Most of the toxins we ingest are in things that we can’t control — you’re not going to stop eating or stop breathing — because the foods we eat and the air we breathe contain toxic elements and heavy metals. However, when these toxic substances make their way into our body they can lead to poor health and diseases like cancer. Though you may not be able control all the toxins that get into your body day to day, you can find ways to remove them.
That’s where iodine comes in. This often overlooked mineral is essential to good health and can help cleanse your body. Below are a few ways it can be a detoxifying agent and improve your health, plus ways to get more iodine that aren’t iodized salt.
We take in many toxins and heavy metals from the world, whether it be in the air we breathe, the water we drink, or the food we eat. Things like pesticides, chlorine, fluoride, bromine, and other harmful toxins can work their way into our bodies. These substances interfere with the body’s endocrine system, which can result in hormones and hormonal processes going haywire.
The good news is that iodine can help remove toxins from the body. Iodine, along with things like bromine and chlorine, is part of the halogen family of elements, and when levels are low, many of these other halogens can flood receptor sites and crowd out iodine. But when you get enough iodine, the opposite happens: Iodine prevents the body from absorbing unwanted halogens.
Iodine is also great for the removal of heavy metals; it can bind to metals like aluminum and mercury and remove them from your system.
Iodine is essential for proper thyroid function, because it is needed to produce vital thyroid hormones. Your body can’t produce it on its own, so it needs to be part of your diet. Someone who is deficient might have an enlarged thyroid (goiter) or hypothyroidism. For someone with low thyroid hormones, supplementing iodine may be helpful in improving thyroid function. Meeting your daily requirement can also help improve thyroid function by removing toxins from the thyroid. Though most of our bodies can tolerate higher levels in our diets, those with hyperthyroidism should watch out for foods with too much.
Better Kidney and Liver Function
Because of iodine’s ability to improve thyroid function, it can also have somewhat of an indirect effect on improving the functions of the liver and kidneys. Low amounts of thyroid hormones, which may occur if you are deficient can lead to various diseases of the liver. Similarly, low amounts of T3, a thyroid hormone made partially out of iodine, can lead to chronic kidney disease.
How to Get More Iodine
Because of the risks that come with too much iodine, I usually recommend adding it to your diet through organic sea vegetables, like dulse, kelp, seaweed, and algae; leafy greens; eggs; and berries such as organic strawberries, blueberries, and cranberries and see how you feel.
If you are concerned about being deficient, get your levels tested. You can even do this at home with a skin test or an iodine-loading test. Also I suggest testing your levels of fluoride and bromide.
Elissa Goodman is an L.A.-based holistic nutritionist and lifestyle cleanse expert. Learn more at elissagoodman.com.