What Do Hibernating Squirrel & Heart Attack Victims Have In Common?
Are you surprised to hear that it’s iodine? The underlying chemistry is fascinating, and even more interesting – and relevant – is the underlying evolutionary pathway. Here’s a simple, quick overview, and we’ll get into the details a bit later.
Hibernation requires the dramatic slowing down of all body functions, including the use of oxygen. Similarly, when you have a heart attack, your heart is – at first – starved for oxygen. When a squirrel wakes up from hibernation, and when your heart starts to recover initially from a heart attack, the opposite occurs: your heart muscles are flooded with oxygen, and, in fact, far too much oxygen. So much oxygen that it is destructive to the heart muscles, and `there is MORE damage caused by the aftermath of a heart attack than there is by the heart attack itself.
The squirrel has a similar problem when he wakes up from the long sleep of hibernation. Oxygen-starved organs cry out for oxygen, and they get…TOO MUCH. This enormous influx of oxygen can cause catastrophic damage to the squirrel’s organs, just as it can cause permanent and even mortal damage to post-traumatic heart attack victims.
Fortunately for squirrels, and sometimes fortunately for humans, the thyroid gland and its iodine come to the rescue.
Many medical researchers believe that iodine – in terms of evolutionary history – was the earliest anti-oxidant for living organisms. As green plants proliferated throughout the oceans and the entire planet, the formerly carbon dioxide-rich air changed dramatically to become highly oxygenated. Just as oxygen can rust iron, and just as oxygen participates in the process of burning and fire, oxygen in great quantities can do permanent, oxidative damage to a being’s internal organs and systems.
You can read about the details of this here: https://www.fredhutch.org/en/news/center-news/2020/10/roth-iodine-essential-element.html# – it’s worth the visit!
Iodine to the rescue. Very recently, medical trauma researchers have discovered that when excess oxygen problems begin (it’s called “ischemic-trauma” or “reperfusion”) iodine rushes in and prevents deadly injury.
As the heaviest element in the body, iodine is a super-powerful anti-oxidant. It gobbles up excess oxygen, and converts it to …. water. Iodine has the remarkable capacity to convert so-called “reactive oxygen species” – a range of chemicals that include hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and ozone (O3), to harmless water. In the process of giving up its extra electrons to defang the extra destructive oxygen, the iodine compounds return to a less active state and are re-cycled – to be used again and again, to protect us, and our squirrel friends, from the dangers of excessive oxygen.
There’s another important – even critically important – point about heart attacks, squirrels and reactive oxygen species. If we have ENOUGH iodine in our bodies – from eating iodine-rich foods or taking iodine supplements – then the body’s stores of iodine can protect us from reperfusion and ischemic trauma. But without sufficient iodine, the body will struggle to mount an “iodine defense” against the ravages of heart attacks and infection-related shock – also called “septic shock,” which is also followed by reperfusion and excess oxygen.
What’s the bottom line: it’s hard to get iodine reliably from food, and you probably don’t want to be using large quantities of iodized salt, as salt itself isn’t healthful. The solution is an iodine supplement. The easiest way to get your required iodine is to https://www.iodineproducts.com/product/dietary-iodine-supplement-lugols-1-0-oz/ and get your super-Lugol’s Enhanced Lugo’s iodine solution. It’s the least you can do to keep your body safe with the iodine it needs, both in health, and in disease.
You might buy an extra bottle for the local squirrels as well.