Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hold that iodine...

I have been thinking nonstop about the tragedy that has unfolded in Japan. The earthquake and then the tsunamis, and now an impending nuclear event. I can't even imagine what Japanese people might be going thru. Some lost their cars, some all their worldly possessions and some even lost loved ones.

As I'm reading the updates and keep thinking to myself I need to stop obsessing, I'm starting to see a trend. Various health related resources are starting to recommend iodine supplementation in order to prevent radiation sickness here in the United States. 

Not for me, thank you.

So why? Why should I not run to my corner health food store right now? What's the big deal? I mean, it's just iodine - it's in our salt, right? What harm can it do to start popping pills? Well, great question! 

First, when popping pills of any sort, I feel it's always a great idea to do a quick risk benefit analysis. Are the benefits of taking the pills (Tylenol, your multi, etc) greater than the risk. Let's do this with iodine:

- Iodine can prevent radiation sickness if there is to be a nuclear meltdown - which has not happened. Of course, we are also assuming that the radiation would be significant enough to affect us thousands of miles away. I'd say that's not unreasonable. Assuming the air currents would take them this way - which we are unsure of. And given that it would take days for the fallout to get here (assuming there would be an event), and we'd be able to measure radiation, I'd say we have ample time to pop this particular pill IF and WHEN it ever becomes necessary. Did you know that iodine supplementation is widely associated with the development of Hashimoto's thyroiditis in the scientific literature? I'm not making this up. Check PubMed. You don't even need a high amount. There is a reason iodized salt is banished from my household... And by the way, did you know that 10% of women in the United States have this autoimmune disease? So no mistake, it's not rare by any stretch. And by the way, if you have hypothyroidism, you have a 90% chance that you are in that group. Maybe I'll write more about that another time...

So how would you like to take these pills which can give you an autoimmune disease in order to prevent something that might not ever happen. 

And that's my two cents. If the benefits start outweighing the benefits, I'll be on board - don't worry...

No comments:

Post a Comment