Thyroid Hormones and Iodine - The Japanese Nuclear Disaster
  Japan Radiation Release - Possible Effects on Americans
  Dangers of Potassium Iodide
  by James Occhiogrosso, N.D.


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In the past week or so since the disaster in Japan, unscrupulous folks have been pushing radiation fears for the west coast of the U.S. and Canada.  While the possibility of large radiation releases from this disaster exist, there is no evidence that this is forthcoming, and many countries (including the U.S.) have provided high level technical assistance to the Japanese to help prevent large radiation releases. 

Many of the folks that are pushing the "panic button" are also selling Potassium Iodide, a chemical drug that can protect the thyroid gland from absorbing radioactive iodine (a component of the radiation release).  In the years following the WWII nuclear attacks on Japan, it was well established that radioactive iodine absorbed by humans causes thyroid cancer year later.

The reason for this is very simple; The thyroid gland is the major user of iodine in the body.  Iodine introduced into the body in any form, gets absorbed and stored in the thyroid where it is used to make thyroid hormones T3 and T4.     

According to an article in the L.A. Times on 3/19/2011, the Environmental Protection Agency  reported that its nationwide radiation monitoring system, RadNet, which continuously monitors the nation's air, drinking water, milk and precipitation for environmental radiation, showed typical fluctuations in background radiation levels with little increase over normal levels.

So at the moment, there is no significant increase in radiation on the west coast of the U.S. or Canada.  Unfortunately, due to the scare, many citizens are rushing to purchase the drug potassium iodide, to combat this relatively small (at the moment) threat of radiation fallout from nuclear events in Japan. And, there are reports that pharmacies across the country are out of stock on the drug.

Protecting Your Thyroid Naturally and Safely

There are many ways to protect your thyroid from radiation fallout.  The best way is to keep your thyroid happy with a sufficient amount of iodine intake from foods, primarily sea vegetables like Kelp and others.  Potassium iodide is a drug containing large amounts of iodine. It works because the thyroid absorbs nearly all iodine coming in to the body.  Thus, incoming iodine from the potassium iodide is absorbed until the thyroid is saturated.  Once this happens, the thyroid will not absorb more iodine until it has used up its stored supply.  Thus, the potassium iodide (or any other iodine) can prevent the thyroid from absorbing the potentially dangerous radioactive iodine and protect it from developing radiation induced thyroid cancer.

However, potassium iodide is potentially very dangerous, particularly to folks that already have thyroid disorders, and, it is only effective if it is taken within a few hours of exposure.  In fact, if you wait too long after exposure to take the potassium iodide, and your thyroid has already absorbed the radioactive iodine, you may significantly increase your risk of thyroid cancer because the thyroid is already saturated with radioactive iodine.

Thus, since none of us really know how bad this will get, or even if there will be a problem, your best defense is to keep your thyroid saturated with organic iodine from plant sources so that if there is an increase in radioactivity, you thyroid will not tend to absorb it.

I want to stress, in the strongest possible terms, that there is no reason to purchase or take potassium iodide at this time.  Potassium iodide is NOT a supplement.  It can have serious negative side effects! If you have been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, graves disease, goiter, or thyroiditis, you  should not take potassium iodide. In addition to negative effects involving the thyroid, the drug can also cause other side effects as well, including inflammation of the salivary gland, allergic reactions, and digestive problems.

In short, while potassium iodide does have its uses, this is not the case at this time in this country!  Most knowledgeable health practitioners agree that iodine can provide a effective way to prevent harm from radioactivity. However, they also agree that the iodine intake should come from food or other natural sources such as herbal iodine preparations.

Americans typically consume very low levels of iodine in their diets as evidenced by the high percentage of hypothyroidism in the U.S.  Adequate levels of iodine are crucial for good health and iodine deficiencies have been linked to various cancers as well as thyroid disease.

The thyroid gland is essentially the "gas pedal" of our bodies. It controls many functions related to virtually everything in the body.  Excess iodine in the form of potassium iodide can cause serious problems, whereas iodine coming from food or herbal sources has little to no side effects.  Too much iodine  (especially as potassium iodide) can cause thyroid hyperactivity and possibly a life-threatening condition known as "thyroid storm".

At this time, and in my opinion, this panic is totally unjustified, and is a product of unscrupulous folks looking to profit from the fears of others.  I see no need for anyone to panic and run out looking for potassium iodide. The easiest way to prevent radiation exposure (if it gets to that point) is to load up your thyroid with organic, natural iodine. 

I have always offered an Iodine combination product (Iodine Combo) for my clients.  I use it primarily to support normal thyroid function for clients that demonstrate known hypothyroid symptoms or those with adrenal fatigue. Our Iodine Combo product contains herbal extracts of several plants that are well-documented to have extremely high natural iodine content. This product is available on this website and you can order it through the link below.

If you don't have excess thyroid function or an overactive thyroid, it is perfectly safe for long term use.  If you have low thyroid activity (hypothyroidism), it can help support your thyroid and improve your overall health and well-being. 

Finally, like potassium iodide, our Iodine Combo can help prevent radioactive iodine from being absorbed by your thyroid in the event dangerous amounts of radiation released from the Japanese nuclear disaster reach the U.S. or Canada.

If it will help give you peace of mind that you are doing something about the potential radiation fallout, or if you want to support better thyroid health, you can purchase it by clicking here.
 


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