Your thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate your metabolic rate, which impacts how much energy you have. Although it doesn't get much attention, consuming sufficient iodine is critical for a healthy thyroid. Since fibromyalgia at its core is an energy crisis, it's important that those with FMS are aware of symptoms that might suggest iodine deficiency. Let's look at seven symptoms of iodine deficiency and what you can do about it.
Symptom 1: Fatigue
Your thyroid uses iodine to help create hormones that feed your energy "furnace." Without sufficient iodine, your furnace "burns out" and fatigue sets in.
Symptom 2: Muscle Pain
The continuous low energy that results from iodine-deficient thyroid function can also lead to muscles locking into shortened positions, making them hurt. Our published research showed that optimizing energy production dramatically decreased muscle pain. For example, optimizing energy production using our S.H.I.N.E.® protocol was associated with a 91% improvement in people with fibromyalgia. (Learn more about treating fibromyalgia through S.H.I.N.E.®.)
Symptom 3: Weight Gain
If you can't burn calories for energy, you store it as fat. When you're deficient in iodine, you can find that you gain weight even though you've cut down on eating and you're exercising. Two studies in our research center showed that people gained an average 32 ½ pounds weight after developing fibromyalgia.
Symptom 4: Constipation
It takes energy to "keep things moving." So problems here can be a sign of iodine deficiency.
Symptom 5: Cold Intolerance
Feeling unusually cold, even at just room temperature, can indicate iodine deficiency.
Symptom 6: Infertility
Underactive thyroid is a commonly missed cause of unexplained infertility. (Email me FatigueDoc@Gmail.com if you'd like a free information sheet on how to optimize fertility.)
Symptom 7: Breast Tenderness
Iodine is critical for healthy breast function. Deficiency is a major cause of fibrocystic breast disease and breast tenderness. In addition, research has shown that women with breast cancer have lower tissue iodine levels, and optimizing iodine may be important for optimizing breast health.
Why This Has Become a Problem
Over the last 50 years, the average American's iodine intake has dropped by 30 to 50%. In large part, this has resulted from bakers switching from iodized flour to bromated flour. This is a double whammy: Our diet has not only become iodine deficient, but the now-added bromate is a halide, which is a a chemical cousin to iodine that may actually block the function of what little iodine we now consume.
Maintaining Healthy Iodine Levels
I don't find testing for iodine function to be helpful. Instead, I advise simply taking 6 ¼ mg (6,250 µg) of iodine supplement a day. Doing so can help restore healthy iodine levels, while also flushing out toxins such as fluoride and the bromide that may block iodine function. I recommend a brand called Tri-Iodine™ by EuroPharma. Take this for 3-6 months (discontinue in the rare case that it flares indigestion/solar plexus pain), or continue long term if you like. If you're taking a multivitamin (as you should be) make sure it also provides at least 200 µg of iodine. I get my daily multivitamin from the Energy Revitalization System vitamin powder by Enzymatic Therapy. This provides overall nutritional support for 50 key nutrients (including iodine) in one low-cost drink every morning.
Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.