s2 e18: iodine: the miracle mineral

In this highly requested episode of the Are You Menstrual? Podcast, I am going into more detail on an important mineral–iodine. Many of you have been wanting to better understand the importance of iodine for thyroid health after I shared my experience with supplementing on my Pregnancy Journey episode. Iodine is one fascinating mineral. It’s right up there with copper as a favorite for me and I’m excited to teach you more about why our bodies need iodine, how common iodine deficiencies are (even with iodized salt), how iodine impacts thyroid health, and so much more!

Master Your Minerals course 
Free Training: Optimizing Hormone Health with Mineral Balance 
Mineral Imbalance Quiz
Free Thyroid Training: The Thyroid-Mineral Connection
Pregnancy Journey Episode 
Supporting Optimal Thyroid Health episode with KaelyRD
Supporting Autoimmune Thyroid Disorders with Nicole Fennell
Book recommendation: Iodine Why You Need It Why You Can’t Live Without It by Dr. David Brownstein
Book recommendation: Healing with Iodine by Dr. Mark Sircus

Amanda Montalvo 0:00
Hey, this is Amanda Women’s Health dietitian. And I’m Emily nutritional therapy practitioner. And this is the RU menstrual podcast where we help you navigate the confusing world of women’s hormones in teach you how to have healthy periods. Each week we will be diving into a different topic on women’s health and sharing our perspective using nutrition, email physiology and metabolic health. Our goal is to help you wade through conflicting health information and empower you on your healing journey. We hope you enjoy it.

All right, we have a highly requested episode of the human soul podcast today. It is one that a lot of you asked for after I did my first pregnancy journey episode. So when I did, I did a wrap up with the first and second trimester and I talked about different testing that I did. And iodine testing and supplementation was a big part of that journey for me as far as like conception goes. But also throughout pregnancy, I’m sure it will be postpartum as well. I will keep you all updated when I do postpartum testing. Anyway, that’s really it was like the first exposure for a lot of people to utilizing iodine. It’s very controversial mineral, some people tell you, it will be terrible for you. And then other people love it in like super high doses. I’m like somewhere in the middle, which is how I am with most things. I think if we can avoid extremes, then we can attain really good health. A lot of you were like, What the heck, well, how do you take iodine? You know, why are you taking it? How do you know if you’re deficient in it? Then I got a ton of questions about iodized salt. So we’re gonna talk about all those things, why I love iodine, why it’s so important. Signs of iodine deficiency, we’ll talk about it and testing at the end. And how you guys can start digging into all that information. I do want to say that while I love iodine, and I use it, I it’s not the first thing that you start with, right, especially when you’re just starting your healing journey. If you are just finding me maybe I would even say in the last six months, if you’ve been just implementing, like eating really nutrient dense foods on a regular basis, really, throughout the day, really nourishing your body and reducing stress in that way. And including adrenal cocktails, all those things that are really setting the foundation with like minerals like sodium, potassium, copper, magnesium, all those fun things that I talked about all the time. Even then, like you have to do that first before you even think about iodine. Otherwise, it’s really not helpful, it can actually just cause more burnout, and not make you feel great. So iodine is definitely like a more advanced step in the hormone healing journey. Please keep that in mind. I know I mean, I get really hyped on it. I like to nerd out and talk about the research behind it. And just like what it does in our bodies, because it’s a really neat mineral. And it can be tempting to be like, Oh my gosh, I’m gonna go out and buy iodine right now, because I my body obviously needs it. Please don’t do that. That’s not what I’m advocating for here. And I’ll talk more about how you can learn more about it testing all that stuff, your levels throughout the podcast episode. So that’s what we’re gonna dig into. And that’s just my little disclaimer, like, please do not run out and start taking a bunch of iodine. But let’s start with like, what is Iodine? And what does it do in our bodies? So number one, it’s a mineral, right? It’s specifically part of the halogen family. So if we think of like, what are the different halogens I talked about this with my podcast episode with Kaylee, which I’m gonna link in the notes. It’s supporting optimal thyroid health with Kaylee rd. So yeah, I’ll link that in the show notes. And we kind of went through like halogens and how they can inhibit thyroid function and iodine use in the body. It is a halogen it is it has like the same chemical structure, it’s definitely the most healing of all the halogens, they can replace each other. Right? So if we think iodine, chlorine, fluorine, bromine, those are all halogens. So if we have an excess amount of like chlorine, bromine, or flooring in the body, those can bind on the iodine receptors, and actually make it look like your iodine status is pretty good, because it’s got the same chemical structure, or your thyroid bloodwork, which we’ll talk about, but in reality, you aren’t utilizing that iodine well, because it’s competing with the other halogens. So it is a halogen, but it’s very healing, really important. Every gland in the body concentrates iodine and uses it to make hormones and we actually find iodine in every cell in the body. So it’s essential for thyroid hormone production. And our thyroid definitely has the highest concentrations of it. But I think that the big area that people don’t always think about or recognize is how all hormone receptors need iodine, like it’s not just thyroid hormone, we also need it to make things like insulin more sensitive and have it work on insulin receptors. And one big thing is Iodine will actually attach that insulin receptor and it’s going to help us utilize how we’re using glucose. So like that glucose metabolism is going to be more function

You know, and it can improve insulin sensitivity. We also we’re going to use it on other hormone receptors like FSH, LH, estrogen, all those things in order to utilize those hormones better. So that’s like a really big one. If you ever do any research on iodine and fertility, and like how it can be so beneficial, that’s a huge reason why, right and of course, because it positively impacts your thyroid, which I’ve talked about many times before. hypothyroidism, even like not having it diagnosed, like having subclinical hypothyroidism like your thyroid is not amazing, but it’s not absolutely terrible, and bloodwork, that can make it very difficult to conceive or lead to recurrent miscarriages. So it is important for hormones for many different reasons. It’s also really important for the actual health of our glands. So specifically things like our thyroid, our ovaries, uterus, breast and prostate, when an iodine deficiency is present, the tissue can actually start to deteriorate and change and morph. So we can start to see things like fluid filled tissue and cysts forming that can eventually lead to a nodule. And then eventually, sometimes that can lead to cancer. And Dr. David Brown seen he’s a very famous iodine expert, and I’m gonna put his book iodine, why you need it, why you can’t live without it, I always mess up the title of that in the notes there. So if you guys want to nerd out more on iodine, you can definitely I cannot recommend this book enough. But he talks about using iodine, his clients that have glandular issues like cysts or like issues with their breasts, ovaries, or prostate, or thyroid having nodules on the thyroid. And he says, in general, it takes about three to six months of iodine supplementation to improve ers versus nodules or disrupted glandular tissue, it can take years if someone’s like a super severe case. And I would say like probably if they’re very deficient in other minerals, like the cofactors that I talked about. So not only is it important for like making hormones and utilizing those hormones properly, and not just sex hormones, but blood sugar, thyroid, all that stuff. It’s also really important for the actual health of our glands. And that tissue. The other kind of big part of iodine in the body and how we’re going to use it. And how it’s going to support us is how it supports our immune system. This is one where it’s going to do it in a couple of different ways. So in one way, it’s going to help support our thyroid, if we don’t have a healthy thyroid, we’re not going to have a healthy, a healthy functioning immune system. So that’s like one piece of it. It’s also iodine is also really important for it’s got like really big healing properties, which I’m going to get into in a little bit. So it’s like antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal. So it’s going to support your thyroid, which is going to support your immune system. And then it’s also going to support is it’s also going to act as a therapeutic agent in your gut, right. And if we think about our gut, it’s making up a huge part of that immune system. So it’s it’s giving us like twofold ways. I think, while it’s supportive of the immune system, sometimes people when they first start utilizing iodine, they can almost get like a big immune response or not even right, they might not get it right in the beginning, it might take them a little bit, everyone’s a little bit different. But they can get like a big immune response, because they might be getting rid of some stuff that they didn’t know that they had in their gut, because they’re now they’re taking iodine, and that you can also be supporting your thyroid, which can rev up your immune system function. So when we pair the two together, that’s why it’s so important to go slow with things like iodine, because it can actually do a lot of work for our immune system and our gut health in general, if you’re someone that maybe you have a long history of gut issues, maybe you think you suspect fungal stuff, bacterial overgrowth, anything like that, pear, it’s also anti parasitic, it’s pretty, pretty phenomenal. Again, like you’re, everyone’s probably like, oh, my gosh, I’m gonna start doing it and don’t just start taking it. There’s so many benefits. I mean, that’s why I love minerals. So much like one of the reasons is because so many of them, like have these other therapeutic effects. And so it’s like, maybe we don’t need to do a super intense, like herbal gut protocol, maybe we just need to start supporting our minerals and our metabolism and our thyroid. And those things will kind of take care of themselves. So that’s kind of like the immune system piece. And then finally, as far as like, are we using iodine, like what forms are we using because I said like, you know, iodine, but obviously, if we think of the other halogens like chlorine, we’re also seeing those chloride and then flooring we see as fluoride and bromine we see is bromide. So we also see iodine as iodide. Those are the two forms iodine and then the iodine is the reduced form. So iodine has iodide has one extra electron and it actually improves how we absorb iodine. So if you ever look at any iodine sample

mine’s like a good one. I like the Googles one. It’s a mix of iodine, and iodide. And that’s because if we’re having iodine in like a water solvent type supplement like the logos, it’s hard to absorb, it’s hard to like actually use it in the body. But if we pair it with iodide, then you actually can utilize it really well. So that’s why you’re usually gonna see them together. We also like different tissues in the body can use different forms, if we think about the thyroid gland, and our skin that’s primarily using iodide, but like our breasts and our prostate are mostly using iodine. So it’s really nice to have the mix of the two that is like the kind of the gist of like, What the heck is Iodine? What is it doing in our body, like, what are the different things that it’s responsible for. And then like the different forms that you’re gonna see typically, whether that be in like food or supplements. So, if we think about really the biggest part of that whole picture, you know, I mentioned, thyroid support, it is going to support your thyroid that’s going to support your immune system and how we need iodine in order to make thyroid hormones. That is really where iodine I think, is the most useful and most important, and I feel like I talked about thyroid health all the time, I have two podcast episodes on it that I’m going to share the one with Kaylee and I did an autoimmune one with my friend, Nicole.

Those are both gonna be in the show notes. But it’s such an important thing for hormone health and for our metabolism. If we think about iodine, we actually have to have iodine in order to make thyroid hormone. And this is really where I got very heavily, like into the research around iodine because I, I felt like no matter what I did, I could not make enough thyroid hormone. And I did not react well to taking thyroid hormone. Now I realized that my body was probably just too stressed. Because when you take thyroid hormone, or iodine, for that matter, it can increase your metabolism, and which is great. But if you don’t have the resources to back that up, you’re not going to feel good, or at least like not for the long haul. So iodine is really important for making adequate thyroid hormone. I kind of I just never thought you should take it because whenever I did research on it, and when I was in school, like think about the RDA for iodine is so low, it’s like 150 micrograms. So and we’ll talk about RDA is I just thought if you take too much, I was taught that it can cause autoimmune disease and it can create more chaos in the body. Basically, it’ll burn out your thyroid, and I’m like, Well, I’m already struggling in that department. So I don’t want to make this worse. But if we think about it, your your two thyroid, main thyroid hormones, T four and T three. They’re actually made of iodine molecules, T four has four, and then T three has three. So how do we get iodine from this thing that we’re like absorbing in our gut, whether we’re getting it from food or supplement, to making thyroid hormone, I feel like that’s like a helpful one to understand. Because otherwise, it’s kind of just like, okay, like, it’s good for thyroid, but like, you might not really put the concept together. So we’re going to ingest it right? Some way supplement food in our GI tract, and then that’s gonna get transported to our thyroid cells via these things called iodine transport molecules. They they’re also called the NIS. So basically what happens, our brain senses that we need thyroid hormone, right? It’s like, okay, we’re either there’s not enough circulating, or it needs to make that consistent amount. It tells our hypothalamus to give our pituitary a little nudge, like, hey, please tell the thyroid that we need to make more thyroid hormone. So that’s when our pituitary comes into play, and it makes more TSH that thyroid stimulating hormone. This is that super common lab? If you go to your doctor, you ask, can you test my thyroid? That’s what they’re gonna measure. So that TSH tells our thyroid that we need more thyroid hormone, and then our thyroid makes T four, right, that’s that inactive form. It’s got the four iodine molecules. Think of this as like a car in neutral, not moving. And then if and then eventually we’ll convert that to T three, which is three iodine molecules. And that’s like the active form that’s like the Carson drive. This is what we’re going to use on ourselves, right? This is what’s going to do the job of the thyroid and support our metabolic pace in the body. TSH is really what helps us make those little iodine transport molecules, those NIS molecules and move it around the body. If we don’t have enough iodine, we’re going to have low NIS molecules, those little transporters, the more iodine we have available, so if we’re supplementing with it, if we’re getting a lot in our diet, which is we’ll talk about kind of difficult to do and our definition of a lot. Then the more of those transport molecules we’re gonna make and that’s what helps us use iodine. So I think the most confusing thing about iodine for people

it outside of it being very controversial is that it will raise your TSH levels. And people are like, Oh my gosh, my TSH went up to six. After taking some iodine, what’s going on? This is actually a good thing. Kaylee talks about it in her episode on the thyroid, and she talks about how it makes more boats, the TSH goes up, which means you have more boats transport that iodine, it’s actually essential. If we don’t have enough, then we can utilize the iodine and it wouldn’t be a good thing as your TSH levels go up, it means you have more of those little iodine transporters and it’s a good thing. So iodine supplementation can be confusing when you look at thyroid labs, but we’ll talk about that at the very end. It’s actually not a bad thing for the TSH to go up. So that is kind of like iodine in our thyroid, how we use it to make thyroid hormone, how we like move it around to make thyroid hormone, and how we’re absorbing it in the body. So then if we think about okay, Manda, there’s so many cool things that iodine does, it is important for our sex hormones. It’s important for thyroid, it’s for important for blood sugar and insulin management. It’s important for having healthy tissues.

In different glands in the body. It’s important for our immune system. It’s anti microbial, antifungal, antiviral. I also was reading research on anti mold, which is wild. But why do I not have enough of it? Why is Iodine deficiency such an issue? And this is the thing that I feel like Dr. David Brownstein does a really good at that job talking about and there’s another book called healing with iodine. By Dr. Mark, I think it’s like, circus or sisters. I’ll put it in the show notes. He does. He’s another one that does a great job and talking about like the deficiency because it’s, it’s one of those things where we’re like, but we have iodized salt. And like, we don’t have iodine deficiencies in our country? We do. It’s actually estimated that 60% of women of reproductive age are deficient in iodine. And that it to me, I feel like that makes so much sense because I feel like so many women are struggling with thyroid health, and hypothyroidism, and that’s having a huge impact on their fertility. And the other big thing is just iodine levels across the board in the US alone have dropped over 50% in the last 40 years, according to an enhanced study, when you think about okay, well what are the experts seeing in their practice? Because really like Dr. David Brown seen, he’s mostly doing thyroid, he has another book on thyroid health. Really, that’s his primary focus with his patients. And he says over 95% of his patients come back with once they test their iodine, and they’re deficient in iodine. And so I think it’s a lot more common than people realize. You might not have goiter. So that’s like when you get this enlargement of your thyroid gland. That’s like why we started adding iodine to salt, right? Because we wanted to avoid things like goiter. But that’s that’s like a very obvious form of iodine deficiency. There’s so many other ways that we can like signs and symptoms we can have that are going to show us that hey, actually, like you are really deficient. In iodine. Some of the other signs of iodine deficiency are things like brittle nails, cold hands and feet, constipation, coarse hair, like it changes in your hair texture, hair loss, depression, dry and scaly skin or like puffy skin, Deimos, like fluid retention headaches, impaired mental function, irregular cycles, and like I would say like ovulated say cycles it’s irregular ovulation, right? So like not ovulating regularly. Muscle cramps, poor memory, weakness and weight gain. Honestly, like any symptom that lines up with hypothyroidism is typically going to line up with iodine deficiency because remember, we need iodine to make thyroid hormone. So those are some of the signs of iodine deficiency. With the thing with the RDA is that they’re very low. So if we think about adult male and female RDA, which is your recommended daily allowance for iodine, it’s 150 micrograms, that’s to prevent goiter. That’s not to replenish iodine levels. And then if we think of pregnancy, it’s 220 micrograms. And this one really irritates me because so many women are entering pregnancy deficient. And then they’re afraid of iodine. A lot of people will look for prenatals that don’t have iodine in it. And I’m like Belize, Belize, if you’re going to take a prenatal, which I talked about, on my episode with Lauren, from an eighth functional nutrition, we did two episodes, one preconception one pregnancy, we talked about prenatals. And those, I talked about what I did, instead of taking a prenatal in one of my podcasts episodes that I’ll link to this one, and so I mean, they’re just no prenatal is going to be 100% of your needs, but it’s at least if you’re going to take one, take one that has some iodine in it because we do need more iodine in pregnancy, like the RDA shows that we do, but it’s

70 micrograms higher is not enough. So if we’re thinking about and this is something Dr. David Brownstein talks about, he’s very passionate with iodine in pregnancy. Because it can be controversial though, there’s really cool studies about utilizing high dose supplementation, which it depends on like what you consider high dose, like what you’re comparing it to, but higher doses of iodine, utilizing that throughout pregnancy and how that affects the baby’s brain development, the mom’s thyroid function, the baby’s thyroid function, and then the baby’s IQ. That’s like the main thing that they’re looking at.

Hey, Amanda, here, just giving you a quick break, hopefully a break for your brain in the middle of this podcast episode, to remind you that if you haven’t gone through our free training, optimizing hormone health or mineral balance, we really do recommend starting there. And the main reason for that is because you’re going to hear us say things like mineral foundation, having a solid foundation, are you putting the foundations in place, especially what as we get deeper and deeper into different hormonal topics and specific imbalances in the body, the, the mineral foundation is always going to be so essential. So if you haven’t watched the free training, you can find it in our show notes. Or you can go to hormone healing rd.com. And it’s going to be right on that front page there. But we really recommend starting there so you can understand how is your current mineral status? How do you assess this, and how to get started with all that just so you can get as much as you possibly can out of the rest of the podcast episodes. But that’s it. I hope you enjoy the rest of this episode.

If you think about it, your thyroid is working so much harder. During pregnancy, you’d need you you know, you’re going to be making more thyroid hormone. So of course, you’re gonna need more iodine. So if you’re entering pregnancy deficient, one, it can make it difficult to get pregnant, but then to the 220 microgram RDA is not going to

meet your needs. It’s just not. And the thing with the RDA that’s important to remember is that it’s meant to prevent disease. It’s not meant to like support your health. And that’s kind of like how all our days are. And I think that sometimes we can I get it, you don’t want to overdo certain nutrients because in excess, they’re not great either. But when we’re not getting enough, and we’re afraid to have more, because of the RDA, I just think that one like if you can just test your levels, because then you’re not guessing and freaking yourself out and being scared of taking too much, you know that you need more. But then to just remembering that these are not put in place for health, unfortunately, even though they definitely should be the RDA, I think is a big reason why a lot of us are deficient. And we went through like the signs of deficiency. The other big reasons, I think, is we just don’t have it in our diets. Like if we think where are we getting iodine from in the highest amounts, things like seafood, shellfish, any kind of fish and then see vegetables and like a lot of us don’t eat those foods. Plus, if you the soil that we’re using for other foods that we’re having, that’s a big one. And so if you are soil the way that we, you know, take care of our soil and process it in this country, and the lack of replenishment that leads to lower minerals in general, but it’s definitely going to lead to lower iodine. So lack of getting it in our diet is big, just because like you know the foods that you’re choosing to eat. If you look at Japan, they get some, like the average I forget, I think it was like 15 milligrams a day from food but it at when they redid that, like 10 years later, it ended up being closer to like 25 milligrams of iodine a day from food, and some are even higher depending on the exact location, and they have no thyroid issues there. So something to keep in mind. Sometimes we hear things like one milligram of iodine, and we think that’s so much. But in reality, it’s actually not, not that much not getting in our diet. vegan vegetarian diets are also very popular. Now some vegetarian diets might include seafood, but a lot of them don’t. vegan diets obviously don’t. And then if you’re also not getting any meat or dairy, those also contain smaller amounts of iodine. So then that’s even less that you’re getting. And then finally, I would say just having that halogen exposure, right, I talked about how iodine competes with the other halogen. So if we have a lot of chlorine exposure in our water, whether it’s our drinking or bathing water, same thing with fluoride, that’s pretty high in a lot of water in a lot of people’s water all over the US, then that’s going to compete with iodine. So that’s like a huge exposure to halogens. Also, like if you’re swimming in a pool or going in a hot tub every single day, like those are things of course, medications, a lot of medications contain fluoride for for some reason, like a lot of them do doesn’t mean you would stop taking them obviously, but it’s just

Another exposure and something to consider. If you’re using Florida toothpaste. That’s another one. And then one interesting one is bromide, or bromine. So that actually is mostly coming from food and like baked goods. So more processed things. You may not personally be getting a ton of it. But I think it’s still interesting to know about where we used to use iodine and baked goods to preserve them. But then in the 1970s, we switched to bromine. And that actually significantly reduced the amount of iodine that Americans were getting, because back then one slice of bread was 100% of the RDA. So it was 150 micrograms of iodine. So they took that away. And that’s definitely going to further decrease levels. You’re hearing this and you’re probably thinking, Amanda, I use sea salt. I don’t even use iodized salt. And the whole reason why they wanted to make iodized salt, was because they wanted to prevent things like goiter. But in reality, I don’t even think there’s enough iodine in iodized salt to actually prevent that.

And so you might be thinking, like, Does this mean I should utilize that because maybe you maybe you’re putting sea salt in your adrenal cocktails, I still don’t think iodized salt is a great option, mostly because the iodine is not very bioavailable. So in Dr. David Brown, Saenz book, that one iodine, why you need it, why you can’t live without it. He talks about how, in 1969, researchers looked at the bioavailability of iodine in salt versus bread, because remember, they were still using it in bread then. So they had two groups. One group ingested a measured amount of iodine and salt. Other the other group ingested a measured amount of iodine and bread. When both subjects were both subjective groups were estimated to ingest like about 750 micrograms of iodine, whether it’s coming from the salt or the bread, right, same amount. They then measured their serum levels of iodine. So with the 750 micrograms of iodine, they expected the serum levels to be 17.2 micrograms per liter. What they found was that the IDI salt group only had serum levels of 1.7 micrograms per liter, versus the bread group, they actually had even higher levels of 18.7 micrograms per liter. And basically, what this tells us is that the iodine is in iodized salt is only 10%, bioavailability. A lot of that is because it’s like, it will evaporate. So it’s like they make the IDI salt, it sits at our table for a long time, the iodine goes away over time. So we have this lower 10% bioavailability. Whereas in the bread, it stayed much higher. And we utilized it better.

And so I would say iodized salt, probably not going to help you a ton. And then you have to weigh the pros and cons of like the other aspects of the salt. So iodized salt is simply very processed, it doesn’t have other minerals. So it might have 10% bioavailability of some iodine, but it’s not going to have the wide array of minerals that you’re going to get from like a sea salt. And so if it’s not really going to increase your iodine levels, and your it’s going to prevent you from getting other minerals that you could get in a high quality sea salt, then I don’t think it’s necessarily going to be beneficial. But those are the big reasons why we’re so deficient. Now we’re not getting it in our diets. A lot of us aren’t doing the IDI so anyway. And where it had this big exposure to halogens, it’s depleting our levels. So that’s kind of iodine, what doesn’t the body identity, your thyroid signs that iodine deficiency, why we are so deficient? Now, the RDA is because I know people always like wonder about that. Oh, and for breastfeeding, it’s 290 micrograms. So it does go up, which I’m like, at least they increase it again, that like makes me happy. And it shows you when you’re postpartum and you’re breastfeeding. Honestly, anyone postpartum you have actually even higher nutrient needs than you did during pregnancy, which is important to keep. So what about the therapeutic effects? Or actions of iodine? So, yes, it’s essential for thyroid hormone and all these other things for hormone health. But I think some of the coolest things like outside of that because obviously that’s like number one, we need it for a healthy metabolism, healthy hormones, check. The other thing is that it’s really neat. The other things we can utilize iodine for so not only is it antibacterial, but it’s also going to be a great antifungal agent, and antiviral and Dr. David dairy, he’s got this great quote in research on looking at the anti viral components of iodine, where he said that iodine was the most effective agent for killing viruses, especially influenza viruses. Aerosol, iodine was found to kill viruses in sprayed mists and solutions of iodine. Were

are equally effective. So like a topical solution or like a spray, which it’s just neat. We used to use iodine way before we ever had antibiotics as well, which I think is like really cool to know. And if you think about, like the topical iodine that they use, like the before surgery and stuff, I mean, that’s because it’s antibacterial, and it’s antiviral, and it’s going to help protect you as you go into surgery. And that’s that povidone iodine. And one really cool know about another one about viruses from a study from Massachusetts General Hospital, showed that HIV was completely inactivated, and could no longer replicate after exposure to the povidone, iodine preparations, even at very low concentrations. So it doesn’t have to be at like insanely high concentrations of iodine, in order to kill viruses. And it’s not just one kind of virus, it’s many different types, which I think is really cool. And when I go back to antibiotics so much, because even in my practice, and the people that I work with, and even like friends and family, I see, there’s just like times when it’s like, it almost feels like you can’t get away from antibiotic use. Like maybe you have an extremely bad UTI that keeps coming back. And you’re like, I can’t take this anymore. Like, obviously, you’re not going to torture yourself, you’re gonna take an antibiotic, or ear infections, I think of like, I hear so many kids with recurrent ear infections. And they’re utilizing antibiotics. And then eventually they stopped working. And if we think about antibiotic resistance, there’s a review on antimicrobial resistance Amr. And one thing that they determine that is basically if we don’t address the amount of like antibiotics and on antifungals, antivirals that we’re using all of them, but I think like mostly antibiotics, in the next three, five years, antimicrobial resistance could kill 300 million people worldwide, and stunt global economic output by 100 trillion. So that’s just like, it’s just scary. I mean, maybe we don’t think about it as much in the United States. Because we’ve just think like, Oh, it’s fine. Like, I’ll just use a different type of antibiotic, maybe you haven’t been faced with an antibiotic resistant, or antimicrobial resistant infection. So it has never even been brought to your attention. But in other countries like this is already happening, especially like in India, like a lot of the babies that are born, are born with this, like antibiotic resistant bacteria. And like, so many of them die every year. It’s so sad. And so it just really makes me think about like, how can we minimize that, like, what are other things that we can utilize so that we are not kind of feeding into this more antibiotic resistant strains of things. And I thought about it so much, because I was reading this article, and it was talking about how many antibiotics are prescribed by OBGYN ins, like over other types of doctors and how it was so high, and I was like, kind of blown away. I just wasn’t expecting it was like, Really, I can’t even imagine like what other doctors are doing. But basically, it just like really shocked me. And I think that we’re using them more than we might realize. And it’s like, what if we had an alternative? What if we had something else that we could have at home, to better utilize and not lead to more antibiotic resistant strains of things. And that’s where I feel like iodine could come in handy. If we think about it, we can use the iodine topically like that povidone iodine that I mentioned, you can use it orally as like a gargle, like a lot of different, like pro iodine. Physicians talk about mixing iodine into like a water salt mixture and using that to gargle. And especially if someone has a sore throat, it’s like, and these doctors do prescribe antibiotics. They just also, they don’t want to overdo it because they don’t want their patients to be in a place where they do come up against antibiotic resistant strain, or they’re taking like multiple rounds of things. So having something like iodine available, I feel like is really cool. We have the topical povidone iodine in our med kit at home. I also have had quite a few clients utilize the gargle if they feel like they’re getting sick. Or like nasally if they have like sinus infections, and then for UTIs like I’ve had people titrate like an oral iodine before. And that has been shown to reduce UTIs I’ve seen a completely take away UTIs for people. And it’s just one of those things where it’s like, that’s really cool. Do we want to get to the root of why we’re having those things? Yes, of course we do. But to have something that’s a little bit more less invasive than an antibiotic, I feel like is really cool. So lots of different fun ways that you can use iodine therapeutically, like outside of supporting your thyroid and your hormones, which I think is just really neat. It’s also great for herpes to there’s some research on I mean it’s a virus so

makes sense. There’s research on using it topically and orally and how it can get rid of it can kill the herpes virus topically. And then like utilizing it orally can help prevent outbreaks, which, again, just like another cool thing, instead of taking like an immune suppressing drug on a regular basis, you can utilize something like iodine. So, how the heck do we know if our iodine levels our decision or not? How do we test iodine? So number one, I’m going to say the iodine loading test. So if you’re actually going to test iodine, it has to be a loading test. There’s a lot of different research on like different types of urine testing blood testing, the most accurate for iodine is urine testing. But I really think it needs to be a loading test. And Dr. David Brownstein talks about this, it’s controversial, you’ll find articles that say it’s not accurate as well. But if you think about it, the iodine loading test, is when you take a 50 milligram tablet of iodine, before you start collecting your urine for the day, well, technically, you collect one pee, then you take it, and then you collect it for the rest of the day, the 24 hours. And so the reason you’re doing this is because you want to see how your body uses that iodine? Is it going to grab onto those iodine receptors and leave you with very little iodine in your urine? Or is it going to all come out, meaning that you have saturated those iodine receptors. So I think that’s the most accurate way, you’re gonna see people that go both ways. But typically, urine is most accurate. Some people will do spot tests for urine, I don’t think that’s the best way to go. Because again, you want to see how your body’s using the iodine. And I know it can sound scary to take a 50 milligram tablet Abidine. It is once one day. I don’t I think it’s safe. And it’s so funny because I was talking to one of my practitioner friends. And she was she had just done her iodine test. And she was like, Oh my gosh, I feel like my brain like lit up and worked correctly that when I took that 50 milligram tablet, and it is very important for brain function, so I was like, you’re probably going to be deficient.

So it’s not scary, it’s not going to do anything bad to you. But it’s important to have the tablet and do the loading so that you can see how you’re using it. One thing to keep in mind is that this feels halogens, right, those darn halogens. They can make your iodine urine test look better than it is you can do salt loading before you do an iodine urine test. So you can basically, you take a small amount of salt and water, drink it, follow it with another cup of water, wait 30 minutes and do it again. So the amount of salt, it’s usually half a teaspoon. I’m not recommending you do this, okay, guys, I’m just sharing because I know you’re going to ask me and send me DMS, it’s usually half a teaspoon in like half a cup of water, I would say like if you’re sensitive to salt, if you think it’s going to mess with your digestion, you could do less. But the whole point is that salt can clean off some of those iodine receptors. And those halogens it’s not going to be as strong as taking iodine would. But it is one way to prepare for the test and try to limit your halogen exposure. Like you could use a water filter and a shower filter to limit the chlorine in the fluoride from your water.

I would say shower filters gonna be like a big one for chlorine. That’s like, probably because think about like you can get so much of that exposure. If you do that for like a few weeks before the test that could maybe make your results a little bit more accurate. I’ve actually never seen an iodine test that is optimal, whether someone prepares or not. And most people don’t, because I don’t I don’t think it’s 100% necessary. Dr. David Brownstein says that you do want to prepare, so it’s up to you. But the iodine loading test is going to come back it’s going to tell you are your levels sufficient? Are they not? Other ways that you can look at like, okay, is my iodine adequate? You can look on your hair tests. So I’m sure I have some master your minerals course students listening to this episode. I talk a lot about iodine inside the course we have the whole thing on the iodine testing in the iodine protocol. You can look at your hair test, and there are some markers that will that are signs of iodine deficiency. Again, not perfect. I wouldn’t use iodine just based off these markers. I would still do the iodine test, but it can give you some insight into like should I do an iodine test. So the one of the markers is potassium less than four calcium greater than 70. Copper either higher than 2.5 or lower than 1.5. A thyroid ratio that’s greater than 10.1 a Selenium that’s less than point oh eight, and then a Mercury that’s higher than point 02. So if you have four or more of those, then it’s recommended to consider looking deeper into iodine. Again, if you are just beginning this journey if you’re still working on setting yours

Strong Foundation, I wouldn’t just jump into iodine. And I wouldn’t just go straight for testing, I would still work on those basics because you want to have your body in a place where you’re eating enough food. And you’ve minimize other stressors as much as you can, and make your body more resilient to stress. So that you when you add in iodine, it’s not like this big giant stressor. But those are some markers on your hair test. And then the last area that I would look at is your bloodwork, right? Because remember, T fours for iodine molecules, T threes, three. Turns out that bromide can be mistaken for iodine. On thyroid labs. This was something really interesting that I learned when I was doing Oh, one of these lectures online to like dirt out more about iodine. It was all about iodine and histamines. So when I’ll talk about that, at the very end, we’re almost there. But how bromide can actually make your T four and T three look better on your bloodwork. And I’m like, What a bummer. Like, why is it so hard to get such an accurate picture of your thyroid it and I talked about I have a whole free training on thyroid health that I’m going to link in the show notes. And I talked about all the different thyroid labs and what levels are optimal. We talked about iodine testing, hair testing, like so, so much. I go through case studies that use iodine if you guys want to learn more about that.

But it’s like one of those things where that’s why you have to look at so many different areas for your thyroid health. Like you can’t just look at bloodwork, you also have to look at your basal body temperature and your energy and all your symptoms in your cycle and how you’re feeling and your appetite and all that kind of stuff. But then also like iodine hair tests, like you can’t just look at one thing, because it could be your thyroid could look completely normal and even optimal. But it could be because of like a halogen exposure. That’s one of those things you just keep in mind with a bloodwork. But like say you are limiting your halogen exposure, maybe you start using iodine. And you start to see that T three and T four improve along with your TSH going up. Don’t freak out about the TSH. Remember, it has to go up if you’re using iodine because it creates more of those iodine little transport molecules to move it and make thyroid hormone. So

it’s just something to keep in mind. But those are the three main ways that I would look at to like iodine status, right is to look at your hair test your urine, you’re not if you’re not familiar with hair mineral tests, I have a whole course called Master minerals. They teaches you how to interpret them, and how to make changes and allows you to order them depending on what country you live in. And then your ID loading test and your thyroid lab. So I feel like those three can give you a great picture.

And then in my master your minerals course I talked about. Okay, so you have your iodine test. What should that protocol look like? Now, obviously, the cofactors anyone that’s inside the course is already going to be doing things for a while before they do any iodine testing, hopefully. So there’ll be in a good foundational place, but then also to consider like, what are your thyroid labs? Like? What was your calcium like, you know, all these things that we want to keep in mind when we’re kind of titrating that but that’s really testing and how you’d look at your levels. So definitely check out the free thyroid training. If you’re like, I’m already sold. I want to learn all about it join the master minerals course. I’ll put the link in the show notes. And then lastly, I mentioned histamine.

I recently added two lessons on histamines to my master minerals course. And one of the really cool things for managing histamines is like having adequate iodine levels. Because iodine prevents histidine from turning into histamine. It’s this whole other piece of like, I mean, I feel like it’s that’s like one aspect that’s like iodine specifically. But then if you also think about if you have adequate iodine, then you’re probably making enough thyroid hormone and that means that you’re going to have a healthy metabolism. And then that’s going to support good digestion. good digestion is key for histamine issues. Because if your digestion starts to break down, then that’s when you can start to get overgrowth, food, food sensitivities and reactions and your immune system is all on high alert. And then eventually it gets tired and that contributes to more histamine issues. So lots of stuff with iodine thyroid and histamines but that one cool little tidbit I think is fun to share that it can actually prevent that histamine from turning to histamines.

But if you’re having like the higher histamine load where you’re coming up with lots of high histamine symptoms, which could literally be anything because we have histamine receptors all over the body. It’s not just gut issues. It could be allergy type symptoms, could be cramps, could be skin issues, could be constipation, could be reflux could be so many different things like that. Iodine is one of those little pieces of that puzzle. So I think that’s really neat. That’s the iodine podcast. So I hope that you guys enjoy learning about iodine about how

It affects our hormones and our thyroid and how it can be used for many other things, which is really neat. And testing and all that. So if you guys want to learn more, I’m going to put that book in the show notes are those couple books, my three thyroid training the master minerals course the previous episodes. And yeah, this is my last episode before I have my daughter, um, due May 3. So this is going to come out after that. So hopefully she is here by now. But I’m gonna take a little bit of a break for the summer after this. But I do plan to come back in August. So please let me know up I’ll post some stuff on Instagram to get topics from you guys. But I would love to know like, What content do you want for season three? I think I’m going to do a lot of like postpartum stuff. But do you want like another episode on iodine? What topics you want to learn about? Do you want to see certain guests send me a DM on Instagram or comment on one of the post or comment on this YouTube video if you’re watching on YouTube and your review, and I just want to thank you for all the support. I’ve really enjoyed doing the podcast these first two seasons, we have over 300,000 downloads now it’s just like blows my mind. So it’s something I’m definitely going to keep prioritizing in the future. But I just want to say thanks for your support. And please reach out to me and let me know what you want to learn about in the future.

Thank you for listening to the RU menstrual podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please consider leaving us a review and sharing the podcast with someone you think it will help. If you are new here, we can’t recommend enough to start with our mineral imbalance quiz. This is going to give you an idea if you are at low, moderate or high risk for mineral imbalances. And then of course, make sure you follow us on Instagram at hormone healing rd. And consider signing up for our newsletter if you like nerding out and you’re just loving these podcasts but maybe you’re a little bit more visual and you want to see things too. We go into a ton of detail in our weekly newsletter. So we would love to have you join us there. All right, thank you and we will see you in the next episode.

Amanda Montalvo

Amanda Montalvo is a women's health dietitian who helps women find the root cause of hormone imbalances and regain healthy menstrual cycles.

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