Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cats, Hyperthyroidism and Bromine Toxicity

The U.S. EPA reported (Reuters, 8.15.07) a study that showed common chemicals (polybrominated diphenyl ethers-- PBDE's) found in nearly all our homes are contributing to a rash of thyroid problems in pets. This class of chemicals is used as a fire retardant. PBDE’s are also found in a variety of household items including computers, televisions, carpeting, furniture and mattresses. PBDE's are made from bromine.

Bromine, is from the family of halides. This chemical family contains iodine, fluoride and chlorine as well. The reason we are seeing such a high prevalence of iodine deficiency and thyroid disorders in humans is due, in large part, to the excess exposure of bromine from our modern conveniences. Bromine exposure causes our bodies to excrete iodine. If we don't supplement with extra iodine, bromine will bind to receptors in the body that are supposed to be binding iodine. In effect, bromine will replace iodine throughout the body.

What are the consequences of excess bromine levels? The consequences are severe; increased rate of cancer of the breast, thyroid, ovaries, uterus and prostate are due, in part, to bromine toxicity. Also, we are seeing dramatically increased rates of autoimmune illnesses including autoimmune thyroid disorders. My experience has clearly shown, as compared to those without a serious illness, those with a serious illness have markedly elevated bromine levels.

In the study of pets, household cats were found to have high bromine levels. What is the consequence to cats? Unfortunately, cats are now suffering from an epidemic of hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism in cats used to be a rare condition. The researchers found PBDE's in 100% of the cats studied (23 cats). In the cats with hyperthyroidism, their PBDE levels were much higher.

So, what can you do? The main treatment for excess bromine is to avoid bromine exposure. Eat food that does not contain bromine such as organic fruits and vegetables. Avoid bread, pasta and cereal that contain brominated flour. Next, supplement with enough iodine to allow your body to detox from bromine. Finally, supplement with items that help your detoxification system function optimally. Vitamins C and E as well as unrefined salt and selenium can help.

Bromine toxicity is occurring in a large number of patients. Educate yourself about bromine. Then take the proper steps to help your body detoxify from it. Much more information about this process can be found in my book, Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, 4th Edition.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Perchlorate in Our Drinking Water

A recent article (2.3.11) in the New York Times was titled, “E.P.A. Standards for Drinking Water Single Out a New Group of Toxic Compounds.” The article stated that the Obama administration would impose limits on permissible levels of a new set of toxic chemicals in drinking water, including the first standards for perchlorate. Perchlorate is a dangerous compound, found in rocket fuel and fireworks, which has contaminated water supplies in 26 states.

Perchlorate is a chlorinated compound that can cause problems with iodine uptake into the thyroid gland. In fact, perchlorate can bind to and inactivate the transport mechanism that moves iodine into the thyroid gland. In effect, perchlorate can cause/worsen iodine deficiency. Estimates are that from 5 to 17 million Americans are drinking water contaminated with perchlorate.

The Obama decision reverses a Bush administration decision that there was no need to regulate perchlorate levels in the water supply. Overall, this is good news. We need clean drinking water. However, the E.P.A. has not yet set the standards for perchlorate. They estimate that standards will not be set for approximately two years.

Two years to set a standard for a known toxin in our water supply? Hello, Mcfly! Anyone home? (I really like the movie Back To The Future).

Perchlorate has been found to contaminate nearly all of the winter lettuce supplies in the U.S.—both organic as well as conventional sources. Folks, perchlorate toxicity is a big problem.

I have written and lectured extensively on the iodine deficiency epidemic that is plaguing our country. I believe that iodine deficiency, driven in part from perchlorate contamination of our water supply, is responsible for the epidemic of breast, thyroid, ovarian, uterine and prostate cancer. Furthermore, perchlorate exposure may be driving the large numbers of patients suffering from thyroid and other hormonal problems.

Overall, the E.P.A. announcement is good news. Finally the government is looking out for its citizens and setting standards to reduce our exposure to known toxins. However, we cannot wait for the government to do the right thing (two years???). We need to be educated about these toxins and how you can avoid them. In the case of perchlorate, the best advice I can give you is to ensure that you and your family are ingesting adequate amounts of iodine. My experience has shown that adequate amounts for most adults range from 6-50mg/day of a combination of iodine and iodide. More information about iodine and perchlorate can be found in my book, Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, 4th Edition.