Iodine Health Benefits
Iodine health benefits include a role in thyroid hormone production and possible help in preventing prostate cancer. Most people don’t think about iodine because it is in iodized salt, but some experts believe much of the population is iodine deficient.
Iodine is a trace element that the body needs to make thyroid hormones. Several scientists have explored the association between iodine levels, thyroid disease, and cancer risk, given that the thyroid has an impact on many organs, including the prostate. In a Nutrition and Cancer article, researchers reported on iodine status and prostate cancer risk among people who participated in the NHANES I Epidemiologic Follow-up Study. (Hoption Cann 2007) They found that thyroid disease was associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Previously, the NHANES I (1971-1974) had noted that 2.6 percent of Americans had iodine deficiency, but by the follow up NHANES III survey (1988-1994), 11.7 percent were deficient. This finding suggests an iodine deficiency can lead to thyroid disease, which in turn may increase the risk of prostate cancer. Therefore, it has been suggested that among iodine health benefits may be help in reducing the chances of developing prostate cancer.
How To Use Iodine
The recommended daily allowance for iodine is 150 micrograms for adults. An iodine deficiency is not officially recognized in the United States, but some experts suggest people are deficient and do not know it, especially since use of added salt is discouraged. People who eat seafood, seaweed (high in iodine), iodized salt, and plants grown in iodine-rich soil typically get enough iodine in their diet and subsequently enjoy iodine health benefits directly from their food.
Hoption Cann SA et al. A prospective study of iodine status, thyroid function, and prostate cancer risk: follow-up of the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Nutrition and Cancer 2007; 58(1): 28-34.