Before I begin this post I want to stress that the information I will share with you is based on the experience I had with my own children who are under the care of a very qualified iodine and thyroid literate doctor. Please do not take this information and apply it to your children. We have done lab tests to evaluate their specific nutritional needs as they have grown. What we did will not represent what is needed for all children.
As I began to research iodine for children, my journey began with pregnancy. There was a lot of talk of cretinism which is what occurs in severely iodine deficient states resulting in mental retardation. While I appreciated this information and understood the danger, I wanted to know about the reality of what we were facing in a deficient country that was not producing these severe cases. What was happening from our deficient state that maybe we were not recognizing as iodine deficiency. What I found was that my gut instincts were right. Once again pharmaceutical drugs were being used on children who had underlying nutritional deficiencies.
Let’s talk a little about pregnancy. A mother who is iodine deficient prior to becoming pregnant, more than likely has a sub-optimal functioning thyroid. When a woman is first pregnant, the baby’s thyroid gland is not functional so it draws off the mothers thyroid hormones until the 3rd tri-mester. A deficient mother leaves the child deficient and unable to develop from a neurological perspective. Research studies I have read stress the importance of obtaining enough iodine prior to the end of the 2nd trimester or irreparable damage occurs. Myelin sheath development requires iodine sufficiency. Japanese women on average consume approximately 12-13 mgs / day of iodine via sea veggies. Based on this standard the Iodine doctors agreed at the 2007 Iodine Conference that this could be used as an acceptable amount for those beginning supplementing for the first time during pregnancy and lactation.
What is the result of iodine deficiency more commonly seen in our 1st world countries? First, I believe that there are many un-diagnosed hypothyroid children. Symptoms of a hypothyroid children (based on my own experience and that of others I have talked to with confirmed diagnoses) include: slow growth, cold / under blankets even when 80 degrees, low tolerance to change, frequent “meltdowns”, crying uncontrollably for seemingly no reason, thin body type, bed-wetting, and the inability to focus or sit still (ADD/ ADHD).
The following image is of a spelling test my son took when he was in 2nd grade. He received a diagnosis of hypothyroidism when he was in 1st grade (7 yrs old). He was 8 yrs old at the time of this test and was going through a growth spurt. We had a parent / teachers conference when the test on the left was presented to us with concern from the teacher. He was a good speller and rarely missed more than one word. On this test he missed 6. We increased his thyroid hormone 1/4 grain and then 8 days later I had him take the test again. We did not review one word. This clearly demonstrates the importance of proper thyroid function. The sad thing is that he was being labeled as ADD / ADHD. It wasn’t. It was an iodine deficiency combined with low thyroid. You can see the brain fog confusion that so many of us have experienced.
My children were diagnosed with a thyroid problem when they were 4 and 7 yrs old. Their body temperatures were registering at 96.1 (4yr old daughter) and 95.7 (7 yr old son). Basal body temperatures should be 97.8 or higher when thyroid levels are optimal.
I should probably back up a bit and share why my children ended up in crisis. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer 4 months after my son was born. In the pictures taken of me and my son shortly after his birth, you can clearly see a goiter with a nodule. So while I was pregnant with him I was low thyroid, had hashimotos and was toxic in mercury and bromide. By the time I had my daughter 2 1/2 years later I had been treated with 2 rounds of radioactive iodine (one with a low iodine diet) which left me very depleted.
Now for what we did. Dr Brownstein writes about children in chapter 10 of the 5th edition of his Iodine Why You Need it Why You Can’t Live Without It book. His recommendation for dosing is 0.11 mg/lb/day (0.25 mg/kg/day) adding that appropriate laboratory testing should accompany this prior to starting supplementation.
We started both of my children on 6.25 mgs of Iodoral. I crushed the tablets in applesauce. We added the following supplements to the iodine.
Selenium (methylselenocystine) 100 mcg 3x / week
Vitamin C – Metagenics Ultra Potent C chewable – 1 / day
Magnesium – came from their multivitamin. We used Nordic Naturals Nordic Berries
Course Ground Salt – Celtic Sea Salt – I placed it in dipping cups and they ate and used as they desired.
We added DHA Fish Oils for my son to help with his attention issues.
For small children – I have a great new product form Hakala Research. It is a 3.125 mg chewable tablet.
At the age of 9 years my son continued to struggle with focus and behavior. We decided to do a 24 hour loading test. When we ran it, the bromide levels showed that he was at 45 mgs / L with toxic being any level over 5 mg / L. His levels rivaled the breast cancer patients test we were running that day. Unfortunately we made a mistake in the lab and did not obtain his saturation levels. Based on this toxicity we decided to increase him to 25 mgs where he stayed until this year right before his 16th birthday when we increased him to 37.5 mgs.
Both of my children (13 and 16 yrs) are on 37.5 mgs. They continue to take selenium and a multivitamin. I don’t have any recommendations for teens at this point because I am struggling with their inability to swallow pills so I am searching for a high quality and potency option. I have not found anything I am thrilled with. Their protocol is based on their own specific needs based on laboratory values so I will refrain from sharing what they take. They are basically adult dosing now since they are both adult size.
Is there hope for children who did not get iodine in the womb? Yes there is. Children 2 and under receive the most benefit. But children and adults of all ages can also benefit from this element. It may not increase IQ’s but it can help the cells in our body to remain healthy and happy.
Please make sure that you read the previous blogs on the topic of iodine.
You can also join the Facebook Iodine group for additional support.
For further reading consider:
Dietary Iodine: Why are so many mothers not getting enough?
The influence of components of diet on the symptoms of ADHD in children
Reflections on mental retardation and congenital hypothyroidism: effects of trace mineral deficiencies