Iodine was discovered in 1812 by a chemist and is an element on the periodic table. It is predominantly found in ocean plants, soil and ocean life. Historically, as we moved further and further away from the ocean iodine become more and more depleted in our food and soil. As a result, people started to develop goiters. So, iodine was then incorporated into table salt because everyone used salt in their diet, and it was likely an easy way to incorporate it into a typical diet.
Did you know that iodine is essential to all vertebrates to survive? We need iodine for many functions in our body.
The thyroid is considered the master gland and iodine is involved in making thyroid hormone. But every gland in our body concentrates iodine. Every cell in our body had a sodium-iodine symporter on the cell membrane and essentially this allows the cell to excrete sodium and take in iodine.
84 different tissues in our body need iodine. That’s why in childhood development iodine is especially critical. If the mother is deficient while pregnant then the child could end up with a smaller brain, lower mental capacity or lower IQ. It’s been shown that as much as 10-15 IQ points could be lost if the mom is iodine deficient.
Many iodine receptors are found in the female reproductive organs, breasts, eyes, salivary glands, cervix, ovaries and arteries. When a woman has fibrocystic breasts, ovarian cysts or uterine cysts, iodine supplementation has shown to decrease the cysts.
Iodine regulates excessive estrogen which is linked to cancer and therefore iodine protects against cancer. It also detoxifies mercury, lead, fluoride and bromide. Interestingly, bromide is found in flour and grain products.
Iodine has an affinity to naturally kill viruses. In the medical industry it is classified as a world class disinfectant. It comes from nature and it’s pure. Iodine deactivates viruses and kills bacteria but keeps them intact so that our immune system can recognize it and make antibodies.
What else iodine beneficial for?
- Reduces the size of skin tags and warts,
- Breaks down connective tissue and scars such as in dupuytren’s contracture, also known as trigger finger.
- Can help diminish keloid scars.
- Lessens depression- it is unknown why
- Shrink stones in parotid glands
- Hot flash reductions and decreases heavy menstrual cycles
- Cystic acne reduction- related to too much estrogen
There are several reasons for an iodine deficiency the main one being diet. As previously stated, as we moved further away from the coastline our food and soil became depleted of iodine. But taking birth control pills and pregnancy can also deplete iodine because both cause a spike in estrogen and too much estrogen depletes it. Radiation, smoking and alcohol also can deplete iodine. Fatigue and trouble losing weight have also been associated with low levels.
How much do we need?
An easy way to test your own iodine levels is to get some iodine at the pharmacy and use a cotton swab to dab some on the inside of your forearm or inner thigh creating about a 2-inch diameter circle. If the iodine disappears within an hour, then likely you are deficient because the skin has absorbed it all. A more definitive way to find out is to do a urine test. So how much do we need? Well, the RDA is 150 micrograms or 1000th of a milligram. But pregnant women need more so the RDA for them is 220mcg/day. Breastfeeding women need 290mcg/day. This RDA is just enough for your thyroid to not make a goiter. So, we likely need more then what is recommended.
If we consider that Japan has low rates of prostate and breast cancer and are consuming 100 times the RDA then it’s safe to assume that we can take in more iodine. Dr. Ken D Berry recommends 1-3 milligrams/ day. And if you have normal kidney function then any excess iodine will be excreted.
As we said initially, those that lived near the ocean had an advantage because their diet and soil were rich in iodine. We also know that Japan’s diet is rich in iodine, and they have a low prevalence of prostate and breast cancer, so it makes sense to source foods rich in iodine like sea kelp, sea fish.
Types of Iodine
Terry Mullins of Terragenx explains the different types available. I recommend watching his video because he explains in great detail the history, development and characteristics of each type of iodine. But for the purpose of this article, I will give a very brief explanation. Lugol’s iodine was created in 1825 and is a solution of iodine and potassium iodide to stabilize the solution. It’s not very good to drink and tastes terrible. Also, too much of it can harm you.
Nascent iodine was founded in the 1930’s. The thyroid produces nascent iodine and it’s no where to be found in nature other then our thyroid. So, if you take it and goes to thyroid, the nascent iodide is already produced by the thyroid so then the major functions of your thyroid is going to get bypassed. The thyroid is designed to take iodide out of your bloodstream, not have it be bypassed by an artificial product called nascent. So, your thyroid won’t function properly.
Infinite iodine is the first pure iodine technology because it only contains pure iodine and water. And it only requires micro-dosing at 150 mcg’s/day.
As always, we recommend talking with your healthcare practitioner first to evaluate if you think you need an iodine supplement and do your research so you can ask the right questions and get the best advice possible for you.
As a retired registered massage therapist, I’ve always been interested in health. I grew up loving sports so that carried into my adult life in my chosen career paths and in my personal life. I now stay active with weight training, hiking and biking. My professional life has always been in health care. This has inspired me to seek out and adopt a life of natural health and wellness.