Nutrition, Unrefined Salt and Iodine
to Improve Women's Health Conditions

by Michael B. Schachter, M.D., C.N.S., F.A.C.A.M.

With women’s health/cancer awareness month upon us, you can expect a 
media blitz encouraging women to get their mammograms for the early detection 
of breast cancer. In general, not much attention is really given to helping women 
prevent cancer and other female related problems. In this article, I’d like to call 
attention to information that women can use to help them to become healthier, 
reduce their risk of developing cancer and improve their health if they have 
cancer or other degenerative diseases.

The three areas that I will touch on briefly are: (1) nutrition and diet; (2) 
unrefined salt; and (3) use of iodine as a nutritional supplement. I’ll also discuss 
some sources for more information about these topics.

What one eats and drinks supplies the building blocks for growth, 
development and repair of the body. Additionally, the new discipline of 
epigenetics indicates that our food and water intake, as well as other 
environmental exposures, sends information to our genes throughout life. 
Positive influences upregulate various anti-illness genes and downregulate pro-
illness genes. So, genes are not fixed in their manifestations, but are constantly 
being affected by what we do. We need to reduce exposure to toxins and 
remove toxins that are already present in the body. At the same time, the body 
needs to be provided with everything that it needs to repair and rebuild itself 
through optimal nutrition and nutritional supplements. Our advice would be to 
eat whole unprocessed organic foods whenever possible. A wide variety of 
vegetables and some fruits of many colors should be chosen. High quality 
protein foods should also be eaten. Processed foods containing sugar, white 
flour, chemicals, hydrogenated fats and oils should be eliminated or at least 
minimized. (For our “Avoid List”, go to:  http://www.schachtercenter.

Now let’s talk about salt.  The position of conventional medicine, U.S. 
Governmental agencies, and the public is that salt contributes to high blood 
pressure and that low salt diets are generally beneficial to health. A careful 
study of the medical literature as well as my own personal and clinical 
experience has led me to question these views. Also, the prevalent view is that 
there is no difference between refined and unrefined salt.   Actually, there is 
considerable difference. In the processing of salt to refine it, approximately 80 
trace minerals are removed as “impurities”. Unfortunately, most of us are 
severely deficient in trace minerals and unrefined salt, (e.g. Celtic Salt) can help 
us to correct these deficiencies. Mineral deficiencies are associated with all 
kinds of medical conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, 
psychiatric conditions, hormonal imbalances and cancer. Furthermore, salt is 
absolutely essential to life and healing. I agree that excessive amounts of 
refined salt can be harmful, but a low salt diet has its own problems. Numerous 
studies have suggested that a low salt diet can have adverse consequences. 
Another more beneficial approach in my opinion is to use optimal amounts of 
unrefined salt in the diet of approximately 1 to 2 teaspoonfuls daily. Along with 
this recommendation would be to drink enough pure water daily of at least ˝ 
your weight (in lbs) divided by 2 to give you the number of ounces of water to 
drink daily. All of this is preferably done under the care of a physician familiar 
with these concepts. Our experience has been that most patients following this 
protocol feel better and many common symptoms subside.

Iodine is one of our essential nutrients and is perhaps the most 
misunderstood and neglected of all nutrients.  Japanese women who partake in 
the traditional seaweed containing Japanese diet, which is high in iodine, have a 
very low incidence of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cysts, thyroid 
nodules, Hashimoto’s disease, hypo and hyperthyroidism and other thyroid 
problems. Various animal and epidemiologic studies support a causal 
relationship between ingestion of higher doses of iodine and the prevention and 
treatment of these conditions. An optimal amount of iodine during pregnancy is 
essential to help prevent physical and mental defects in the baby and to help 
optimal brain development and IQ.  

Iodine deficiency is the world’s greatest single cause of preventable 
mental retardation. It is the most deficient trace mineral in the world with 1/3 of 
the world’s population being deficient, according to The World Health 
Organization.  Conventional medicine accepts the notion that the RDA dose of 
iodine (150 mcg/day) is essential: (1) to prevent goiter (an enlarged thyroid 
gland); (2) to produce thyroid hormones and (3) to prevent cretinism (severe 
brain damage) in the offspring of pregnant women; but insist that more than 1 to 
2 mg of iodine is toxic.

In recent years, however, several physicians and scientists have raised 
serious questions as to whether the RDA dose of iodine, 150 mcg daily (1000 
mcg =1 mg) is sufficient for optimal health and whether doses well beyond the 
RDA could be used to prevent and treat a variety of illnesses. When using 
higher doses of iodine (6 to 50 mg daily which is roughly 40-300 times the 
RDA), it is essential to use additional supplements to prevent detoxification 
symptoms that may occur when iodine mobilizes bromine, which is present in 
most of us. Those supplements include: Vitamin C, magnesium, selenium, 
unrefined salt and sufficient water, as well as general nutritional support for all 
body functions.

Guy Abraham MD, retired professor of Ob-Gyn from UCLA, has been 
working on the “Iodine Project” for the past 10 years.  (For more on his work, go 
to: and click on Iodine Research.) Dr. David Brownstein (www.
also has insightful information on this subject. The website devotes much of its site to information about the 
value of iodine and the dangers of bromine. Dr. Schachter includes this topic in 
a recently published paper entitled Integrative Oncology for Clinicians and 
Cancer Patients.
 Anyone interested in receiving a PDF file of this paper may 
contact our Center and request it. Dr. Schachter also has a 2-hour DVD lecture 
on Diet, Salt and Iodine that can be obtained from our Center for a fee.

This article was reprinted from the NY and northern NJ October 2010 edition of Inner Realm Magazine.

© 2010 Michael B. Schachter, M.D.





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