Why did the USDA remove iodine from its Food Composition Database?

If you wait for someone else or for your government to hand you a survival kit, then you may be waiting a while and sometimes people are already too sick to be able to wait much longer. For some hard to understand reason a life saving tool was taken away from the U.S. public that had been available for a long time.

We in the U.S. used to have life saving information available to us which was removed – if that happened in North Korea would we be concerned? Food sources of iodine were included in the USDA Food Composition Database in 2010 and 2011 and now the information is no longer included even though many, many other chemicals are included that aren’t even considered essential vitamins or minerals. Iodine is a trace mineral that is considered essential and it helps prevent neurological deficits in children, may have to do with risk of autism, obesity and apathy. (ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/nutrients/index)

The current nutrient guideline for iodine is based on a goal to prevent goiter which is a physical symptom of very severe iodine deficiency. Patients who are treated with a short term loading dose of extra iodine, a dose that would be too much if continued long term, report on average a significant reduction in symptoms including pain from Fibrocystic Breast Disease, migraines and fibromyalgia. http://www.jpands.org/vol11no4/millerd.pdf Fibrocystic Breast Disease – painful breasts that may cycle with the monthly hormonal changes, used to be very uncommon for U.S. women and is now very common:

“The incidence of fibrocystic breast disease in American women
was 3 percent in the 1920s. Today, 90 percent of women have this
disorder…” http://www.jpands.org/vol11no4/millerd.pdf

I am familiar with the condition, it hurt, taking a high dose iodine supplement did help relieve me of the cyclic breast pain and coincidentally also may have helped resolve a severe migraine problem that I had and undiagnosed fibromyalgia type pain – the insurance requirements for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia are very specific and my set of muscle knots didn’t match the criteria at the time I was having pain. A gluten free diet seemed to help me feel better so I just followed that on my own initiative. I have since learned that chemically the gluten molecule is quite similar to the thyroid hormone and for some people an autoimmune reaction may be causing the body to become over-sensitized to both gluten and the thyroid hormone. Strictly avoiding the dietary allergen (gluten in this example) can help the body to become less over-reactive to the body’s natural chemicals (thyroid hormone in this example). Molecular mimicry is the term used to describe this phenomenon if interested in reading more about it.

A randomized clinical trial with patients reporting breast pain also termed Benign Breast Disease or cyclic mastalglia or Fibrocystic Breast Disease found that pain was reduced for patients treated with double the current RDA of iodine or greater but that relief was not provided for the group who received a dose equal to the current U.S. nutrient guideline. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15239792

Benign Breast Disease or Fibrocystic Breast Disease has not generally been found to be directly a risk for later breast cancer however for some patients (~ 5%-20%) it may be an early indicator of later risk.  Abstract available, full text paywall, so I’m not sure of the details regarding the results: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25970956

An overview of a variety of research on the topic of breast health and iodine and halide toxicity, bromine, perchlorates, and fluoride, is available here: https://kathleenbarnes.com/iodine-and-fibrocystic-breasts-and-breast-cancer/

Excess perchlorate, especially in combination with low iodine, may increase risk to fetal brain development. https://scienmag.com/mothers-exposed-to-common-toxin-have-lower-levels-of-hormone-crucial-for-brain-development/

PTSD outbursts is about a domino pattern of behavior that is triggered by the first domino being bumped. Being offended is something that has nothing to do with PTSD. A few tips for helping reduce symptoms of PTSD, a physical brain issue involving overactive fear response, is available here: https://www.organicfacts.net/post-traumatic-stress.html

Prenatal care is important to think about once the infant is conceived but it can be even better to think about before trying to conceive. An evaluation for iodine level and thyroid antibodies can be a good idea for anyone but may also be helpful for a future infant’s brain development.

This image has nothing to do with being offended or being triggered – it is about potentially health and life saving information being withheld from the U.S. population. Why withhold it? What is the USDA goal in removing a large amount of data from a health professional’s and individual’s toolkit for providing accurate preventative health education? Why take away information from a toolkit when it had been available?

Where’s the iodine?

Iodine food sources include:

  • anything made with iodized salt,
  • many types of seaweed including kelp and nori, (used in sushi rolls),
  • coconut and any other produce that is grown very near to ocean waters (Iodine is released into the air by coastal water microbes – so killing coral reeves may affect our nutrient supply – that is also how we get selenium.)
  • cranberries, organic yogurt, and navy beans and other types of dry beans are also mentioned as good sources of iodine in this article: (globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/iodine-foods/).

It is good to have adequate selenium when increasing intake of iodine as occasionally the body can overreact and start over producing thyroid hormone and selenium is necessary for the enzyme that is needed to breakdown excess amounts of thyroid hormone. It is involved in metabolism and too little can cause depression and feeling cold and too much can cause a racing heart and feeling jittery and manic.

Two hundred micrograms per day is the recommended amount and is generally available in a one-a-day type supplement, otherwise approximately two Brazil nuts per day is a good natural source – there aren’t many natural sources because it is released into the atmosphere by coastal ocean water microbes and the rainforest Brazil nut trees seem to be good at collecting the mineral – we live in a miracle – we should treat it like a miracle – I like to call the miracle Mother Earth – she birthed us all.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Apathy at the population level may be a symptom of hypothyroidism

An increase in the number of people at the population level who have symptoms of apathy [1] and low sex drive [2] could be due to an increase the number of people who have a thyroid problem whether the problem is due to iodine deficiency or from other causes. There is more research available about iodine deficiency as a cause of hypothyroidism but there has also been research suggesting that an excess of goitrogens may also cause epidemic levels of thyroid problems. Cassava is an example of a goitrogenic food that has affected large numbers of people in areas where it is frequently consumed. Iodine supplementation can help against the effects of many goitrogens which can “include sulfur-bearing organic compounds, industrial pollutants, and artificial and bacterial contaminants of water.” And protein-energy malnutrition and vitamin A deficiency may affect iodine status. [1]

Radioactive iodine may also affect thyroid health. And exposure to radioactive iodine may be affecting more people than is recognized. The mind is connected to the body after all, so looking for physical reasons for mental health symptoms makes more sense to me than assuming that apathy and sexless relationships have simply become the new normal for a significant percentage of people. Fatalism is a term being used to describe the attitude being exhibited by many Japanese young adults. [3] But the term fatalism might also just be a new way to describe apathy.

In a report released in 2013, the Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey found that more than 40 percent of the Japanese children living in the area showed evidence
of thyroid nodules or cysts. None of the children were found to have thyroid cancer. Thyroid hormone status was not mentioned. [4] The presence of nodules or cysts is not uncommon according to other studies, and have been found at a frequency of 67% in some research; the importance of assessing for iodine deficiency was mentioned in the abstract. [6]

Before Fukushima there was Hiroshima and Nagasaki. [5] It’s sad to consider the possibility of large numbers of people being affected by a chronic health condition but I also find the idea sad that fatalism might be affecting large numbers of people. Having a fatalistic mood seems far less treatable than having an actual physical condition. Thyroid hormone replacement might be possible if hypothyroidism is diagnosed. Infants who are born with congenital hypothyroidism can develop normally if the condition is diagnosed early and the infant receives adequate thyroid hormone or iodine depending on the reason for the hypothyroidism. If infants with congenital hypothyroidism are left undiagnosed and untreated then they are more at risk to grow to a shorter height and have a lower IQ than typical.

Iodine supplements can help protect against radioactive iodine if taken before damage to the thyroid has occurred but too much iodine may be harmful if hyperthyroidism is a risk. See a health professional if concerned about iodine or thyroid status. Lab tests are available to assess iodine and thyroid hormone levels and whether there are thyroid autoimmune antibodies present.

Being able to see a medical doctor about a physical condition might get more effective results than seeing a psychiatrist about fatalism if the apathetic mood is actually a mental health symptom that is being caused by a physical condition.

/Disclaimer This information is provided for educational purposes and is not intended to provide individual health care. Please see a health professional for individualized health care./