Iodine is a crucial mineral that is often overlooked. It is essential in the thyroid gland for producing thyroid hormones and required by every tissue in the body. This mineral is referred to as the endocrine mineral as it also plays a role in the hormone system of the body by supporting the adrenal glands, ovaries, breasts, prostate gland, and others.

Iodine deficiency is a widespread issue with increasing evidence suggesting the entire world population is affected. The reasons for this deficiency include:

  1. The current RDA of 150 micrograms is insufficient. The recommended daily intake of iodine may be enough to prevent goiter but is not enough for optimal health. The ideal dose is estimated to be between 5 and 15 mg daily.
  2. Lack of good sources of iodine apart from seafood. Iodine is a rare mineral that is not abundant in land-based foods such as vegetables, meats, dairy, fruits, or others.
  3. Exposure to iodine antagonists. This is a significant factor contributing to iodine deficiency.
  4. Stress can also cause a depletion of iodine.
  5. Doctors advising patients to limit or avoid salt, for many people iodized salt is a primary source of iodine. Refined table salt is best avoided, but unrefined sea salt is a rich source of minerals, including some iodine.
  6. The removal of iodine from commercial breads. Until the 1980s, iodine was used as a dough conditioner in commercial bakeries and provided a significant source of extra iodine. The government then forced bakers to stop using iodine due to unfounded fears of excessive iodine and instead use bromine, a harmful substance, to make bread. Bromine is an iodine antagonist and exacerbates iodine deficiency.

The Iodine Antagonists:

Iodine is a key element in the halogen family, which also includes fluorine, bromine, and chlorine, among others. It’s crucial to understand the role of iodine antagonists in relation to iodine deficiency and thyroid disease.

  1. Competition among Halogens: All halogens tend to bind similarly to receptors due to their similar atomic structure, leading to competition for absorption and utilization in iodine binding sites in the thyroid gland and throughout the body.
  2. Widespread use of Iodine Antagonists: Bromine and bromides are widely used in baking, and their presence in bread and other foods interferes with iodine uptake and utilization. Elimination of bromine from the body can often occur when supplementing with iodine or kelp. Chlorine and chlorinated compounds such as chloramines are also toxic elements that disrupt iodine utilization in the body. Fluorides, mainly from fluoridated water supplies, are a major source of contamination in the food supply and have also contaminated the water table and irrigation systems in the US. Despite the widespread contamination, public health authorities continue to add toxic fluoride compounds to the water supply.

Iodine: An Effective Detoxifier

Iodine supplementation has a positive impact on the body’s toxic load, including toxic metals and chemicals, as well as infections. Here’s how:

  1. Iodine is an antagonist to halogens. By taking iodine, one may experience the elimination of bromine, chlorine, fluoride, and other metals from the body.
  2. Iodine boosts thyroid function. With improved thyroid activity, the body becomes more capable of removing toxic metals. This is the main mechanism behind iodine’s ability to reduce toxic metal accumulation in the body.
  3. Iodine has germicidal properties – it acts as an antibiotic, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anticancer agent. Iodine may help the body fight infections by improving thyroid function and acting as an antioxidant, according to some researchers.

Iodine and Cancer: A Connection

Studies have linked iodine deficiency to a higher risk of breast, ovarian, thyroid, and other cancers. As iodine deficiency becomes more prevalent, the incidence of these cancers has risen significantly. Despite years of research, conventional medicine has made limited progress against these cancers. Iodine, on the other hand, has been shown to prevent and even combat some of these cancers.

Assessing Iodine Levels in the Body

Unfortunately, many doctors do not consider measuring iodine levels in the body. However, there are three ways to assess it:

  1. Blood Serum Iodine Level: This method is not always reliable but could provide some helpful information.
  2. Oral Iodine Loading Test: This involves taking 50 mg of iodine in pill or liquid form and collecting all urine for 24 hours. The urine is then sent to a laboratory that calculates the percentage of iodine excreted from the loading dose. The result should be at least 90% for a healthy body, but most people are found to be severely depleted.
  3. Iodine Patch Test: This is a simple and less accurate test that can be done at home at low cost. The test involves applying some liquid iodine on the arm and observing how long it takes for the body to absorb it. A disappearance within a few hours indicates a severe iodine deficiency.

Mineral Balancing Programs and Iodine Assessment: According to the Dr L Wilson, assessing iodine levels is not necessary when using non-toxic forms of iodine supplementation, such as kelp. Most people can take up to 6 600 mg kelp capsules daily, with the exception of people in Japan who eat a lot of seafood and seaweed and may only need 3 kelp capsules daily. Mineral balancing programs provide a maximum of 9.5 mg of iodine through different sources, which seems sufficient for clients.

Iodoral and similar synthetic products are preferred by some iodine-aware doctors but are considered toxic by the author. They also vary in iodine content, while kelp contains other minerals and phytonutrients that are beneficial.

Iodine and Hair Mineral Analysis

Iodine is not a commonly measured component in hair mineral tests due to its difficulty to measure accurately. However, measuring the hair iodine level could give insight into the body’s soft tissue iodine levels and its importance should not be disregarded.

Supplementing Iodine

Iodine is utilized by every cell in the body in either iodide or iodine form, and some researchers claim the forms cannot be converted. The thyroid and skin primarily require iodide while the breasts require iodine to prevent fibrocystic growth or precancerous and cancerous lesions. Other body tissues such as the kidneys, spleen, liver, blood, salivary glands, and intestines can use either form.

Principles of Iodine Supplementation:

  1. Everyone requires supplementary iodine as it is not obtainable from food unless consuming excessive amounts of fish and seaweed, which would result in a high mercury intake. Ignoring this and relying solely on food sources of iodine can lead to serious health problems such as cancer, strokes, and other health issues.
  2. Supplementing both forms of iodine is crucial and can be easily achieved through kelp or other preparations.
  3. Chemical forms of iodine, including potassium iodide and elemental iodine, are toxic and can build up in the liver. Kelp is a preferred iodine supplement by natural doctors, but alternatives such as Iodoral pills, Lugol’s solution, prolamine iodine, Liquidulse, or others may also be used, although they may be somewhat toxic. The recommended daily dose of kelp is 3600-4000 mg, usually in the form of 6 660 mg capsules, but individual doses may vary.

Fish and Seafood as Iodine Supplements

Fish and seafood are rich in iodine, but also contain high levels of mercury which replaces iodine in the body. Eating fish, except for 3-4 cans of sardines weekly, is not recommended due to the mercury content. Sardines are a good source of omega-3 oils, vitamin D, selenium, and other essential nutrients but do not provide enough iodine and a supplement is still necessary.

The relationship between iodine and selenium is critical for thyroid function. Iodine is converted from iodide through an oxidation reaction, which requires an enzyme TPO and hydrogen peroxide. Excess hydrogen peroxide can lead to Hashimoto’s disease. Selenium helps control hydrogen peroxide by producing glutathione peroxidase, which detoxifies hydrogen peroxide. Selenium is also needed in the metabolism of thyroid hormone to convert T4 to the active T3, through the iodothyronine deiodinase enzyme. Any deficiency of selenium can cause hypothyroidism symptoms.

Soy products and tap water can negatively impact the thyroid and iodine metabolism. Soy contains copper that can interfere with iodine and thyroid activity, as well as enzyme inhibitors that affect the thyroid. Tap water contains chlorine and fluoride that is detrimental to thyroid and iodine metabolism.

Taking iodine supplements may cause a healing reaction, including nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach. This reaction occurs when iodine removes the iodine antagonists, bromides, chlorides, and fluorides. Reducing the dosage and slowly increasing it over time usually resolves the symptoms.

People with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can take kelp without any problems, as long as it is part of a complete mineral balancing program. Iodine should not be given to babies, but can be given to children age 4 and older who may have a deficiency from their mothers. Iodine can be taken by people with fast or slow oxidation, as both metabolic types are usually deficient in iodine. People with Grave’s disease (hyperthyroidism) should use iodine cautiously until the disease is gone.