The body requires iodine to metabolize both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. A substance called delta-iodolactone, which is produced in the thyroid gland and breast tissue, is a regulator of a process called cellular apoptosis (“cell death”).
This means that delta-iodolactone ensures that the cells have a lifespan; at the end of that lifespan, the cells die.
Contrast that with a cancer cell, which keeps multiplying until it causes the death of the organism. In fact, a cure for cancer might be found by discovering the mechanism by which delta-iodolactone induces cell death.
Unfortunately, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for iodine — about 150 mcg per day — will not cause delta-iodolactone to be formed in the thyroid gland. In fact, the thyroid requires iodine concentrations much higher to produce it.
Researchers have found that 100 times the RDA of iodine is required to produce delta-iodolactone. That equates to taking about 15 mg of iodine per day. When I lecture about iodine, I cover this topic thoroughly.
After testing more than 6,000 patients (between my partners and myself), I have learned that more than 96 percent are iodine deficient — and most are significantly deficient.
These patients can be certain to not be producing delta-iodolactone. Perhaps this would explain why so many people have thyroid and breast problems.
Iodine is required to metabolize fish oil, so patients taking fish oil supplements who happen to be iodine deficient could be exposed to more adverse effects from the oils, including problems with both the breast and thyroid tissue.
We are currently experiencing an epidemic of cancer of the breast and thyroid diseases.
If you take fish oil supplements, you need adequate amounts of iodine to metabolize it into the anticancer substance delta-iodolactone.
I believe that fish oil supplementation is going to make the iodine deficiency epidemic we are facing even worse.
Posts by David Brownstein, M.D.
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