Nearly 1 billion people worldwide are at risk for iodine deficiency disorders. These iodine deficiency disorders are a significant contributing factor as to why 3 to 8 percent of the general population will experience subclinical hypothyroidism. Iodine is essential to create thyroid hormone. It is stored in the thyroid gland and is released to create both T3 and T4.
There are three groups at risk for subclinical hypothyroidism from iodine deficiency according to the Office of Dietary Supplements National Institutes of Health Dietary Supplement Fact sheet. First, those that have limited access to iodized plants. Iodine levels in our soils have been depleted, which minimizes the transfer of iodine to plants in many areas, especially away from the seacoast. The second group is people who eat foods that contain goitroens. Goitrogens are foods that interfere with the absorption of iodine. Foods such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and other cruciferous vegetables are considered goitrogens in large quantities. The final group is people who don’t use iodized salt.
A purposeful change in our food supply in the 1950s decreased iodine consumption and also recent increases in estrogen dominance have lead to an increase in subclinical hypothyroidism. Back in the 1950s, bread makers used iodine to make the yeast rise. This had the unintended effect of providing people with an easy source of iodine in their diets. Then it was discovered that bromine could make yeast rise almost as well as iodine, but at a fraction of the cost. Bromine has also recently been found to block the iodine receptors on the thyroid, so we actually made things twice as bad for ourselves.
The other reason estrogen dominance causes subclinical hypothyroidism is estrogen competes for thyroid hormone binding sites. If you have too much estrogen, thyroid hormones can not bind to those binding sites, which create symptoms of hypothyroidism in the presence of ample amounts of thyroid hormone in the bloodstream. If you feel as if you are having excessive hair loss, dry skin, poor concentration, fatigue and unexplained weight gain, you might have a subclinical hypothyroid issue.
The best sources of iodine are sea based plants such as, seaweed and kelp. You must also be sure to have an ample source of selenium available to help with the absorption of the iodine. If selenium is not presently available, iodine can’t be loaded into the thyroid gland adequately.