Written by Dr. David Brownstein
A recent study found higher levels of free T3 (a thyroid hormone) as well as thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin antibodies in patients with breast cancer when compared to healthy controls. (1) Nearly one in seven (14%) U.S. women have breast cancer. Thyroid disorders are the most common endocrine disorder present in the U.S. There are estimates that from 10-40% of the U.S. adult population suffer from a thyroid disorder. Could there be a link between the 40-year epidemic rise of breast cancer and thyroid disorders?
The answer is “yes”.
And the link could explain not only the breast and thyroid connection but also why we are suffering from an epidemic of other glandular illnesses—including cancer—of the ovary, uterus, pancreas, and prostate. What is the link?
The link is iodine deficiency.
Our iodine levels have fallen over 50% during the last 40 years. I (along with my partners) have tested well over 6,000 patients for their iodine levels and have found that over 96% are deficient in iodine. Most are severely deficient. As I wrote in my book, Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, iodine deficiency is responsible for the epidemic of thyroid and breast disorders that we are seeing today. This includes autoimmune thyroid disorders such as Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease, thyroid cancer and hypothyroidism as well as fibrocystic breast disease and breast cancer. Every cell in the body requires adequate iodine levels to function optimally. In the glandular tissue—the thyroid, ovaries, uterus, breast, pancreas, and prostate–iodine is responsible for maintaining the normal architecture of the glands. When iodine deficiency is present, it sets in motion a cascade of events. This cascade starts with glandular cysts forming. If iodine deficiency continues, the cysts become hard and nodular. The next step is the glandular tissue starts to assume a precancerous appearance—called hyperplasia. The final stage in this sequence is cancer. The good news is that in vitro (in test tubes) and in vivo (in animals and people) studies have found that iodine therapy can halt the progression of glandular events and even reverse it.
What can we do? One of the most important ways to ensure optimal health for patients is to promote maintaining adequate iodine intake. Unfortunately, our food supply is woefully lacking in iodine. Iodine can be found in seafood, but the levels vary depending on the pollution levels of where the seafood was harvested from. In today’s toxic world, I feel it is best to supplement with iodine. How much iodine is required? My research has found that most patients require 6-50mg/day of iodine to achieve whole-body iodine sufficiency. Of course, it is best to run labs to check iodine levels, both pre- and post- iodine supplementation.
Reference: (1) Asian Pac. J. Cancer Prev. 15(16). 6643-6647. 2014
More information about iodine can be found in my book: Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without it.
Original blog post by Dr. Brownstein can be found here.