Holistic Medicine

Japan Has A 66% Lower Breast Cancer Rate Than The U.S. – this is the nutrient missing from our diet

Japan Has A 66% Lower Breast Cancer Rate Than The U.S. – this is the nutrient missing from our diet
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Japan Has A 66% Lower Breast Cancer Rate Than The U.S. – this is the nutrient missing from our diet

When it comes to your diet and avoiding breast cancer, the best nutrient you could be putting into your body is iodine. While iodine is mostly associated with the thyroid, women actually store more iodine in their breasts than the thyroid. This makes iodine crucial to the health of a woman’s breasts.

Iodine is nature’s way of protecting babies, as it is critical for brain development in infants. Storing iodine in the breasts ensures that babies receive a healthy amount of iodine. But an iodine deficiency isn’t only bad for babies, women with an iodine deficiency are more likely to develop breast cancer. 

Low Iodine and Breast Cancer


When our bodies are experiencing low iodine levels, the ovaries begin to produce more estrogen. Higher levels of estrogen circulating through the body leads, to a raised risk of reproductive cancers, including breast cancer. Low iodine also increases estrogen sensitivity in the breasts, making them more susceptible to breast cancer, as estrogen intake increases.

Dr. Bernard Eskin, a pioneer in iodine research, discovered that iodine deficient breast tissue was more likely to have pre-cancerous changes and iodine could reverse those changes. Lab studies showed that iodine led to the cellular death of cancer, and suppressed tumor growth, without harming healthy cells.

Women In America Today

In Japan, the breast cancer rates are 66% less than those in America, and iodine is the difference. The U.S. Dietary Reference Intake for iodine is 150 micrograms per day (290 if you are pregnant or nursing), but in Japan, women are getting almost 25 times that! On average, they consume 3 and 13 milligrams of iodine daily.

The difference is also attributed to the Western diet being iodine deficient. Since the 1920s, most Americans received their iodine from salt, thanks to a government push to add iodine to salt to prevent goiter. But in recent decades, women have begun to shun salt leading them to experience a lack of iodine in their diet. Since the 1970s, rates of iodine deficiency have quadrupled.

Environmental toxins have also led to iodine deficiency. A group of chemicals known as halides bind to receptors in the cells meant for iodine, essentially shutting them out from our cells and not allowing our body absorb and use it.

Natural Sources of Iodine

If you are iodine-deficient, you can still boost your levels and prevent and heal any health concerns. While our body can’t naturally produce iodine, there are some great natural sources we can be eating to get it. These include seafood (salmon, lobster, tuna, shrimp), cranberries, unpeeled potatoes, navy beans, and eggs.

But the best source of iodine by far is seaweed. Seaweed is a large proponent in the Japanese diet and there are many different varieties and uses for it. You can pick up dried seaweed at most Asian supermarkets and even at some major chains.

Seaweed has 10 times more iodine than any other food, and a Japanese study has found that iodine is more effective than the chemo drug fluorouracil when it comes to breast cancer. Dried seaweed can be added to the pot when you’re cooking beans, stews, or soups and you can even add organic kelp granules to your un-iodized salt for seasoning food.

Protect yourself from unnecessary risks and beat cancer the right way, through proper diet protecting you from the inside out.

This article as originally published on Green Med Info, click here to read the original article. 


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David Brownstein, MD “Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It” 2nd Edition,  Medical Alternatives Press, Michigan, 2006.

Stadel, B. V. (1976, April 24). Dietary iodine and risk of breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/58152

Stoddard, F. R., Brooks, A. D., Eskin, B. A., & Johannes, G. J. (2008, July 8). Iodine Alters Gene Expression in the MCF7 Breast Cancer Cell Line: Evidence for an Anti-Estrogen Effect of Iodine. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2452979/

Shrivastava, A., Tiwari, M., Sinha, R. A., Kumar, A., Balapure, A. K., Bajpai, V. K., . . . Godbole, M. M. (2006, July 14). Molecular iodine induces caspase-independent apoptosis in human breast carcinoma cells involving the mitochondria-mediated pathway. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16679319

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Aceves, C., Anguiano, B., & Delgado, G. (2005, April). Is iodine a gatekeeper of the integrity of the mammary gland? Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16025225

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