A lack of iodine in the traditional American diet has a direct link to the high incidences of breast cancer currently seen in western women. That is the observation of Dr. Dave Frahm, a naturopathic doctor, certified nutritional counselor, master herbalist, ordained minister and author of several books on health and nutrition, who will be giving a free presentation in Enumclaw on Friday, Oct. 26 about what he calls the Breast Cancer Pattern.
The 'pattern' is one of compromise of the thyroid that begins with nutritional deficiency - lack of iodine, Frahm says. The thyroid makes essential hormones in energy production and metabolism in the body, and it needs iodine to do so. With lower levels of these hormones, the body is out of balance and becomes weak, beginning with the adrenals, then the liver, colon, stomach and ovaries.
Frahm said his clients who suffer from a weak thyroid exhibit a number of common symptoms including hair loss, fatigue, cold extremities and a lower core temperature. Digestive problems arise like gas, bloating and indigestion. Some people experience swelling in the hands and feet as well as PMS-type symptoms. They don't breathe well, or they don't sleep well. "There's a whole framework of symptoms that people develop," he said. "They don't think they're related but they are related."
Additionally, some people aren't able to absorb calcium at that point. "When your thyroid function is low, you're moving toward osteoporosis," he said.
As a start, Frahm often recommends iodine supplements because not enough is available in the American diet through salt. Seaweed or kelp is the best source of iodine on the planet. The Japanese average 12 mgs/iodine in their daily diet (100 times the U.S. recommended daily amount) and have the lowest incidence of cancer in the world.
Looking Beyond Traditional Medicine
In the medical community, a TSH blood test is often done to test for thyroid function, but Frahm argues the test itself is not a reliable indicator of whether or not a thyroid is weak and in fact, traditional western doctors as a whole have written off the thyroid gland as a integral part of human health.
The thyroid can be on the high or low end of normal for years and go unnoticed by conventional doctors until it becomes a serious health concern such as a goiter, he says. At that point, drugs are prescribed but don't contain any iodine. The drugs "fool the pituatary into thinking you're getting your thyroid hormones."
Whether someone suffers from hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, they need iodine to restore their hormonal balance, Frahm said.
Though Frahm refers to the thyroid as the 'woman's third ovary,' it could very well be the 'man's third teste,' as it relates to prostate cancer, he said. When the thyroid doesn't get enough iodine, the ovaries become weak, the adrenals and fat cells make estrogen but the body won't make progesterone to balance it. That unbalanced estrogen in the body can't be left alone in the female body, Frahm said, because it stimulates growth of immature cells that don't know how to contribute to the body and are therefore more prone to mutations leading to cancer.
Whether it's breast cancer, uterine, prostate, lung or a variety of other cancers that are estrogen-sensitive, this is the same underlying pattern connected to the thyroid.
What to Do
Frahm advocates what he calls the 'holy trinity' of preventing breast cancer or keeping it from recurring: the thyroid, the adrenals and hormonal balance. "If every woman addresses those three things every day, it'll help prevent her from developing breast cancer," he said. "If she has developed it, she must address those issues no matter what she does."
This means supplementing the body to optimize thyroid function. A good diet and exercise are just as essential but tangential to the real focus, which is hormonal balance via the thyroid.
Cancer cells are a symptom of a body in disrepair, Frahm said. Cancer is a degenerative disease - not an infection, but a traditional medical doctor will treat it as an infection with options like surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.
Those treatments play a role and Frahm stresses he doesn't advocate avoiding them but in looking at prevention, "somebody has to help that person [with cancer] address the cause by going back to a balanced state."
Or the cancer could very well return.
"As Americans, we're used to going to medical doctors to treat symptoms ... we watch and wait and are locked into this allopathic mind set of just going to treat symptoms," Frahm said.
As a naturopath who is a Christian, he says he approaches his practice through the belief that God made all humans who are bioelectric and designed to run on nutrients. "My stuff isn't new, but most people don't go looking for it."
Frahm will be speaking on Friday, Oct. 26 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at The Summit EFC about the Breast Cancer Pattern. The seminar is free and the public is welcome to attend.
Those who wish to pursue more of Frahm's expertise are invited to a health day-retreat entitled Discover the Tools to Avoid Breast Cancer or Keep it From Coming Back on Saturday, Oct. 27, also at The Summit EFC. The full day event starts at 9 a.m. and runs to 3 p.m. Cost is $35 per person and $25 for seniors. The price includes lunch.
For more information or to register for the event visit www.healthquarters.org or call local contact and event organizer: Athena Dean 425-241-0265.