Iodine Deficiency: A new Global Health Issue

Iodine Deficiency: A new Global Health Issue

At some point, over the past years, salt developed a bad rap.  There are a few reasons why and they all are logical.  Sodium in large amounts can be dangerous. It can lead to an array of health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, water retention, and kidney stones to name a few.  When people became more educated on the dangers of sodium and processed table salt, sea salt became the more popular option.  Sea salt is great. it taste better and its a lot less processed, but we missed one thing.  Table salt is Iodized, and Iodine is a major factor in the health of your thyroid.  Your thyroid helps you regulate hormonal levels, metabolism, heart rate, nervous system and a few other functions.  Its pretty important.  Studies show that there may be 2 billion people that are iodine deficient, with up to 50 million of them suffering from serious symptoms of iodine deficiency . Here are only a few of the more common symptoms.

Slowed metabolism - Have you been cutting carbs and sodium, doing fasted cardio, staying at a calorie deficit and still struggle to lose that last few percentages of body fat.  Iodine deficiency may be the culprit.  Low Iodine levels can slow down your body's ability to break food down into usable nutrients.

Depression, Anxiety, Mood swings -  Nutritional imbalances causing depression and anxiety can be another entire article in itself.  There is a strong relationship between Iodine levels and hormonal balance.  Low Iodine levels can disrupt the proper functioning of hormone receptors, this can lead to all types of mood swings, anxiety, and lack of libido. Have you been stuck in a funk for a while? Iodine deficiency may be to blame.

Breast Cancer in women, (cyst and soreness along with menstrual cycles) - Iodine is specifically important in decreasing the chances of breast cancer in women. There is a lot more research that needs to be done, but studies have shown major correlation between Iodine deficiency and breast cancer.  It has also been shown that there is a connection between low iodine and breast pain or tenderness during the menstrual cycle.  

Other symptoms include Thyroid enlargement (goiter), brain damage, autism, and Fetal hypothyroidism (Iodine is especially necessary for pregnant women).

How to make sure you're getting enough

Supplementing Iodine is tricky. Its just as easy to get too much iodine , as it is to not get enough.  Over supplementation of Iodine has some serious side effects.  It can cause an over productive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). Hyperthyroidism can cause heat sensitivity, rapid heart rate or palpitations, trembling hands, inability to gain weight despite eating more, sudden fatigue and insomnia at night. Those are some nasty side effects. There is a huge , ongoing debate amongnutritionist about whether iodine supplementation is safe. I say, if there's that much confusion going on, learn how to get the proper amount naturally.  Don't even bother with supplementation.

How to naturally raise your Iodine levels.
1) Eat seaweed and any other sea vegetables.
1)  Stop drinking soda. Drink filtered water.
2)  Avoid pesticides, by washing all your produce thoroughly. Eat unprocessed , organic food as often as possible.
3)  Switch it up , and use iodized table salt instead of sea salt every now and then, or a mixture.
4)  Avoid all Sources of Bromine. Bromine apparently plays a large role in Iodine deficiency.

What has worked well for me and my nutrition coaching clients is taking a multivitamin that contains a small amount of Iodine (maybe 10 - 20% of our DV) combined with using table salt a few times a week.  Most of us don't have seaweed just sitting around in the kitchen.   Most of the time, my clients come to me thinking they need to go on some strict calorie restricting diet, but I never move on to anything before making sure they are getting full , nutrient dense meals and all of the minerals and vitamins they need.  Imagine a client doing a low carb diet for months, only to find out they had major Iodine deficiency that was slowing down their metabolism.  As a coaching client of mine , one of your first habits to develop will be taking a multi-vitamin.     

*If you're wondering whether you have an Iodine deficiency or not, ask your doctor for a urine Iodine challenge test, or an SSKI. Both are simple and en expensive.

I hope this was informative to someone out there . As always, be yourself, and strive for progress not perfection.

- Reginald Baum

Snack Attacks

Snack Attacks

When I do consultations with prospective clients , one thing I always ask about is what they think their weakness is when it comes to nutrition.  Some of the most common responses I get are, "I can't control my snacking" , "I have a sweet tooth" , or late night eating.  Your body rarely does something for no reason, so I decided to break down the reasons we have these cravings, and give some alternatives to some of the unhealthy snacks that we love.  

Eating Healthy without Breaking the Bank

Eating Healthy without Breaking the Bank

One thing I get asked about often by clients and something I struggle with myself is how to have a well balanced diet, while staying within my budget. Its the sad truth, its much more expensive to eat healthy than it is to eat junk food. I heard there's a law in France, where the grocery stores aren't allowed to waste any food, they have to give it to the homeless and less fortunate. If this is true, I hope it becomes a trend all over the world. Anyone who knows me , knows I hate grocery shopping.  Its cold, its annoying, and I always had this theory that if you eat out the right way, you can save just as much money eating out as you do when you grocery shop.  Of course I was wrong about that, after I really started studying nutrition, and budgeting, I found some strategies to make it work much better with my lifestyle , and much more affordable. I still don't enjoy it. 


 We've all heard the "shop around the outside of the isles" and "buy only whole foods and macros" annoying fitness professional language.  I wanted to break it down into terms we all understand. Here's my 5 strategies. 


1. If you are a meat eater, buy more affordable cuts of meat. You will be surprised at how much cheaper chicken leg quarters are than breast and wings. Yea , breast are typically more lean than thighs, but if you are eating a well balanced meal, this is not going to destroy your diet. If you're getting ready to compete , that's a different story. 


2. Look for the sales. This one seems obvious, but ask a guy when is the last time he went looking for coupons, or sat at the table clipping coupons. Speaking for myself I didn't even think about this until recently. If meat is on sale, buy it in bulk and freeze it, same goes for produce. 


3. Look up crock pot recipes , and if you don't own a crock pot, buy one.  The slow cooker has been my bread and butter since I moved to too far away to pick up food from my parents house. Its easy to make large amounts of healthy dishes that will last you at least 3 or 4 meals. Just look up a recipe, follow the instructions exactly, and you will find out your'e a better cook than you thought. The food cooks itself, its easy and its cheap, here's a link to one of my favorites, curried chickpea and cauliflower. 


4.Start eating more beans, and whole grains.  Black beans, quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, are all inexpensive and bulk up your meals.  This not only good for your pockets, but its good for your health overall.  The bulkier the meal, the more and longer you will be full. I spend about $20 tops on ingredients for black bean chili, that will last me at least 10  meals. Whole grains also keep you full longer. 


5. Plan out when you're going to eat out. Its almost impossible for me to go more than 3 or 4 days without eating out at some point. So what I did was plan out two nights a week, usually Wednesday night, and Saturday night.  This is simple but effective at the same time.  All it does is force you to eat out , out of intent and not habit.  If you're eating out, out of habit , you are less likely to monitor your spending or even think about the fact that you're doing it too often. If you're one of my coaching clients you will definitely learn the concept of mindful behavior. Its useful in all aspects of life.