Iodine (I)

I – Iodine is found in igneous rocks at 0.5 ppm; in shale at 2.3 ppm; sandstone at 1.7 ppm; limestone at 1.2 ppm; fresh water at 0.002 ppm; sea water at 0.06 ppm; soil at 5 ppm (strongly bound in humus- large areas of Earth known to be devoid of 1); marine plants at 30 to 1,500 ppm; land plants at 0.42 ppm; marine animals at 1.0 to 150 ppm; land animals at 0.43 ppm (concentration in the thyroid gland and hair).

Known to be essential to red and brown algae and all vertebrates.

Iodine in combination with the amino acid tyrosine is manufactured into the thyroid hormone thyroxin. Iodine intake is usually low to begin with, but since Americans have begun restricting their salt intake at the advice of their “allopathic physicians”, goiter and hypothyroidism have become epidemic.

The average American takes in 170-250 mcg/day of I; humans lose considerable amounts of I in their sweat (up to 146mcg/ day with only moderate exercise).

Metallic iodine is not toxic up to 2,000 mcg/day.

Goiter develops in Japanese living along the seacoast despite high daily iodine consumption. Japanese subjects were fed Chinese cabbage, turnips, buckwheat, and noodles. 2.0 mcg I, soybean or seaweed – goiter developed in all groups except the seaweed group.

Some 11 million Americans have either a hypothyrold (low, underactive) or a hyperthyrold (overactive) condition. Thyroid hormones control and regulate digestion, heart rate, body temperature, sweat gland activity, nervous and reproductive system, general metabolism and body weight.

SYMPTOMS of HYPOTHYROIDISM (Hashimoto’s Disease): Fatigue, Cold intolerance, Muscle aches & pains, Heavy or more frequent periods, Low sex drive, Brittle nails, Weight gain, Hair loss, Muscle cramps, Depression, Constipation, Elevated blood cholesterol, Puffy face, Dry skin and hair, Inability to concentrate, Poor memory, and Goiter.

SYMPTOMS of HYPERTHYROIDISM (Grave’s Disease): Insomnia, Heat Intolerance, Excessive sweating, Lighter/less frequent periods, Hand Tremors, Rapid pulse, Exophthalmos (“bug-eyes”), Weight loss, Increased appetite, Muscle weakness, Frequent bowel movements, Irritability, Nervousness, and Goiter.

Many foods and food additives are known as “goitrogens” because they interfere with the thyroid’s metabolism and produce goiter when consumed in inordinate amounts (i.e., nitrates, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, etc.).

Iodine (iodide) is an essential trace mineral nutrient required to produce thyroid hormones. The element iodine occurs in food and in the body as the ionized or chemical form called iodide. The thyroid gland combines iodide with the amino acid, tyrosine, to produce thyroxin and triiodothyronine. These hormones control the body’s idling speed (Basal Metabolic Rate) and support normal growth and development.

Symptoms of iodine deficiency include sluggishness (hypothyroidism), weight gain and, in extreme cases, an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter). During pregnancy, iodine deficiency can cause severe mental retardation (cretinism) in children. Before salt was iodized in the 1920s, goiters were common in areas of the United States, especially the South, with iodine-deficient soils. Though rare, goiter sometimes occurs in women and children in certain areas of California, Texas and the South, and in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Canada. Goiter is still common in parts of Africa. Certain substances called goitrogens in vegetables like cassava and rutabagas block iodine uptake and may contribute to the occurrence of goiter when excessive amounts of these foods are consumed.

Sources of iodide include seaweed (kelp & dulse), shellfish like shrimp, clams and oysters, marine fish and iodized salt. Iodine occurs in food in other chemical forms besides iodide. Sodium iodate, a commercial dough oxidizer, occurs in some commercially baked goods. Milk and milk products may contain traces of free iodine, used as a disinfectant for milk cows and in milk production (a Betadine-type solution is applied to the teats and udder of the cows during the milking process as an antiseptic).

The typical diet supplies more than twice the U.S. Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of 150 mcg. Consuming 2 mg per day is generally considered safe for healthy adults. Breast milk contains iodine to provide for the infant’s requirements, and lactating women require extra iodide in their diets. An additional 50 mcg of iodine per day is recommended. Iodine as supersaturated potassium iodide (SSKI) has been used clinically in the treatment of asthma, slow lymphatic drainage, sebaceous cysts, fibrocystic breast disease and to promote desirable balance of estrogens. Iodine, as a water purifier, possesses antiviral and antibacterial activity (5 drops of Tincture of Iodine per quart of water). Excessive amounts of iodide can cause iodine-induced goiter. Other side effects include rash and allergies.

NOTE: Sources of Iodine that are derived from kelp or dulse (sea lettuce) are much less apt to cause any of the nasty side effects you can get from using Tincture of Iodine (antiseptic) or in the form of Potassium Iodide (expectorant) or Sodium Iodide (table salt) which are not water-soluble.

Iodized Salt

In the United States, sodium iodide has been added to table salt (sodium chloride) to create “iodized salt” since 1924. It provides 76 mcg of iodine per gram of salt. With this enrichment, goiter virtually disappeared in America. Small amounts of additives stabilize iodine in iodized salt and prevent caking: They include glucose, sodium thiocyanate, sodium aluminum silicate or sodium bicarbonate. Sea salt is not a good source of iodine. Although seawater is rich in iodide, iodide is lost during purification. Note that sea salt and iodized salt contributes the same amount of sodium as standard table salt.

Hetzel, Basil S., “The Control of Iodine Deficiency,” American Journal of Public Health, 83:4 (April 1993), pp. 494-95.

Iodine is an essential constituent of the thyroid hormones thyroxine [3,5,3’5’tetraiodothyronine (T4)] and 3,5,3′-triiodothyronine (T3). The major role of iodine in nutrition arises from the important part played by the thyroid hormones in the growth and development of humans and animals. Iodine nutritional status can be assessed by means of goiter surveys, the determination of urinary iodine excretion and the measurement of levels of thyroid hormones and of the pituitary thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).

Iodine Deficiency in Children

Recent studies on schoolchildren living in iodine-deficient areas in a number of countries indicate impaired school performance and IQs as compared with matched groups from non-iodine-deficient areas. These studies are difficult to design because of the problem of establishing appropriate control groups. There are many possible causes both of impaired school performance and impaired performance in IQ tests and these may confound the interpretation of any differences between such areas that might be observed. The iodine-deficient area is likely to be more remote, suffer more social deprivation, and have poorer schools, a lower socioeconomic status and poorer general nutrition. All such factors have to be taken into account, apart from the problem of adapting tests developed in Western countries for use in developing countries. However, several studies indicate that iodine deficiency can impair school performance even when the effect of other factors, such as social deprivation and other nutritional factors, has been taken into account.

Iodine deficiency in adults

Iodine administration in the form of iodized salt, bread or oil has been demonstrated to be effective in the prevention of goiter in adults. It may also reduce existing goiter in adults; this is particularly true of iodized oil injections. The obvious nature of this effect leads to ready acceptance of the measure by people living in iodine-deficient communities. A rise in circulating T4 can be readily demonstrated in adults following iodization.

The major determinant of brain and pituitary T3 is serum T4 and not, in contrast to liver, kidney and muscle, T3. Low levels of brain T3 have been demonstrated in the iodine-deficient rat in association with reduced levels of serum T4, and these have been restored to normal following correction of iodine deficiency. These findings provide an explanation of suboptimal brain function in subjects with endemic goiter and lowered serum T4 levels, and of its improvement following correction of iodine deficiency. However, it must also be emphasized that relationships between T4 and T3 are influenced by the fact that selenium is a component of at least one of the enzymes mediating this conversion. Thus a fall in selenium status reduces T3 synthesis and may increase the adverse consequences of iodine deficiency.Iodine – Intake, absorption and bioavailability

The iodine contents of foods and of total diets differ appreciably and are influenced by geochemical, soil and cultural conditions which modify the iodine uptake of staple crops and foods of animal origin.

Cooking reduces the iodine content of food. The data show that frying reduces the iodine content by 20%, grilling by 23% and boiling by as much as 58%.

Iodine is readily absorbed, and excess intake is controlled by renal excretion. Absorption is usually complete but may be delayed in protein-energy malnutrition. Thyroid hormones in animal foods and other organic iodine compounds are not completely absorbed-there may be a loss of up to 50%. The usual recommended level for the population mean intake’ of iodine is 100-150 ug/day. This level is adequate to maintain the normal thyroid function that is essential for normal growth and development. In the presence of goitrogens in the diet, the intake should be increased to 200-300 ug/day.

Goitrogens are found in a number of staple foods used in developing countries, including cassava, maize, bamboo shoots, sweet potatoes, lima beans and millets. They are derived from cyanogenic glycosides, which are capable of liberating large quantities of cyanide by hydrolysis. Not only is the cyanide itself toxic, but the metabolite in the body is predominantly thiocyanate, which is a goitrogen. Except in cassava, these glycosides are located in the inedible portions of the plants or, if in the edible portion, are present only in small quantities so that they do not cause a major problem. Cassava, on the other hand, is cultivated extensively in developing countries and represents an essential source of calories for more than 200 million people.

Recent studies indicate that the essential element selenium is a component of the enzyme responsible for converting thyroxine to T3. It remains to be determined whether the systemic utilization of iodine is impaired in subjects deficient in selenium.

In the presence of long-standing iodine deficiency, an increase in intake, even to normal levels, may be associated with hyperthyroidism. This cohort phenomenon, reflecting an autonomous and sustained metabolic response of the thyroid to previous iodine deficiency, does not develop if community prophylaxis with iodine was introduced at an early stage of deficiency.

Iodine deficiency and reproductive failure

A case-control study was done in Central India to study iodine status in women with unexplained reproductive wastage and normal fertile controls. The study group consisted of women with two or more unexplained abortions, two or more unexplained stillbirths, or two or more unexplained neonatal losses. Iodine nutritional status was estimated by urinary iodine excretion. Some 91% of the study group had varying degrees of iodine deficiency, compared with 76% of controls (p < 0.001). Women with reproductive insufficiency were more likely to have goiter compared with controls (37.9% vs 16. 1%). These findings support other research suggesting that iodine deficiency can cause reproductive failure.

COMMENT: Of the numerous causes of infertility and reproductive failure, iodine deficiency is usually overlooked. The addition of iodine to table salt has largely eradicated iodine deficiency in the United States. However, some individuals deliberately consume a low-salt diet for health reasons. These people may be at risk for developing subtle iron deficiency.

Chhabra S, Hora A. Reproductive insufficiency in women with iodine deficiency. J Obstet Gynaecol 1996; 16:242-243.

Iodine Summary

Iodine is a trace element that is essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormones in vertebrates, although iodoproteins are present in invertebrates. Several radioactive isotopes of iodine are available but 125 1 and “‘I have been the most important in medical and biological research. Iodine deficiency is still the major cause of hypothyroidism in the world, while hyperthyroidism and some forms of hypothyroidism are primarily due to autoimmune reactions.

The thyroid gland contains more than 80% of the total body iodine and has the unique capability of synthesizing T4 and T3 in vertebrates. Iodide is actively transported into the thyroid cell and oxidized with H202 and thyroid peroxidase for incorporation into tyrosyl residues in thyroglobulin. The peroxidase also oxidatively catalyzes the coupling of peptide-linked iodotyrosines to iodothyronines. Thyroglobulin is stored as colloid in the lumen of thyroid follicles and is resorbed and proteolytically hydrolyzed to T3 and T4. The hormones are secreted into the plasma for transport to the peripheral tissues, where 80% of the peripheral T3 is formed from T4 deiodination. It appears that thyroxine is a prohormone for T3, which has four to five times more activity than T4. Thyroid hormone synthesis and secretion is controlled by an interacting thyroid-pituitary-hypothalamus axis.

Does everyone need iodine supplementation?

Iodine supplementations should be prescribed only if indicated by the results of iodine testing. Iodine testing kits may be ordered from Dr. Flechas’s office (828-684-3233) by individuals or by health care professionals. If ordered by an individual, test results will be returned to the individual; if ordered by a health care provider, test results will be returned to the health care provider and to the individual. A cost of $75 per kit covers the cost of the testing kit, testing services, and return postage (charges for additional postage will apply if mailed to location outside the U.S.)

Why is iodine deficiency common in the United States?

We first need to note that the body produces no iodine, and there is no organ other than the thyroid that can store large quantities of iodine. In some areas of the US, including mountain regions, the Mississippi River Valley, the Ohio River Valley, and the Great Lakes regions, the soil has always had a very low iodine content. But even in other areas of once iodine-rich soil, over farming has frequently depleted this iodine content. Hence, we no longer get adequate iodine via the plants we consume. To compensate for this, iodine was added to salt, bread, and milk. Today iodine is no longer added to bread or to milk, and the amount of iodine added to salt has steadily declined over the years. All of these factors contribute to the current prevalence of iodine deficiency in the United States.

How does iodine deficiency manifest itself?

Research work has shown that iodine deficiency in the thyroid presents as a thyroid goiter (enlargement of the thyroid). In those areas of the world where iodine deficiency is very high, such as in Switzerland and in certain areas of Asia and Africa, there are also higher incidents of thyroid cancer. Iodine is also concentrated by breast tissue, and a lack of iodine in the breasts manifests as fibrocystic breast disease (painful breasts with nodules and cysts and often more symptomatic prior to menstrual periods). 93% of American women have fibrocystic breast disease and the longer this disease exists, the higher the potential risk for development of breast cancer. 20% of all iodine in the human body is stored in the skin, specifically in the sweat glands. Lack of iodine in the sweat glands manifests as dry skin with a decreased ability to sweat.

Iodine can also be concentrated in the stomach tissue, and the lack of iodine in the stomach manifests as achlorhydria (lack of digestive acid production). Iodine is used by the stomach cells, also known as parietal cells, to concentrate chloride which is necessary to produce hydrochloric acid (digestive acid). With the prolonged presence of achlorhydria, there is a much higher incidence of stomach cancer.

Iodine is concentrated in the lacrymal glands of the eye, and a lack of iodine can cause dry eyes.

Iodine can also be concentrated in the parotid and submandibular glands of the mouth, and iodine deficiency here can result in dry mouth. Iodine can be concentrated in the ovaries, and Russian studies done some years ago showed a relationship between iodine deficiency and the presence of cysts in the ovaries. The greater the iodine deficiency, the more ovarian cysts a woman produces. In its extreme form, this condition is known as polycystic ovarian disease.

Is there enough Iodine in our salt?

When people go shopping for salt they will notice there is iodized salt verses regular salt. This is also true for sea salt that is plain sea salt verses sea salt with iodine. There is more iodine in iodized table salt that there is in plain sea salt, which contains very little iodine to start with. Quite frequently we see articles in the local press showing that there is a high amount of iodine in salt and we need to reduce the total amount of salt because of the potential damage from iodine. However, during the last National Nutritional Survey called the NHANES III from 1988 – 1994, the study revealed that 15% of the U. S. adult female population suffered from iodine insufficiency where this was defined as a urine iodine level 60 meq per liter. Another misconception that is out on the market is that high consumption of iodized salt helps prevent iodine deficiency. The fact is that iodized salt contains 74meg of iodine per gram of salt. The purpose of iodization of salt was to prevent goiter and cretinism and was never meant for optimal iodine requirements by the human body. An example of this would be the ingestion of iodine in order to control fibrocystic breast disease that is a level of five milligrams of iodine per day. In this particular case one would need to consume 68 grams of salt. In Japan, the Japanese population has an intake of around 13.8 milligrams of iodine per day. Among the population of the Earth, the Japanese have the lowest prevalence and incidence of female reproductive organ cancer in their tissues.

Can I use seaweed purchased from the grocery store to supplement my body with iodine?

Seaweed sold in the United States has a tremendous variation in the amount of iodine content. In Japan, the average Japanese eats around 13.8 mg of iodine per day with the vast majority of that iodine coming from seaweed that has been specifically grown and cultured to maximize iodine trapping in the seaweed. To my knowledge, this particular type of seaweed is not being sold in the United States at the present time.

What about iodine and aging?

As most of us know, hypertension (high blood pressure) often becomes an issue as we age. Because of this, many are being told that they need to decrease the total amount of salt in their diet. However, we must realize that most people over age 60 are becoming depleted of iodine due to the lack of iodine in the diet and that this particular group of individuals is also the group with the highest occurrence of thyroid nodules and goiters. Also of interest is that 25% of the people in this age category will become senile as a result of low thyroid (hypothyroidism). Iodine supplementation may alleviate these iodine-related maladies, but iodine testing and thyroid studies such as a thyroid ultrasound and thyroid lab tests should be conducted prior to beginning iodine supplementation therapy.

Can Iodine be used while a woman is pregnant?

In Japan, the average Japanese woman is eating 13.8 mg of iodine per day while the average American woman consumes 100 times less iodine per day (approximately 0.138 mg per day). For iodine supplementation, I have been prescribing Iodoral, a product made by the Optimox Corporation. Iodoral contains a 12.5 mg combination of iodine/iodide per tablet. Iodine is very crucial in the first three years of life from the development of the fetus inside the womb until two years after birth. In the development of a child’s IQ, I feel that it would be very advantageous for the mother to supplement her diet during pregnancy and, if she is nursing the child, for the first two years after pregnancy.

What happens to thyroid hormone production in the presence of iodine supplementation?

Iodine supplementations should be prescribed only when iodine testing indicates iodine deficiency. Iodine testing kits can be ordered from my office (828 684 3233) by individuals or by medical practitioners. Traditional medical literature indicates that patients who have thyroid nodules or thyroid goiter may have the potential to develop hyperthyroidism when supplementing with iodine. Hence, before commencing iodine supplementation, it would be advantageous for a person to have their primary care doctor order a thyroid ultrasound to rule out the possibility of pre-existing goiter or thyroid nodules. The primary care doctor should also order thyroid lab work (to be used as a baseline) before prescribing iodine therapy and this lab work should be repeated and followed at regular intervals during the patient’s iodine therapy. For iodine therapy patients not also on thyroid hormone replacement therapy, adjustments to the iodine therapy should be made if signs of hyperthyroidism should occur. Should signs of hyperthyroidism occur in patients who are taking thyroid hormone replacement therapy as well as taking iodine supplementation, the physician should first recommend an adjustment in the thyroid hormone therapy rather than in the iodine supplementation. This adjustment in therapy is recommended because iodine is required not only by the thyroid but is required for the proper functioning of many other tissues. The presence of pre-existing thyroid nodules or goiter does not preclude the patient from iodine supplementation therapy. In fact, in the extensive research with iodine therapy done in my office, I have seen many case of pre-existing thyroid nodules and goiter shrink in the presence of iodine therapy.

Iodine Research

Effect of daily ingestion of a tablet containing 5mg Iodine and 7.5mg Iodide as the potassium salt, for a period of 3 months, on the results of thyroid function tests and thyroid volume by ultrasonometry in ten euthyroid Caucasian Women.
Guy. E. Abraham M.D., Jorge D. Flechas M.D., and John C. Hakala R.Ph., The Original Internist 9: 6-20, 2002

Iodine sufficiency of the whole human body
Guy. E. Abraham M.D., Jorge D. Flechas M.D. and John C. Hakala R.Ph., The Original Internist 9: 30-41, 2002.

Effect of daily ingestion of Iodoral
Guy. E. Abraham M.D., Jorge D. Flechas M.D. and John C. Hakala R.Ph.

The Wolff-Chaikoff Effect: Crying Wolf?
Guy E. Abraham, M.D.

The safe and effective implementation of orthoiodosupplementation in medical practice.
Guy E. Abraham, M.D., The Original Internist, Vol. 11, No. 1, March 2004. Pages 17-36.

with some information from Robert Rowen, M.D.

You have been told that many breast and prostate cancers are caused by one major nutritional deficiency.

What you may not know is how this same deficiency can also cause fatigue, chronic illness (such as Graves? disease), and autoimmune diseases. And it might even cause your indigestion!

The great news is that there’s a simple test to determine if you?re deficient – which you probably are – and an easy way to correct the deficiency.

How can I be so sure you?re likely to have this deficiency? Because the nutrient – iodine – isn’t found in many of our food sources. Here’s why:

Forty years ago, the food industry regularly added iodine to store-bought bread. One slice of bread once contained about 150 mcg iodine, the whole day’s RDA. Your average diet in 1960 contained about one mg of iodine per day, with bakery products providing 726 mcg. This amount was enough to significantly reduce your thyroid gland’s ability to absorb radioactive iodine. It also was enough to lower excess thyroid hormone release, preventing hyperthyroidism. And it would provide more availability of iodine for your breasts or prostate.

Then it was withdrawn for fear of adverse effects from too much iodine (Iodophobia). It is very difficult to get too much iodine from food. But to make matters worse, the food industry decided to replace the iodine with bromine in many instances.

Bromine belongs to the halogen group of elements, also containing fluorine, chlorine, and iodine. All these elements have similar electrochemical properties, with bromine and iodine the most similar because of their larger sizes. To the thyroid, bromine looks like iodine and tightly binds to thyroid iodine receptors. However, bromine doesn’t help the thyroid the way iodine does.

And, what’s worse, Bromine & Chlorine also inhibit iodine’s activity. Once the food industry stopped enriching your bread with iodine and replaced it with an element that doesn’t work, and knocks out any remaining iodine, your body suffered a double whammy. Americans, across the board, are becoming severely deficient in iodine (about 90% or more).

Also, our soils are quite deficient in iodine and we Americans do not eat much seaweed and kelp which are good sources from the sea.

This deficiency is causing some terrible health problems. Researcher Guy Abraham, MD, my mentor on the subject, has amassed a ton of literature to prove the disease connection to iodine deficiency. Here are just a few:

Fatigue – An underactive thyroid typically causes fatigue. Iodine supplementation can quickly activate the thyroid and relieve fatigue. Dr Abraham reports iodine deficiency may harm pituitary-adrenal function in rodents. Your adrenal is essential for energy and stamina.

Thyroid disease – When there’s not enough iodine to bind with cell membranes, it allows enzymes called peroxidases (which can damage those membranes) to wreak havoc and cause autoimmune
disease, such as thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s or Grave’s). In fact, Dr. Abraham has several cases of both thyroiditis and hyperthyroidism (not just hypothyroidism) that have corrected after sufficient iodine/iodide supplementation. For over a century, high doses of iodine have helped both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Many doctors fear giving too much iodine will cause Hashimoto’s to worsen. But this usually isn’t the case.

While iodine will help the thyroid increase the production of hormone where necessary, it also inhibits over-release from the gland by giving thyroid enzymes what they want. These iodine-seeking enzymes that attack thyroid membranes can be normalized when they get the iodine they need. This old information is terrific news for the many people (usually women) who have been told to have their thyroid removed to end hyperthyroidism. These draconian measures ensure the patient will have to rely on prescriptive thyroid hormone for the rest of their life. But iodine can completely solve the problem.

One 1860 French physician mistakenly gave a tincture of iodine when he meant to give digitalis to a woman with Grave’s Disease. She recovered within three weeks. When he discovered his mistake, he switched to digitalis, and her symptoms came back. He switched back to the iodine and achieved a remission.

Poor digestion ?Many organs need iodine, but can’t absorb it until the blood measurements reach very high levels. The stomach and salivary glands are two such organs, but they can’t uptake iodine in any significant amounts until the blood level reaches 100 times what the thyroid needs. Most people do not produce enough stomach acid as they grow older. I firmly believe low gastric acidity can be caused by iodine deficiency, as iodine promotes stomach acidity!

Breast, ovarian, and skin cysts – In addition to fixing almost all cases of breast cysts, iodine also has a remarkable healing effect on ovarian cysts, and even on skin cysts. (For the latter, I recommend rubbing in iodine right over the cyst.)

Dementia and glaucoma – Iodine is found in large amounts in the brain (including the parts of the brain associated with Parkinson’s disease) and the ciliary body of the eye, a possible factor in glaucoma.

Other illnesses – Iodine reduces the dangerous activity of lipoprotein(a). When elevated, this protein can lead to excessive blood clotting and vascular disease. Iodine has been used successfully in headaches, keloid formation, parotid duct stones, and Dupytren’s and Peyronie’s contractures. Doses up to six times the RDA have been used safely for months to combat the excessive mucous in chronic lung diseases.

Now that I?ve shown you how important iodine is to your health, it’s time for you to find out if you?re deficient. Actually, you already know that you probably are deficient, but there are times when you might need to know for sure.

Some of you may remember a simple patch test I recommended several years ago. With this test you would simply swab a quarter-size patch of iodine on your skin and watch to see how fast it would disappear. Unfortunately, I can’t continue to recommend this test. While it won’t harm you, it’s simply not accurate enough. There is a test now that’s far more accurate and is fairly inexpensive.

The test was developed by Dr. Abraham and is called a loading test. With this procedure, the doctor administers four iodine tablets. If your body has all the iodine it needs, you would expect to urinate out most of the ingested amount over the next 24 hours. If not, your body would hold on to a significant amount of the iodine and you would know that you?re deficient.

But I?m not sure you need the test. David Brownstein, MD, author of the wonderful new book Iodine, also was performing loading tests on his patients. However, Dr. Brownstein and I stopped most of the tests after nearly every test we performed returned positive for deficiency. Now I just start iodine supplementation in any condition where iodine is a known factor.

Doctors do recommend a test under certain circumstances. If you?re taking an iodine supplement for several months and experience no clinical results, you might have a problem with absorption. That’s when a test should be performed. It commonly takes three months of supplementation to get sufficient levels.

Another illness that might require a test is cancer. We know iodine deficiency is a factor in breast and prostate cancer, so there’s no need to test. Other cancers probably warrant taking the test even though deficiency is likely. It would be good for the doctor to have a baseline to monitor your condition.

Just how likely is deficiency in cancer? In an in-house study, 60 cancer patients (various types) were given the iodine-loading test and then measured for urinary excretion. All 60 patients were found to be seriously deficient in body stores of iodine and some had great excesses of bromine. The best case excreted only 50 percent of the load and the worst excreted only 20 percent (that means they were retaining a very high 80 percent). Folks, these are some serious numbers. One hundred percent of these cancer sufferers were deficient in iodine! I assure you the problem is population wide.

Your doctor can administer the test very easily, or you can contact Dr. Flechas (828-684-3233), who offers the iodine-loading test for only $75. His iodine website is

If you?re deficient and think iodized salt is your answer, I can assure you it’s not. First, the amount of iodine (as potassium iodide) added is relatively small. You will need a minimum of 100 grams of iodized salt daily (20 tsp) to get adequate levels. Even saltaholics can’t eat this much salt.

Another physician has a case of prostate cancer in apparent remission with the addition of IODIZYME-HP? and other supplements. George Flechas, MD reports that many of his diabetes cases need lowered insulin or drugs when taking ‘sufficient? iodine. I have seen the same!

Some people may see alteration in their thyroid blood tests or require adjustment in their thyroid medication and iodine dose. Medical supervision is suggested.

If you want to get your iodine from food sources, brown and red seaweeds (kombu, fucus, etc.) contain the most iodine. I see no downside to getting abundant iodine from seaweed, since it’s a whole food. Eat as much as you like. You can find it at your local health food store or Asian market. Another great source is Mendocino Sea Vegetables (707-895-2996 or

Abraham, Guy. E., MD, Jorge D. Flechas, MD, and John C. Hakala R.Ph. ?Effect of daily ingestion of a tablet containing 5 mg Iodine and 7.5 mg Iodide as the potassium salt, for a period of 3 months, on the results of thyroid function tests and thyroid volume by ultrasonometry in ten euthyroid Caucasian Women,? The Original Internist, 9: 6-20, 2002.

Abraham, Guy. E., MD, Jorge D. Flechas, MD, and John C. Hakala R.Ph. ?Iodine sufficiency of the whole human body,? The Original Internist, 9: 30-41, 2002.

Abraham, Guy. E., MD, Jorge D. Flechas, MD, and John C. Hakala R.Ph. ?Effect of daily ingestion of Iodoral,? The Original Internist, 2002.

Abraham, Guy E., MD. ?The safe and effective implementation of orthoiodosupplementation in medical practice,? The Original Internist, vol. 11, no. 1, March 2004. Pages 17-36.


Of all the elements known so far to be essential for health, IODINE is the most misunderstood. Yet, it is by far the safest of all the trace elements known to be essential for human health. It is the only trace element that can be ingested safely in amounts up to 100,000 times the RDI. It is estimated by myself and other clinicians that probably 90% or more of the population of the United States is grossly deficient in Iodine. In fact, it must be noted that Iodine is the single most deficient nutrient in the world — with approximately 70% of the world’s population deficient.

The collective experience of many medical clinicians over 3 generations has shown that Iodine therapy in the range of 12.5mg to 50mg daily doses to be safe and effective in treating signs and symptoms of Iodine deficiency.

The current recommended daily intake (RDI) is only 150 micrograms (.15 mg). This is hardly enough Iodine for the Thyroid gland let alone the rest of the body. The United States RDI and World Health Organization recommendations were NOT based on WHOLE-BODY sufficiency for Iodine, but on the maximum amounts of Iodine required to prevent Goiter and Cretinism. The normal daily requirements of the body for Iodine have NEVER been determined. We still do NOT know the Iodine requirements for WHOLE-BODY sufficiency. In Japan, the Japanese people usually consume an average daily intake of 13.8 mg of Iodine, the only population in the world that gets this amount of Iodine daily and are the healthiest people in the world based on cancer statistics.

Since Iodine is not very soluble in water, the best preparation of an aqueous solution of Iodine is LUGOL solution because it allows the administration of a relatively large amount of Iodine in small volumes of water. The collective experience of myself, as a former registered pharmacist, and a large number of medical clinicians over the last 100 years has resulted in the recommended daily amount of 2 drops to 6 drops of LUGOL solution per day, containing 12.5 mg to 37.5 mg of Iodine for supplementation. This amount of Iodine is NOT just for the Thyroid Gland but is the amount found needed for WHOLE BODY sufficiency since every cell in the human body needs Iodine for optimal health.

Based on a simple Iodine ?Loading Test? developed by Guy Abraham, M.D. we can now come pretty close to determining how much Iodine the ENTIRE body needs each day for OPTIMAL health. This amount is 12.5 mg to 37.5 mg per day, or 2 to 6 drops of Lugol solution per day or 1 to 3 tablets of IODIZYME-HP?.

Based on numerous studies, optimum supplementation of Iodine is also highly recommended for those patients who are receiving Thyroid Hormone therapy. It is also interesting to note that the mammary glands are the tissues most often found in the body to ?compete? effectively with the Thyroid Gland for Iodine; hence 50% or more women in the U. S. have been diagnosed with Fibrocystic Breast Disease. Iodine supplementation will cure this problem in 6 to 8 weeks. One in six or so women in the U.S. will diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

And, it was shown in JAMA, 1976 (Journal of the American Medical Association) that if women who have Iodine deficiencies are prescribed T4 thyroid medication (Synthroid & Levoxyl), this T4 medication further increases their risk for Breast Cancer. This same association has also been shown when women have been prescribed NatureThroid?Thyroid.

This can all be summarized by the fact that the Medical Establishment collectively has been afflicted with a condition called – Medical Iodophobia? ?- a condition that results in an altered state of consciousness, split personalities, impaired rational thinking? all the result, probably, from a deficiency of IODINE!!