Iodine boosts fertility and helps with conception
Iodine is a little-known supplement that supports conception and can help improve fertility levels. Get Pregnant Plan’s Annette is a certified functional nutritionist with over 30 years of experience. Here she explains everything we need to know about the relationship between iodine deficiency and fertility…
By Annette for The Ribbon Box
Under normal circumstances getting pregnant is no easy feat but iodine deficiency makes it virtually impossible. Iodine is (or should be) abundant in the endometrium, thyroid and ovaries.
Imagine baby-making as an epic party – it requires the right people there. The same applies with making a healthy baby, you need the right nutrients in attendance. And iodine is a crucial nutrient that is often in short supply – without it, there will be no baby.
The Halogen Family
Iodine is like Marilyn in the Muenster family – beautiful and normal in a family of monsters. And just like Marilyn, iodine loves her family even when they maltreat her, follow her everywhere and try to steal her spotlight.
All of your body’s sensors have iodine receptors that can bind to iodine or another member of the halogen family; bromide, chlorine and fluoride. Iodine is necessary as it helps the binding process which boosts fertility. Iodine’s family (bromide, chlorine and fluoride) like to kick iodine out of the way so they can bind to these receptors. But they are more like leaches and don’t have any life-giving properties.
The good news is you can get iodine to attend your party. The bad news is you will have to put up with her unfavorable family because they go wherever she goes and are nothing but trouble.
To make a healthy baby, you need the right nutrients and iodine is one of those nutrients that is often in short supply.
Flouride is found in water, toothpaste and tea. Filtering water and using fluoride-free toothpaste can limit the damage done by fluoride.
Chlorine is found in water, swimming pools, perchlorate and Splenda, aka sucralose. Perchlorate is used in rocket fuel and has contaminated much ground water. The best way to limit chlorine is to drink and bathe in filtered water and avoid lettuce grown in southwestern states in the fall and winter as these crops tend to have high levels of perchlorate, even if they are organic. Use real sugar or honey if you can instead of Splenda.
Bromide is found in fire retardant clothing and mattresses, furniture, computers, cars, baked goods made with brominated flour and some beverages. Bromide is not easily avoided but we can reign bromide in by avoiding baked goods made with brominated flour and beverages made with brominated vegetable oil.
Once you’ve corralled bromide, chlorine and fluoride, you want to make sure iodine has the spotlight. Iodine needs to dance with all the guests (in other words bind to the iodine receptors) as that is the only way to undo all the damage caused by her destructive family. The more iodine dances, the less you’ll see of her family on the dance floor – which is exactly what we want!
Iodine helps fertility success but there are other must-have guests we need at the party to improve the chances of fertility (ie thyroid hormones and reproductive hormones like progesterone, estrogen and testosterone). The hormones have an amazing dance routine that leaves other guests speechless when they perform in sync. But you have to keep your eye on estrogen because she does like to hog all of the attention for herself!
Estrogen has multiple personalities: estrone, estradiol and estriol, and needs the right balance of her personalities to dance in sync, which she can only do with the help of iodine. Iodine helps the body metabolize estrogen to its safer form, estriol.
When estrogen is metabolized to estrone and estradiol over estriol, it can cause things like fibroids, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome and cancer which is obviously not good for overall health and will subsequently make baby-making much more difficult.
Progesterone has a spotlight breakout to perform during the hormone dance, but she tends to be a bit shy and prone to stage fright. Iodine helps boost her confidence and give her the Dutch courage to perform.
The thyroid hormones must do their part in the dance too as they are critical for ovulation, and iodine is a main component. For an epic baby-creation party, you have to get iodine on the dance floor busting moves with everyone.
If you’re worried about how iodine deficiency impacts fertility, fortunately, iodine deficiency is easily fixable. All you need is a test to determine your level of deficiency and then to take an iodine supplement if necessary. The best tests are an iodine urine spot test which is ideal if you aren’t currently taking iodine. If you currently take iodine, you’ll need to take a 24-hour iodine loading test where you take 50mg of iodine and collect your urine for 24 hours.
I highly recommend working with an iodine-knowledgeable practitioner when supplementing with iodine as there are additional nutrients that need to be taken in unison with the iodine to prevent toxicity – and you may need support with detoxing.
It is also very important when taking iodine to get plenty of salt in the diet. Even if you don’t take iodine, you need adequate salt to make a healthy baby as it helps to detox the bromide. I recommend unprocessed sea salt like Real Salt, Celtic Sea Salt or Himalayan salt. While in terms of foods, seaweed and seafood are the best dietary sources of iodine. You can also add Maine Coast Kelp Flakes to food to boost iodine levels. However, to correct major deficiencies and improve fertility success you will need to take supplements.
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