Iodine & Breast Cancer: Can Iodine Cure or Prevent Breast Cancer?

Most people may know that iodine is good for you, but they don't take the next step and make sure that they add it into their daily diets. Iodine is not only necessary for proper thyroid hormone production and tissue development, but getting the right amount of iodine may also lower your chances of breast cancer.

In the past, Americans consumed a lot more iodine than they do now. In fact, iodine was a staple ingredient in bread and also included in many popular dairy products, but that's all changed now. Today, the iodine has been replaced with bromide, which competes in the body for iodine, thereby making the deficiency even worse.

It looks like our decreased intake of iodine over the years has affected the general health of the American public. 30 years ago when iodine consumption was twice as high as now, breast cancer occurred in only 1 in 20 women. Now as many as one out of seven women will develop breast cancer.

Can Iodine Prevent Breast Cancer?

How does iodine prevent breast cancer? Most doctors believe that iodine is only used by the thyroid. The cells lining the milk ducts of the breast contain special iodine pumps that concentrate iodine in the breast, indicating that proper daily amounts of iodine are vital to breast health.

Dr. Miller is a professor of cardiovascular surgery at the University of Washington. His fascinating study makes a compelling case for higher intakes ofdaily iodine for good health. Dr. Miller points out that one hundred years ago only 3 percent of women had fibrocystic disease of the breast, a disorder in which the breast is filled with painful cysts. Incredibly, 90 percent of women today suffer from this disorder. It has been shown that putting female mice on an iodine-free diet quickly produces fibrocystic breast disease, and that adding iodine rapidly cures the condition.

Not convinced that low iodine levels may contribute to the development of breast cancer? Another study published in 1993 in the Canadian Journal of Surgery found that iodine relieved the signs and symptoms of fibrocystic breast disease in 70 percent of women sufferers. This was a double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving over 600 women.

Studies done on animals have also shown that getting the right amount of iodine can prevent breast cancer. In one study, researchers exposed rats to a powerful carcinogen (cancer causing agent) that has been known to produce breast cancer in a high percentage of animals. Rats given iodine before being exposed to the cancer agent had a much higher resistance to breast cancer formation.

Cure for Breast Cancer?

We can even look at demographics to see the important role that iodine plays in our health. Why is it that Japanese women have the lowest incidence of breast cancer in the world and American women the highest? On average, Japanese women consume 50 times more iodine a day than American women, usually in the form of kelp, chlorella, and red algae. They also have the lowest fat intake and the highest intake of flavonoids (fruits and vegetables) and omega-3 oils. While we can't come right out and say matter of factly that high iodine intake will prevent breast cancer, present studies are showing that it will definitely improve your chances of staying cancer free.

Iodine and Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one specific time that iodine supplementation in highly recommended due to developing child relying on the production of thyroid hormones for proper bran development and thyroid functioning. If a mother suffers from iodine deficiency, the developing fetus may suffer from brain damage, hearing problems, inadequate growth, and speech disabilities. Pregnant women should consume at least 150 micrograms of iodine a day. A few factors lower iodine levels including some types of food, like pastas and bread and chlorinated water, so pregnant women should not consume large amounts of these items.

How to Get More Iodine in Your Diet

If you are deficient in iodine, you should add foods that are full of iodine to your diet. Examples of iodine rich foods include milk, cranberries, seaweed, strawberries, shrimp, navy beans, yogurt, and potatoes. Iodized salt is also a main source of iodine. You can also get more iodine by taking a supplement that contains between 12.5 mg and 50 mg of iodine.

Iodine is important to the health of your whole body, not just your thyroid. Modern health studies have shown that a number of tissues in the body have a much greater requirement for iodine than the thyroid. Iodine is present in every cell of the body. It is imperative for optimal health.

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