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Impact of Iodine Deficiency on Children’s Educational Outcomes

By Lucy Rose Clinic

November 16, 2022

Did you know that in Australia, the majority of children are iodine deficient?

This is a major concern for our future generation as iodine status correlates with the health of nearly every system in the body, including but not limited to;

  • IQ, brain function, memory, recall
  • Thyroid status – weight, energy, brain function
  • Future fertility
  • Moods
  • to name just a few things….

According to WHO (World Health Organization) iodine deficiency is the main cause of brain damage in childhood. It results in impaired cognitive and motor development which affects a child’s performance at school. In adulthood, it affects productivity and the future ability to find a job. Iodine-deficient people may forfeit 15 IQ points, and nearly 50 million people suffer from some degree of iodine deficiency-related brain damage.

Young children are also particularly at risk because the brain still needs iodine for its development during the first two years of life. In addition, iodine deficiency in children is responsible for disorders in physical and cognitive development, and hypothyroidism.

The latest global estimate is that 1.88 billion people, including 241 million school-age children have insufficient dietary iodine intake.

These stats may not even be accurate, and the long-term effect of this is not yet realised due to the rapid evolution of our modern world. Today we are faced with more chemicals and iodine-blocking elements than ever before in history, and the actual RDI of Iodine does not reflect this. The RDI of iodine was not changed at the last review, despite evidence of growing iodine deficiency in some studies.

Iodine deficiency has re-emerged in Australia with the introduction of new practices of sanitisation in the dairy industry and a decline in use and consumption of iodised salt, plus some other key points that we will dive into in this article..

Modern toxins that block iodine uptake at the cell entry point.

Halides, or Halogens, are a group of similarly structured elements found in the Group 7 classification of the Periodic Table. They are most commonly known as Bromine, Chlorine, Fluorine, and Iodine.

Unlike Iodine which is essential for life, bromide is an environmental toxin and an endocrine disruptor. Now, bromide is also naturally occurring in ocean water, but man-made chemicals that contain bromide have a more disruptive effect and are usually bundled with other toxic heavy metals.

Bromide is known to block the NIS and prevent iodine from entering the cell. Bromine also attaches to tyrosine residues on thyroglobulin in place of iodine, interrupting thyroid hormone synthesis.

Bromides have many practical roles, being found in anticonvulsants, flame-retardant materials, and cell stains. Although uncommon, chronic toxicity from bromide can result in bromism, a syndrome with multiple neurological symptoms. Bromide toxicity can also cause a type of skin eruption. 

And I think you will be shocked to find out how much you are unknowingly exposed to daily.


Main routes of exposure

  • Methyl Bromide is an agricultural pesticide.
  • Potassium Bromate is an additive in commercial baked goods and flours in the United States. Some countries, including the U.K. and Brazil, have banned its use in wheat flour and bread products
  • Sodium bromate is added to products such as hair dyes, and dyes found in textiles. Other forms of bromide can be found in commercial cosmetics
  • Bromidated Vegetable Oil (BVO) is added to many foods and beverages, especially to citrus-flavoured soft drinks to help enhance the flavour. Other forms of bromide can be found in colas
  • Bromide ions have been detected in some bottled drinking water and water filtration systems
  • Bromide is used as a chlorine alternative for pool and spa maintenance.
  • Both bromide and chlorine can be found in large amounts in car parts such as seats, armrests and door trims. PBDEs (bromide compounds) are used heavily as flame retardants, which would explain its use in automobile parts as well as in paints and household furniture.

Chlorine and fluoride come from sources like water used for bathing and drinking, toothpaste, cleaning products, and can also be found in the air we breathe. As we have unintentionally increased our levels of non-essential bromine, chlorine and fluoride to the body, our iodine status is pushed out so our iodine levels go down – resulting in thyroid issues, cysts, nodules, and abscess growths in the body, increased viral loads, and diminished brain function.

In fact, population and epidemiology studies have identified that populations who ingest more iodine have fewer occurrences of cancers, particularly breast, and prostate cancer.

Japanese health statistics linked to high seaweed intake:

  • Japanese average life expectancy (83 years) is five years longer than US average life expectancy (78 years) [41].
  • In 1999 the age-adjusted breast cancer mortality rate was three times higher in the US than in Japan [42].
  • Ten years after arriving in the US (in 1991), the breast cancer incidence rate of immigrants from Japan increased from 20 per 100,000 to 30 per 100,000 [43].
  • In 2002 the age-adjusted rate of prostate cancer in Japan was 12.6 per 100,000, while the US rate was almost ten times as high [44].
  • Heart-related deaths in men and women aged 35-74 years are much higher in the US (1,415 per 100,000) as they are in Japan (897 per 100,000) [45].
  • In 2004, infant deaths were over twice as high in the US (6.8 per 1,000) as they were in Japan (2.8 per 1,000) [46].


Interesting Scientific Findings

“A case of a 22-year-old woman with bromide-induced hypothyroidism is presented. There have been no reports dealing with changes in thyroid function and thyroid morphologic characteristics associated with bromide intoxication. The characteristic histologic features of the affected thyroid gland included a marked hyperplasia of follicles lined by tall columnar follicular cells with foci of papillary proliferation and a loss of colloid materials in the follicular lumen. Ultrastructurally, thyroid follicular cells showed a marked dilatation of rough endoplasmic reticulum containing no electron-dense materials. X-ray microanalysis of the thyroid follicular cells revealed the presence of significant amounts of bromide and an absence of iodine. These indicated that severe hypothyroidism in this patient might be related to the accumulation of bromide in the thyroid follicular cells.” – American Journal Of Clinical Pathology Jun 1, 1988

High bromide intake in the lactating rat dams dramatically decreased iodine and increased bromide transfer through mother’s milk to the suckling. The impact of seriously decreased iodine content and increased bromide concentration in mother’s milk on the young prosperity is detrimental. – Metabolism of Bromide and Its Interference with the Metabolism of Iodine. S. PAVELKA

These scientific papers describe what we at The Lucy rose Clinic have seen, observed, and treated for years. 


Reasons for population-wide iodine deficiency

  1. Modern-day farming practices  – affects soil quality and in turn, reduces the iodine quantity in our foods. 
  2. People are eating less iodine-rich food –  such as seaweed and fish and are therefore not consuming enough through their diet. 
  3. Increased use of fluoride and bromide –  these block the absorption of iodine in the body. Fluoride is found in most tap water around Australia, making the use of water filters essential. Bromide is an element found in fire retardants, some swimming pools, and pesticides.
  4. Changes to sanitation in the dairy industry. Iodine-based sterilisation solutions were used in the dairy industry until chlorine-based sterilisers became popular. Many dairy farms use a chlorinated alkaline detergent to clean the milking pipelines. Then a chlorine-based sanitiser is commonly used among dairy farmers. 


How do I know if I have an iodine deficiency?

We can test you, and your family’s iodine levels easily with a simple at-home test.

A 24-hour urinary excretion load test will be able to tell if you do have an iodine deficiency or a toxic build-up of bromide in your body. This is a urine test and can be done from the comfort of your own home. Contact us to find out more.


How do I increase healthy levels of iodine in my body?

  • First, it is important to test your levels of iodine in the body to ensure you are safely adding more iodine into your body.
  • Increase your consumption of seaweeds such as kelp, nori, kombu, and wakame
  • Increase your consumption of fresh, line-caught fish and shellfish
  • Supplement with a practitioner-only iodine supplement
  • Eat organic 
  • Drink filtered water 
  • Swim in the ocean or lake instead of chlorinated swimming pools
  • Use fluoride-free toothpaste
  • Wash new clothes before wearing them
  • Book a consult to discuss testing and start your iodine correction program


“… after three short months l’m feeling like my old self & my whole world has changed for the better. I no longer have bloating or indigestion issues, energy levels are restored & sleepless nights are a thing of the past.” ~ K.J. Victoria


Start a journey to better health with people who understand how to uncover the root causes of health imbalances, and works with you to meet your health and weight goals.

Start your child’s path to better health by booking an appointment now, to get testing and treatment underway ASAP. It will take about 8 – 12 weeks to start to see the improvements in their brain function and educational outcomes. Starting now is the perfect way to get the new school year off to a fresh start!



  1. Are Australian children iodine deficient? Results of the Australian National Iodine Nutrition Study – Li – 2006 – Medical Journal of Australia – Wiley Online Library
  2. Nutrition: Effects of iodine deficiency (
  3. Andersson M, Karumbunathan V, Zimmermann M. Global iodine status in 2011 and trends over the past decade. Journal of Nutrition, 2012, 142:744-750
  4. Iodine | Nutrition Australia
  5. Bromide – Wikipedia
  6. How to Clean Dairy Equipment | Blain’s Farm & Fleet Blog (

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