The incidence of breast cancer in North America has been decreasing since 2000 but it is still the second-most common cancer in women next to lung cancer.
Approximately one in eight American women will develop breast cancer during their lifetimes. (1) While the U.S. and Canada represent only five percent of the world’s population, new breast cancer cases in these countries account for fifteen percent globally on an annual basis. (2)
Worldwide, the numbers of women diagnosed with breast cancer is increasing in developing countries. (3) Risk factors include:
- hormone imbalance
- diet and lifestyle
- certain medications
- exposure to radiation (X-rays)
- heavy alcohol consumption
- some personal care products
- exposure to environmental chemicals
- early menstruation, late childbirth, and late menopause (4)
- mammograms (yes, you read that right)
The Impact of Iodine on Breast Cancer Risk
Studies have found that Japanese women have a significantly lower risk of breast cancer than Caucasian women. (5,6)
“In general, 1 out of 8 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. In Japan, that is 1 out of every 38, but it was even less a decade ago,” says Kazuki Takabe, MD, Clinical Chief of Breast Surgery at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. (7)
This corroborates the extensive research by Bernard Eskin, MD, a renowned scientist and member of the faculty at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. As early as the 1960s, Eskin found a correlation between iodine deficiency and the risk of breast cancer.
Iodine is an element found in Earth’s crust and is present in foods we eat. It is essential for proper thyroid and endocrine function and is actively involved in the development and health of breast tissue. Iodine deficiency often manifests in the formation of a goiter, when the thyroid tries to retain as much iodine as it can and thereby swells.
We sometimes forget that breasts are not just sweater pillows but are important glands (especially for women) that are part of the body’s endocrine system. Breast tissues transport molecular iodine and it’s as important to the breasts as it is to the thyroid. (8) Indeed, there is a link between thyroid disorders and breast cancer; iodine deficiency may be the reason why. (9)
Iodine is essential for the development of healthy breast tissue during puberty. (10) It is an important nutrient for the cognitive development of fetuses and infants; the breasts contain iodine so it can be passed to infants from their mothers’ milk. It then follows that inadequate iodine is linked to the development of cancer in breast tissue.
“Ultimately, the etiology of all cancers is multifactorial with benefit assumed in the reduction of modifiable risk factors. There is substantial evidence that iodine deficiency is a modifiable risk factor in cancers of the stomach and breast.” (11)
Dr. Eskin found that iodine-deficient breast tissue is more susceptible to lesions and the formation of cancerous cells earlier and in greater amounts than tissue with adequate iodine. (12) Furthermore, iodine inhibits breast cancer cell growth and up-regulates the genes responsible for controlling their expression in the first place. (13)
The Difference in Japanese Women
The typical diet of Japanese women includes lots of iodine-rich seaweed. It’s hypothesized that the higher iodine intake accounts for the decreased incidence of breast cancer in this demographic when compared with North American women.
Supporting this argument is the fact that when Japanese and other Southeast Asian women emigrate to Western countries and adopt the local diet, their incidence of breast cancer increases. (14)
In the early part of the twentieth century, food manufacturers started to add iodine to salt in an effort to add this important mineral to North American diets and prevent goiter. (15) We now know that too much salt (an easily-acquired taste) can raise blood pressure, with implications for cardiovascular illness and stroke risk.
Iodized salt is therefore not the best source for ensuring adequate iodine. The better option is to eat foods that naturally contain iodine; pregnant and lactating women should be especially vigilant to get enough. (16)
Iodine is found in trace amounts in many foods. If you eat a variety, you should be able to meet your daily requirement of sufficient iodine.
Recommended daily intake of iodine for adults and about twice that for pregnant and nursing women.
- Birth to 6 months: 110 mcg
- 7-12 months: 130 mcg
- 1-3 years: 90 mcg
- 4-8 years: 90 mcg
- 9-13 years: 120 mcg
- 14+ years: 150 mcg
Pregnant women: 220 mcg
Lactating women: 290mcg
Topping the list of iodine-rich foods is seaweed-you can add it to whatever you’re eating, raw or cooked. Others:
- cheese and other dairy
- saltwater fish and shellfish
- beans and legumes
- Himalayan salt
- unpeeled potatoes
What to Avoid
A class of chemicals called halides (of which iodine is one), found almost universally in the Western world, is known to interfere with hormone metabolism.
Other halides include fluorine, chlorine, and bromine. These chemicals all compete with iodine receptors in the body; over-exposure to other halides hinders the body’s absorption of iodine from the foods we eat.
Halides can be found in plastics, processed foods, soft drinks, fire retardants, medications, pesticides, fabrics, commercially baked foods, and swimming pools. Look for ingredients that contain “fluor-” (e.g., fluoridated water), “chlor-” (e.g., chlorine bleach), and “brom-” (e.g., brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate) to keep these out of your diet.
If you are at risk for breast cancer (and for long-term breast health), you may benefit from adding a little more iodine to your diet. If you have a thyroid condition, consult your healthcare provider to discuss how to naturally regulate iodine levels.
- The 24 Most Powerful Cancer-Fighting Foods
If you’re at risk of developing cancer, eating cancer fighting foods is just another way to heal your body. According …
- 6 Types of Cancers You Can Fend Off With Exercise
While there are many factors that play into your predisposition towards certain cancers – genetics, environment, and lifestyle factors all …
- She Turned 2 Simple Ingredients Into a Cure For Cancer, Then The Government Shut Her Down
When you think of cancer, cottage cheese is probably not the first thought that comes to mind. But the word …
- Teen Invents Bra That Can Save Millions After Mom Nearly Dies Of Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is one of the main health concerns that women face in this day and age. For many, learning of …
- Video Shows How Green Tea Consumption Can STOP Healthy Cells From Turning Malignant
The health benefits of tea stretch across the spectrum — green, black or white all promise to fight free radicals and hydrate …
- This Native American Tea Fights Cancer Cells And This Is How You Make It…
As you’ve probably noticed, conventional medicine is finally catching up to the methods traditional medicine has been using for millennia. …
- Can this Little Green Plant Really Shrink Prostate Tumors by 70%?
Prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and the fifth leading cause of cancer death worldwide. …
- 10 of The Most Functional Foods In The World Which Destroy Cancer Cells
It’s rare to find an individual whose life has not been touched by cancer, which is why many may be …
- How To Make A Giant Cancer Killing Salad
What would you do if you were diagnosed with stage 3 cancer? Most of us would probably run to the …
- Cancer Cells Decompose After Several Weeks With The Use of This Herbal Tea
To say that dandelions aren’t appreciated enough is a gross understatement. Suburb dwellers often spend countless hours trying to rid …
- This Popular Moisturizer Applied To Mice For 17 Weeks Developed 69% More Cancerous Tumors
Your skin is your body’s largest and most permeable organ so you’re careful what you put on it, right? Gentle …
- Here’s The Homemade Cannabis Oil Recipe That People Are Using as a Chemo Alternative
People have been increasingly becoming aware of the anti-cancer benefits of cannabis over the last few years. Many studies done …
- Here’s How to Starve Cancer to Death By Removing One Thing From Your Diet
An estimated 12.5 million people had some form of cancer in 2009, according to the American Cancer Society. Another 25.8 …
- The Link Between Alcohol And Cancer Can No Longer Be Denied (It Causes SEVEN Types of Cancer!)
Your daily glass of beer or wine may not be so innocent after all. Recent research has found a link …
- Cancer Tumours Destroyed By Berry Found In Queensland Rainforest
Nature is the biggest source of inspiration for all of humanity’s greatest achievements. So it’s not surprising that researchers have …