10. Iodine – a story of seaweed, bread, milk, salt, and supplements

We're talking about iodide, a story of seaweed, bread, milk, salt and supplements. So, where to begin for iodide? Well iodide, when it's deficient, can cause something called goiter. Goiter is a condition of the thyroid which can be caused by iodide deficiency. When people were first settling in the United States for example, there were people who were very far from sources of iodide, which were typically seafood. People would get iodide deficiency goiter and that was bad, so the governments across the world slowly and slowly added regulations in which salt would be supplemented with a little bit of iodide, and it's this iodized salt that you see routinely in many supermarkets. However, back when they started doing this supplementation with iodide in many countries, for example in the United States in the 1920s when the supplementation started, physicians began to notice the acne was becoming worse and more patients were getting acne. There were several publications at the time that made that link.

The amount of iodide added to salt in each country is a little bit different. In the United States for example we put more iodide in our salt that other countries do in Europe, so I'm not recommending people totally cut out all foods with iodide in them so that they become iodide-deficient, not at all. I'm just recommending that people do not ingest an overabundance of iodide if they have sensitivity to getting acne.

As you'll see in the foods that we're about to go through, there is a potential to get a lot of iodide from a lot of different sources in your food. The first is seaweed. If you eat a lot of nori, which is the seaweed in sushi, then you may be getting a ton of iodide. So keep in mind if you're eating a lot of seaweed and you tend to break out, for example if you are using any supplements that are based on seaweed or kelp, or if you eat a lot of sushi with nori, the green seaweed, then keep an eye to see if that's breaking out your acne. Usually you can find that it is.

Next we'll talk about bread. There are things that are added to bread called dough conditioners, and they improve the strength or the texture of the dough. One of the dough conditioners is called calcium iodate. If you see that ingredient on a bread that you're eating, you know that the bread can be bad in terms of flaring up your acne from that calcium iodate, that dough conditioner containing iodide, and bread can have a ton of iodide in it if they use that as a dough conditioner.

Bread can also be bad for acne by releasing sugar into the blood quickly, the so-called high-glycemic foods that do that, but calcium iodate can be another reason, as a dough conditioner, that you're getting a ton of iodide from bread.

Next let's talk about milk. Milk, we've already talked about, but it used to be - and it's not so much the case anymore - that milk contained a lot of iodide. And it's kind of variable for two reasons. First, the cows can lick the salt blocks that they put with cows, and the salt contains iodide so that the cows don't get goiter, so that iodide can be transferred into the milk. The second is that they used to use sanitizing agents based on iodine called iodophors when cleansing the milking machines. They don't use that so much anymore, but it used to be that milk was a great source of iodide and now it's becoming a little bit less of a source of iodide to watch out for. But there are other reasons to take care in terms of eliminating milk when you have acne. We already talked about salts, but I want to introduce alternative salts, for example sea salt or non-iodized salt, as good sources of salt as opposed to iodized salt. And if you're consuming a bunch of salty foods that are made with iodized salt, that's also potentially going to flare up your acne.

And finally, multivitamins. If you do take a multivitamin, get a multivitamin that does not have iodide. It's usually as potassium iodide. So it you see that ingredient in your multivitamin, then you want to find another multivitamin.

I'm Doctor Jacob, we'll see you next time.