June 05, 2015 | John Paul Catanzaro
Iodine is necessary for thyroid hormone production. You eat iodine-rich foods, like cod fish, tuna, eggs, yogurt, cranberries, strawberries, baked potatoes, and even seaweed occasionally when you go for sushi, and you get some iodine in your multivitamin every day so you’re covered, right? Well, it’s not that simple. Take a look at the periodic table above. You’ll notice that flourine (F), chlorine (Cl), and bromine (Br) fall on the same column as iodine (I). That can be a problem. Here’s how I would explain it to a child.
Let’s say that you have a bunch of good kids that go to school every day. These kids get excellent marks, they’re on various student committees, they play intramural sports, and they perform various chores for the teachers. They’re basically very active at school. Consider these kids as iodine molecules and the activities they perform as metabolism. By the way, this elementary school is called “Thyroid” and it’s located in the northern part of town.
Now, you also have a bunch of bullies that attend the school. These kids are lazy, they don’t do much. In fact, they don’t even go inside the school. They just hang around outside and cause trouble. Think of these kids as flourine, chlorine, and bromine elements.
Every day the school bus comes to pick up the kids for school. There’s only so much room on the bus, however. If there are a lot of bullies hanging around, they’re going to grab most of the seats and there won’t be much room for the good kids. With less good kids on the bus, less good kids make it to school, and less activity occurs at the school.
You can have all the good kids in the world waiting for the bus, but if those bullies hop on the bus first, the good kids don’t make it to school. So where do these bullies come from and how can we get rid of them?
Fluorine and its compounds can be found in plastics, light bulbs, air conditioning and refrigeration units, drinking water, and toothpaste.
Of course, we all know that chlorine is used to produce so-called “safe” drinking water and to disinfect swimming pools, but it’s also widely used in making many everyday products, such as paper products, dyestuffs, textiles, petroleum products, medicines, antiseptics, insecticides, food, solvents, paints, plastics, and many other consumer products.
Bromine is used in making fumigants, flameproofing agents, water purification compounds, dyes, medicinals, sanitizers, films, plates, and printing papers for photography, and bromine residues can be found in foodstuffs such as cereals, vegetables, milk, beef, and lamb.
Take-home message: flourine, chlorine, and bromine will all compete with iodine in your body. If you want to stop the “bullying” and optimize your thyroid function, avoid tap water, chlorinated pools, fluoride toothpaste, bleached products (such as coffee filters or tea bags), plastics, and non-organic milk, vegetables, and meat.