Can You Really Fight Cancer with Salt?
Iodine, an often ignored and tragically unappreciated micronutrient, is more important to your health than you might realize. In fact, it may be the key to improving overall immunity and combatting the astonishing increase in autoimmune disorders, many of which set the stage for thyroid disorders and, yes, cancer to develop.
We’ve known for decades that our bodies require iodine, a highly valuable micronutrient responsible for a host of bodily functions. In 1924, the first report of high rates of goiter in certain geographical regions coincided with higher rates of cancer mortality. The connection between iodine deficiency and breast, stomach, thyroid, prostate, endometrial, ovarian, and colorectal cancers has been shown to be a “modifiable risk,” meaning that we have the power to lower our risks of these and possibly other forms of cancer.
And it’s astoundingly simple to resolve.
It might require adding a good iodine supplement to your daily routine, or it just might mean that routinely shaking a little of the right kind of salt on your food can make a big difference.
Yet even in our modern society, iodine deficiency remains a continuing underreported causative factor of serious health conditions. A whopping 97% of Americans are deficient in iodine; it’s glaringly evident that far too many of us are vulnerable to a host of unnecessary (and easily avoidable) assaults as a result.
Why is that?
The deficiency is connected to many of the most destructive health disorders of our time – including hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia, diabetes, brain disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, and fibrocystic breast disease.
Adequate Iodine levels can increase apoptosis (cancer cell death) and can cause tumors to shrink.
Given the fact that iodine plays such a vital role in our health, I turned to Dr. David Brownstein, world-renowned iodine expert and author of the book Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It. Dr. Brownstein believes that this critical element not only improves immunity, supports the adrenal glands, protects the breast, reduces fibromyalgia, normalizes hormone disorders, aids digestion, and prevents mental retardation, it also plays a vital role in the prevention of cancer.
Watch the entire interview here:
Busting the Myths About Iodine
There is a lot of misinformation about iodine, but the main thing to remember is that iodine is NOT a toxic substance that should be avoided at all costs. Quite the opposite, iodine is a substance we simply cannot live without.
So why is this vital chemical element so misunderstood?
Myth #1: There’s no need to supplement with iodine because we get enough of it in our table salt
Iodized salt was first sold in America in May 1924 and was considered a public health miracle at the time. The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of iodine was originally set in an effort to prevent an epidemic of goiter (an enlarged thyroid caused by an iodine deficiency).
But what many people don’t realize is that the amount of iodine added to refined salt is actually nowhere near adequate for our body’s needs.
So what’s going on?
The RDA of iodine is 150 micrograms of salt. Given the fact that Americans take in more than the RDA of refined table salt each day through processed foods and by the sheer amount we shake on our cooked food, why aren’t we getting enough iodine from this proposedly healthy processed salt?
One reason is that only about 10% of the iodine in our processed salt is absorbed by the body. So the old saying, “you are what you eat,” is not exactly true. In fact, you are what your body can absorb, digest and process.
Added to that, salt has long been demonized by many doctors and health “experts” who routinely admonish us to reduce the amount of salt we eat and adopt low-salt diets.
As a result, iodine levels have fallen by more than 50 percent over the last 40 years (CDC, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey). The result? The perfect storm for propelling nearly the entire U.S. population and that of other western countries to become iodine deficient.
Myth #2: Iodine supplements cause thyroid disorders
Examine the facts.
Iodine levels have dramatically decreased by more than 50 percent over the past 40 years, as previously stated. Yet thyroid-related disorders (Hashimoto’s, Graves’ disease, and thyroid cancer to name a few) continue to increase at an alarming rate. It is vital that we learn about the iodine connection and the simple ways to replenish this critical micronutrient.
How to Determine If You Have An Iodine Deficiency
Urine and blood tests are available to determine iodine deficiencies. Another way to test for an iodine deficiency is the iodine “patch” test. To do that, you simply “paint” a patch of iodine on your skin, about 2×2 inches on the inside of your forearm. If you are severely iodine deficient, the iodine will be absorbed into your skin and will fade from sight within 8 hours. If it disappears anytime up to 24 hours, you are deficient in this micronutrient. But if your body has adequate stores of iodine, the patch will take longer than 24 hours to fade.
A tincture of iodine is available in most drugstores or can be ordered online. J Crow’s Lugol Solution of Iodine (a combination of iodine and iodide) has been around since 1829 and is a dependable brand. You can often find it at your favorite pharmacy, or you may also order it online.
The Solution to Iodine Deficiencies
Don’t be afraid to shake a little salt on your food if it’s the right kind. In fact, limiting real salt can be dangerous! By adding real salt to your diet, you’re doing your body a favor. However, knowing which salt is protective and which is not… is critical.
When you trade-in refined, processed table salt for unrefined, natural salt such as Himalayan Salt or Black Salt, you’re more apt to replenish your body’s requirement of iodine.
Dr. Brownstein recommends that the average adult consumes between one-half and one teaspoon of unrefined salt daily.
Iodine is also found in abundant supply in wild-caught seafood, kelp, wakame, nori, and even foods produced on land that was once under sea level. Other good sources include grass-fed organic yogurt and milk, along with eggs, lima beans, and prunes.
Supplement with Iodine
The amount of an iodine supplement is determined by many factors, including the amount of deficiency, your body weight, and other factors. In this instance, “more” is not always better, and a little goes a long way. Please check with your trusted health advisor to be sure this treatment is right for you and to determine dosage.
And be sure to check out my interview with Dr. David Brownstein: Iodine and The Cancer Connection.
Dr. David Brownstein, MD, “Salt Your Way to Health.” (Devon Press, Inc. 2013)
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD., The Miracle Mineral You Can’t Live Without. https://annlouise.com/womens-health/how-much-salt-do-you-really-need/
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD., How Much Salt Do You Really Need? https://annlouise.com/womens-health/how-much-salt-do-you-really-need/
Tina Kaczor, ND, FABNO, “Iodine and Cancer,” Natural Medicine Journal (June 2014) Vol. 6, Issue 6.
Angela M. Leung, Lewis E. Braverman, Elizabeth N. Pearce, “History of U.S. Iodine Fortification and Supplementation,” Nutrients (November 2012); 4(11): 1740–1746. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3509517/
Tim Newman, “Using Salt to Fight Cancer, Medical News Today (January 16, 2020). https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327468
James I. Pittman, et al. “Changing Normal Values for Thyroidal Radioiodine Uptake,” New England Journal of Medicine, www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM196906262802602.