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Ep76 – The Micronutrients Series – Other Minerals Part 1

Updated: Oct 25, 2023


Hello, you are listening to Katy Bradbury, a registered nurse and nutritional therapist. Today's podcast episode is called the Micronutrient series, Other Minerals, Part One.


I've gotta tell you, I'm kind of looking forward to the Micronutrient Series being finished. Not because I don't love coming to talk to you about the micronutrients. I love it. It's just, it's a massive mouthful, this, the naming convention that I've decided to give these episodes, the micronutrient series, macro minerals, micro minerals, mineral minerals, anyway, um, no, I'm here, I am going through if you are a current listener, then you'll know that I've been going through some of the well the micronutrients. So and as they pertain to fertility, and reproductive health, because each, I think, what we, what I see a lot of anyway, is a lot of people just don't realise how important nutrients are, they are so important that our body relies on nutrients for all aspects of its functioning. So this is really, really important stuff. And I was reminded recently when I had a discovery call with a doctor, and although I know this, this is something that, you know, we often sort of despair a little bit about in the nutrition world, but I'd forgotten that doctors don't get training on nutrition like that, you know, it's, it's, it's the bare mineral, the bare mineral, the bare minimum training that they that the doctors actually get. And it's just fascinating to me that our bodies rely on these nutrients for all of its functions, and yet, it doesn't really play a role in the way our medics are trained. So anyway, that's, that's a side note.


But, um, so I'm coming to talk to you about the micronutrients. And really, this is just for you to start to get a sense or to really get a sense of, as I say, how important these, these nutrients are. Now, I talk a lot about macro minerals, as well. The macro minerals are the three main food groups. So the macro minerals are protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Really, really, really important that we kind of focus on our macronutrients and that we try and get the balance right with that as well. I do actually have a lot of information on that within my group, in my online programmes. So if you're wanting to know more about the balance of the macronutrients, protein, carbohydrate, fat, and what a plate of food should look like to get those sorts of ratios right, and generally the kind of dietary things that we should be focusing on to improve our fertility and reproductive health then absolutely like you know, if you want to get those foundations down, then you don't, you know, you don't need to come work with me one to one to do that. I've got lots of resources where I've got the podcast, of course, but I've got lots of resources in on my online programmes as well. So I have my fundamentals for fertility programme, which is a six-module DIY programme that you do in your own time it's designed to take place over about 12 weeks, but you can do it more quickly than that if you want to. And that is that looks at all of the fundamentals of fertility. So that looks at, it looks at your gut health. It looks at nutrition, it looks at stress, it looks at lifestyle, it looks at sperm health, and it also looks at egg and vaginal health. So it's quite comprehensive and that is available to purchase any time so the details for that are in the show notes. It's called fundamentals for fertility. So if you want to go ahead and like do a bit of learning and really delve into that and get be, have guidance through the steps that you should be taking, then absolutely, you know that that's a total steal that that that course. So if you want to go look at that, then brilliant. And I also have my membership, which is a small group, which we meet every week, there are, there's an online resource library there for you within the membership. And that is really it's not as comprehensive as the fundamentals for fertility, but it's, it's got a few. It's got a few modules on there with some taught resources that are really meant to be like super duper, practical, so less educational, more practical, and we meet every Wednesday, every Wednesday at five o'clock. So and that's a really, really supportive space. It's kind of like a support group, it's guiding you through, it's accountability, it's taking steps, it's looking at what you need to be focusing on right now. We do have spaces open in the membership at that moment as well. So if you wanted to come and look at the membership, then, again, that is available in the description for the episode, all the links are in there.


So anyway, getting back to the micronutrients. So as I say I talk about a lot about macronutrients. I talk quite a lot about the different micronutrients that are helpful but in snippets. But I've never done a thing where I just go through each of the micronutrients and talk about why they're helpful in the context of fertility and, or reproductive health. So that's what I've been doing recently. My episodes have been a little bit scattered since the summer, for the reasons that I spoke about in my podcast episode last week. So if you want to hear more about that, then please do go back and listen. But for all intents and purposes, I am just carrying on now to talk about the minerals. So I've spoken about the vitamins. We've been through the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, we've been through the water, the water-soluble vitamins, the B vitamins, and vitamin C, and we've started on the minerals too. So I've spoken about the macro minerals, which are the larger molecule minerals that we would the sorry, the minerals that we need, higher quantities of in our, in our bodies. And they are sodium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. So I've spoken about those four in the last few episodes. And now today I'm going to be moving on to talk about some of the other minerals. There are quite, there are quite a lot of minerals, and some of them are really like teeny, tiny trace minerals. And so it doesn't really warrant doing a whole episode on each, you know, each one of those minerals. So how I'm going to play this is do an episode on four of the other minerals that are, for me really like really, really important in my practice. And these are, these are minerals that I'm always thinking about for my fertility clients. So, those are iodine, which I'm going to talk to you about today. So today's focus is going to be on iodine, and iron as well. So iodine, Iron, selenium and zinc. So those four are super duper important minerals. I will be doing an episode on each of those over the next few weeks. And then I will lump some of the others sorry, trace minerals, but some of the others are just going to be clumped together in a single episode where I just talk a little bit more briefly about some of those other minerals like chromium, and molybdenum and manganese and you know, all of those other important but, you know, perhaps doesn't warrant a whole episode on each of them. So, without further ado, I'm going to talk to you about iodine today. So Iodine is a mineral that is it's quite broadly understood in terms of its role in we talk about homeostasis in the body, in terms of the balance, the very delicate balance of systems in our body, for example, temperature, you know, our bodies, thermostat, our bodies, pH, etc. We talk about all those things as being playing into homeostasis, but iodine is actually really important mineral in terms of I guess, the homeostasis of the planet. So, you know, it's found in our atmosphere, it's found in our soil, it's found in our sea. And it's got a really important role, it's fairly well researched in terms of its role within the context of actually maintaining a healthy planet. So that's really interesting. But we don't know so much about iodine


In terms of its role in the body, other than its role in the thyroid, and its role in the thyroid, we do know quite a bit about because it's really significant for the thyroid. So if you've listened to me for a while, or you're in my Facebook group, or you follow me on Instagram, or you we've chatted before or your client, you will hopefully, be aware already that the thyroid is one of the most important systems in the body for fertility. The thyroid links to our brain like most things do, and it sits on an axis with the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands in the brain. Some of other things also sit on that axis are the ovaries, and the adrenal glands that are in charge of our stress hormone production. So this very delicate web actually of hormones connected by the brain by the hypothalamus and pituitary glands in the brain. And so the thyroid as I say, because it's it is on that axis, along with the ovarian function, and our stress response, all of those things are very closely tie in to one another when it comes to reproductive health and reproductive health outcomes. So if you're interested to know a little bit more about that axis and its importance, I have recorded a previous episode on the HP OAT axis and why it's important for fertility. I'm just chuntering on for a second while I try. I never have Me. Me. old episodes up. Do I ready to tell you? Some podcast recorders are so organised like yeah, I spoke about that in episode number 57. Go back and listen. I'm a bit more disorganised. So let me just see if I can find the here we go. Episode number 49. What is the HP OAT axis? And why is it so important for everyone who's trying to conceive? So please do go back and listen to episode number 49. If you are interested in that, which I hope you are. So iodine is a really important nutrient for the thyroid. And the reason for that, essentially, is because iodine forms a significant component of thyroid hormone, i.e. thyroid hormone is made from iodine and the aminoacid tyrosine. So we literally need iodine in order to produce any thyroid hormone at all. So that's why it's so essentially important for the health of our thyroid because without iodine, we would not be able to produce thyroid hormone. That's, I'm talking about thyroxine and, I'm talking about T4, by the way, for those thyroid buffs among you, so we're talking about T4. So T4 needs iodine and tyrosine in order to actually come into fruition.


So very, very important nutrient, and it is a nutrient that there is fairly widespread depletion of you know, there are parts of the world. There are I think there's about 120 countries now, who have actually introduced, I am hoping to get the wording right on this iodization of salt, because it was such a widespread public health concern that the lack of Iodine, Iodine deficiency, a lot of how this presents is that in populations where there is Iodine deficiency, there, it might be characterised, although this comes with a caveat because it doesn't always have this. And this can also be significant of other things. So I do caveat it, but the presence of a goitre. So a goitre is essentially it's an enlarged thyroid gland. And so it looks like you've got this big lump in your neck. And a goitre can be a symptom of iodine deficiency. And it's essentially it's your thyroid desperately trying to go into overdrive to actually produce the thyroid hormone because it just can't find the iodine anywhere, and it's desperately looking for it. And essentially you then go into hypothyroidism. So you're, you're, you're not producing enough thyroid hormone in order to meet your body's basic needs. So that's what can happen in iodine deficiency. Now, I mentioned lots of countries around the globe that have iodized the salt. As you can probably tell from my accent, I'm from the UK. And we do not iodize the salt here in the UK. There has not been a public health drive to iodize salt here in the UK. So if you're thinking, oh, yeah, great, i eat a lot of salt. Although if you do want to know more about salt do go back and listen to the episode for him if every two or three episodes ago where I was talking about sodium, but yeah, we don't iodize salt in this country. So we have to get it from source, okay, from the actual food sources of iodine, or of course supplements. So Iodine is, I said at the start of the episode, a really significant part of the planet Earth, the health of our planet. And it's and I mentioned the sea. Now iodine is found in great concentrations in the sea. So where the soil can be pretty varied, lots of soil around the Earth is really depleted in Iodine, that the sea isn't. And so our biggest sources of iodine tend to be from things that came from the sea. So fish, shellfish, so shellfish tends to have a high concentration of iodine compared to fin fish. And also seaweed. So sea plants. Again, there's quite a lot of variation in seaweed, but so seaweed, as I say, can contain very concentrated doses of Iodine, other sources of iodine from land, if you like, are primarily dairy, and eggs. Other things do contain some iodine, so some vegetables and fruits, contain some Iodine, some animal, you know, actual animals contain iodine. But certainly not enough for us to actually meet our daily nutrient requirements. So we do need to be thinking about iodine. It's a really important nutrient.


But, and here's a big, but this is the I mean, again, hopefully, if you've been listening to me for a while, you'll know that everything there is a balance to absolutely everything. And if you listen to the previous few episodes where I talked about fat soluble nutrients, so particularly vitamin D, vitamin A, you will know you'll be aware that these are all nutrients that although they are essential for human functioning, more is not necessarily better. And in fact more can be problematic in a lot of cases. So with some of those fat soluble nutrients, it can be that more is actually toxic to the body. With iodine, again, we need to be really careful not to be overloaded with thyroid. Even more important to note is that if someone has auto immunity of the thyroid, you may or may not know that you have autoimmunity of the thyroid. But if someone has autoimmunity of the thyroid, and that means is that you have auto antibodies, so antibodies present in your system that are attacking the health of your thyroid, then we need to be really cautious about the about overdoing it on the Iodine. And in fact, if we think about all of our nutrients, so all of our vitamins and minerals have got upper tolerable intake levels, which are the levels at which it's identified that it would be safe to take that nutrient before it comes problematic. The upper tolerable intake of iodine for people who do have autoimmunity of the thyroid is likely to be lower than it is for the general population. So we have to bear that in mind and there aren't really numbers on this. We don't really know what the upper tolerable intake for those people might be. So we need to really, really tread with caution because it's this balance of, we need the Iodine, but we don't want to exacerbate the, the autoimmune condition if that is there.


So the solution to that although its not a solution. But that is the approach that I have to that in my practice and lots of us fertility nutritionists will do this, is if somebody has autoimmunity of the thyroid, we would definitely be wanting to check on a regular basis, their urine iodine levels. Iodine is primarily excreted out via the urine. So, when we do a urine Iodine measure, it helps us to get an understanding of where that person might be. Now, in a lot of cases, because we are generally as a population, generally fairly more on the deficient side than the over doing it side on Iodine, a lot of the time, we might find that, that person's Iodine is really on the floor. And so we do need to include some Iodine for them. But we need to titrate it very carefully, we need to dose it very cautiously to make sure that they A. getting enough but B. not overdoing it. This is really where we're getting into the crux of some of these micronutrients. This is really where personalised nutrition comes into the equation. Because, yes, we can eat a healthy diet, we can be thinking about the principles of a healthy diet and lifestyle, we can be eating, you know, our seven to 10 portions of vegetables a day we can be doing, constituting our plate in line with the general guidance, but it's only personalised nutrition, that will be taking all of these nuances that individual to you into account. And that's because there is no one size fits all. It does vary from person to person, everybody's needs are different. And everybody's predispositions are different. And everybody's genetics are different. And everybody's current nutrient status are different, and the conditions that they have, and the things that they've been exposed to. So really Iodine is one of those things, you know, just like with vitamin D, we need to know what your body is actually doing. It's so that we can be really specific with the amount of Iodine that should, we should be taking, because it is something that we need to be super cautious about. To add an extra layer to all of this. We also know that iodine is such an important nutrient for pregnancy. And actually, our iodine requirements in pregnancy increase compared to at any other time apart from breastfeeding, in which at which point they increase even more. So I'm wildly gesticulating my hands about it, because it's something that I feel really passionate about. So sorry, if you can hear my voice wobbling, it's because I'm frantically shaking my arms around. But it's it really the point is, as with everything else, that I talk about everything within this micronutrient series, it's really important to get this stuff, right. And what is right for you is not necessarily going to be right for the next person.


So this is exactly why I do what I do. This is exactly why people like me exist, yes it's to help you take steps towards a healthier diet and lifestyle. But a huge part of it is actually tailoring things to your individual needs. So in a nutshell, iodine, a trace mineral, really important for the planet. Really important for the human body, particularly the thyroid tissue, because we need iodine, Iodine combines with the amino acid tyrosine in order to produce and create thyroid hormone. The thyroid is an essential system for fertility, and our reproductive health is closely tied to our ovarian function, our egg health, and our gut health as well. And, our ability to sustain a healthy pregnancy. So this you know, these are these all just layers up into one another in terms of its importance. So Iodine is a critical consideration for me as part of my practice. And, you know, it's this isn't something that someone who isn't trained in this stuff could just advise you on because it's something that actually we have very high-level discussions about on a regular basis in terms of the group of practitioners that I'm in. You know this, iodine conversation comes up a lot. We as practitioners spend a lot of time researching this, getting our head around it, and understanding it so that we can make the right individualised recommendations for you. So, you know, as I say, if you're worried about any of this stuff, if you do already, if you've got a diagnosis of Hashimoto's thyroiditis or autoimmunity of the thyroid, and you know about it already, please, please, please do get your urine Iodine tested like, you know, come to me, come to one of my colleagues, there are people out there that can help you get this right, and help you to support the health of your thyroid to support the health of your body and ultimately to support your reproductive function. So I hope that made sense. I look forward to coming and chatting to you again next week about one of the others. I haven't decided which yet, but it will be either zinc, Selenium or iron, so I will speak to you then. Have a fantastic week. All the best.


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