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Thursday, May 26, 2011

2: Iodine and Breast Health

Last week I talked about how iodine radically reduced my anxiety. Well, now I became a diehard fan, and I continued to read dozens of articles about this essential nutrient. I came across many things that it affects in the body, and as I did, I thought of friends who might benefit from this supplement.

One dear girlfriend—I’ll call her Sonja—had been diagnosed with a brain tumour a year earlier. She had surgery, which was scary enough, and then just when it seemed she would be okay, she developed blood clots in her left lung, a side-effect from the surgery, and she almost died. And although the surgeon had got most of the tumour, because it was attached to the optic nerve and was already impairing her vision, he’d had to leave a little, and there was concern about it growing back.

I had read that iodine is a natural blood-thinner and also that there is some indication that it can have an anti-tumoral effect. I knew, too, that Sonja had cysts on her thyroid and had been on Synthroid since her surgery. Any issue with the thyroid causes me to think “iodine.” So these 3 concerns together prompted me to tell Sonia of my findings. She was eager to give it a try: bought some Lugol’s Solution and began taking 2 or 3 drops a day.

It wasn’t quite 3 weeks later that she phoned one morning, over the moon with excitement. “I had to call you,” she said. “I was just in the shower and I was doing my monthly BSE [this is a Breast Self-Exam, not to be confused with the phenomenon that almost decimated the Canadian beef industry a few years ago]. You don’t know this about me,” Sonja went on, “but I have one breast that has been fibroid all my adult life [about 30 years]. I always have cysts; I am considered high-risk for breast cancer, and I have to go for an ultra-sound once a year. So I was checking this breast and there are NO CYSTS! And the texture of the whole breast has always been pebbly throughout, but now it’s all smooth.”

“And you think this is from the iodine?” I asked.

“It has to be,” she said firmly. “I haven’t done anything else different. I am now so hopeful that it’s going to help some of my other issues.”

I was thrilled for her but not totally surprised: I had read over and over again that iodine will resolve fibrocystic breast disease. But it should have taken 2 or 3 times as much iodine as she’d been taking, and 3 months, not 3 weeks.

Sufficient iodine is also vital for ovary and prostate health and for reproductive function in general. Iodine deficiency can contribute to infertility. Although the thyroid prefers potassium iodide (KI), the sex organs thrive on elemental iodine (I). Fortunately Lugol’s Solution contains both.

The research of Dr. Jonathan Wright indicates that iodine supplementation can help balance the three estrogens in a woman’s body (estrone, estradiol and estriol). He has discovered also that it helps the body metabolize estrogens to form estriol, the safest estrogen. He explains that iodine resolves fibrocystic breast disease (and ovarian cysts as well) partly because of how iodine interacts with estrogen. (Iodine Remedies: Secrets from the Sea, Dr. Chris Robin, Pages 40, 113, 114.) Awash as our world now is in harmful estrogens, from the growth hormones in our meat and dairy supply to the xenoestrogens (“xeno” meaning “foreign”) that leech from the plastics in which we store our food, it’s tremendously comforting to know that God has provided a nutrient that helps to turn the tide.

Back to my friend: Sonja was on blood thinners for eight months and has now been off them for a year. So far there have been no more problems in this department. The last time she had a mammogram, the technician confirmed that there was a pronounced difference in the texture of the tissue. And the last check-up with the surgeon showed that the remains of the tumour had reduced in size. Mind you, Sonja had some radiation too, so we do not presume what role, if any, the iodine played in this. But she fully credits Lugol’s with her breast health. She still takes 2 drops daily, which costs her just over a penny a day.

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