I have been
interested in iodine supplementation for years. I have a holistic
family practice in West Bloomfield, Michigan. Michigan resides in
the Goiter Belt of the United States where the soil is deficient
in iodine. Although I long suspected iodine deficiency in many of
my patients, my initial uses of potassium iodide gave suboptimal
results. Some patients did improve, but many did not notice any
appreciable improvement. This article was written to assist the
reader in implementing orthoiodosupplementation in their practice.
This article will be divided into 2 parts: Part I will describe
a doctor’s (your author) introduction and education about the
clinical uses of iodine while Part 2 of this article will give the
reader ‘clinical pearls’ about how to integrate and use
iodine in their practice.
A Doctor’s Introduction and Education about the Clinical Uses
one and a half years ago, I read a letter to the editor in the Townsend
Letter for Doctors and Patients titled "Iodine Supplementation
Markedly Increases Urinary Excretion of Fluoride and Bromide".
In this letter, Dr. Guy Abraham described the iodine/iodide loading
test and its value at assessing whole body sufficiency for iodine.
In addition, the article describes the detoxification effects of
the toxic halogens, bromide and fluoride when iodine is in the orthoiodosupplementation
range. I was intrigued at the idea of not only measuring body iodine
levels but using a combination of iodine and iodide rather than
using iodide alone. This started me on a long journey of researching
and learning all that I could about iodine deficiency and iodine
supplementation. Dr. Abraham was instrumental in teaching me about
One and a half
years ago, I began testing my patients for the loading test. Although
I expected lowered body iodine levels, I was not ready for the magnitude
of the results. After testing over 500 patients, I found that 94.7%
of my patients are deficient in inorganic iodine. Many of these
patients were already being treated by me for thyroid and other
endocrine imbalances, including SSKI. When physiologic doses of
iodine/iodide were added to their regimen, many of these patients
showed dramatic improvement in their condition, especially patients
who were non-responders, even though some were taking SSKI.
that iodine/iodide has helped are many. These conditions include
Fibromyalgia, thyroid disorders, chronic fatigue immune deficiency
syndrome, autoimmune disorders as well as cancer. Most patients
who are deficient in iodine will respond positively to iodine supplementation.
In fact, I have come to the conclusion that iodine deficiency sets
up the immune system to malfunction which can lead to many of the
above disorders developing. Every patient could benefit from a thorough
evaluation of their iodine levels.
is often thought of as synonymous with thyroid malfunction, particularly
with the development of goiter. The research is clear that iodine
deficiency can lead to cysts and nodules of the thyroid gland. David
Marine reported the benefits of treating school-aged children with
iodine/iodide (Lugol’s solution) nearly 70 years ago. Marine
looked at two groups: a control group and a treatment group, which
received 9mg/day of iodine/iodide. The iodine/iodide treatment group
had a 0.2% incidence of goiter while the control group had a 22%
goiter – a 110x difference. This was the first U.S. iodine
study showing the decline of goiter formation with the use of iodine.
Shortly after this study, iodized salt was initiated which was a
great success in eliminating goiter in the U.S.
school, little was taught about iodine. Specifically, we were taught
that the iodization of salt was implemented to prevent goiter and
therefore no further iodine was necessary in the diet. After studying
the literature on iodine, I realized what I was taught in medical
school was incorrect. The iodization of salt was adequate to lessen
the prevalence of goiter, but it did not address the rest of the
body’s need for iodine.
When I began
testing my patients for iodine levels, I was amazed at the prevalence
of iodine deficiency. As previously stated, 94.7% of my patients
have tested low for iodine. I have noticed those patients with chronic
illnesses, from autoimmune disorders to cancer, often have lower
iodine levels as compared to relatively healthy patients.
I was initially
hesitant to use higher (>1mg) doses of iodine due to my concern
about causing adverse effects. In reviewing much of the literature
there was concern about larger doses of iodine causing hyperthyroid
symptoms. However, a further, more exhaustive review of the literature
failed to prove that iodine, in milligram doses ever was shown to
cause hyperthyroid symptoms. In fact, as iodine levels have fallen
over 50% in the last 30 years in the United States, autoimmune disorders
and hyperthyroid symptoms have been increasing at near epidemic
individuals and finding low iodine levels, I began to use smaller
milligram amounts of iodine/iodide (6.25mg/day). Upon retesting
these individuals 1–2 months later, little progress was made.
I therefore began using higher milligram doses (6.25–50mg)
to increase the serum levels of iodine. It was only with these higher
doses that I began to see clinical improvement as well as positive
changes in the laboratory tests.
Why would people
need the larger doses of iodine? Why have iodine levels fallen 50%
in the last 30 years? As I pondered these questions, I came to the
conclusion that the toxicity of modern life must be impacting iodine
levels. It is well known that the toxic halides, fluoride and bromide,
having a similar structure as iodine, can competitively inhibit
iodine absorption and binding in the body.