When I turned 40 my wife arranged for my first 'old man' physical. You know, the prostate check, the rubber glove, the works. This I expected. What I didn't expect was for a blood test to show an elevated TSH level and a hand-written note from my doctor on my chart that said "possible Hashimoto's Thyroiditis", and a prescription of Levothyroxine. I found this somewhat alarming. Since I take my health seriously and never blindly take the word of a health-care professional, off I went to consult "doctor Google". (A follow-up consult with my doctor required another office, the next available time was 3 weeks later...) What I found online was a wealth of information about iodine and thyroid health from a book by Dr. Brownstein, "Iodine, why you need it, why you can't live without it". I read this book and others, and decided to begin taking Iodoral iodine.
I gradually ramped up my Iodoral intake from 12.5 mg per day to 50 mg per day over roughly 3 weeks. About the second day of taking 50 mg/day of Iodoral, everything seemed to come apart. My neck (thyroid) swelled into what I could only find described as "swollen glottis", I started to develop lesions on my face and hands, and I experienced severe joint pain and stiffness. The swelling in my neck was severe enough that swallowing was difficult, as was breathing when I laid on my back. I found these symptoms to be somewhat alarming and briefly considered visiting the emergency room. According to my family doctor I had embarked down the path of insanity, so instead of visiting the emergency room I decided to keep chasing the white rabbit. Off to consult Dr. Google once again.
What I found was a disturbingly relevant account of similar symptoms on http://breastcancerchoices.org, under the Iodine tab, in an article titled "Bromide Dominance Theory", and the related "Salt Loading Protocol" to combat the rapid onset of the symptoms of bromine poisoning. The theory is that bromine, acquired from some soft drinks, some Gatorade, pastries, swimming pools and hot tubs, deposits in the thyroid and other places in the endocrine system (for a woman, the mammary glands), and gradually degrades the performance of these glands and causes a range of health problems culminating in cancer.
So, at the age of 40, I had convinced myself that I was a pre-cancerous woman. Well, maybe not, but the symptoms of bromine toxicity after taking iodine seemed somewhat correlated symptoms that seem to be more commonly experienced by women with breast cancer. What if by chance an erroneous interpretation of a thyroid test inspired me to take iodine that by chance brought to light a real thyroid problem caused by a lifetime of exposure to brominated foods?
I've been taking iodine for 3 years now. Here's what's happened: increased energy, stamina, curiosity, and memory. After following the salt loading protocol from the above website for a few days, the swollen glottis symptom diminished and have never returned. When I stop taking iodine and my regular dose of vitamins, minerals and Omega-3 fish oils, I feel like a wilted flower within a few days.
I've left out a lot of details in my account of thyroid health, iodine and bromine, but I hope this story inspires others to not blindly trust a numbers-only approach to health. Nutrition, lifestyle, exercise, genetics and family history all tell one important story - the story of _your_ health. I'm beginning to wonder if it's possible to receive effective health care without considering all the pieces of the picture.
I've been fortunate to know Dr. Genchi. His holistic approach to alternative medicine and his interest in the entire picture of his patient's health is, in my opinion, a much more productive approach than the 'by-the-numbers' approach of so many others.
Dan Doner, firstname.lastname@example.org