Iodine and IQ

Thanks Robert

 

 

Date: 10/10/08 3:51 PM

UNDAY, OCTOBER 05, 2008
Mental Performance Enhancement: Iodine
Iodine deficiency affects perhaps more people in the world than any other deficiency disease, with latest estimates being greater than 1.9 billion people deficient. Iodine or the lack of it influences brain development, with mental retardation ("cretinism") one consequence of deficiency. Meta-analyses suggest that populations with iodine deficiency suffer from an IQ deficit of 13.5 points. The question that remains, however, is whether these IQ deficits are due to retarded neural development, and therefore more or less permanent, or whether repletion of iodine can improve IQ.

In a study undertaken to discover the answer, Albanian schoolchildren were given a one-time supplement of 400 mg of iodine, and took the Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices test before and after supplementation, and their scores increased by nearly 5 points, or some 25%. (Raven's correlates .91% with the Wechsler IQ test.) That's a whopping great number. And it provides powerful evidence that supplementation can improve mental performance long after gestation and infancy; hypothyroidism, in many cases probably due to iodine deficiency, hinders cognitive performance in adults as well as children.

So, you're thinking, that's all very well for those Albanian schoolkids, and maybe that will help supply the world with smarter arms-dealers, but how does that help me? Glad you asked.

There's considerable evidence that the vast majority of Americans are iodine deficient. (No jokes please.) Guy Abraham, M.D., has found that the vast majority of patients tested using an iodine loading test are deficient, many of them severely. (Dr. Abraham has written a number of articles on this; try Optimum Levels of Iodine for Greatest Mental and Physical Health.) Clinical and subclinical hypothyroidism are very common, affecting something like 12% of the population, and of course iodine deficiency isn't confined to this subset.

The Japanese have the highest iodine intake in the world (from seaweed), as well as a low rate of breast cancer, and there are reasons to think that the two are related. (Read Dr. Abraham for the details.) More germane to the point here: the Japanese rank third in the world, after Hong Kong and South Korea, in average IQ, and I wouldn't be surprised if Hong Kong and Korea had high iodine intakes too. Is that a coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. Personally, I'm not taking any chances.

Another excellent (and more succinct) article on this is Extrathyroidal Benefits of Iodine by Donald Miller, M.D.

One interesting aspect of all this is that, if Dr. Abraham's research is correct, and I think it is, the RDI (reference daily intake) for iodine in this country is low by two orders of magnitude. (For the cretins, that means it should be 100 times higher.) Iodized salt doesn't begin to cover the need. Thyroidologists say that we get enough, and they're wary of supplementation, but whole body scans using radio-labeled iodine show that it's taken up and concentrated by numerous tissues besides the thyroid.

The usual disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, and this is not intended as medical advice. Your results may vary.
Labels: Health, IQ, Pharmacolog
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