Iodine and Breast Health: What is the Connection?

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Blog | Jan, 23 2018

Iodine and Breast Health: What is the Connection?

Iodine is needed for creating thyroid hormone but there is a lot more to this essential mineral than this. A 2016 study conducted at University of Michigan found that 13% of all U.S. women have low iodine levels. This means that over 20 million American women are at risk for both thyroid imbalance and Breast Cancer!

Could you be one of them?

The Importance of Iodine

Iodine plays a part in too many functions in the body to mention. Here is a very short rundown of just some of them:

-making thyroid hormones

-controlling metabolism

-bone development

-brain development

-optimizing energy

-promoting healthy skin and hair

-ensuring balance in the endocrine system

-ensuring health for the reproductive system, including in the mammary glands; and

preventing cancer

Hypothyroidism and Breast Cancer

Inadequate amounts of iodine in the body can lead to an energy-zapping and potentially dangerous condition called hypothyroidism, which means that the thyroid is not producing enough hormone for all of the functions in the body that require it.

In addition, women who have hypothyroidism are 11% more likely to develop Breast Cancer. This is because, like the thyroid, iodine acts as “food” for the mammary glands, providing tissue integrity in the breasts.

A 2005 study conducted by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) found that “Iodine…is bound into anti-proliferative iodolipids in the thyroid called iodolactones, which may also play a role in the proliferative control of [the] mammary gland.”

In layman’s terms, this means that iodine can help keep breast cancer cells at bay!

A 2005 investigation published in the journal Thyroid analyzed T4 thyroid hormone levels in post-menopausal women and found a direct correlation between hypothyroidism and Breast Cancer.

A Word About Hashimoto’s

Recent research is confirming that most cases of hypothyroidism are actually Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the thyroid, causing inflammation and the inability to produce thyroid hormone. According to the National Institutes of Health, Hashimoto’s is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the U.S.  

The link between Hashimoto’s and Breast Cancer is clear as well. A 1996 study published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention found that “antithyroid peroxidase autoantibodies,” which indicate Hashimoto’s, were twice as common in women with Breast Cancer than in those who do not have Breast Cancer.

Iodine absorption can be tricky for people with Hashimoto’s. Most experts recommend that its introduction be gradual and in conjunction a total healing protocol as well as other minerals that help with absorption, like selenium.

Thyroid Replacement?

Conventional medicine’s answer for both hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s is comes in the form of synthetic thyroid hormone replacement such as Synthroid or natural replacements such as Naturethroid or Armour Thyroid.

Natural health practitioners may also offer thyroid glandulars from porcine or bovine sources. Glandulars can be beneficial for some individuals because they allow the thyroid to continue working a little, which prevents thyroid gland atrophy.

Sometimes the body does need an extra boost of thyroid hormone for a short period of time. Besides risk of atrophy, you should be aware that synthetic thyroid replacements often come with harsh side effects. And when used over the long-term, all forms of replacement can lead to higher Breast Cancer risk as well; this risk is directly related to iodine deficiency for most individuals.

“Thyroid supplementation increases the body’s metabolic needs and therefore increases the body’s need for iodine. If someone is iodine deficient and is prescribed thyroid hormone, thyroid supplementation will worsen the iodine-deficiency problem,” says iodine advocate and researcher Dr. David Brownstein.

Thyroid health is highly individualized. Please speak with your doctor or natural health practitioner to understand your options before you decide on any kind of thyroid hormone replacement.

Don’t Guess When It Comes to Your Health

Many foods are rich in iodine. The Japanese have traditionally had low incidents of Breast Cancer, largely because of their high intake of dietary iodine from sea vegetables and fish.

The first step in determining your thyroid health, and a critical step for your healthy breast journey, is to get your iodine levels tested. Many labs offer a simple “iodine loading test” you can do at home. There are many labs that test for fluoride, chlorine and bromide at the same time. These toxic substances have been shown to block absorption of iodine in the body.  

If testing indicates low iodine, consult with your natural healthcare provider about solutions. The health coaches we have on staff through the 7 Essentials™ Coaching Packages will be able to offer sound recommendations based on your screening results.

And if you decide to add iodine supplementation to your healthy breast protocol, be sure it comes from a quality source (and this doesn’t mean toxic table salt!). I am proud to offer my own Iodine Support product which contains potassium iodide for easy absorption as well as selenium to help with T4 and T3 conversion and antioxidant protection.

The right amounts of iodine in your body from food and supplementation is absolutely essential on your healthy breast journey so be sure to get your levels tested today!


Dr. Veronique Desaulniers, better known as Dr. V, is the founder of The 7 Essentials System ™, a step-by-step guide that teaches you exactly how to prevent and heal Breast Cancer Naturally. To get your F.R.E.E. 7 day mini e-course, and to receive her weekly action steps and inspiring articles on the power of Natural Medicine, visit