you have an iodine-deficient diet then eating iodine-rich foods like seaweed and even supplementing with iodine can quickly help to remedy the problem… but it’s important to realize that in the United States iodine deficiency is not a major cause of hypothyroidism, and in many cases treating the condition with iodine is a major health disaster.

Iodine Deficiency is NOT a Major Cause of U.S. Hypothyroidism Cases

Iodine levels in food vary greatly depending on soil and seawater concentration of iodine. Because of this it can be difficult to get sufficient iodine from diet alone, especially if you live in an area with iodine-deficient soil. To remedy this, the United States adds iodine to most table salt, which means you’re not only getting extra iodine when you salt your food, but also when you eat processed foods, which are typically heavily salted with iodized salt.

Many animal feeds in the United States are also supplemented with iodine and as a result dairy products are also good food sources of this nutrient.

There have, however, been signs that iodine intakes in the United States have been dropping, possibly due to increased numbers of people cutting back on their salt intake, but data from the latest study available, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2004, suggests that most Americans are still getting enough.[2]

So, in the United States, iodine deficiency is not considered to be a major cause of hypothyroidism, except in specific at-risk groups, such as those who do not consume iodized salt (including that in processed foods), fish or seaweed, or women who are pregnant.

That said, cases of hypothyroidism are widespread in the United States, impacting nearly 4 percent of the population, [3] including 13 million who have not been diagnosed and are unaware they have the condition. [4]

If iodine deficiency is not the problem, then what is?

The Most Common Cause of Hypothyroidism in the United States

Hypothyroidism in the United States is most often the result of an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or Hashimoto’s disease, which causes your immune system to mistakenly attack, and destroy, the thyroid.

The disease typically begins with inflammation of your thyroid gland (thyroiditis) that over time impairs the ability of your thyroid to produce enough hormones, and eventually leads to underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism.

The exact causes of Hashimoto’s are unknown, but it’s likely the result of a combination of factors including:

  • A virus or bacteria that triggers the response
  • Genetics/family history
  • Gender (women are more likely to have Hashimoto’s)
  • Other environmental factors

However, and this is an important point, excess iodine may also worsen the condition.

Increasing Iodine May Worsen Hypothyroidism

There’s no arguing that iodine is a crucial nutrient for your body… but in the case of hypothyroidism, more is not always better.

Studies show that giving iodine to people who had adequate or excessive iodine intake could actually trigger hypothyroidism and autoimmune thyroiditis.

Research also suggests that iodine actually increases the activity of the thyroid peroxidase (TPO) enzyme, and increased antibodies to this enzyme are common in Hashimoto’s patients. It is the interaction between the TPO enzyme and the antibodies that leads to inflammation and destruction of the thyroid. In other words, too much iodine can actually make Hashimoto’s worse.

Remember, since most hypothyroidism cases in the United States are due to Hashimoto’s disease, NOT iodine deficiency, this study could apply to you…

Be Very Careful if Your Health Care Practitioner Automatically Recommends Iodine for Hypothyroidism

Many health care practitioners in the United States do not understand the complexities of thyroid function and will routinely recommend iodine supplements for people with hypothyroidism. This approach will, unfortunately, be detrimental for some.

If you are truly deficient in iodine, then supplementation or increased dietary intake is necessary. But if not, additional iodine will most likely only trigger or worsen your thyroid troubles.

So if your health care practitioner recommends iodine supplementation without any real evidence that you’re deficient, it’s a red flag to take note of. A second opinion from a practitioner who understands the complex role of iodine in hypothyroidism — and can discuss with you its benefits versus risks — is likely warranted.

References

1. Food and Nutrition Bulletin 2008 Sep;29(3):195-202.

2. Thyroid. 2008 Nov;18(11):1207-14.

3. Thyroid. 2007 Dec;17(12):1211-23.

4. Archives of Internal Medicine 2000;160:526-534.

Top 50 Iron Rich Foods – Boost Your Energy and Beat Low Iron Symptoms

Increasing your intake of iron rich foods should not be too difficult. All it takes is for you to know which of the foods you eat are rich in iron, and start planning your meals accordingly. Sadly, the extent of most people’s knowledge, when it comes to iron and iron rich foods, is just too limited.

 

For a quick read on where to start you can read our article on Foods with an Iron Punch, but here we’ll give a much more in depth overview of the best iron Rich Foods complete with their Iron content.

 

The data has been extracted from the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 22 from September 2009 which contains all the nutritional data for well over 7,000 food items. Unfortunately you can’t just download the database and do a quick sort on Iron content to give you the best Iron Rich Foods. Actually you can, but the problem is that the list you get won’t be very helpful in your daily life as the top items would be things like freeze dried parsley, dried thyme, beluga meat, cumin seed and all kinds of other foods you wouldn’t eat in large enough quantities to help you load up on Iron.

 

We have done the hard work for you and have carefully reviewed the USDA database and compiled this list of Top 50 Iron Rich Foods and have listed them by category so you know that when you eat meat what meat to choose, when you buy vegetables what to put in your shopping cart and when you need a quick snack what can help you boost your iron intake in just a few minutes.

 

This list is not a complete list of the iron content of all possible food items – if you don’t see it here it just means it isn’t particularly high on Iron.

 

Eat these Iron Rich Foods, combine them with Iron Absorption Enhancers, avoid Iron Absorption Inhibitors and you’ll be well on your way to boost your Iron levels and get rid of those Low Iron Symptoms!

 

Breakfast Cereals

Fortified breakfast cereal is one of your best bets to boost your Iron intake and below is a short list of some of them. As you can see eating just a single serving of these will give you around 18 mg Iron, but bear in mind that the typical absorption rate of a healthy adult is only approximately 10% to 15% of dietary iron. So drink a glass of Orange juice with your cereal to boost your absorption. Also, bear in mind that the last two items in this last are dry, i.e. before you have added milk or water to them!

  • Ralston Enriched Bran Flakes: 27 mg/cup
  • Kellog’s Complete Oat Bran Flakes: 25 mg/cup
  • General Mills Multi-Grain Cheerios: 24 mg/cup
  • Kellog’s All-Bran Complete Wheat Flakes: 24 mg/cup
  • Malt-O-Meal, plain, dry: 92 mg/cup
  • Cream of Wheat, instant, dry: 51 mg/cup

Meat

Red meat is high on iron and it comes in the heme form you body most easily absorbs; typically 15% to 35% of heme iron is absorbed by your body. Organ meats are the best sources of iron within the meat category and of these liver is probably the most popular so we’ve included it the list since we don’t know too many people who’ll eat spleen or lungs we’ve excluded these kinds of organs. If you like liver then go for goose liver expensive, but very nice! or at least opt for pork liver instead of beef liver. When you opt for red meat in your diet add some less standard options like Emu, Ostrich or Duck instead of beef.

  • Goose liver, raw: 31 mg / 100g
  • Pork liver, cooked: 18 mg / 100g
  • Chicken liver, cooked: 13 mg / 100g
  • Lamb liver, cooked: 10 mg / 100g
  • Beef liver, cooked: 7 mg / 100g
  • Emu, cooked: 7 mg / 100g
  • Ostrich oyster, cooked: 5 mg / 100g
  • Quail meat, raw: 5 mg / 100g
  • Duck breast, raw: 5 mg / 100g
  • Beef, steak, cooked: 4 mg / 100g
  • Beef, ground, cooked: 3 mg / 100g

Fish and Shellfish

Fish is not often considered as a good source of iron and most finfish is indeed not, only the oily fish like mackerel and sardines provide you with a decent amount of iron. So when you want to eat fish, opt for oily fish which gives you the most iron and is high in omega-3 too. When you add shellfish into the equation suddenly we find some of the best Iron Rich Foods you can find, especially clams think clam chowder. A quick comparison with the meat category shows that octopus or cuttlefish beat all the regular meats in terms of iron content and are only outdone by liver. So, it’s time to add some stir fried squid to your weekly menu.

  • Clams, canned, drained solids: 28 mg / 100g
  • Clams, cooked: 28 mg / 100g
  • Fish caviar, black and red: 12 mg / 100g
  • Cuttlefish, cooked: 11 mg / 100g
  • Octopus, cooked: 10 mg / 100g
  • Oyster, medium sized, cooked: 10 mg / 100g
  • Anchovy, canned in oil: 5 mg / 100g
  • Shrimp, cooked: 3 mg / 100g
  • Sardine, canned in oil: 3 mg / 100g
  • Mackerel, cooked: 2 mg / 100g

Vegetables

Vegetables are an essential part of your diet, full of essential nutrients and most people don’t eat enough of them, but when it comes to Iron most vegetables are not too hot. If you choose your vegetables carefully then can use vegetables to help you boost your iron levels, especially if you include some iron absorption enhancers in your diet as the non-heme iron in vegetables is not easily absorbed by your body. Vegetables in the Top 50 Iron Rich Foods include various beans, potato skins, tomatoes and green leafy vegetables like spinach, chard and parsley. Chili con carne, which combines meat, kidney beans and tomato sauce, makes an excellent Iron Rich Recipe, but so does a white bean salad with plenty of fresh parsley and light vinaigrette.

  • Mushrooms, morel, raw: 12 mg / cup
  • Tomatoes, sun-dried: 5 mg / cup
  • Potato skins, baked: 4 mg / skin
  • Parsley, raw: 4 mg / cup
  • Soybeans, boiled: 9 mg / cup
  • Spinach, boiled, drained: 6 mg / cup
  • Tomato sauce, canned: 9 mg / cup
  • Lentils, boiled: 7 mg / cup
  • Hearts of palm, canned: 5 mg / cup
  • White Beans, canned: 8 mg / cup
  • Kidney beans, boiled: 5 mg / cup
  • Chickpeas, boiled: 5 mg / cup
  • Pinto Beans, frozen, boiled: 3 mg / cup
  • Lima beans, boiled: 4 mg / cup
  • Hummus, commercial: 6 mg / cup
  • Swiss Chard, boiled, chopped: 4 mg / cup
  • Asparagus, canned: 4 mg / cup
  • Chickpeas, canned: 3 mg / cup
  • Tomatoes, canned: 3 mg / cup
  • Sweet potato, canned, mashed: 3 mg / cup
  • Endive, raw: 4 mg / head

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are great Iron Rich Foods in that they have a pretty high iron content and are so versatile that you can eat them in many ways. A quick snack on some cashew nuts is filling, healthy and gives plenty of iron – tasty too! Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds can be easily toasted and added to a salad for a nice crunch and an iron boost. Sesame seeds are used in a variety of Asian dishes and all of these can be used in baking or as a quick addition to your breakfast cereal. Just make sure you always have some in the house and you’ll soon find many ways to add them into your day-to-day food.

  • Sesame seeds, whole, dried: 21 mg/cup
  • Pumpkin seeds and squash seed kernels, dried: 11 mg/cup
  • Sunflower seed kernels, toasted: 9 mg/cup
  • Cashew nuts, dry roasted, halves and whole: 8 mg/cup
  • Pistachio nuts, dry roasted: 5 mg/cup
  • Almonds, whole kernels, blanched: 5 mg/cup

Fruit

Fresh fruit is not rich in Iron, but dried fruit like apricots, peaches or prunes are great Iron Rich Snacks to eat in between meals or to add to various recipes. The one thing you must remember about fresh fruit is that most of it contains a lot of Vitamin C and since Vitamin is an Iron Absorption Enhancer eating fresh fruit or vegetables high in Vitamin C with your meal can greatly boost the amount of iron your body actually absorbs.

  • Apricots, dehydrated low-moisture: 8 mg/cup
  • Peaches, dehydrated low-moisture: 6 mg/cup
  • Prunes, dehydrated low-moisture: 5 mg/cup
  • Olives, canned jumbo: 0.3 mg / olive
  • Currants, dried: 5 mg/cup
  • Apricots, dried, sulfured, uncooked: 4 mg/cup
  • Blueberries, canned: 7 mg/cup

Iron Rich Snacks

Apart from the nuts and dried fruit there are quick and easy Iron Rich Snacks which you can simply buy in the supermarket and use as a instant Iron Booster. Below or some examples, but if you’re planning to buy some bars or drinks then you need to remember to check the nutrition labels on the actual products you buy as the actual Iron content can vary greatly from brand to brand and even from product to product within the same brand.

  • Nestle Supligen, canned supplement drink 9 mg / can
  • Snickers Marathon Honey Nut Oat Bar: 8 mg / bar
  • Snickers Marathon Double Chocolate Nut Bar 8 mg / bar
  • Snickers Marathon Multigrain Crunch Bar: 8 mg / bar
  • Pretzels, soft: 6 mg / large
  • Trail mix, regular: 3 mg / cup

Eggs:

Dairy products are not high in Iron, but do contain a lot of calcium and calcium has been known to act as a Iron Absorption Inhibitor so you should try and eat calcium rich foods separate from your Iron Rich Foods as much as possible. Eggs are not too high in Iron, but egg yolks are not too bad and if you can find fresh goose eggs they could be used in a great Iron Rich Breakfast!

  • Goose Egg, whole: 5 mg / egg
  • Egg yolk, raw: 7 mg iron / cup
  • Egg, scrambled: 3 mg iron / cup

The Benefits of Good Sleep Posture

The more seasoned I turn into, the I welcome the requirement for good stance. Why? since as I develop more established, I all the more effortlessly endure the results of terrible stance. I have likewise found that great stance applies to numerous things other than strolling and sitting. Great stance likewise applies to dozing!

Gone are the days when I could just fall into bed at any point or condition of strip and accomplish a condition of soothing rest. Today, on the off chance that I do don’t rests in bed legitimately, I risk a solid neck, a sore back, or even a “granddaddy” leg spasm amidst the night!

Luckily, for individuals like me, there is help accessible as help cushions. These new items are accessible today in an astounding assortment of shapes, sizes, and capacities. Essentially, these cushions place us in a decent body position as we rests, and keep us in position after we nod off. Furthermore, individuals with extraordinary necessities may require a pad that give a particular sort of help.

The fundamental undertaking of a pad is to help our head and neck amid rest. In the event that this sort of help is all we require then a customary cushion will carry out the activity. The material used to produce this cushion ought to be agreeable, yet strong. New, “adaptable foam” material is utilized to create pads today that can convey unrivaled solace and support.

Another imperative thought of rest act is the neck, shoulders, and spine territory. A decent cushion should adjust the neck and spine legitimately, however a customary pad may not be satisfactory. Previously, I have attempted to remunerate by utilizing two cushions and modifying them for greatest solace. Today, uniquely outlined cushions are accessible that help the head, neck, shoulders and spine. The outcome is no morning solidness and enhanced flow in the neck and arms.

Breathing is another capacity that is straightforwardly influenced by your rest act. Contingent upon your age and weight, their breathing pathway can wind up limited amid rest. This is particularly valid for those that lie on their back amid rest. The outcome can be wheezing. Rest apnea is a genuine condition in which a man quits relaxing for drawn out stretches of time while they rest. There are diverse restorative medications for rest apnea, even surgery. In any case, an appropriately outlined cushion may help a man’s breathing pathway and decrease the seriousness of the issue.

Our rest stance may incidentally need to changed in the event that we been physically stung. Pregnant ladies likewise may have exceptional requirements amid rest. A harmed arm or leg may should be raised amid rest. After I had harmed my back, I could rest regularly by raising my head with a wedge pad, and lifting my legs with a pad under my knees. Numerous sorts of wedge and bolster pads are accessible today to give this exceptional help. Obviously, you generally look for and take after the guidance of a specialist in the event that you are managing a medicinal issue.