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A Review Article by LC Masur MD*

A June 2011 study from Lancet implied that more than two thirds of “schoolgirls” in the UK are iodine deficient. [1] The participants in that study were 14 to 15 years of age whereas, in the context of discussing iodine status world-wide, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines “school-aged children” (SAC) as being 6 to 12 years of age. [2] Iodine deficiency is not unique to the UK as similar deficiencies exist in many European countries.2

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When a patient or client presents with thyroid challenges, it is worth remembering that the thyroid is a dynamically affected tissue which means that it may spontaneously revert to normal. The natural history of sub-clinical hypothyroidism is variable; thyroid function normalises spontaneously in some subjects, whereas it progresses to overt hypothyroidism in others[1],[2]

The clinical evidence is clear that prior to offering thyroid replacement, identifying underlying triggers for thyroid dysfunction is a must.

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New research suggests the UK population is now iodine-deficient and a full review and evidence-based recommendations are needed to safeguard public health. The findings, presented on Tuesday the 12th April 2011 at the Society for Endocrinology annual conference, provide the only current data on the UK’s iodine status and demonstrate iodine-deficiency in a large sample population. Iodine-deficiency is the most common cause of preventable mental impairment worldwide.

In the study, which was funded by the Clinical Endocrinology Trust and is the first of its kind in the UK, Dr Mark Vanderpump (Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust) and colleagues on behalf of the British Thyroid Association measured urinary iodine levels in samples from 737 14-15 year old girls from nine UK centres. Factors that might skew the results (e.g. diet, ethnicity) were assessed using a questionnaire. Variations due to season and location were corrected for via measurements taken in Summer 2009 and Winter 2009/2010 and water samples from each area were measured for iodine content.

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Whilst certainly no expert on radiation, I have undertaken a review of the main journals and few of the less substantive sites and blogs to try and present a current and balanced view about the benefits or not of the UK population taking additional iodine for the purpose of preventing radioactive iodine contamination of their thyroid gland.

What is the status of the Japanese Nuclear Reactor?

The Institute for Science and International Security, a non-profit based in Washington DC, is arguing that the Fukushima disaster should be upgraded to a category six on the seven point scale of nuclear accidents. The Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency still classes the accident as a category five incident.

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Iodine Status In UK

Tuesday, 06 April 2010 by
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Iodine deficiency is the single most common cause of preventable mental retardation and brain damage in the world. It also decreases child survival, causes goitres, and impairs growth and development. Iodine deficiency in pregnant women causes miscarriages, stillbirths, and other complications. Children with IDD can grow up stunted, apathetic, mentally retarded, and incapable of normal movements, speech, or hearing. Globally, 2.2 billion people (38% of the world’s population) live in areas with iodine deficiency and risks its complications.

But are people in the UK deficient in Iodine? There is surprisingly little information available to identify whether the population has adequate or insufficient levels to meet the various needs of all the tissues that have iodine receptors.

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vrm-coverIodine deficiency epidemic

Although most of us believe we are not deficient in iodine since the fortification of salt with iodine, the fact is most people are deficient and don’t know it. Due to changes in food intake, eating patterns and food production methods, iodine intake has been decreasing in the U.S. since the early 70’s. Even worse, we are exposed to increasing levels of environmental toxins that either block the absorption of iodine or block its actions in the body.

Author: Joseph Pizzorno, ND Source: Vitamin Retailer Magazine, November 2009

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