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Now that my readers have a broader knowledge of the thyroid function and the iodine components I am concluding this iodine series at this time. However, there will be continuing knowledge and insights on thyroid function, iodine research and its role on a cellular level, and the entire inter-play within the endocrine system, the HPA (hypothalamus/pituitary/adrenal) axis, insulin and the sex hormones which I will address in the future.

So as for now, in putting together the previous segments of this series I will try to explain further how iodine affects our cells. Since iodine absorption is most studied regarding its role in the thyroid gland we will discuss and understand what happens to iodine in the thyroid gland.

As mentioned earlier Iodine/iodide is a halide substance. After ingesting this mineral, it is transported from the GI tract to inside a cell via a transport molecule, called sodium-iodide symporter (NIS). Then inside the cell it undergoes two vital processes: oxidation and organification. The important process in oxidation occurs through the interaction of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) with thyroperoxidase (TPO). If this important process is hampered a probable result will be the production of anti-thyroperoxidase antibodies (anti-TPO). This leads to the autoimmune condition discussed earlier called Hashimoto’s disease. While hydrogen peroxide production is essential, it could be harmful to body tissue. Our bodies have a defense mechanism protecting the tissues through the enzyme glutathione peroxidase. Glutathione is a very vital anti-oxidant found in all our cells. It requires the mineral selenium to be produced. Adequate intake of selenium is therefore essential. Other nutrients such as calcium and vitamins B2 (riboflavin) and B3 ( niacin) are also integral in the process of balancing the oxidation and organification of iodine.

Summarizing the information I presented in this series, an integrated holistic doctor must understand the dynamic balance of all the hormone producing glands, as well as be familiar with nutrition and those substances that are toxic and interfering with normal chemical reactions in our bodies. It is clear that hypothyroidism is a disease that affects every age group, men and women, and from conception to old age. Due to the multiple factors I have described in this series hypothyroidism is an unrecognized epidemic. More than one hundred symptoms may be associated with a low production of thyroid hormone. From a weak immune system to cancer, fatigue and anxiety to diabetes, depression to Alzheimer’s, these and so many more diseases are attributable to hypothyroidism. Proper recognition and treatment, including supplementing with iodine/iodine at far higher amounts than the RDA, would prevent so much illness and suffering. Millions of dollars spent on millions of people who are misdiagnosed could be saved. Finally, Dr. Starr states “ there is a compilation of overwhelming evidence that not only is the modern laboratory testing used to diagnose hypothyroidism completely inadequate, but the current treatment for the illness is equally lacking in efficacy. “

Future articles will be presented explaining the other hormone systems such as the adrenal glands. Stay tune!