SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

September 11, 2013

Iodine defic’y is Epidemic

Confusing terminology causes needless worry

Keith Roach

To Your Good Health

Q: I am confused.

I had a neuroendocrine tumor in my rectum two years ago. When I asked whether it was cancer, I was told, no, it was a carcinoid. The tumor was successfully removed by surgery.

Another doctor recently read my chart and asked about my carcinoma.

Was it cancer or not? Does having the tumor exclude me from donating my organs in the future?

A: The terminology is confusing.   A carcinoid tumor is a type of neuroendocrine tumor. “Neuroendocrine” means that the cells get input from nerves and, in response, secrete hormones. Such tumors, usually benign, typically occur in the lungs or gastrointestinal tract. Only rarely are neuroendocrine tumors cancerous.

The word carcinoma is used only for malignant tumors. It confusingly sounds a lot like carcinoid.    Only the pathology report can answer your question about whether your tumor was malignant.   I think it’s unlikely that it was cancer. There should be no issue with donating organs in the (far) future.

Q: I am perplexed.

For years, I have used white Vaseline at night to coat the inside of my nose to prevent the veins from drying, breaking open and bleeding. It keeps the area moist.   Of late, I have heard that Vaseline can cause cancer or ruin the lungs or bronchial tubes. What is the truth?

A: Petrolatum, sold as Vaseline and other brands, is generally considered safe.

Its use suggests two potential concerns.    The first is that petrolatum can be contaminated with toxic substances. That seems unlikely to me, but you can be sure of its purity by looking for “white petrolatum USP” as the ingredient, meaning that it has been tested free of dangerous impurities.    The second concern with using an oil-based product in the nose is that it might be accidentally inhaled. Inhaled oil causes lipoid pneumonia. That has happened with mineral oil, but I have a hard time imagining it happening with petrolatum.

In summary, petrolatum is an inexpensive and effective treatment for dry skin, keeping the body’s moisture inside.

Q: I live in Maine. My parents warned me about needing iodine in my diet because not much iodine is found in our soil.  What should I do to ensure that I get enough iodine?

A: An iodine deficiency is rare.

If you don’t use table salt (and good for you if you don’t), then you can get iodine from supplements; shellfish and saltwater fish; seaweed (such as nori, the wrapping of sushi); and most dairy products.

Dr. Roach answers letters only in his North America Syndicate column but provides an order form of available health newsletters. Write him at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475; or ToYourGoodHealth  @med.cornell.edu  .

(My Comment:  

With regard to “Confused” in Q #1, there is little to be added over what Dr Roach has stated.  As to the answer to her question, however, I hope she is somewhat intuitive as she is left with little to guide her.  

Q #2)  “Perplexed” asks about about the safety of using ‘Vaseline’ in her nose.  I am of a different mind on this, as are many in the natural, health-oriented field.  Mineral oil or any other petroleum based product should not be used on the skin.  Nothing should go “ON” the skin that one wouldn’t put into the body by mouth.  There are so many other non-injurious oils which help, soothe or otherwise serve the needs of our body cell structure. 

The problem as this story goes, is the drying out of nasal tissue — I have struggled with this problem too which is why I generally use a humidifier in my home.  It helps not only my own skin, but my paintings and of course, all my plants.   It is a simple solution.   But then, one can buy small saline sprays like “AYR” or any other saline nasal mist.  Works great, fairly cheap – no toxic potential.     If the choice is to use Vaseline  either regular or mentholated, it could be suggested that one only lightly place the least amount around the opening to the nasal passage and just barely inside, to prevent potential harm to the tender nasal tissue which can be so vulnerable.  . . . .  just sayin’. .     

Q #3) is where we truly go separate ways.  Iodine had been globally used as a conditioner in the bread-making process since way back when.  Prior to 1980  iodine was replaced by Bromine and this resulted in near universal iodine deficiency.  Dr Guy Abraham (professor of Endocrinology ) and pioneer in the field of iodine and hormones, claims the removal of iodine caused “. . .more misery and death. . . than both World wars combined”  This doctor is  the most knowledgeable  iodine/ thyroid expert in the world. 

There are hundreds of thousands of iodine-depleted people  suffering untold miseries with an unending list of problems and inadequacies beseeching their physicians for help.  Many suspect thyroid  issues, only to be told that their tests came back within normal limits – – that they have no problem.  So they continue leading troubled lives, never feeling up to what they could be, if their doctors understood the true working of this huge, all-but-pandemic problem.    No, Dr Roach,  Iodine deficiency is NOT  rare.  It is simply being tended by doctors who do not know how to recognize the disease, or help their patients by listening to them .   I know this story well, because it is also – – my story.    Jan)

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