Since WHO has declared Germany a country of iodine deficiency – though of medium severity – a continuous campaignis being launched in Germany to advertise the trace element iodine as unrestrictedly harmless to health. Additionally,on explicit recommendation of German health authorities, almost all human foods and animal feed are supplemented with iodine, leading to an unavoidable by-force medication of our daily food with this substance. Iodine in amounts as provided by the present iodination of our food is not at all healthy. The base of this statement will be explained with the help of the following five questions.
- What kind of health risks does the presently practiced iodination of salt carry, and what kind of risks the consumption of food items treated with this salt?
- How significant is the frequency of occurance of hyperergic responses to iodination?
- Iodine is an essential mineral – how is it to be explained that, for some people, minimal doses are capable of creating health problems?
- What recommendations in regard to food choices can we give to the affected individuals?
- What should be done on the policy level to raise awareness and to reduce the problem?
1. In response to the question on health risks from iodized salt and food there is a definite answer: iodination of food and animal feed carries health risks, and the dangers to health are manifold and severe.
Since in 1821 the Swiss physician Coindet used iodine for the treatment of goitre, and since, very early after introduction of this new treatment, a lady of the Genevan society died from an overdose of iodine, the dangers implicit iniodine treatment have been well known, regardless of whether it was prescribed as a medicament or administered as an additive to salt or foods.
Medical literature has documented iodine-caused health affections of all kinds.
The reader may refer to the updated manual for doctors and pharmacists on “Adverse Effects and Interactions of Drugs“, or to Prof. Pfannenstiel’s Medical Guide “Nichts Gutes im Schilde“(“Up to Something”), or to publications of the annual “Wiesbaden dialogue on the thyroid”: in all these and in many other publications, ill-effects of iodine on health have been described at length.
However – and this, in the context of the ongoing iodine campaign advertising its use, is rarely in the focus of attention– iodine not only acts on the thyroid, but on every other bodily organ.
In the thyroid gland iodine causes the auto-immune diseases Morbus Basedow and Morbus Hashimoto, and iodine supplement can lead to hot and cold foci and to cancer.
It is frightening to realize how many iodine-induced health damages need to be listed in answering this first question:
Iodine also affects the central and peripheral nervous system leading to restlessness, nervousness, sleeplessness, fidgety legs, hyperactivity, psychological disorders, vertigo, neuritis, depression, aggression, panic attacks, and headache.
Iodine further affects skin and mucous membranes causing iodine acne, iodineallergy, the autoimmune disorder dermatitis herpetiformis Duhring, urticaria, photo-sensitivity, conjunctivitis, loss of hair, breaking of fingernails and detachment from the nail beds.
Then, iodine acts on the intestinal tract and leads to nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, inflammation of mucous membranes of mouth and stomach and oesophagus, and to pancreatic pain.
Iodine affects the reproductive system, on the one hand, by depressing sexual activity, and, on the other, by causing infertility and impotence.
Iodine affections of the respiratory system are asthma (iodine asthma), bronchitis, rhinitis (iodine rhinitis), swelling of the larynx with danger to life, paralysis of vocal chords, and tuberculosis. Iodine affections of the blood vessels and haematogenesis include thrombocytopenia, leucocytosis, embolus formation of thrombocytes, and high cholesterol levels.
The body’s metabolism reacts to high iodine levels with enlargement of the thyroid, hyper- or hypothyroidism, thyroiditis, renal failure, facial oedema, fever, and collapse possibly leading to death.
Other dangers to life and health are iodine affections of the cardiac and circulatory system: palpitation, tachycardia, hypertension, arteriosclerosis, arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation, myocarditis, valvular dysfunction, and myocardial infarction frequently leading to death.
Iodine effects on musculature are degenerative myopathy, degeneration of muscles of shoulder and pelvic girdle, and of the legs.
In case iodine causes increased production of thyroid hormones, bones get depleted of calcium leading to loss of bone substance and to osteoporosis.
Other iodine-induced auto-immune diseases, besides the diseases of the thyroid mentioned above (M. Basedow and M. Hashimoto), are diseases of the skin, dermatitis herpetiformis Duhring, diseases of the adrenals, Morbus Addison, also diabetes mellitustype 1, and vitiligo, to name only a few.
Yet, this is not the complete picture of the horrible damages caused by iodine. Worse is to follow: Iodine is cancerogenic as it increases the formation of nitrosamine by (at least) six-fold. Iodine facilitates the development of cancer in every organ and supports the growth of neoplasm already existing. This cannot be regarded as promoting success of cancer prevention or cancer treatment. That is why there are already oncology departments where non-iodized food is recommended as anti-cancer diet.
Another danger to life posed by iodine lies in the risk of an anaphylactic shock; this can affect iodine-allergic patients with the ingestion of a single molecule of their allergen, i.e. iodine, or after contact with it.
For patients affected by iodine allergy, everyday life in a food scenario where iodination aims at complete coverage,has become a constant threat to their personal lives.
A teacher of chemistry reported that the number of students who have become allergic to iodine due to additional iodine intake has recently increased.The first case observed was the son of a physician who collapsed at school during a chemical experiment with iodine. The boy was quickly removed from the chemistry room, and he reported that he had become allergic to iodine after he had received iodine medication as prophylactic thyroid treatment by his father. Since this event, the chemistry teacher makes sure to warn his students of the toxicity of the halogen iodine, and also enlightens them about the fact that additional iodine intake in the form of tablets, iodized salt or iodized food can cause disease. And he adds that he does not take any iodine and takes care not to eat any food supplemented with iodine. He says that, as achemist, he is really conscious of the character of toxins…
2. The question as to the significane off requency of hyperergic reactions to iodination can very well be answered with information from experts.
Since the commencement of iodination the number of diseases caused by iodine has risen continuously and in the meantime has reached a frightening extent. While in the mid-nineties of last century the estimated number of Basedow disease cases was 1 % and the number of Hashimoto disease cases was too small to be expressed in terms of percent, the situation till 2002 has dramatically changed. Our (German) number of iodine-induced thyroid diseases is estimated to be 10 to 15 %. Other diseases caused by iodine, such as iodine acne, iodineallergy, osteoporosis, cancer, diabetes mellitus type I, and tuberculosis, are not even included in this estimate. In Austria thyroid diseases went upby leaps and bounds. In Switzerland a correlation is seen between iodination and hyperactivity of children, and a Swiss physician estimates that up to 25 % of his patients are suffering from iodine-related diseases.
Let us have a look at some facts reported from Germany, Austria and Switzerland:
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Hengstmann, endocrinologist of the “Urban” Hospital, Berlin, in May 1998 made some critical remarks on the general iodination practice, in the feature “Sick Dueto Iodine” (“Krank durch Jod“) of the television magazine “Brisant“ (mdr). First he introduced a patient suffering from Basedow disease who, according to his assessment, was not likely to have developed this severe autoimmune disease without iodination of food substances; then he stated that 10–15 % of all German citizens were suffering and ill due to high iodination of almost all foods.
After the 20th “Wiesbaden dialogue on the thyroid” in February 2002, Prof. Dr. Lothar-Andreas Hotze, radiologist from Mainz, stated to dpa that iodine intake is not only beneficial: additional intake of iodine increases the risk for disposed humans to develop Hashimoto disease, an autoimmune disease in which thyroid cells get destroyed by cells of one’s own body. Due to iodination, the number of these cases has risen (from zero percent) to 6 %.
According to Hotze, the increase of Basedow disease cases from 1 % to 4% is also caused by additional iodination. He calls it the adverse effect of improved iodine nutrition.
The Swiss health journal “Pulstipp“ in April and May 2002 published articles on iodine affections in Switzerland and also referred to cases of iodine-inducedill-health in Austria. Quote: “Thyroid diseases in Austria have increased in leaps and bounds. From 1994 to 1999 the number of cases of thyroiditis has doubled. And the number of cases of Basedow disease has risen by 120 % within three years. The reason: In 1990 health authorities raised the iodine contents of cooking salt.“
Fir the first time Swiss doctors go public and demand discontinuation of iodination ordered by authorities. In the following I am quoting the physician Jürg Hess: “This much iodine cannot be tolerated anymore… One should be cautious about intake of iodized salt.”According to his experience the practiced iodination does cause many diseases,quote: “The number of patients with thyroid affections has strongly increased. Many cases of hyperthyroidism are directly caused by iodine.” Hess also lists the symptoms already mentioned above: tachycardy (often at night), restlessness, trembling and sweating, depression and infections, chronically blocked nose, obstinate cough and catarrh, and many cases of acne. Jürg Hess also considers it possible that the rise in hyperactivity in children is caused by iodine. He estimates that 15 to 25 % of his patients are ill due to excessive iodine intake. The significance of frequency of iodine caused diseases is very high: in the three countries referred to, about one quarter of the population is affected. Affected by severe and very severe diseases that by far outweigh the severity of goitre diseases which are supposed to be prevented by the same measure.
3. There are two causes why iodine as an essential mineral, for some people, can become problematic in minimal dosages:
Firstly, iodine is to be regarded as a trace element, i.e. it is essential to life, but required – as the term indicates – in traces only. Larger amounts of this substance can be problematic and, indeed, are toxic. Toxicology experts – those on emergency call duty for poisoning cases– label it “iodine poisoning” in case excessive iodine has been ingested.
Traces of iodine essential to human life are definitely contained in natural, unprocessed, and ecologically cultivated food. Each additional dosage of iodine will rather lead to overnutrition, and an essential trace element turns into a dangerous poison. I have dealt with this issue in detail in my publications (see list of references below).
Secondly, individual requirements for iodine vary extremely from person to person: some need more, some need less. Therefore, this fact alone – discussed in the 14th “Wiesbaden dialogue on the thyroid” (1994, by Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Bausch) – is the most important counter-argument against generalized iodination as practiced today.
However, the urgent questions have to be raised whether some of the iodineused in iodized salt and animal feed might not be retrieved from industrial wastes imported to Germany, such as from X-ray contrast media, disinfectants, catalysators, printing dyes etc. and whether there is any authority protecting consumers that this, indeed, does not happen.
As, recycling of iodine is quite in fashion.
In Germany there are at least two chemical companies recycling iodine from industrial waste.
The Institute of Environmental Engineering at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg currently runs a project for the “Retrieval of iodine from hospital effluents” (e.g. from departments of nuclear medicine).
What is the projected use of such large amounts of recycled iodine? As per EU convention, recycled materials in principle are not apt for use inproducts that enter the chain of food and food processing.
4. Recommendations as regards food choices to the affected and for those who do not want to get affected:
Do not use iodine-supplemented food items.
This advice, however, will be very difficult to comply with, because iodination of animal feed introduces iodine early into the food chain. There can be no German meat or milk products, nor poultry, nor eggs – except in rare instances – that are without any iodine additives.
We are obliged to resort to imported foods: butter from Ireland, meat and milk products from France and Poland, cheese from Italy, poultry from Poland and Hungary, beef from Argentina and Canada (bison beef), and lamb from New Zealand.
5. Action to be taken on a policy level in order to raise awareness and to minimize the problems:
Generalized iodine prophylaxis as it is called officially is an offspring of our health policy. Heads of the health ministry prepared the measure over a long time and implemented it – as can be read in the files of the Federal Health Office, Berlin (BGA-Schriften)– with all means at their disposal including an enormous financial support and a media campaign to achieve public acceptance.
Insiders regard it as the most success ful advertising campaign of the postwar era.
It may well be regarded as an exercise of futility to try to draw the attention of health politicians to this subject. There is nobody better informed on the problem issues involved than the decision makers in health policy. The case is different as regards the general public: to large extent, information on the potential dangers of iodinationis not provided, and it is high time to spread knowledge important for one’s health, via publications and media reports, or via lectures to an audience that has influence in nutritional science.
It will, however, not be enough to pass on information to all affected or endangered by the practiced by-force iodination: “iodized salt prophylaxis” as a measure of preventative health care with its known health risks for citizens, presents a massive violation of the basic constitutional right of physical health. It is high time that the affected victims demand forensic clarification as regards the criminal implications of coercive iodination.
This article is taken from: Arzt Zahnarzt Naturheilverfahren – AZN. Herne: Fach–Verlag Arzt GmbH. Reprinted by courtesy of the publishing house.