Dr David T Zava PhD
Founder and President of ZRT Laboratory
Dr. Zava received his doctorate in Biochemistry from the University of Tennessee, Memphis in 1974. As founder of ZRT (1998), he has been instrumental in developing research projects with physicians and academic groups to understand the role of steroid hormones in health and disease for the past decade. He co-authored a landmark book, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer: How Hormone Balance Can Help Save Your Life.
Iodine and Your Health
Two billion of the world’s population is considered iodine deficient. Even in developed countries like the United States and many areas of Western Europe iodine deficiency is becoming more problematic as fewer people are consuming iodized salt and foods that contain higher levels of iodine (e.g. milk and milk products). Iodine deficiency can compromise health at all stages of life, particularly the unborn child. As a component of thyroid hormones, iodine is essential for life. Extremely low iodine levels can lead to low thyroid hormone production both by the mother and developing fetus, resulting in improper brain development and cretinism. Even moderately deficient iodine levels in utero, and during early childhood, can result in improper development and lower IQ s. In children and adults low iodine is associated with lowered thyroid hormone production and the myriad of symptoms and signs (fatigue, cold intolerance, hair loss, and goiter) associated with hypothyroidism.
While most studies have focused on the uptake of iodine and formation of thyroid hormones in the thyroid gland, less is known about the role of iodine in other tissues. Many other tissues throughout the body concentrate and utilize iodine for biochemical mechanisms unrelated to thyroid hormone formation. For example, iodine is concentrated in the salivary glands, nasopharnyx, GI tract and skin, lacrimal glands of the eyes, where it is converted to iodous acid, a potent antiseptic that protects these tissues from environmental pathogens. In the lactating breast iodine is taken up and incorporated into iodinated proteins (casein) where it provides the breast feeding infant with a rich source of iodine. In the non-lactating breast, as well as other tissues of the lower reproductive tract (uterus, ovaries) iodine is believed to play an important role, in concert with progesterone, to help maintain homeostasis and prevent overstimulation of cell proliferation by estrogens. The much lower rate of breast cancer in the Japanese vs. most of the Western world is thought to be attributed to the nearly 10 x higher consumption of iodine from sea foods, particularly seaweed. As an anti-oxidant, iodine is believed to play a role in protecting lipids in the bloodstream from oxidizing to dangerous metabolites that are harmful to the cardiovascular system.
In this lecture, Dr. Zava will discuss briefly the role of iodine in thyroidal and extra-thyroidal benefits thyroid and then will focus on the biochemical mechanisms underlying the potential role of iodine in prevention of breast cancer.