How to Self-Test for an Iodine Deficiency
1. Dip a cotton ball into USP Tincture of Iodine. (You can get iodine at the pharmacy)
2. Paint a 2 inch circle of iodine on your soft skin, like the inner part of your thigh or upper arm.
3. Wait. — If the yellowish stain disappears in less than an hour; it means your body is lacking crucial iodine and has soaked it up. If the stain remains for more than four hours, you iodine levels are fine.
Why check your iodine levels?
Low iodine levels can zap your energy and make you feel tired, edgy and worn out. Low iodine levels can even prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Before you go to your doctor with complaints of tossing and turning all night, aches and pains, and just feeling “blah,” you may want to perform this self-test.
Because the symptoms of an iodine deficiency are classically identical to so many other illnesses (like depression, stress, chronic fatigue, or fibromyalgia,) many doctors either misdiagnose it or miss it completely and tell you there is nothing wrong.
Why are iodine levels so important?
Low levels of iodine mean your thyroid may not be functioning properly. The thyroid needs iodine to function as it helps balance hormones, regulate heartbeats, stabilize cholesterol, maintain weight control, encourage muscle growth, keep menstrual cycles regular, provide energy, and even helps you keep a positive mental attitude.
Women are naturally prone to iodine deficiencies. That’s because the thyroid gland in women is twice as large as in men — so under normal circumstances, women need more iodine. However, when women are under stress, the need for iodine can double or triple. Yet the foods we eat contain less and less dietary iodine. For example, back in 1940, the typical American diet contained about 800 micrograms of iodine. By 1995, that amount plunged to just 135 micrograms. That’s an 83% decline.
Two thirds of the body’s iodine is found in the thyroid gland. One of the best ways to boost your iodine levels is to add sea vegetables to your diet. Just one teaspoon of sea vegetables a day can help you regain normal iodine levels. Incorporating seafood and fish into your diet can also help. Other foods that contain iodine are eggs and dairy products, including milk, cheese and yogurt, onions, radishes, and watercress. Some foods, called goitrogens, should be omitted for awhile as they hinder iodine utilization. These included kale, cabbage, peanuts, soy flour, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi and turnips.
To reactivate the thyroid gland, tyrosine, iodine, zinc, copper and selenium are needed so make sure that foods containing these nutrients are included in your diet. However, if you have the immune system deficiency called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, you should not supplement your diet with iodine as it may aggravate the condition.