Radioactive Iodine and Thyroid Health

Here is a tip about the increasing amounts of radioactive iodine from the damaged power plant in Japan, and the understandable concern we all feel. 

People are generally quite surprised to learn how important their thyroid function is to their total overall health, including mental well-being.  Also surprising is just how easily thyroid balance is disrupted by environmental pollutants.  One notorious pollutant is radioactive iodine, an unavoidable waste product created by nuclear fission power plants.

Environmental iodine, including the radioactive variety, is concentrated in the thyroid gland in our neck, as part of normal thyroid function.  Once there it serves as part of the raw material to make thyroid hormone.  This substance is needed by every cell and tissue and organ of our body as the gas pedal of metabolism.  Temperature, growth, repair, and the very reading of our DNA are totally dependent on correct levels of thyroid hormone.

If enough radioactive iodine is concentrated in the thyroid gland, it can damage the gland and diminish its output of thyroid hormone.  The concentrated radiation can even sometimes cause thyroid cancer.  Luckily, these unpleasant outcomes are quite preventable, even amid the increased pollution of nuclear accidents.

The preventive strategy is to make sure there is plenty of non-radioactive iodine available to your thyroid gland.  BUT, equally important is to make sure you are not taking in too much iodine, for that too can diminish thyroid function.  Thus, the task at hand is to make sure you are getting just the proper amount.

Previously, lab tests for iodine levels in the body were either uselessly inaccurate or cumbersome and expensive.  Now, however, there is new technology, that provides for accurate results, without the need for a high-intake loading dose.  This is the new Comprehensive Iodine Thyroid Profile that you can self-order from for a sensible low cost.


Regards and best wishes for your optimal preventive care,

Rich Shames, MD