When you search for the reason for disease, it is either rooted in toxin accumulation, nutrient deficiency, poor mindset, or genetic mutations. Usually, it is a combination of all three and they team up to make your life miserable with annoying or unbearable symptoms.
Taking the time to understand the cause of your pain and learning how to remedy it can be a daunting task. Where do you start? Which tests do you get? How do you know if you are rectifying the problem?
Aside from choosing a clean lifestyle (air, water, food, personal care products) and ridding yourself of accumulated toxins, one should consider nutrition and some of the most common deficiencies afflicting the world today, and learn about the physical signs and how to remedy them. Rectifying even one nutrient level from poor to good can make a substantial improvement in your health.
For these reasons, you may want to put iodine at the top of your list of mineral deficiencies to investigate, especially if you are anxious or depressed, having trouble conceiving, losing hair, have become lethargic, and can’t seem to lose weight.
The importance of iodine
Iodine is a critical mineral required in adequate amounts in order to maintain good health. It is mostly known for its role with thyroid hormones, but it also is important in regulating blood pressure, moods, blood sugar, and cardiac rhythms. It also helps prevent and alleviate cancer (especially in breasts, ovaries, uterus, prostate, and thyroid gland), hypothyroidism (underactive), * hyperthyroidism (overactive) and autoimmune inflammation of the thyroid (Hashimoto’s Disease).
* Those with hyperthyroidism and autoimmune inflammation can be very sensitive to iodine. Please consult a qualified health professional before undertaking any iodine supplementing regimen.
Iodine is also very antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-parasitic, which makes it an excellent preventative to disease originating from these sources, as well as a remedy to overcome any that are directly related to them.
Iodine is also essential to normal growth and development. A deficiency in utero and during growth can result in severely stunted physical and mental development and the same issues can arise from an untreated congenital deficiency of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism). This can manifest itself through conditions such as delayed bone growth and puberty, infertility, cognitive difficulties, and goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland).
While the thyroid gland does contain the body’s highest concentration of iodine, the salivary glands, brain, cerebrospinal fluid, gastric mucosea, breasts, ovaries and a part of the eye also concentrate iodine. If one becomes deficient in iodine, any one of these areas that have high concentrations can fail to work appropriately, which opens the door for disease in these areas to take root.
Of all the elements known so far to be essential for human health, iodine is the most misunderstood and the most feared. However, iodine is the safest of all the essential trace elements, being the only one that can be administered safely for long periods of time to large numbers of patients in daily amounts as high as 100,000 times the RDA.
It’s important to note that this safety record only applies to inorganic, nonradioactive forms of iodine. Some organic iodine containing drugs are very toxic and the side effects of them have been blamed on inorganic iodine, even though studies have clearly shown that it is the whole molecule that is toxic, not the iodine released from it.
Physical signs of deficiency
So how do you know if you are deficient in inorganic iodine? Well, according to Dr. Brownstein, revered expert and author of the book Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, 94.7% of 500 patients he tested were deficient in inorganic iodine! This is certainly a sufficient sign that we need to look more closely into our current iodine needs.
However, if that is not enough to make you investigate iodine further, perhaps you have dealt with some of the following conditions which implicate iodine deficiency as a major factor to their expression:
- Thyroid disorders (hypothyroid and hyperthyroid)
- Breast disease
- Excess mucous production
- Fatigue (often chronic)
- Lowered metabolism (difficulty losing weight)
- Cognitive impairments
- Anxiety, depression, or irritability
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Headaches and migraines
- Ovarian cysts
- Parotid duct stones
- Cancers (breast, ovarian, thyroid, prostate)
- Peyronie’s disease
- Sebaceous cysts
If you resonate with any of these signs, there is a good chance you are iodine deficient. However, how can you tell the severity of the deficiency?
A simple at home test to check iodine levels
The beauty of the body is that it often gives you great feedback on what is going on internally, if you know what signs to look for or what simple tests you can do. The following is a great way to use that advantage:
Iodine Deficiency Home Test
- Put a drop of inorganic iodine tincture on the inside of your wrist (Lugol’s 5% solution is highly recommended) first thing in the morning and spread it around to make it approximately the size of a large postage stamp. You can wick away any excess. Keep in mind iodine can stain so keep away from your clothes or any counters.
- Mark down the time you put it on your wrist. This is very important.
Now, the degree to which your body is deficient in iodine will be determined by how quickly the iodine patch on your wrist is absorbed. Your body will quickly absorb the iodine if there is a deficiency (much like a dry sponge would suck up water), and the following timelines will give you a better idea of the level of your deficiency (if any).
- Patch begins to lighten after 24 hours – ADEQUATE LEVELS
- Patch disappears, or almost disappears in 18-24 hours – MILD DEFICIENCY
- Patch disappears, or almost disappears in 12-18 hours – MODERATE DEFICIENCY
- Patch disappears, or almost disappears in 6-12 hours – SEVERE DEFICIENCY
- Patch disappears, or almost disappears in under 6 hours – VERY SEVERE DEFICIENCY
If you find that you are deficient in iodine, then you may need to consider replacing that iodine with iodine rich foods and supplements (more on that below).
* NOTE: If you are currently on any medications to replace iodine, please speak to your medical professional prior to any increase in your iodine uptake. In some cases (like those with hyperthyroid), an iodine sensitivity may create unpleasant side effects when taking natural forms of iodine.
What to do if you’re iodine deficient
If you find you are iodine deficient you may want to consider the following lifestyle, food, and supplemental tips below. Keep in mind, as you increase your iodine uptake you will want to repeat the iodine test above every 2 to 4 weeks (the more severe your deficiency, the longer you can wait) to get an idea of your current levels. For more severe cases, it can take 3-6 months (or more) with supplemental iodine to normalize your iodine levels.
If you are looking at normalizing your iodine levels to improve your thyroid health, be sure to read 6 Toxins That Destroy Thyroid Health first, so you eliminate any continuous damage that can negate your results. This is as important as increasing your iodine uptake.
For best results, transition to a more healthy and holistic lifestyle. Your iodine levels have not been depleted just due to inadequate uptake through food, but also through various toxins that have displaced them out of your body. Adopting a holistic lifestyle is very important.
Following that, focusing on foods that are rich in iodine and also deliver other synergistic nutrients to help with absorption, is vitally important. Foods that you want to consider include:
- Seaweed (Kelp, nori, kombu, etc)
- Cranberries (or pure cranberry juice)
- Navy beans
- Fish (Sardines, salmon, cod, tuna)
- Turkey breast
- Baked potato
- Salt (Pink Himalayan salt is best – avoid iodized salt)
Choosing organic is important as well as sourcing seafood that is wild caught from less contaminated waters.
If you choose to go the pure iodine supplemental route, Dr. Brownstein generally recommends Lugol’s Solution (5%), at between 25 – 50 mg a day for a “loading” dose, and 12.5 mg as a maintenance dose (one drop of Lugol’s solution yields 6.25 mg of inorganic iodine and potassium iodide). This is significantly higher than the RDA, so for more information on dosage and rationale, visit this article.
As noted at Dr. Sircus.com:
“…I happened to talk to Dr. Brownstein. We were in total agreement about dosages. Our consensus extended to the proposition that the sicker the patient the more iodine they would need with most average patients needing 25 mg (4 drops) to 50 mg (8 drops) with 12 mg (2 drops) being a good maintenance dose though of course this varies with the quality of ones diet and with ones location. Living near the beach has its health advantages but in no case should one depend on iodized salt for their needs.”
Dr. Sircus noted that Dr. Abrahams had a similar view on dosage:
“Dr. Abrahams recommends taking 50 mg of Iodine/Iodide as Lugol’s solution (8 drops) daily for 3 months as a loading dose. Lugol’s solution is available online at varying concentrations. Then his recommendation is that dose should be gradually reduced to the 12.5 mg (2 drops) maintenance dosage under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care professional. Dr Abrahams feels that 14 to 15 mg. of iodine/iodide daily is the upper maximum of safety for long term use.”
As noted earlier, doing the iodine wrist test every 2-4 weeks will give you feedback (along with changes in your body) on your current levels of iodine. Maintenance dose can ultimately go into effect once you have reached the description above of adequate levels (iodine patch doesn’t disappear after 24 hours).
As with any self diagnosis and protocol, please consult a qualified health practitioner knowledgeable in nutrition and healing prior to beginning any remediation program.