(NaturalNews) Goiter is the medical name for the swelling of the thyroid gland and surrounding tissue The root cause of goiter eludes conventional medicine, but most naturopathic nutritionists agree that in many cases, it’s prompted by a severe imbalance in thyroid function caused by an iodine deficiency.
While individual cases may vary from this pattern (be sure to check with a naturopathic physician before self-treating any thyroid condition), most cases of goiter can be greatly improved or entirely eliminated through nutritional therapies involving iodine. One of the best sources for this important trace mineral is kelp.
Here’s a collection of supporting statements about kelp and goiter as published in top natural health books:
How help (and iodine) helps prevent goiter
Kelp Description: Kelp is a type of sea vegetable that’s rich in iron and several minerals. It is used as a supplement to support thyroid function. Indications: Goiter Hypothyroid Precautions: People with any type of thyroid disease should check with their doctors before supplementing kelp. Dosage: Take 2 to 4 capsules daily, or take as directed on the label or as advised by a health-care professional.
– Prescription for Natural Cures: A Self-Care Guide for Treating Health Problems with Natural Remedies Including Diet and Nutrition, Nutritional Supplements, Bodywork, and More by James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.D.
You’ve heard of kelp and seaweed, but what about bladder-wrack? That’s the name of the kelp most often used medicinally, a name under which kelp products are often found. Bladderwrack is a tremendous source of iodine, which is essential for a healthy body. In children, a lack of iodine can result in delayed mental development or retardation. In adults, a deficiency of iodine can lead to hypothyroidism, a condition resulting when the thyroid operates at too low a level. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include extreme fatigue and lethargy, weight gain, and development of a goiter.
Long-term excessive dietary intake of iodine (1,000 to 2,000 micrograms daily), while less common than iodine deficiency, can occur in people who eat large amounts of kelp and other sea vegetable and can also cause goiter. A number of commonly eaten foods have been shown to interfere with the use of iodine by the thyroid, thus reducing production of thyroid hormone and causing goiter. These foods, known as goitrogens, include vegetables in the Brassica family such as broccoli, cabbage, kale and mustard, millet, soybeans, pine nuts and some seed meals used in animal feeds.
– The Natural Pharmacy: Complete A-Z Reference to Natural Treatments for Common Health Conditions by Alan R. Gaby, M.D., Jonathan V. Wright, M.D., Forrest Batz, Pharm.D. Rick Chester, RPh., N.D., DipLAc. George Constantine, R.Ph., Ph.D. Linnea D. Thompson, Pharm.D., N.D.
However, eating iodine-rich foods, such as dulse and kelp (sea vegetation), is a more indirect and safe way to increase iodine and shrink goiters. Detoxified iodine is certainly a better choice, since it has not shown to produce hypothyroidism. The famous Edgar Cayce used to treat goiter and other thyroid conditions very successfully by giving his patients detoxified iodine. There are three products that meet his requirements: Magnascent, Atomic Iodine, and Atomidine. The latter two seem to be nearly identical.
– Timeless Secrets of Health & Rejuvenation: Unleash The Natural Healing Power That Lies Dormant Within You by Andreas Moritz
Kelp, either fresh or powdered, is the richest source of organic iodine. It helps correct mineral deficiencies and is a good protective food, valuable in overcoming poor digestion, preventing and overcoming goiter, and rebuilding and maintaining the proper function of all the glands. Kelp has been reported to be an aid in brain development; it offsets deficiencies of an inferior diet; it is beneficial for those suffering from impotency, anemia and emaciation.
– Encyclopedia of Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts and Seeds for Healthful Living by Dr. Joseph M. Kadans, N.D.
Because of its rich content of iodine, kelp is well-known in many lands as a remedy for preventing or treating goiter. However, some practitioners have reportedly found it to be helpful in normalizing a weak or enlarged prostate gland, and certain other male disorders. For example, Dr. Eric Powell of England says: The action of kelp on the prostate is to improve the nutrition of the organ and the circulation of the blood through the tissues.
For many years people with iodine deficiency have used tablets made from the kelp variety of seaweeds. These seaweeds are relatively rich in iodine, deriving it from the seawater in which they live. They are also rich in minerals and B-group vitamins, providing a nicely balanced mineral supplement to the body in a form that is easily assimilated. However, it is the iodine content that has been the important component for people suffering from goiter, the other valuable components simply being a bonus.
– Health from the Seas: Freedom from Disease by John Croft
Excessive quantities of iodized salt, taking too many kelp tablets, or overuse of potassium iodide expectorants such as SSKI can cause some problems, but regular elevated intake of iodine is needed to produce toxicity. Some people have allergic reactions, mainly as skin rashes, to iodine products. Iodine supplementation may also worsen acne in some cases. Deficiencies of iodine have been very common, especially in areas where the soil is depleted, as discussed earlier. Several months of iodine deficiency can lead to goiter and/or hypothyroidism.
– Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine by Elson M. Haas, M.D.
T4 levels often increase slightly with 6 kelp tablets once a day at lunch. Other varieties of seaweed are also natural sources of iodine and can serve as beneficial dietary additions in cases of hypothyroidism. It is important to moderate your dietary intake of iodine-rich foods, especially when taking prescription thyroid medications. An overdose of iodine can interfere with thyroid tests and can even lead to hyperthyroidism or a goiter.
– The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook: Everything You Need to Know About Chinese, Western, and Ayurvedic Herbal Treatments by Alan Keith Tillotson, Ph.D., A.H.G., D.Ay.
Foods rich in iodine include seaweeds such as kelp, fish, shrimp, lobster, clams, oysters, some other animals (thyroid gland) and iodized salt. Those restricting their salt intake and at the same time not eating any of the above foods are vulnerable to iodine deficiency. Cruciferous foods such as cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, rutabaga and others may confer protection against certain types of cancer and so it is good to include them in our diets. However, these vegetables contain goitrogens, substances which may cause goiters and hypothyroidism.
– The Doctor’s Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia by Sheldon Saul Hendler
Iodine was first discovered in 1812 in kelp. Elemental iodine was extracted from the seaweed and was named iodine because of its color, which means violet in Greek. Iodine occurs naturally as iodide or iodate salts. It is a crucial part of the thyroid hormones, which, in turn, play a vital role in the production of energy. Iodine deficiency is still the major cause of hypothyroidism in the world. Deficiency of thyroid hormones really slows you down. Symptoms include chronic fatigue, apathy, dry skin, intolerance to cold, weight gain and enlargement of the thyroid (goiter).
– The Doctor’s Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia by Sheldon Saul Hendler
It is found in many vegetables, such as kelp. These hormones are necessary for normal c
ell metabolism to be carried on. The shame about iodine is that it has proven again and again to be an effective fighter against viral infections, yet nothing has been done to test whether it will have any devitalizing effects on HIV. Let me note some of the many benefits that have been found from iodine treatment. Iodine has been used in the treatment of goiter, hypothyroidism, fibrocystic breast disease, and other diseases.