Society is currently experiencing an epidemic of over and under active thyroid function. Mainstream medicine does not look for the underlying cause because treating the underlying cause would improve thyroid function and reduce their profits. Instead patients are told that once they begin thyroid medications....they will have to take them for the rest of their lives....while the real basic cause is continuing to undermine the body in other ways, which may not be recognized by the patient or doctor.
What could be some of the reasons for the substantial increase in thyroid disease? Part of the problem could be due to our increased exposure to radiation of different sorts. David Brownstein, in his book Iodine: Why you need it, Why you can't live without it ,talks about the halide family, which iodine is a member of. Brownstein tells us that Iodine competes with the other halides (bromine, fluoride,chloride, and perchlorate) for absorption into the body. These other halides are toxic to the body. One of the largest sources of bromine contamination is store-bought bread. We are exposed to the toxic element of fluoride through our water supply, toothpaste, certain drugs and dental treatments. Percolate also contaminates a portion of the water supply and well... the use of chlorine is obvious. Brownstein feels that all of these other halides are crowding out the iodine. Our nation's soils have become iodine depleted and most people don't eat seaweed (which is a natural source of iodine). Some of our salt is minimally iodized but we are being discouraged from consuming salt. It is thought that when enough of the right forms of Iodine are consumed, that they will force the other halides out of the body and the iodine will then be absorbed properly. Brownstein feels that this is a detoxification process and he has used an iodine loading test to determine how much of these halides are excreted from the body when iodine is added.
A proper functioning thyroid gland is essential for a healthy immune system. Thyroid function also affects other glandular functions in the body. Everything is interconnected. Since learning more about iodine and thyroid function, I have begun to think more about it in relation to Lyme disease. Most Lyme disease patients have some form of thyroid health issues. The question I think we need to ask is.....does a low functioning thyroid affect our immune system's ability to ward off infections or......do organisms like the Lyme bacteria, attack the thyroid and therefore turn what could be an acute short lived illness into a chronic relapsing illness? Nutritional and anthropological studies ( www.ppnf.org ) show us that when our bodies are fed the proper nutrients...from whole unprocessed foods...they can ward off infectious and degenerative disease.
I'd just like to share my personal experience with Iodoral....a combination of two forms of iodine.Before I became ill with chronic Lyme disease, I was taxing my body by rushing around, skipping meals, consuming caffeine, eating lots of bread with bromine,eating refined carbs and smoking cigarretes. I gradually acquired odd symptoms, which accumulated and then finally reached a point where it was obvious I was dealing with an infectious disease. To make a long story short, at one point...many years into my chronic lyme experience, I was tested for thyroid function by a doctor who was more educated as to how problems with the thyroid can manifest. The tests showed that thryoid function was low normal and that I had hashimoto antibodies. I was prescribed thyroid hormone, despite the fact that I was in the low NORMAL range. I experienced a huge improvement in exercise tolerance and where previously I would have to lie down every 15 to 20 minutes, due to weakness and lightheadedness, I now could stay up and be active the whole day.
I have been taking the thyroid meds for several years now with continued good results.However, I wanted to cut down on the number of meds I take and be less dependant on the the pharmaceutical industry......and around this time I was asked to review the book I mentioned above. I'm not sure if its out of print but it doesn't seem to be very available......only a few copies on Amazon. Anyway, the book made sense to me so I decided to take this form of Iodine .....Optimox Iodoral 90 tabs as was recommended in Brownstein's book. I took the iodine along with my thyroid medication and after about a month on both...one day I began experiencing nervousness and heart palpitations. I had read that this could be a signal that thyroid function was improving....so I omitted the thyroid meds and have now only been taking iodine by itself. It has been almost a month since I stopped the thyroid medication and I feel great. Before I was supplementing with iodine..... when I would forget my thyroid meds...for a couple of days.....I would become weak and tired . I have been off the medication now for about a month and I still feel fine. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this improvement hangs around for good.
It is of course recommended that you work with your doctor when trying to substitute iodine for thyroid hormone. Brownstein says that about a third of his patients with hypothyroid, who supplement with iodine, will need to lower their dose (some can omit it) of thyroid hormone when an iodine deficient disorder is corrected. The other two thirds of people taking thyroid hormone can usually maintain their dosage of thyroid hormone when supplementing with iodine.
So....as usual, many treatments work differently in different people and one needs to monitor and adjust accordingly. Now.....is my improvement due to the actual lessening of Lyme disease symptoms...or is it due to correcting a lack of something my body needed for its immune system to function properly......or is it both? What comes first...the chicken or the egg?