Cayce on the Critical Importance of Iodine
An article in the London Review of Books covers the history of how a few early 20th-century doctors figured out that a trace amount of iodine almost completely eliminated the Swiss people's tendency to goitre: A National Evil: Jonah Goodman on the curse of the goitre in Switzerland
Iodine is #53 on the Periodic Table of the Elements. It is the heaviest element that is required for human life. Our thyroids concentrate iodine from the blood to make thyroid hormones. Inadequate iodine causes the thyroid to enlarge itself - goitre - in an effort to increase the amount of iodine it can catch.
Scientific investigations of Switzerland's geographic history tells how the Swiss soils were depleted of iodine: the melting of glaciers caused most the iodine in Swiss soils to rinse out into the ocean.
Before transportation made it possible to eat foods from far away, people who lived in iodine-deficient regions only ate iodine-deficient foods.
Plants grown in soil with iodine will incorporate the element into its structures, but plants also grow in soils without much iodine. The difference between an iodine-rich peach from South Carolina and an iodine-deficient peach from Michigan is not apparent on visual inspection.
Other parts of the world have regions of iodine deficiency, similar to most of Switzerland. These areas are called 'goitre belts'. The iodine-deficient regions of the U.S. are the Great Lakes area, the Pacific Northwest and the Appalachian Mountains. 26-70% of children in these areas had enlarged thyroids. Salt iodization mostly eliminated goitres in these areas (ref: History of U.S. Iodine Fortification and Supplementation).
Iodine is a highly reactive substance. Thyroid hormones are proteins that our bodies use to transport iodine to where it needs to be. T4 thyroid - the storage version of the thyroid hormone - is made with 4 iodine atoms. The body activates T4 by stripping one of the iodine atoms, thereby turning T4 into T3. Most of this activation is done in the liver. T3 has the effect of boosting cells' metabolisms.
(People who are prescribed a bioidentical T4 supplement - Synthroid - but still have all the symptoms of thyroid deficiency are probably not activating their T4 hormone. These people might benefit from a source of T3 hormone: soup made with chicken neck, a supplement made with animal thyroids, or the T3 analogue prescription drug Cytomel [liothyronine].)
Edgar Cayce's readings often recommended iodine consumption:
Then we may begin with foods that carry the iodine, as much as can be assimilated. [337-1]
Cayce also cautioned about the toxic nature of iodine. Cayce gave a series of readings on the preparation of a non-toxic iodine supplement he called Atomidine. [The traditional Atomidine manufacturer disappeared. The ARE's "official supplier's" iodine supplement may or may NOT be a properly-made substitute for Atomidine.]
"Many years ago the readings indicated that iodine would be very beneficial to the system if the poison could be taken out of it. Information was given to several individuals as to how kelp, from which iodine is obtained, might be treated to make iodine non-poisonous. It was rather an expensive process, and the lack of faith on the part of the individuals prevented them from undertaking it. Only a few years ago a scientist working on the same proposition succeeded in preparing the product, which he called Atomidine." [951-1, Report]
A few servings of iodine-rich foods a week is enough to provide the iodine we need. Any food grown in soil with adequate iodine will provide small amounts of iodine. Seafood is the most reliable iodine-rich food. Dairy products and egg yolks can be assumed to have a measurable amount of iodine: without adequate iodine in their diets, cows don't produce much milk and chickens don't lay eggs. Modern dairy and egg farmers are sure to incorporate adequate iodine into their animals' feeds.
These paragraphs about the problems of mega-doses of iodine are especially important:
Hunziker [the Swiss doctor who researched iodine supplementation via salt -JK], by contrast, talked about [iodine] as a food, an essential part of everyday diet. This was a bewildering leap, and his claims about the [trace -JK] amount required were no less startling. Treatments in Swiss pharmacies might contain a daily dose of one gram of iodine [1g = 1,000 mg = 1,000,000 mcg -JK], but Hunziker argued that a ten-thousandth of this [0.0001g = 0.1 mg = 100 mcg] was all that was required, and that the Jod-Basedow effect (now known as iodine-induced hyperthyroidism, or IIH) was a sign of overdose.
Indeed, he claimed to have tested tiny doses for years, with no ill effects: during treatment [with trace amounts of iodine in salt -JK], goitre shrank; when treatment ceased, it returned. Goitre was not an alien growth or an infection, merely an enlarged thyroid. Hunziker addressed cretinism (now known as congenital iodine deficiency syndrome) with logic: in the rare instances when babies are born without a thyroid, they suffer only after birth, meaning that in utero they must use their mother’s thyroid hormones. Goitre-related birth defects – from deafness to cretinism – must therefore be due to the mother’s lack of iodine, probably in the first trimester. To end the ancestral curse, all the Swiss people needed was a tiny, daily dose of iodine delivered in an everyday commodity: table salt.
Sodium chloride is the perfect vehicle for iodine. We need a small amount of sodium every day in order to function, and, like iodine, we cannot create it in our bodies. Unlike iodine, sodium is something we crave. Yet our appetite is swiftly sated: people struggle to take the correct dose of pills or tonics, but they consume a remarkably consistent amount of salt. Just as important, iodine in such minute quantities does not change salt’s taste.
Years ago I found a study about how pregnant Thai women's urinary iodine levels were much better when they consumed seafood rather than just iodized salt.
Take care of yourself: canned seafood (oysters, clams, etc), dairy, egg yolks, and seaweeds (kelp) are inexpensive ways of providing yourself a minimal amount of iodine. Iodized salt is better than nothing: be sure to check the container's expiration date.
P.S. My brand of Cayce's iodine supplement is now back in stock: http://www.electriciodine.com/