So what is this Bromine stuff anyway? Well, we can start off by looking at the Halide column of the periodic table of elements. Bromine, or Br, is found alongside Fluorine (Fl), Chlorine (Cl), Iodine (I), and Astatine (At). It is part of group 17 in the table, and as you descend down the column, the elements become become less reactive. So that makes Fluorine the most reactive and Astatine, the least.
Now, I am no chemist, but after going to France and eating my fill of pastries and breads, despite my supposed gluten allergy here in the states, and then reading a great article about a French baker who questioned the amount of Bromine or Potassium Bromide in American bread… Well, let’s just say it got me wondering.
And then I became more and curious as to why the United States has not banned the use of said Bromine in many commercial breads, pastas, and cereals? So I started to do a bit of research and was astounded to find out that many countries around the world, including the majority of the EU has banned Bromine from its shelves for many years, no, decades, actually. Research says that it is highly carcinogenic and that how it reacts in your body is pretty gnarly. Ultimately, it grabs onto T3 and T4 receptors, where Iodine normally resides and leaches the iodine from the system. Thus, leaving an individual with a deficiency of iodine (the healthy stuff), and an excess of bromine (the unhealthy stuff). And the symptoms of Bromine toxicity look much like that of gluten intolerance: brain fog, nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, dizziness, hives, headaches, and the list goes on.
After learning this, I started wondering if Bromine toxicity may be prominent in the US, and why do we not ban it, like so many other countries before us? If it is a known carcinogen, why are we allowing it to remain in our foods? Sure it allows bread to have a longer shelf life, but ultimately, for thousands of years before us bread was made the morning it was consumed, and in really, 12 hours is the normal shelf life of bread. It all started changing during WWII when food supplies were sparse and scientists were looking for a way to keep more people fed, for longer.
After some more research, I found out that Bromine (or potassium bromide, as it is also called) , is not only used as a preservative in the foods we consume on a daily basis. It is also in our Gatorades, in our Sodas that we drink, used as a pesticide to preserve fruits and vegetables, in our car upholstery, in the mattresses we sleep on at night, in our TV screens to hold particular plastics together, in our public pools (alongside chlorine) and jacuzzi’s to help “clean” them.
I am filled to the brim with bromine! And not in a good way!
So if there is this much bromine in our environment, then it must be making some sort of impact, right? After all, thyroid cancers, breast cancer, and prostate cancer make up the most amount of cancer in this country. These cancers are all related to the endocrine system, which is related to the healthy levels of iodine in our system, which is related back to the thyroid. If the thyroid is unable to excrete the proper hormones throughout the body, the system begins rebelling. It is as simple as that. All relates back to Yin and Yang, as we refer to it in Chinese Medicine. It is a balancing act. If one system becomes imbalanced over time, it cannot sustain itself, and thus begins shutting down. Like begets like. The bad guys start taking over.
As you can see, this all can get a bit overwhelming. And I do not claim to know the in’s and out’s of it all. I realize that. But I also know that my instinct is telling me to get to the bottom of this Bromine Conundrum. So that the 20 millions people in the US who claim to have a ‘gluten intolerance,’ or the third of the country who has decided to lessen or eliminate the gluten from their diets, can understand if it is really the gluten that is causing the allergy, or something else that can be replaced with something more natural. And another intention of mine is also to inform the people who complain of symptoms similar to hypothyroidism, so that they too can get some answers.
But in lieu of complaining, I have begun to seek explanations. I feel that if we fight strongly with negativity in our hearts, that change will not come. That instead, the cycle will continue. But if we get to the bottom of it, empower the public, even if it is grassroots style, that our voices can be heard. It starts right in our own home. Breads need to start being made just as they were in the past. With four ingredients. Flour, Yeast, Salt, and Water. That’s all. It starts with educating ourselves. Let’s get back to the basics.
For your reading/viewing pleasure. The articles and videos I spoke of above:
Bromine in Commercial Breads: http://voices.yahoo.com/why-commercial-baked-goods-kill-you-3168947.html?cat=5
Andrew Whitley: “Why Bread Needs Time” video:
Article on BVO: Brominated Vegetable Oil in Sodas: http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2011/brominated-battle-in-sodas
American Nutrition Association: Dr. Brownstein video: