In this article you will learn:
How to use iodine therapeutically for optimal health
What considerations to keep your eye out while using iodine
The information in this article is all based on extensive research and personal experience, however it is up to you to take it and consult your medical team regarding the use of iodine. As important as iodine is for health, it is not easy to integrate into your daily routine for several reasons. Find a qualified practitioner that has experience working with iodine (you can find a comprehensive list here), utilize the huge chapter in my book on this topic, and make sure you understand everything going into your use of this special mineral because it is worth it.
Iodine has an undeserved negative reputation because of a lot of miscommunication, misrepresentation and the usual BS you would expect from the marriage of Big Pharma and mass media over the years. It is, however, essential for life and optimal health.
In this article I am going to worry less about covering its contentious history and how it was demonized, to the extensive research covering its benefits in cancer, immunity, thyroid health, metabolism, detoxification and many others. If you want all those saucy details, the chapter on iodine in my book referenced above has over 100 research references and a plethora of information on this topic that you or your practitioner can dive into.
In this article we will focus more on the practical side of things - how to get started with iodine, how to test yourself regularly and what to consider along the way.
So, why iodine? There are many reasons, but a few of the key ones we have already listed: it is directly involved in a mechanism that prevents cancer (by promoting cell apoptosis), it inactivates viruses at 1 part per million concentration (we'll get back to this later so remember it), it detoxifies the body from heavy metals like aluminum and it is the building block for thyroid hormones which regulate practically every aspect of your health. It is also needed for the integrity of the structures of your cells and all of your major glands and organs.
In a nutshell, iodine is absolutely essential for optimal health.
The problem is that it has been demonized over the last century, and as a result the amount of average iodine intake has been reduced to paltry amounts - which shows in our rising rates of thyroid, ovarian and breast cancers as well as many degenerative diseases. Prior to this demonization of iodine, it was used around the world in huge amounts therapeutically and this is well documented.
When using iodine, it is important to understand the concept of iodine sufficiency. This is similar to many other nutrients, and the idea is that once your body has enough - it just eliminates the rest. With iodine, this can be tested using a 24-hour urine test (like this one) and determining where you're levels are at. If you opt for this test, add the bromide and fluoride measurements as these must also be low, along with a high excretion rate of iodine (90%+), to be "iodine sufficient" and in optimal condition.
Basically the test is very simple. You take a 50mg pill of iodine and then collect your urine for 24 hours. If your body has enough iodine in it (most people do not), then you will excrete 90% or more. I go into much greater detail about this in my book, but the test is very accurate and there are further considerations about how to interpret the results.
Nevertheless, generally speaking the body's stores of iodine are about 1500mg, which means that 50mg at 3 months time (or any other equivalent of dosage/time) will bring you to iodine sufficiency once this amount has been absorbed and stored by your body.
I'm doing a lot of paraphrasing in this article, so remember that this topic is very nuanced (the audiobook version of this chapter in my book is 2 hours long, if that gives you any idea) - but below are a few important considerations to hold as you dive more into this:
Iodine requires a lot of nutrition as cofactors because it stimulates the thyroid and many other processes in the body. This means that you can't just take iodine, and should always take it with a comprehensive nutrition program that includes all of the basics like your minerals, vitamins, etc. A high emphasis on magnesium, vitamin C, zinc, selenium and vitamins B2/B3 are especially important for maintaining organification of iodine. A good place to start to build your basic nutrition program is here.
Sometimes iodine behaves in strange ways and may make your thyroid worse. Always find someone you can trust who has clinical experience using iodine to help adjust or guide your journey as you go. For iodine literate practitioners, you can go here. Iodine (inorganic, as Lugol's or similar) is not a problem - however other pre-existing circumstances may complicate things and require a nuanced approach. Remember, your body needs iodine for several reasons - it just that getting the dosage right in the beginning is the tricky part.
Test yourself regularly with blood tests (thyroid labs), micronutrient tests (like a SpectraCell test) to keep tabs on your nutrient levels and a 24-hour iodine loading test. You can also run a serum bromide test to evaluate how much bromide you have in your body. This can be done through NMS Labs, but has to be ordered by a practitioner. Bromide is a toxic halogen that disrupts iodine in the body and should be 3mg/L in the blood or lower.
Read the chapter in my book referenced in this article, it will do you good. You can also read other titles by Dr. David Brownstein and Lynne Farrow.
Prepare to have a budget for your supplements and tests for at least 6-12 months. If you can't keep track of this and begin a journey with iodine, you may end up worse off because iodine requires nutrition to work. If you also don't get your dosage right in the beginning, then it may lead to a suppression of the thyroid. The answer is to just stop for a week or two and then re-start at a different dosage.
Do not get iodine from kelp sources, as the ocean has 1400x more bromide (a competitor of iodine) than it does iodine. Kelp absorbs this, so it is actually a better source of bromide than it is of iodine. Always stick with Iodoral or LugoTab which are standardized formulations.
What you begin you must finish, but it is worth it for the benefits. Iodine is many unique and powerful advantages, and in an age where we are given the morbid statistic that 50% of people born will likely get cancer at some point in their lifetime - being iodine sufficient is probably one of the most important things we can do for longterm health compared to any other intervention.
Unfortunately, using iodine is a complicated process and it will really require you to create a practice out of your health through all of the things I've mentioned many times before like regular testing, supplementation, paying attention and so on. You will learn a lot from using iodine, but be warned that it is not something to dive into without respect for the process or an eagerness to learn and a willingness to be humbled.
Always have a backup plan and know the research, have your medical team nearby or people you can trust and really do your homework. I've done a good part of the work for you in my book, so take it on and be one of the few people who will reap the rewards of this magical mineral.
Iodine (as inorganic iodine) is not dangerous or toxic, and it flushes out of the body easily. What this also means is that maintaining iodine sufficiency, once you've reached it, is a matter of consistent practice. It can take 3-6 months of hardcore supplementation to get iodine into all of your tissues so you are "set" - but only 3-4 weeks to flush all of that work out quickly.
Remember that whatever you read on Google or any other naysaying website is all propaganda. Iodine has been used as medicine (and in astronomical amounts) to cure practically everything for almost 15,000 years. Because it is natural and no patent can be put on it, and because it has such power to heal, the establishment doesn't want you to know about it and so has invested heavily in demonizing this life-giving substance.