Medical “authorities” tend to be very conservative concerning adequate intake of vitamins and minerals.
The commonly accepted medical opinion is that iodine’s ‘only’ role in the body is to help make thyroid hormones. Although this is an extremely important function, the role of iodine in the body goes far beyond its function of making thyroid hormones.
What You May Not Have Heard
Iodine helps to regulate moods, prevents cancer (especially in breasts, ovaries, uterus, prostate and thyroid gland), preventing and treating fibrocystic breasts in women, helping to regulate blood pressure, helping to regulate blood sugar and prevent and treat diabetes, and helping to prevent abnormal cardiac rhythms. Japanese women, who have one of the lowest breast cancer rates in the world, ingest more than 13 mg of iodine daily from seaweed without suffering any adverse effects.
Iodine is antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic, and antifungal and improves immune function. Less than optimal iodine contributes to various thyroid abnormalities commonly seen today, including hypothyroidism (underactive), hyperthyroidism (overactive) and autoimmune inflammation of the thyroid (Hashimoto’s Disease).
Guy Abraham MD, former professor of obstetrics, gynecology and endocrinology at UCLA School of Medicine, has written a series of papers about iodine. He proposed that the optimal daily dose of iodine for a person is approximately 12.5 mg, which is 100 times the RDA of 0.125 mg. Based on erroneous data, very promising research data on the benefits of iodine was squashed. Today, most think of radioactive iodine, which is unsafe and toxic.
Iodine deficiency results not just from a low intake of iodine, but from agents that interfere with the utilization of iodine. Namely, bromine which had replaced iodine in most baked goods in the 1980’s because of the concern that iodine might be toxic. In fact, it is the bromine that is toxic and which can also interfere with iodine utilization. Moreover, chlorine and fluoride also act as iodine antagonists. Iodine itself provides a much superior purification of the water supply than chlorine or fluoride.
What about iodized salt? The high chloride content in table salt competes for iodine, allowing a very poor absorption of what is 77 micrograms (mcg) of iodine per gram of table salt.
In the 1820s, the French physician Jean Lugol used higher doses (in the milligram amounts) to treat a wide variety of conditions. Dr. Lugol combined elemental iodine (5%) and potassium iodide (10%) with 85% water. Research has shown that the thyroid gland prefers to utilize the iodide form of iodine, while other organs, such as the breast and ovaries, prefer the elemental form of iodine. Both of these forms are present in Lugol’s solution.
One way of testing for iodine sufficiency is by having your doctor run an iodine-loading test with a subsequent collection of the 24-hour urine. Usually these tests can be found on-line and mailed to a laboratory.
The ideal dosage of about 12.5 mg of iodine daily can be obtained with two drops of 5% Lugol’s solution. Benefits can be realized over a course of a few months, such as increased energy and hair growth.
Caveats Of Iodine Use (How to Use Safely)
Deficiency of iodine runs rampant, and with ingestion, it can pull out some toxic halides (such as bromide), or minerals that compete with iodine. This can cause some side-effects initially. Sometimes these side-effects can be severe. Such side-effects are called bromidism. In order to minimize this risk, either start very slowly, or use companion nutrients, such as magnesium, vitamin C and selenium. Even better, look for a whole-food iodine supplement that may already contain co-factors–but be warned, most of them do not contain enough iodine to be worth your time or trouble.
The Importance of Salt Loading
The most important step to minimize side effects of bromidism is to practice salt loading.
Iodine supplementation may result in side-effects, such as increased perspiration, frontal headaches, sneezing, and acne. These are temporary effects from toxic materials being pulled from the tissues, particularly a mineral called bromide, and may be minimized or avoided with salt loading.
If iodine-related effects occur, salt loading can be used to increase the excretion rate of bromide and minimize side-effects. The chloride in salt will bind with bromide in the blood stream and then carry it out through the kidneys.
See our article on Salting Away Your Anxiety to learn what type of salt/mineral solution to use.
During the day, take 80 drops of electrolyte formula in 1/2 cup of warm water. Follow this with 12 ounces of purified or clean water. Repeat this step every 45-minutes until your first urination. Discontinue salt loading after side-effects abate.