Iodine

Iodine

Cordell E Logan

Iodine is important for the thyroid. A lack of it can cause goiter. Iodine has many other functions besides for the thyroid. Some of these include: mood regulation, preventing and treating fibrocystic breasts, helping in blood sugar regulation and to prevent and treat diabetes, helping to regulate blood pressure and in cardiac rhythms, and helping in preventing cancer, especially in the thyroid, breasts, ovaries, uterus, and prostate.

Severe iodine deficiency is associated with cretinism and severe mental retardation. The word “cretin” comes from crétin , a name given to individuals who are “entirely stupid” and was first used in 1750 in France . The thyroid gland was discovered by Thomas Wharton in 1656. This gland looks somewhat like a shield, from which the name “thyroid” comes from. The element iodine was discovered in 1811 and recognized as essential in the early 1920s. The life cycle of iodine begins and ends in the oceans. Seaweed contains iodine and was used to treat goiter by a Chinese physician Ke-Hung (281-361 AD) in early AD.

Guy Abraham, MD, has researched the history of iodine and health, and started his Iodine Project in about 1998 when he became aware that people taking far more than 2 mg a day had many benefits. He believes most of us need a lot more than what was previously thought. In Japan where people ingest a higher amount of iodine, the incidence of breast cancer and related conditions is very low. The RDA still lists the daily dose as 0.125 mg. Dr. Abraham thinks we should do at least ten times that (12.5 mg). Yet the prevailing medical community thinks anything above 2 mg a day is toxic. Why? In the 1820s a French physician, Jean Lugol, combined elemental iodine (5%) and potassium iodide (10%) with 85% water. Doses were higher than 2 mg and many people had wonderful results in treating infections and thyroid conditions (2 drops is about 12.5 mg). After World War II the use of Lugol’s solution came to a grinding halt with the publication of the Wolff-Chaikoff paper in 1948. This involved a rat study that erroneously showed that iodine inhibits the thyroid gland at doses of about 20 times the RDA. The study was grossly flawed. This misinformation found its way into medical textbooks and other publications.

Iodine intake has fallen over 30% in the US over the last 30 years.

In Dr. David Brownstein’s book, Iodine: Why You Need It; Why You Can’t Live Without It , we find the following:

“Of all the elements known so far to be essential for human health, iodine is the most misunderstood and the most feared. Yet, iodine is the safest of all the elemental trace elements, being the only one that can be administered safely for long periods of time to large numbers of patients in daily amounts as high as 100,000 times the RDA. However, this safety record only applies to inorganic, nonradioactive forms of iodine. Some organic iodine containing drugs are extremely toxic and prescribed by physicians. The severe side effects of these drugs are blamed on inorganic iodine although studies have clearly demonstrated that it is the whole molecule that is toxic, not the iodine released from it.”

It is estimated that only about 10% of the iodine in iodized salt is absorbed. Furthermore, standard table salt is a poor source of salt (it’s been processed); use sea salt or Real Salt® from Redmond, Utah .

If desired, there are some lab methods to determine if a person needs more iodine. With the skin absorption test a tincture of iodine is applied to the skin. It should be absorbed between 18 to 24 hours. If absorbed more quickly it means the person needs more iodine. This method is probably not as accurate as the iodine-loading test, which involves a 24-hour urine collection that is sent to a lab.

Rare side effects of too much iodine include acne, metallic taste, sneezing, excess salivation, and frontal sinus pressure.

Factors that interfere with iodine utilization include the halogens such as fluoride, chlorine, bromine, and bromide. Bromine replaces iodine in most baked foods such as white flour bread. In the 1960s iodine was added to flour as a dough conditioner. By the 1980s it was replaced with bromine. Bromine manifests with symptoms of sleepiness and decreased ability to concentrate. Indeed some feel that when beginning on increasing iodine it is helpful to start with a higher dose until the bromine or bromide becomes flushed out of the body (can monitor via urine tests). Some people who notice a metallic taste when taking larger amounts of iodine may find that this is actually due to the release of the toxic bromides. Vitamin C has been shown to increase proper iodine utilization.

Dr. Brownstein (Michigan) has had good results from added iodine supplementation in cases of fibrocystic breasts and thyroid nodules. Fibromyalgia patients have also responded well. Blood pressure has been lowered. Headaches have been helped.

The brilliant dentist and founder of Standard Process® in Palmyra Wisconsin , Dr. Royal Lee, found that the ideal form of “iodine” is 52% iodide and 48% iodine (probably as early as the 1930s). The iodide form seems best for thyroid functions while the iodine form is best for the breast, ovaries, and prostate. Prolamine Iodine® (3 mg tablet), and Iodemere® (200 mcg tablet) are two main iodine products from Standard Process® (some iodine is also in Cataplex® F , Organically Bound Minerals®, Min-Chex®, Min-Tran®, Trace Minerals-B12®, A-F Betafood®, St. John’s Wort-IMT® ).

The internet has several sources for more reading including scientific references on this subject ( www.optimox.com is one. Search under “iodine.”).

  • About

    • This site contains educational articles that can impact your health. Dr. Logan is licensed as a Naturopathic Doctor in Utah. He graduated from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, now called the National University of Natural Medicine.
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    • Currently Dr. Logan sees patients by appointment. Call or send an email.

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