Why did Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Spur Iodide Demand in the US and Canada?

Remember the 2011 nuclear reactor crisis in Fukushima, Japan that led to a big earthquake and tsunami? Fears of a nuclear fallout readily sent people scrambling to buy radiation antidotes across the ocean, particularly on the west coast of the United States. What can explain the spike in iodide demand?

Here’s What Happened…

Potassium iodide is a common form of salt. Think of it as something closely resembling table salt. But what it does is protect the thyroid gland from radiation and cancer, as caused by radioactive iodine. What potassium iodide does is saturate the gland with non-radioactive iodine, slashing the amount of radioactive iodine it can absorb.

This brings us back to the Fukushima nuclear incident in 2011. After it happened, drugstores and holistic clinics, from California to British Columbia in Canada, were swarming with customers demanding potassium iodide and other potential aides against radiation. It was a scary time for people, even causing a waiting list for iodide to build up because of the newfound demand.

The health authorities are a lot less enthusiastic, though.

Medical experts were quick to warn that taking potassium iodide can bring about a new set of problems, mostly unwanted side effects. California officials even rolled out warnings about purchasing potassium iodide, saying it only works for those actually having a nuclear event. They also emphasized the danger to people suffering from thyroid issues.

The Truth About Iodine

There’s little doubt about the effectiveness of potassium iodide in tackling radiation exposure. In fact as a precautionary measure, the Japanese distributed 230,000 units of potassium iodide tablets, making up a stable form of iodine, to evacuation centers in the areas surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power complexes.

Generally, potassium iodide is available in the US in 130 and 65 milligram doses, with smaller doses administered to children.

The potential explanation is this: the thyroid is sort of a sponge for iodine. When normal iodine is administered, the thyroid will absorb it and black the uptake of exposures to radioactive iodine. When there’s potassium iodide, there won’t be any place left to go since the thyroid is filled. Thus, the radioactive material gets excreted from the body.

An important thing to know is there are natural sources of iodine, foremost of which is sea moss.

The Sea Moss Factor

Also known as Irish moss, sea moss is found on beaches along the Atlantic seaboard and the Caribbean. This seaweed is a pretty big deal in certain cultures for a long time now because of being a nutritional powerhouse. However, it’s recently started achieving worldwide fame for being a complete superfood.

Sea moss is an ideal source of iodine, alongside pretty much 92 out of the 110 minerals that the body needs. Iodine is deemed a “super fuel” for the thyroid, helping it function properly and create thyroid hormones. These hormones regulate metabolism, encourage bone and brain development in infancy and pregnancy, and many other functions.

The superfood is also high in immune boosters like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. This way, it supports the immune system, which can be highly useful in something as simple as warding off cold and flu symptoms.

The cool thing is that sea moss can be added in virtually every food you like, from breakfast smoothies to dips and jams to ice cream, even! It is also used as a lotion, face mask, and a topical preparation for its many flexible uses and benefits to skin and hair.

It’s important, however, to note that caution should be made when taking other iodine sources if you are already consuming sea moss (in capsule form or otherwise). It’s possible to go overboard, and this can mess up your thyroid hormones easily. Keep these precautions in mind if you’re looking to improve your thyroid through the iodine that sea moss offers.