From Breast Cancer to ADHD to Thyroid Disease – Discovering and Correcting the Hidden Link

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The Hidden Link

Breast Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Prostate Cancer, ADHD, Skin Disease and Thyroid Disease often share a very interesting and frequently overlooked condition. All of these serious health challenges have been associated with poor iodine status. 1 Does this surprise you? It did me.


Iodine Levels Affect Many Tissue Types

Although low iodine intake is most commonly associated with thyroid issues, it turns out that it affects many other tissues in the body as well, including the breasts, 2 other endocrine glands, 3 and the brain. 4


A Widespread Challenge

Having become aware of this “hidden link”, I began regular urine testing for iodine status not only on myself but on many of my patients too. I was amazed at how many individuals had results that indicated a risk for future health challenges. How did this problem become so widespread?


What Happened to Iodized Salt Intake?

Part of the answer to the question of why we are finding low iodine levels is the declining use of iodized table salt.

During the 1920s, the US government thought it had solved the problem of low iodine intake by iodizing table salt. (see the Akron study in the sidebar to the right.) Today, however, people consume less iodized salt due to concerns about the implications of dietary salt for health in general and the development of high blood pressure in specific. Others choose to avoid toxic additives added to iodized commercial salt to improve flow and other non-nutritionally related properties. (Note: I do not recommend the addition of iodized salt to the diet due to the toxicity of the flow agents. There are better ways to get iodine).

Even if people were consuming iodized salt as they once had, research indicates that the level of iodine in iodized salt, though sufficient to prevent goiter and overt thyroid dysfunction in most cases, would not be sufficient for the needs of other tissues in the body once the thyroid’s needs had been met. 5

Corresponding with decreased consumption of iodized salt, thyroid disease and the incidence of goiter is on the rise. 6


Toxins Block Iodine Uptake

In addition to low iodized salt and iodine intake, we are now exposed to high levels of toxins in our food and our environment which can block iodine uptake. Most prominently, these include the following:

  • The halogen group such as Bromide
    used in some white flour bakery products, pools and hot tubs, certain medications, carbonated drinks, fumigants, and computers
  • Chlorine
    used in pools and hot tubs, bleach and sugar substitutes
  • Perchlorate
    used in car air bags, leather tanning, fireworks, computers and rocket fuels
  • Fluoride
    used in dental products, municipal water sources, tooth paste and mouth wash

These toxins are more readily taken up by the body and, once present, inhibit the utilization of iodine. 7 See the right side bar for research findings linking toxins, iodine, and breast cancer.


What Can You Do To Avoid These Health Challenges?

So what can you do? Is your level of iodine optimal for good health? How do you know if you have toxic halogens blocking uptake or causing other dysfunction in your body?

Fortunately, we can answer your questions. HOLLY HOUSE now offers an inexpensive 24 hour urine test called the Iodine Loading Test, which can measure your current levels of iodine. In addition it can also measure levels of bromide and fluoride to determine if any of these toxins are interfering with your iodine uptake. Once your levels are assessed, you will know if you need to correct any imbalance found. If indicated, we are able to guide you through detoxifying your body and support your return to health using a whole food and supplement based program. During and following the program we retest your urine to determine your status and continue to correct any imbalances found.

Very much like the new awareness of the importance of Vitamin D, iodine is now beginning to be recognized as one of our most important minerals. Iodine is not just for the thyroid, ovaries, prostate, and other endocrine glands, but also the brain, skin, and breasts. Discover your current levels and whether toxic halides are blocking your uptake. Call our office today to get your test kit. If your results indicate your iodine levels are low or if toxins are blocking your uptake, we can help you correct these imbalances and help ensure your optimal health in the years to come.

If you have any questions in regard to iodine or the Iodine Loading Test make sure you post them below and I will get back to you.




The Akron Study

Research results that led to the decision to add iodine to table salt in the early 20th century came out of the Midwest, an area where many individuals suffered from goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid. One such study was conducted in Akron, Ohio, where 56% of school aged girls developed goiter. Iodine was known to be low in Ohio due to deficient soils and low sea food intake. Girls developed more problems than boys due to the high need for iodine for breast development during puberty.

Over 4,400 children were involved in the study. Approximately half the children in the group were given iodine at the level of 9 mg (This is 100x the current RDA) per day for 2.5 years. The other half was given no iodine. The group which did not receive the iodine developed a 22% incidence of goiter. The group receiving the iodine developed a 0.2% incidence of goiter. 8

Due to the results of this research and other studies, authorities recognized iodine as an essential mineral in the eradication of goiter. Soon thereafter, they chose a strategy to iodize table salt as the means to reduce the incidence of goiter and thyroid dysfunction in the United States. 9

An Italian Study Concerning the Diagnosis of ADHD In Children

In an Italian study researchers discovered that children from one region of the country had higher levels of impaired psycho neurological development than those from another region. After studying the mothers’ levels of thyroid hormone Free and Total T4, and the pituitary hormone, TSH, they found that mothers in the area with children of higher impaired development had significantly lower levels of thyroid function during their pregnancies than those in other areas of the country. This low thyroid function was then correlated with low iodine status. Though low iodine status did not necessarily result in thyroid dysfunction in the mother’s offspring, it did affect the biochemistry and the development of the brain and result in behavioral disorders.

A ten year follow up study found that ADHD was diagnosed in 69% of the low iodine offspring where as 0% was diagnosed in an area sufficient in iodine. Sufficient iodine was directly implicated with good neurological development and improved long range outcome. 10

Studies of Iodine and Breast Cancer

In a study done by Dr. David Brownstein, patients with breast cancer were found to be significantly higher in the toxin bromide than patients without breast cancer. 11

Other researchers found a direct link between low iodine status resulting from inadequate dietary sources and toxin blockage and the development of both fibrocystic breast disease and breast cancer. 12

  1. Brownstein, D., Iodine Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It
  2. Eskin, B., et al. Iodine metabolism and breast cancer. Trans. New York, Acad. of Sciences. 32:911-947, 1970
  3. Stadel, VV. Dietary iodine and risk of breast, endometrial and ovarian cancer. Lancet. 1976; 1:890-891
  4. Clin. Endocr. 1005 Apr; 42 4 409
  5. Brownstein, D. Iodine Why You Need It Why You Can Not Live Without It. 4th edition, 2009
  6. Canaris, Gay, et al. The Colorado Thyroid Disease Prevalence Study. Arch. Intern. Med. Vol 160, Feb 28, 2000
  7. Pavalka, S. Effect of high bromide levels in the organism on the biological half-life of iodine in the rat. Biol. Trace elem. Res. 2001 summer; 82 1 -3 : 133
  8. Dietary reference Intakes 2001. Institute of Medicine
  9. Kimball, O.P. Prevention of Goiter in Michigan and Ohio. JAMA 1937; 108:860-864
  10. Clin. Endocr. 1005 Apr; 42 4 409
  11. Brownstein, D. Iodine, Why You Need It Why You Can’t Live Without It, 4th edition, 2009
  12. Gartner, Rank, and Ander, The role of iodine and &-iodolactone in growth and apoptosis of malignant thyroid epithelial cells and breast cancer cells, Dept of Endocrinology, Univ of Munich, Germany, Hormones2010, 0 1 :60 – 66

About Dr. Pat

I am a practicing natural health care physician and educator committed to helping others overcome pain and suffering, restore function, and lead healthier, happier, longer, and more spiritually fulfilled lives.


  1. Laura Frederick says

    As an adult with ADHD, who was treated for breast cancer in 2006 and diagnosed with Graves Disease (hyperthyroidism) in 2011, my jaw hit the ground when I came across this article. I am promptly sharing a copy with my GP, Oncologist and Endocrinologist (who happen to all practice within a stone’s throw of one another in the same complex) asking why this information has not surfaced sooner? I fear it’s because each operates in their own domain and despite their physical proximity, can’t put the whole picture together. Thank you so much for this article!

    • Hi Laura,
      I hope your health is improving as time has gone by! It sounds like you have had some challenges. Iodine is not the only factor in breast cancer but it is an important factor. I glad you have found the article informative. Our clinic is dedicated to getting our patients the information they need to maintain or achieve optimal health. I wish you the best of luck with getting the information you need to help you with your health!

  2. Thanks for visiting today. Although I was “all wet” (my general condition, most of the time!~) I enjoyed our visit. Once I visited your web site, I remembered that you were on my radar many times when I was director of CHOF Health. During that time I had the opportunity to visit with and learn from hundreds of health practitioners, from MDs (Yes, some of them!), DCs, NDs, CCNs and a whole slew of other health professionals. I have a mix of theology, languages, international travel, horticulture, nutrition, business entrepreneurship in my background, often being able to see things from a different perspective than many of my narrow-minded, brainwashed, fluoridated, chlorinated, medicated, drugged peers of this continent. We NEED to stay in touch. – Paul

    • It was great to meet you, Paul! We truly enjoyed visiting the farm. It is now an even greater source of inspiration to us. “Clean” fresh local produce is such an important player in our health. The educational pieces you are offering at the farm are also so necessary. Bill and I look forward to getting to know you and your wonderful work better.

  3. Greetings Pat!

    On your recommendation I purchased the Brownstein book noted in your references above (Iodine Why You Need It, Why You Cant Live Without It). This is valuable information which deserves more widespread exposure and discussion — thank you so much for bringing my attention to it! Iodine supplementation has demonstrated itself to be a powerful positive support for our health over a long period of history. I have written a sidebar for my upcoming book on natural and integrative approaches to treating cancer, highlighting the value of iodine in our diets and its value in helping people detoxify from toxic halides (bromine, fluoride, etc.). It provides a welcome addition to the detoxification toolkit!

    Alan Coffman, LAc, M.S., Ac. OM

    • It absolutely is an important piece of the puzzle that health care seemed to miss previously. I am so happy you are including it in your upcoming book. We always need to help our patients and clients remember that the other components of detoxification support are important as well, such as Vitamin C, natural sea salt, optimal B Complex, Magnesium, optimal hydration, etc., when we are detoxifying. These are so important when used in conjunction with the Iodine.

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