Iodine - Suppressed knowledge that can change your life
Gabriela Segura, M.D.
Thu, 03 Dec 2015 15:45 UTC
Given the highly toxic state most people find themselves in, the rapidly changing environment in which we live in, and the incredible ability that iodine has to strengthen people's health and improve their lives, I decided to write the following summary about iodine supplementation as an introduction to the subject. The information presented here is based on preliminary research available on this forum discussion thread on iodine and on the books Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It (5th Edition) by Dr. Brownstein, and The Iodine Crisis by Lynne Farrow.
Iodine could potentially improve your health
Iodine is an essential micro-nutrient. This means every single cell of every single person needs it. Evolutionary biologists reckon that seafood consumption, and thus iodine absorption, played an important role in human brain development and evolution. Iodine also has excellent antibacterial, anticancer, antiparasitic, antifungal, and antiviral properties.
Unfortunately, iodine deficiency in the general population is of pandemic proportions in our modern world due to iodine's displacement in our bodies by environmental toxins such as bromide, pesticides, and food additives. Modern farming techniques have also led to deficiencies of iodine and other minerals in the soil. Thus, crops grown in iodine-deficient soil are deficient in iodine.
Certain diets and lifestyles can also predispose a person to develop iodine deficiency. Those who eat a lot of bakery products (breads, pasta, etc), which contain high amounts of bromide, are at risk. So are vegetarians and those who don't like sea food, sea vegetables or salt.
According to Dr. Brownstein, author of Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It, about one-third of the global populations live in a region of iodine deficiency. He and other iodine researchers have tested thousands of people, and found consistent results: approximately 96% of patients test low for iodine. The World Health Organization has recognized that iodine deficiency is the world's greatest single cause of preventable mental retardation. Iodine deficiency has been identified as a significant public health problem in 129 countries and up to 72% of the world's population is affected by an iodine deficiency disorder.
Iodine was added to salt in the U.S. to help prevent goiter. But as we now know, the amounts added do little to prevent or offset many other forms of disease.
The following illnesses are related to iodine deficiency:
- breast cancer
- thyroid cancer
- ovarian cancer
- uterus cancer
- prostate cancer
- autoimmune thyroid illnesses
- fibrocystic breast disease
- chronic fatigue
What's more, iodine has been used to treat the following conditions:
- breast diseases
- Dupuytren's conctracture
- excess mucous production
- fibrocystic breasts
- headaches and migraine headaches
- chronic fatigue
- liver diseases
- nephrotic syndrome
- ovarian disease
- parotid duct stones
- Peyronie's disease
- prostate disorders
- sebaceous cysts
- thyroid disorders
- vaginal infections
- uterine fibroids
- heavy metal poisoning (mercury, lead, arsenic)
- scarlet fever
- bronchitis and pneumonia
- breast pain
- genito-urinary diseases
- stomach pains
- brain fog
- menstrual irregularities
- gum infection
- heart arrhythmia
- high cholesterol
- hair thinning
- type 2 diabetes
- eye problems
- multiple sclerosis
- small intestine bacterial overgrowth
- Etc, etc!!!
The broad cross-section of conditions improved thanks to iodine supplementation is a big clue to the nutrient's importance and widespread deficiency.
According to Lynne Farrow, author of The Iodine Crises, iodine's medicinal use dates back 15,000 years. It was the first treatment of choice in the 19th century for tumors and aggressive diseases of obscure origin. Farrow also argues that the notion that refined iodized salt is sufficient to meet our daily needs has been the most dangerous misconception about iodine. According to Farrow's and Brownstein's research, only 10% of the iodine in salt gets absorbed, at best. Most people today avoid refined salts due to health concerns, and due to the misconception that salt (of any kind) is bad for cardiovascular health.
Iodine's RDA is 150mcg (micrograms, which equals 0.15mg), an established calculation based on how much iodine the thyroid gland needs to avoid goiter. Other organs' requirements aren't factored into this number. In addition to that, the effects of widespread iodine-blocking pollutants introduced during the last century were never considered in this calculation.
Our toxic world
Even if you manage to consume some four pounds of fresh seafood daily in order to meet your iodine requirement, you can't live in a clean bubble on this planet. The Fukushima nuclear plant disaster alone is likely to have contaminated much of the world's seaweed, an important source of dietary iodine. Then there are the 2,053 nuclear explosions conducted all over the world from the 1940s to the 1990s, and more recently the depleted uranium munitions used in America's wars. Let's not forget about Chernobyl either.
It is known that radioactive iodine, used in many medical procedures, will further exacerbate an iodine deficiency problem. Also, exposure to many chemicals that inhibit iodine binding in the body (e.g., bromide, fluoride, chloride) further worsens the problem. Many countries still fluoridate their water despite evidence of its health hazards. What's worse is that fluoride is even more toxic when there is an iodine deficiency.
Yes, this is the stuff they put in our drinking water.
The good news is that iodine supplementation in the proper amounts increases urinary excretion of heavy metals such as lead and mercury, and has a detoxifying effect by increasing excretion of fluoride, bromide and chloride derivatives. This is very important since bromine, fluoride, and chloride are toxic halides, which compete with each other for absorption and receptor-binding in the body.
Perchlorate - a chlorine compound - damages the iodine transport system in our bodies. It may cause cancer and weakening of the immune system, even at low levels. Perchlorate is used in countless industrial products - from everyday applications like car air bags and leather tanning to rocket fuel.
Bromine intoxication is associated with delirium, psychomotor retardation, schizophrenia and hallucinations. People who ingest bromine feel dull and apathetic and have difficulty concentrating. Bromide can also cause severe depression, headaches and irritability. These symptoms can be present even with low levels of bromine in the diet.
Dr. Brownstein explains how bromine interferes with iodine utilization in the thyroid, and anywhere else iodine concentrates in the body. Due to their interference with iodine-binding in the body, bromine and fluoride are known as "goitrogens" - they promote the formation of goiter. Bromine and fluoride are toxic substances with no therapeutic use in our bodies. Bromine, a known carcinogen, can also bind to iodine receptors in the breast. Women with breast cancer have much larger amounts of the toxic halides bromine and fluoride compared to women without breast cancer. On the other hand, iodine has anti-carcinogenic properties.
Women's breasts are major sites for iodine storage. Maintaining adequate iodine levels are necessary to ensure an adequately functioning thyroid gland and normal breast architecture.
As Dr. Brownstein reports:
All of the glands of the body depend on adequate iodine levels to function optimally. Animal studies have shown problems with the adrenal glands, the thymus gland, the ovaries, the hypothalamus and pituitary axis, as well as the entire endocrine system, when there is an iodine deficient state. In fact, the ovaries have the second highest concentration of iodine in the body next to the thyroid gland. An iodine-deficient state will lead to an imbalanced hormonal system. lt is impossible to have a balanced hormonal system without ensuring an adequate iodine intake.
According to Dr. Guy E. Abraham, 'medical iodophobia' - the unwarranted fear of using and recommending inorganic, non-radioactive iodine/iodide - may have caused more human misery and death than both World Wars combined by preventing meaningful clinical research in the daily amount of iodine needed for optimal physical and mental health.
Whoever told us that thyroid function was so important and could be one of the keys to good health?
Abraham was one of the world's leading researchers on iodine, suggesting that the required daily intake of iodine necessary for maintaining iodine sufficiency for the whole body was 13mg per day. At sufficiency, the thyroid gland holds a total of approximately 50mg of iodine. The thyroid gland needs approximately 6mg/day of iodine for sufficiency. The breasts need at least 5mg of iodine; that leaves 2mg of iodine for the rest of the body. Others suggest, based on Dr. Guy E. Abraham's research, that healthy individuals need 1-3 mg/day as a maintenance dose. This is still well above the RDA of 150ug/day of iodine!
Many healthcare professionals are scared of iodine due to ignorance of its biochemistry and physiology. They've been led to believe that iodine causes hypothyroidism, when in reality it helps to normalize thyroid function. One of the reasons for this misconception is due to high TSH levels in iodine therapy. TSH (Thyroid-stimulating hormone) is a test to monitor thyroid function. It usually rises when there is hypothyroidism. However, as Dr. Brownstein explains:
TSH has another function besides stimulating thyroid hormone production. It also helps stimulate the body's production of the iodine transport molecules - the sodium-iodide symporter (NIS). Without adequate amounts of NIS, iodine would not be able to enter the cells and be utilized. [...] [An] iodine-deficient patient's body does not require a large amount of NIS since there is little iodine that needs to be transported into the cells. However, when this individual begins to supplement with iodine, the extra iodine now needs to be transported into the cells. One way the body will accomplish this is to increase the production of TSH to stimulate more NIS. [...]
How long does TSH stay elevated? l have found that TSH may remain elevated for up to 6 months before lowering to normal. How high do TSH levels rise? The normal TSH level ranges from 0.5-4.5mlU/L. l have witnessed TSH levels elevated to 5-30mlU/L for a period of time sometimes up to six months-before falling back to the normal range. [...] The TSH will decline back to the reference range after the thyroid gland is saturated with iodine.
Iodine does not cause hypothyroidism. On the contrary, the main thyroid hormones, T4 and T3, require enough iodine in order to be produced. When an individual is iodine-deficient, hypothyroidism results because there is not enough raw material to produce T4 and T3. Supplementing with iodine can improve or even heal hypothyroidism without the use of synthetic drugs. Moreover, research suggests that taking thyroid hormone when iodine deficiency is present can worsen the iodine deficiency as the body's metabolic rate increases. Dr. Brownstein reports how taking thyroid hormone when iodine deficiency is present increases the risk of breast cancer and possibly other cancers as well. Anything that lowers the body's iodine stores or increases the body's need for it could be predicted to make things worse.
Another misconception is that iodine is contraindicated in autoimmune thyroid diseases such as Grave's disease and Hashimoto's. In reality, it is those who are iodine-deficient who are at an increased risk of developing antibodies against the thyroid gland. Autoimmune disorders - including thyroid ones - are examples of excess oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress is inflammation in the body and it is akin to a fire burning. You can put the fire out with the appropriate "water": anti-oxidants, unrefined salt, nutrients, an anti-inflammatory diet (gluten-free, non-GMO, moderated in carbohydrates AND with plenty of animal fat). People afflicted with autoimmune thyroid disorders need to take specific nutrients, detailed below, along with iodine in order to heal the damage done by so much oxidative stress and lack of iodine.
Is there a condition when iodine is actually dangerous? Yes, and it is extremely rare. My main past concerns on iodine are related to what Dr. Brownstein shared in his book:
Does iodine therapy cause hyperthyroidism? l was taught in medical school that it did, especially in patients suffering from autoimmune thyroid disorders such as Graves' or Hashimoto's disease. Young doctors-in-training are still taught this today. So, let me answer the question: Very rarely. Between my partners and myself, we estimate that over 12 years, less than 10 patients out of thousands treated became hyperthyroid when treated with iodine.
When I lecture to doctors, l tell them one particular condition can predispose to iodine-induced hyperthyroidism. This condition occurs in a patient who has an autonomously functioning nodule in their thyroid. Sometimes this is referred to as a hot nodule on a thyroid scan.
An autonomously functioning nodule is not under the feedback control of the pituitary and the hypothalamus. It functions independently of the thyroid gland. When iodine is present, these nodules can take up the iodine and produce copious amounts of thyroid hormone leading to hyperthyroidism. This condition can be diagnosed with a thyroid scan. However, it is most frequently diagnosed after a trial of iodine therapy is given and the patient becomes hyperthyroid after taking the first couple of doses.
How do you treat a patient with an autonomously functioning thyroid nodule? These patients must avoid iodine supplements and food (such as seaweed ) that is high in iodine UNTIL the nodule is surgically removed.
Given the pervasive misconceptions about such an extremely beneficial substance as iodine, one may wish to consider how greater knowledge and use of it may be purposefully suppressed. As has previously been observed and analyzed on Sott.net, there are numerous ways in which the Western allopathic approach to medicine has led so many individuals astray on the road to living a truly healthy life. Among those we've seen are the benefits of a low-carb, high animal fat diet, supplementation with vitamins and other vital nutrients, the modes and reasons for detoxification, etc. But given the huge amounts of money and power that Big Pharma and other health-related industries stand to make by actually keeping people in poor health, it is no wonder that so many of us still are!
Still, at the end of the day, whether the ignorance of the larger modern medical community to employ iodine and other holistic healing approaches is due to simple ignorance, or more nefarious reasons, the fact is that now, in light of this invaluable information about iodine, we can choose to take responsibility for our own health with this powerhouse approach. But the choice is ours to make of course.
Take enough iodine. As mentioned above, the RDA for iodine does not provide nearly enough for the body. Most people need from 12-50mg/day of a combination of iodine and iodide in the form of lugol's solution or tableted lugol's solution. Others need much less. There are several percentages available of lugol's solution, but don't angst over them. You can use the following table as a rough guide:
Comment: SOTT.net encourages readers to do their own research about this substance and, as always, first consult with their physicians before experimenting with iodine supplementation.
Gabriela Segura, M.D.
Gabriela Segura was born into a multi-ethnic family in Central America and graduated from the University of Milan as a heart surgeon. Her ongoing adventures in medical science and alternative healing have taken her from Costa Rica to Spain, Canada, Uzbekistan, France and Italy. Her favorite hobbies are researching the true nature of our world through SOTT.net and spending time in nature. Her writings can be found at The Health Matrix.