In the 1820’s the French physician Jean Lugol formulated a solution made out of two types of iodine: 10% potassium iodide (ideal for making thyroid hormones) and 5% elemental iodine (best suited to the breast, ovary and prostate tissue) in 85% water. Lugol’s iodine solution helped to prevent countless people in the early 19th century from dying of infectious diseases. This is because it has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anti parasitic properties and it enhances the immune system. Little did Jean Lugol know that his simple formulation has also become a very popular iodine supplement, used to treat thyroid disorders, oestrogen imbalances and cancer? However, by 1948 Drs. Wolff and Chaikoff had declared that iodine at doses of over 20 times the RDA (4mg) can damage the thyroid gland in humans. Medical textbooks often quote this erroneous assumption based on a trial that was conducted on rats. “Iodophobia” is the irrational fear of using iodine at doses above the minimal RDA of 200 mcg. This term was coined by Dr. Abrahams recently during his research on iodine.12.5mg of inorganic iodine (2 drops of Lugol’s iodine) is now being recommended for most conditions based on statistics from iodine uptake studies. “Lugol’s solution is a time-tested preparation with a proven track record for over 150 years”. (Ref 26 sub 14, 15) I went to a number of pharmacies and asked for a bottle of Lugol’s iodine. The immediate response was: “No, we don’t have any.” I asked them to find me some and was met with blank stares. After many such dismissals, a pharmacist in a health shop ordered me some. I took it for a few days and realised just how iodine deficient one could become. For me, my Lugol’s is truly a health and beauty supplement: long strong fingernails, thick lustrous hair, it controls my hormones, keeps me slim and active, and to my surprise, in a very happy and energetic space. We tend to overlook iodine deficiencies as being a basic cause of many illnesses including breast cancer, ovarian cysts, and mental illnesses that don’t even involve the thyroid gland! Iodine is a trace element and to the degree we lack iodine, we will continue to manifest iodine deficiencies regardless of surgery, beauty treatments, slimming products or patent medications. (Ref: 9, 18)
Establishing the iodine intake: Dr. Brownstein’s iodine test: uses a sample from a 24 hour urine collection after a 50mg dose of iodine has been given. If 90% of it is excreted back into the urine then one has sufficient iodine. Results showed that 90% of the Americans tested in this way were iodine deficient. Excess iodine is excreted and is therefore not toxic. Ironically, iodine promotes the excretion of lead, mercury and cadmium as well as fluoride and bromide. Iodine contained in seaweed or shellfish can cause allergic reactions and radioactive iodine destroys thyroid tissue but an allergy to inorganic iodine is extremely rare. (Organic iodine is composed of one or more carbon atoms.) Iodine was at first added to bread as an anti-caking agent but due to the iodine scares of the 1960’s, it was replaced with bromine. Iodine intake was reduced by 50% while thyroid illness, thyroid cancer, autoimmune thyroid disorders; breast, prostate, endometrial and ovarian cancers began to increase. Although salt had been iodated, the bromine from the bread was stripping out iodine at a faster rate. Patients suffering from thyroid abnormalities such as hypothyroidism (under active), hyperthyroidism (overactive) and autoimmune inflammation of the thyroid (Hashimoto’s Disease) were all shown to be deficient of iodine when tested. During treatment, when all iodine levels were restored, their thyroids once again functioned normally and the swelling subsided.
When lacking in iodine, the thyroid tissue proliferates in order to glean more iodine from the bloodstream. When inflamed, toxic or affected by an autoimmune condition, the thyroid tissue also expands to remove excessive iodine or thyroid hormones from the bloodstream. An iodine deficiency causes the thyroid gland to readily absorb radioactive iodine which destroys thyroid tissue. Why treat patients with radioactive iodine because they are deficient of normal iodine? During threats of atomic fallout, people are given 2-4mg of iodine to protect their thyroid glands.
So firm is our trust in orthodox medical statements that we assume iodated salt has solved iodine deficiencies in man because it has successfully prevented goitre formation – an extreme iodine deficiency. This amount of iodine was estimated to be 150-200mcg and the salt had a token effect. Iodine from salt yields about 10% of the prescribed 200 mcg because the chlorine in salt occupies 90% of the iodine receptor! (Iodine, chlorine, bromide and fluoride are a group of halogens that displace each other on iodine receptors.) Furthermore, we believe that fluoride protects our teeth. This depletes us of iodine every day from gargling with fluoride so close to the thyroid gland and absorbing fluoride from toothpaste. But what about all the other symptoms of iodine deficiencies that are not as obvious as a bulging neck? They have been increasing in direct proportion to our dwindling iodine intake. Popular complaints today of polycystic ovaries, fibrocystic breast disease, infertility and children with ADD are in the hands of gynaecologists and physicians who may not know them to be treatable with iodine. A full description of iodine deficiencies will confirm that iodated salt has not really alleviated any of them. (Ref: 2, 3, 13, 18)
Symptoms of iodine deficiencies
General: Iodine deficiency affects motor skills, decreases reaction time, manual dexterity, muscle strength, and coordination. Lower IQ readings were registered in people who are iodine deficient. In pregnancy an iodine deficiency can cause ADD or mental retardation in the foetus (cretinism)
Hypothyroidism: (under active.) An iodine deficiency results in a lack of thyroid hormones and affects mitochondrial receptors within cells that release energy. Iodine is required for making T4 (called thyroxin) that contains 4 iodine atoms. A low body temperature and slower metabolism are symptoms of hypothyroidism but they will persist if T4 is not converted to T3, the active form regardless of iodine intake due to a lack of enzymes that require selenium.
Hyperthyroidism (over active) and autoimmune inflammation of the thyroid (Hashimoto’s Disease), Grave’s disease or a toxic thyroid can also be due to iodine deficiencies. In many cases these conditions respond well to iodine supplementation with the thyroid returning to normal size without surgery or radioactive iodine.
Energy: Low energy and fatigue or tiredness, especially in the morning. Low blood pressure. Sleep disturbances, including the desire for 12 or more hours of sleep at a time. (Ref 16, 19)
Fitness: Shortness of breath on exertion with a very fast pulse and chest pain with stiffness of joints and muscular cramps explains the term: poor exercise tolerance. Also: heart palpitations, frequent respiratory infections and asthma. Excessive all over perspiration regardless of heat or exertion.
Digestion: Difficulty in losing weight with swelling of the face (myxoedema).and general fluid retention. High LDL cholesterol and increased blood fats. Difficulty in swallowing, indigestion, flatulence, constipation and irregular bowel movements.
Circulation: Intolerance to cold and/or heat. Cold hands and feet, poor circulation. In extremes: Raynaud's Syndrome whereby hands and feet turn white in response to the cold.
Mental picture: Depression, fatigue, apathy, slower thinking and reaction times, headaches and migraines, visual disturbances and eye protrusions, mood swings and loss of memory.
Skin: Dry and coarse skin with a yellowish tinge, dark brown eyelids, brittle finger nails, dry brittle hair and increased hair loss. Acne.
Reproduction: Menstrual problems-such as PMS and menstrual irregularities including heavy periods, fertility problems. Reduced libido, benign and malignant tumours, cystic breasts and ovaries, uterine fibroids and fibrocystic breast disease.
Thyroid swollen (struma), tender throat and neck as the thyroid enlarges and may form a goitre.
Extreme iodine deficiency: Heart disease, cancer of the thyroid, ovaries, breasts and prostate.
Low thyroid function frequently coincides with low adrenal function whereby most of these symptoms tend to overlap.
(Ref 2, 5, 20, 21)
Supplementation with iodine
Caution: Firstly, if you know you are allergic to iodine, do not take it. Some people test for sensitivity by painting Lugol’s iodine under the foot with an ear bud. If you have an iodine allergy, the skin will react by itching or forming blisters within hours. Exceeding the recommended dosage for a particular treatment is not recommended. Quantities of high or long term iodine ingestion should be monitored by your doctor. Iodine is needed by pregnant women; they do not have to avoid it!
Lugol’s iodine.According to Dr Abraham’s research: “the optimal daily dose of iodine for a person is approximately 12.5 mg.” This amount of iodine is very close to the 13.8 mg average intake of mainland Japanese. “12.5mg is equivalent to 2 drops of Lugol’s iodine, taken in a little water. If you don’t like the taste of Lugol’s add vitamin C or lemon juice to it, but then it becomes potassium iodide exclusively. (I place a drop of Lugo’s onto brewer’s yeast tablets spread out on a saucer and allow them to dry.) “A lot of people who are routinely put on thyroid hormone for hypothyroid conditions could normalize their thyroid by simply supplementing extra iodine (and perhaps L-tyrosine), instead of taking thyroid medications” During the 1880s to early 1900s Lugol’s iodine was used to successfully treat Grave’s disease (90% hyperthyroidism). They did not use radioactive iodine, surgery or goitrogenic drugs. They achieved complete remission. (Ref 26 sub 14, 15
The pitfalls of iodated salt: Ironically, iodine combined with salt is counter productive as only 10% of the 200mcg DRA is delivered to the bloodstream. 20mcg is hardly even close to the 12.5mg that has now been established as the ideal amount. People eat too much salt or no salt at all. Prior to fooling everybody that iodating the salt would prevent goitre, doctors used to routinely use adequate amounts of Lugol’s iodine to treat their patients. After the introduction of iodated salt, the incidence of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis – an autoimmune inflammation that causes hypothyroidism, increased dramatically. It was concluded that goitrogenic foods had caused this. (Ref 26 sub 9, 11)
Side effects: Are usually temporary: Iodine is mucolytic (breaks down mucous} so you may experience a runny nose, increased salivation or sinus headaches. Iodine is also anti-parasitic and anti-microbial in action and so signs of detoxification or “die-off” may result. If there is a long-standing iodine deficiency, one may experience hyperthyroidism for a while or have a sore throat with a slight thyroid swelling. After a week or two, you settle down and feel very good!
Overdose: a metallic taste, mouth sores, swollen salivary glands, diarrhoea, vomiting, headache, rash. Difficulty in breathing. Goitre. (The thyroid may swell up to remove excess iodine from the blood.) Fatal iodine dose: 2 – 3 g. Give milk to treat emergency ingestion. (Ref 9, 13, 14, 18)
Other sources of iodine:
Eating foods rich in iodine. All sea food, radishes, asparagus, carrots, tomatoes, spinach, potatoes, peas, strawberries, mushrooms, lettuce, bananas, egg yolk, and especially onions. It is hard to determine accurate therapeutic doses of iodine every day from dietary sources as we eat them randomly, but tuck in anyway.
Kelp and seafood: A few grams of seaweed a day provide as much iodine as you need and any excess will be excreted – but be aware that inorganic forms of iodine may cause iodine allergies whereas inorganic iodine seldom if ever does. Lugol’s iodine (6 drops in ½ glass water 4x day.) treats food poisoning, especially sushi poisoning, which is ironically very rich in iodine. Painting iodine tincture: onto a small area of the body. Use the basic brown iodine tincture. Apply it to the inner thigh in about a 4cm square area. Your body will absorb it rapidly – within hours if you are iodine deficient. If not, the stain will last a few days. When absorbed, repeat the dosage. This may be a hitand miss process and test results are not absolute because they can vary according to humidity and the acidity of your skin.
Iodine tablets: Potassium iodide can be taken in tablet form. This is the closest to Lugol’s drops, but is not a combination of iodine and iodide, so ideally try making your own tablets: 2 drops of Lugol’s onto a brewers yeast tablet. Allow it to dry and return to the container. This works well, and adds the much needed selenium and some B vitamins to the dose.
Iodine tablets to purify drinking water. This removes dangerous microbes and parasites like: viruses (polio, hepatitis), bacteria (cholera, salmonella, streptococcus), and parasites (Giardia Lamblia, Cryptosporidium) from the water. Iodine intake is 8 parts per million when drinking this water. Adding vitamin C or a little cider vinegar or something acidic like lemon juice after the initial decontamination period of 30 minutes improves the taste of the water and converts iodine to iodide; the form it is transported in. (Ref: 23, 24)
The thyroid function
Controlling fatigue, stress and nervous conditions: Low energy relates to low iodine reserves and the inability to supply thyroid hormones for releasing cellular energy. A healthy iodine reserve in the thyroid will help you to enjoy abundant energy, make you able to concentrate and you will no longer come down with constant infections, feel ratty or just want to sleep during the day.
Thyroid self - test. Too tired to get up in the morning? Feeling dull yet irritable and nervous? Is your hair falling out, skin dry; are you gaining weight, feeling sluggish and constipated? Perhaps your thyroid gland is the problem. Keep a thermometer at your bedside. On waking, place it under your armpit for 15 minutes. Lie quietly. If your temperature reads 97.6 deg. F (36.6 deg. C) or lower regularly for 3 or more days and you do not have a fever or a hot flush at the time, you should be getting suspicious; you may have a thyroid problem. Even if blood tests show normal levels of thyroxin, this is no indication of how well your thyroid hormones are functioning. Ladies who menstruate should check this temperature during the commencement of their cycle. Have a look at the list of iodine deficiencies and see how many apply to you. Then consider iodine supplementation and help from an experienced practitioner.
Iodine content: The thyroid gland weighs about 26g and usually contains 0.06% iodine (15.6mg)
The total amount of iodine in the body is about 50mg on average, but only 10 – 15mg of this is found in the thyroid gland. The second largest reservoir of iodine is in breast tissue (Ref 1, 26, 27). The healthy functioning of the thyroid is essential to maintaining metabolism, protein synthesis and the mobilisation of calcium and body fats. Thyroid hormone is an insulin antagonist in that it favours the breaking down of glucose and fat burning and thus slims one down. It regulates muscle contraction. It is necessary for the central nervous system as well as skeletal and sexual maturation. Our thyroid hormone output is constant throughout life but increases at puberty and during pregnancy.
Making thyroid hormones: In reaction to the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), iodine is absorbed from the bloodstream or small intestine as iodide. Calcium is important for the activation of this hormone. Once in the bloodstream, iodide is transported to the thyroid gland, becomes iodine again and bonds to the amino acid tyrosine. After a little molecular rearrangement, the hormone T 4 (thyroxine) is formed. T4 is stored in the thyroid gland and released into the bloodstream. From T4 it becomes the more active version: T3 (tri-iodothyronine) in the thyroid cells by type l 5"-deiodinase, a selenium-dependent enzyme upon stimulus from the TSH. It bonds to a carrier protein and reaches cell receptors where the hormone is released. Energy release takes place deep within cell mitochondria.
The reverse thyroid hormone: Enzymes in the liver activate reverse thyroid hormone (rT3) that is also made out of thyroxin to shut down excessive thyroid activity. This is how the thyroid gland regulates the metabolic rate: by sending out both types of hormones for stop and start signals under the direction of the pituitary gland in response to feedback from the brain. When something goes wrong with the metabolism, it is because of the dominance of the one or the other of these T3 hormones. T3 and rT3 have opposite effects and favour different parts of thyroid receptors on cells. T3 favours beta-adrenergic receptors on cells that bind with messengers known as calchetomines (ephedrine and norepinephrine) and thus metabolism is increased. In times of stress or fasting the liver releases enzymes to make rT3 out of T4 instead and they displace T3 on the alpha-androgenic receptors but attaching to them in reverse. This shuts down metabolism as a counter measure. This is why slimmers get so frustrated! Stress, starvation diets, micronutrient deficiencies, toxins, liver congestion, and drugs like cortisone interfere with weight loss. This rarely spoken of hormone: reverse T3 is designed to keep the weight on, if not compound it! (Ref 6, 10, 20, 22)
Balancing thyroid hormones: When a thyroid problem is present it affects the adrenal function as well, because of overlapping symptoms such as constant tiredness, lack of concentration, poor sleep, headaches, skin discolouration and weight problems. T3 is not as abundant as T4. T3 has a half life of 1 day whereas T4 lasts for 1 week. rT3 that is also made out of T4; but in the liver, competes with T3 for the same receptors, so either a catabolic or an anabolic effect occurs. A patient who is steadily gaining weight and not responding to T4 (Eltroxin) supplementation needs more T3 to help displace rT3 that has been overwhelming the receptors. According to Martin Milner, the patient needs a blend of T4 with a slow releasing T3, because it has a much shorter half – life. Without a constant and reliable supply of T3; levels of rT3 remain too high for too long. Stress, cortisone and extreme fasting cause rT3 to overwhelm the T3 receptors. Cyclic AMP (adenosine monophosphate ) plays a critical role in powering up T3. Forskoliin from the coleus forskolii plant is effective in boosting levels of cyclic AMP and assisting the fat burning activities of T3. Soil depletion has led to deficiencies of iodine and selenium. Other key nutrients for efficient thyroid function are: tyrosine, anti oxidants, zinc, copper and essential fatty acids. Most important of all is to know the symptoms of iodine deficiencies that cause both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Lack of iodine is also associated with autoimmune inflammation or thyroiditis to a large degree (antibodies to constituents of thyroid cells). With hyperthyroidism (over active) and autoimmune inflammation of the thyroid (Hashimoto’s Disease) and Grave’s disease, patients may need a 24 hour urine analysis to first determine their iodine status. When iodine deficiency has been established, patients respond well to iodine supplementation with the thyroid returning to normal size. When deficient in iodine, the thyroid readily absorbs radioactive iodine and this can ruin thyroid function for life. First give iodine a chance. (Ref 16, 19)
Balancing thyroid hormones and setting up a dosing schedule requires skill and patience. It is only when the patient is relieved of symptoms and not “shutting down” that all is well. Patients with hypothyroidism and even goitre respond well to iodine supplements and may not even require prescribed thyroid medications. If there is a poor response to thyroid hormone balancing or to iodine supplementation there may be a condition known as: hypo metabolism present. With a similar set of symptoms including a lowered body temperature and a lack of enzyme function, hypo metabolism is caused by a combination of mercury poisoning (usually from dental amalgam) and damaged gut membranes due to microbial infestation and parasites. Fortunately for patients today who are in the hands of doctors of integrated health, a full investigation can lead to a more holistic treatment of these conditions. (Ref 28, 29)
Anti-microbial function: All our blood passes through the thyroid gland every 17 minutes. Iodine present in the thyroid tissue kills germs that may have entered the bloodstream form injuries, inhalation or from the lower digestive tract. (When food is eaten, most bacteria including e-coli and salmonella are destroyed by the hydrochloric acid in the stomach. If the stomach acid is not strong enough, these food-derived microbes are not destroyed. As a backup the thyroid gland monitors microbes within the bloodstream.) During these 17 minute cycles, iodine reserves can become depleted if dietary supplies are not maintained. It is interesting to note that a sore throat heralds a microbial onslaught and is perhaps a request for more iodine, to assist in preventing infection from the bacteria, moulds, yeasts, viruses or parasites that we are constantly being exposed to. This is particularly true during long aircraft flights. (Ref 25)
ADD children and the thyroid connection. Pregnant women deficient in iodine are very likely to give birth to attention deficit children. Here’s a good tip from www.naturodoc.com “It is possible to repeatedly change an irritable, impatient, and restless child under ten years of age into a calm, patient individual within two hours by giving one drop of Lugol's solution of iodine by mouth in a vegetable or fruit juice or in a glass of water made acid in reaction by adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. This is useful for calming a hyperactive child.” (Ref 15) You also need to be aware of the many ways that iodine is constantly being stripped out of the body by drinking chlorinated water, using oral hygiene products containing fluoride and being exposed to dioxins and other toxins. Even analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs interact with iodine. The habit of crunching into large helpings of raw cabbage, broccoli, cassava, kale, peanuts, uncooked and whole soya bean foods, turnips and seeds of mustard and rape (canola oil?) are all undermining your iodine status.(Ref:2, 9) This could explain why foods can cause weight gain regardless of calories.
Factors that influence iodine efficacy for hormone production and interaction.
Selenium: The enzyme: l 5"-deiodinase is dependent on selenium for the conversion of T4 to T3 (tri-iodothyronine). If T4 (Eltroxin) is given artificially to treat hypothyroidism, symptoms will persist if there is a selenium deficiency.
L-tyrosine is essential for adrenal, thyroid and pituitary output. Low plasma levels of l-tyrosine are associated with hypothyroidism and a lack of dopamine and the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. Abundant tyrosine is found in most meats. Wheat is one of the highest sources of tyrosine for vegetarians. (Wheat is only well tolerated by blood type A and AB secretors. This may explain a craving for wheat, in spite of being intolerant to its lectins.) It is best for vegetarians to take an amino acid supplement or 500mg of l-tyrosine every day. (Ref 11, 12)
Tin. Just as calcium relates to magnesium as does zinc to copper, so iodine partners off with tin. They share either side of cell receptors that control thyroid and adrenal functions concerning the heart. Tin and the adrenals affect the left cardiac output, characterised by breathing difficulties or asthma. Shortages of tin also show up as severe acne and pimples. (Ref 15.) On the right, iodine and tyrosine affect the right hand cardiac output that is affected by oedema, particularly the swelling of hands and feet. Both sides need to be adequately supplied with nutrients to prevent fatigue and depression.
Vitamin A is necessary for the production of thyroxin and helps the thyroid to absorb iodine; a key nutrient. (Ref 22)
Coleus (Coleus forskohlii) increases cyclic AMP, activates the thyroid stimulating hormone and assists in the conversion of T4 to T3. This helps to boost cellular energy within the mitochondria.(Ref 19)
Calcium and Magnesium: Calcium is needed to activate TSH which binds to receptors and with magnesium, helps to induce the conversion of ATP to cyclic AMP. (Ref: 20.)
Other key nutrients are: potassium, zinc, manganese, iron, cobalt, nickel, bismuth, lithium, most of the B-vitamins and especially vitamin B6. In many cases the adrenals are also affected by these micronutrient deficiencies. (Ref 14, 21, 22)
The therapeutic uses of iodine.
According to some well respected medical books: “Iodine does not seem to help in the treatment of specific diseases.”
“Iodine has only one known function in the body – it is essential to the thyroid gland for manufacturing thyroxine” (Ref: 1, 3) Most people do not venture beyond these closed doors. If we only needed iodine for our thyroid hormones, it would not be present in other tissues, including the breasts. Since the 1880’s when Jean Lugol started using iodine therapeutically a number of doctors and researchers have effectively treated iodine deficiencies as opposed to diseases that are merely symptoms of a lack of iodine.
Microbial diseases and toxins: Iodine promotes the excretion of toxic minerals such as: lead, mercury, and cadmium. Iodine supplementation can be taken to assist the treatment of microbial diseases including: viruses (polio, hepatitis), bacteria (cholera, salmonella, streptococcus), and parasites (Giardia Lamblia, Cryptosporidium). For example: Lugol’s iodine solution gets rid of Salmonella throughout the body. 6 drops in ½ glass water 4x day. Also: yeast/fungal forms of Candida. Topical use with Betadine can be included in mouthwashes or vaginal douches. Iodine attaches to the stomach wall, the intestinal linings and other internal membranes in the respiratory and urinary systems and the vagina. This helps to destroy microbes in these areas. Dr Jonathan Wright is a great believer in iodine and here are some of his recommendations: For treating persistent bladder infections, 10-15 drops of potassium iodide (SSKI) can be taken in a little water every 4-5 hours. Once relief has been obtained, revert to normal supplementation levels. As a safeguard against microbes that may attack you on long airline flights, the same high doses of SKKI can be taken. And yes, this will also help tummy upsets or food poisoning on the rest of your trip! It is also a great immune booster and helps to alkalize the blood. Proof of its rapid efficacy is the relief one can get from gas and bloating caused by yeasts and fermenting food in the digestive system. Iodine also helps to break up, mobilise and expel mucous – with all the bugs! (Ref: 5, 7, 9, 23, 24)
Cancer treatment and prevention: Thyroid cancer is high in areas where the iodine intake is too low. Today iodine is being used by some open minded therapists for preventing cancer: especially in breasts, ovaries, uterus, prostate and the thyroid gland. Iodine alkalizes the blood, making it a less favourable environment for cancer and being anti-microbial, it can eliminate bacterial, viral or other infections that may also be associated with the cancer. Breast cancer can occur when the ratio of estrone and estradiol is higher than estriol (the good oestrogen). The total count of oestrogen metabolites are measured within a 24 hour urine test. When at risk, 6 – 8 drops of Lugol’s iodine are given daily. The urine is once again measured and once the estriol balance is restored, the dose can taper off. A famous doctor marvelled: “I saw iodine and iodide both could increase a woman’s own secretion of oestriol while it lowered her oestrone and oestradiol.“ This favourable balance of oestrogen can reduce the cancer risk by as much as 58%.(It would seem ideal to first balance hormones this way?) Iodine treatment also helps to treat and prevent fibrocystic breasts and ovarian cysts. Modern research has estimated that the amount of iodine required for protection from breast cancer and fibrocystic breast disease is 20 – 40 times more than the 200mcg recommended for preventing goitre. (Ref 26, sub 4, 5) The polycystic ovarian syndrome is also largely due to an iodine deficiency. (Ref: 5, 8)
Structural and tissue issues: Iodine is recommended to treat Dupruyten’s contracture – the thickening and shortening of fibrous tissue in the palm of the hand, so fingers curl up. As no other treatment seems to work, iodine is worth a try. The same applies to Peyronie’s – the same thickening, but of the penis, so it twists over). Eye conditions such as contracted eyelids and sockets that become too shallow (pop eyes) as well as sticky films on the cornea clear up once iodine levels are sufficient. For excess mucous production, iodine is a mucolytic agent that breaks up mucous – and helps to expel all the microbes and toxins that are trapped in it. Iodine supplementation is also recommended for treating haemorrhoids, keloids, parotid duct (salivary) stones and sebaceous cysts. Once you supplement with iodine, for whatever other reason, it is worth noting how all these peripheral issues may clear up. Iodine is responsible for protein synthesis and is needed for healthy skin, hair and nails. Lustrous hair is noted after a few weeks on Lugol’s. Low energy and stress: Fatigue can be caused by a poor pituitary-adrenal axis recovery in response to stress. Evidently, iodine is helpful in this respect and may also clear up headaches and migraine headaches. By assisting in adrenal and thyroid function it also helps to elevate moods and energy levels.
Thyroid disorders: Iodine supplementation helps prevent goitre, autoimmune and toxic thyroid conditions, thyroid and other cancers and hypothyroidism. A toxic thyroid can be helped by taking 4 - 6 mg of iodine daily. Iodine produces thyroid hormone T4 – thyroxin and it converts to T3 is called triiodothyronine. Adequate thyroid output helps to control weight, burn fat’ regulate blood sugar and prevent and treat diabetes. Iodine keeps us slim! (Ref 5)
pH control of blood and heart matters: Modern diets and stress tend to make us acidic, causing oxidative stress. Microbial and parasitic infections tend to thrive in an acid environment as do cancer cells and tumours. Iodine can help bring the serum pH up to 7.4 so the body can maintain optimum function and it helps to regulate blood pressure and prevent abnormal cardiac rhythms. Iodine is also beneficial for raising high density cholesterol and reducing LDL levels.
For excreting radioactive iodine: from nuclear fallout and in nodules on thyroid gland. (If deficient in iodine, we absorb radioactive iodine) Potassium iodide tablets are given to protect citizens living in vulnerable areas from nuclear fallout. Children 1 – 2 mg iodine, adults: 2 - 4mg.( Ref 5)
Why do hypothyroidism and weight gain sometimes persist?
Iodine antagonists: Chlorine in water, fluoride and bromine (a food additive) are all halogens and can displace iodine because they have lower atomic numbers than iodine. We drink water that contains chlorine and use oral hygiene products that contain fluoride on a regular basis. These substances displace iodine, often at a faster rate than it is replenished from dietary sources. To make matters worse: during the 1980 bromine was added as a dough enhancer to bread. Bromine also displaces iodine. Too much bromine can cause goitres. If reserves are already low, eating this bread can create an iodine deficiency. Tests showed that subjects exposed to bromine became sleepy with decreased concentration. What did you eat for lunch?Prior to using bromine in the bread industry, iodine was used as a dough enhancer and helped to prevent rather than contribute to hypothyroidism and iodine deficiencies. (Ref 26 sub 6, 7, 8)
Excessive anti-thyroid (goitrogens) in foods are consumed by eating natural foods in good faith to prevent cancer and cure other diseases but raw, uncooked: cabbage, cassava, kale, peanuts, uncooked and whole soya bean foods, turnips and seeds of mustard and rape (canola oil?) are all undermining your iodine status.(Ref:2, 9) Analgesic and anti inflammatory agents also interact with iodine. (Ref 9, 18)
Reverse T3 blocks thyroid hormones: this is a real fly in the ointment! When threatened with starvation as caused by fasting or extreme dieting (less than 800 kilojoules a day) or in times where a possible burnout is detected, the liver bangs out a thyroid blocker: reverse T3. This happens when T4 (thyroxin – often supplied as the medication Eltroxin converts to T3 as well as reverse T3. Both can occupy the same receptors. When reverse T3 is formed in excess, no thyroid metabolism is stimulated. (Often a patient takes a thyroid supplement and symptoms persist.) Reverse T3 is a survival mechanism used to compensate for starvation, famine, pregnancy or extreme caloric restriction (severe dieting or illness and loss of appetite). Reverse T3 ties up the receptors and can only be displaced by biologically active T3 (triiodothyronine) hormone and this won’t happen if a patient only receives T4 (Eltroxin) supplementation. Upping the dose will not help either! Even if blood tests appear to be normal, if symptoms persist there is an imbalance. Levels of reverse T3 need to be checked in relation to T3.
Genetic gremlins: Thyroid resistance, also called peripheral cellular resistance, is the inability of the cell to accept and utilize circulating thyroid hormone. In most congenital cases of peripheral thyroid resistance there is an alteration in the c-erbAB gene. Mutations in this gene can lead to as much as a 97% reduction in binding of T3 to the nuclear receptor sites where transcription of beta-adrenergic receptors occurs.
Elevated cortisol and oestrogen: Thyroid resistance may also occur in the form of elevated cortisol. High, prolonged cycles of cortisol excretion due to stress directly stimulate reverse T3 production. High levels of oestrogen can also displace thyroid hormones off their receptors. When selenium is deficient, the production of T3 is inhibited and fat deposition as well as water retention creep up, due to the lack of fat burning T3. The whole metabolism slows down. Yes, stress can make you fat, tired and sluggish. A very effective way to escape from a stress loop like this is to meditate regularly. The relaxation and detachment lowers cortisol activity without drugs.
Toxins and drug reactions: Dioxins and PCB's can also cause excessive reverse T3. The chlorine that combines with organic matter from the burning of plastics, for instance, can enter the food chain and the gasses are inhaled by us. The chlorine displaces iodine throughout the body. It severely disrupts reproduction and causes infertility and severely mutated offspring. Other toxins that do this in animal studies include chlorinated paraffin’s, polychlorinated biphenyl, hexachlorobenzene, 3-methylcholanthrene, 3,3',4,4'-tetrachlorobiphenyl, 2,3,7,8-tetrachloro-p-dioxin and clofibrate. Prescription drugs that reduce T3 and increase rT3 include; dexamethasone, propylthiourcil, iopanic acid (radiographic contrast agent) Beta blockers, amiodarone, propranalol and forms of cortisone like prednisone as well as oestrogen therapy (HRT). (Ref 20).
Heavy metals and microbial infections: Low body temperature leads to poor enzyme function and is not only caused by iodine deficiencies or reverse T3. The weight gain could be due to hypo metabolism caused by poor digestion and nutrient assimilation of another kind. Especially where a lot of bloating and gas is experienced, toxicity from dental amalgam combined with a leaky gut and microbial infections may have wrecked your digestion and slowed down the metabolism. Iodine helps to excrete metal toxicity and kill gut bugs. (Ref : 28, 29)
Food reactions: gluten allergies can trigger off autoimmune reactions. Gluten molecules are similar in structure to thyroid and adrenal hormones. The immune system attacks them all. Lectins in food not suited to a blood type can also overwhelm thyroid function.
Factors that cause r T3 to dominate: Pregnancy, fasting, liver disease, renal disease, stress and cortisol.
References and recommended internet addresses:
All internet information was accessed during January and February 2008.
1 Reader’s Digest Guide to MEDICINES and Supplements. 2004 edition. Editor: Pat Kramer. P: 384, 385.
2 Thorsons Complete Guide To Vitamins and Minerals. By Leonard Mervyn. 2000 edition. Publisher: Thorsons. P: 191 – 194
P: 345, 346 Medical uses of tin.
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15 Lennon Limited 7 Fairclough Road PORT ELIZABETH 6001 ”Metinox may be used for the treatment and prevention of acne, blackheads, pimples and boils. METINOX rarely produces side-effects, but nausea, colic, myalgia, constipation and arthralgia may occur with prolonged usage.”
16 Townsend Letter Feb/March 2007 Page 80 – 85. Hypothyroidism: Optimizing Medication with Slow-release Compounded Thyroid Replacement. By Martin Milner, ND.
18 Iodine: Its Role In Health and Disease Some New Exciting Concepts by Michael B. Schachter, M.D.
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