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Thursday, May 19, 2011

1. Anxiety and the Iodine Intervention

Anxiety has been an acquaintance of mine for longer than I care to remember. Always high-strung, intense, and introverted, I found motherhood a shock to the system. By the time our fourth child was six months old, I had crashed and burned in a nervous breakdown. My local GP prescribed Ativan with the rather insensitive comment, “Come back when you run out. You’re probably going to be on this the rest of your life. You’re just that kind of personality.”

Thanks, buddy.

Not only did his summary dismissal discourage me greatly, condemning me to my neurosis, the drug actually made me feel even more uneasy than I already did. Happily my pastor referred me to a Christian doctor in Edmonton who treated me with the presumption that I was going to get well. It was a long, slow road, but get well I did, improving greatly over the first year. He had me on a different anti-anxiety medication that really helped my symptoms, and an antidepressant as well. Now, please understand: I hate drugs; I don’t even use Tylenol once in an average year, but I had to do what I had to do to survive.

Fast-forward eighteen years to the fall of 2009. Clonzapam is always in my bedside drawer. Sometimes I’ve gone maybe three months without needing any; then life goes crazy for a while; I get over-stimulated and can’t sleep; then I get progressively more strung out. A dose of this anti-anxiety medication will break the vicious cycle; sleep and restoration follow. Sometimes it takes several doses over a couple of days, but it works and I’ve been grateful. What used to be a one-month supply (back when I was very ill) would now last a year and a half or more. I wish that I didn’t need it at all, but I’ve been glad for the relief.

Now for the past six months my new hormone doctor had been telling me that my thyroid is low and that she wants to put me on medication. I’ve been putting her off, stalling, wondering what to do, not wanting to go this route. My anxiety is getting worse and worse. I’m in the middle of a recording project, enjoying it immensely, embracing the challenge, and life is good. But sitting at the computer by the hour, my body is constantly in fight-or-flight mode. My heart races, and I can feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins. I know this state of stress is terrible for my health, but I can’t change it. I’m using my medication way more than usual, yet I feel like I need more.

Sitting there one day audio-editing on my screen, wondering if my thyroid issues are contributing to this distress, I sense the Lord prodding me with a thought: Go to Google and check symptoms of iodine deficiency. (Yes, God knows about Google and sometimes uses it.) I suppose the mental connection came from the knowledge, from back in school years, that iodine is crucial to thyroid health, something that the medical profession seems to overlook today. So the “prod from God” could be broken down into this sequence: Anxiety. Thyroid. Iodine. Deficiency?

Well, Google told me, through various sites, that anxiety was indeed one of many symptoms of lack of this vital trace mineral. Much reading later, I ordered some Lugol’s Solution (invented in 1829) from my local pharmacy and days later began on a stout dose. Sit down before you read this if you have any medical background: I started at 25 mg per day, 160 times the Recommended Daily Allowance.

It took six weeks for the full benefit of the iodine to be felt by my nervous system; now it was the first week of January 2010. In the preceding six months I had consumed 60 doses of Clonzepam. I returned to my doctor that week to refill my prescription; two days later I used a single dose. I have not had one since—have had no need or desire, and that is now over fifteen months ago. I can’t adequately express how grateful I am to be free of this medication and enjoying the benefits of a greatly rejuvenated nervous system.

There are many more benefits to this wonderful element, some of which I’ll address in future articles. There are a few cautions as well, which we’ll look at too. Meanwhile, I invite your questions and comments.


  1. Great testimonial on finding your iodine answer. Nutrient deficiencies can really mess up our thyroid health; a friend of mine experienced similar anxiety prior to her hypothyroidism diagnoisis. Sometimes medication is necessary to help get things back in balance -since moving to the East Coast I've learned to appreciate the merits of adding iodine-rich sea vegetables (like kelp and dulce) to my own diet plus recommending them to my clients.
    Karen T, RHN

  2. So pleased Nancy to read your new blog/column -
    Here's To Your Health -I look forward to receiving each instalment and reading fresh insights helpful for many of our health issues.
    Catrina W.

  3. I too have been helped immensely by dealing
    with a sluggish thyroid! My mom's side of the family has several cases of thyroid cancer, under-active thyroid, etc. Back in May 2008, I was an absolute stressed-out wreck... a year that included a family suicide, the arrest of co-worker in regards to a high-profile incident,
    me ending a confusing snail-paced relationship I had hoped would result in marriage, and
    working for a malicious and cruel and touch-y boss who made my heart pound with was
    all just too much. I couldn't handle anything anymore... car trouble, 1 hour plane trips,
    appointments near the city, a blizzard... everything caused me to go into panic mode.
    Happened to visit a wonderful naturopath who figured out in a few minutes that I was
    totally fried from stress and anxiety. He put me on 60 (mg?) of dessicated thyroid and Ribes Nigrum (which resets adrenal glands) and in a week, I felt more relaxed and sane than I'd felt
    in all my adult life (I was 31 at the time) I wasn't on dessicated thyroid for the planning of my wedding, and was a complete head-case. I was on it however for the purchase of our first home, as well as a cycle of IVF earlier this spring, and was very much sane and sensible and unstressed. I'm now pregnant, and doing just fine. Dessicated thyroid is a cheap and easy way to keep me functional. I am thankful to God
    for my meeting that naturopath 3 years ago. I, too, am not one to drug myself, but this simple
    and naturally-sourced medication keeps me from wanting to be prescribed industrial-strength sedatives! Your article has me wondering if I need to also incorporate iodine-rich foods in my diet.
    Thyroid has SO much to do with the function of our entire bodies! Even stubborn weight can often be blamed on thyroid issues!

  4. Well written. Thank you so much for sharing this. I've been using iodine for about 3 months now. It gives me a lot more mental clarity, focus and energy. This blog will benefit many. I'm going to share it like crazy all over FaceBook!

  5. I love it! I've used iodine for 3 months and feel much more energetic & focused. Thanks for sharing your experience. I also felt heavenly promptings to investigate iodine. :)

  6. Great story. Iodine is maligned foolishly. I also figured out the iodine problem without help from the medical establishment, or rather, with discouragement from my doctors. I was raised atheist, and I have that voice, too. Putting the pieces together and wondering. Thank God for Google, right???

  7. For people struggling with Iodine supplementation there are two Facebook sites that have been immensely helpful to many, many people.
    1) Iodine Workshop This one is run by Lynne Farrow, author of "The Iodine Crisis"
    2) Iodine Stepanie Buist keeps things on track here.

  8. I don't know if this blog is still monitored, but I happened across it and I'm grateful for the insights. I have a thyroid nodule, about the size of a small almond in the shell. A number of years ago I had been clued into the idea that I was probably extremely iodine deficient. So I purchased Iodoral Iodine tablets. I started working up the dosage and within 2 weeks I was feeling amazing. Full of energy and clear headed! It was then that I noticed, quite by chance, the nodule on my thyroid. I don't know if it had been there before the tablets, considering I was probably very deficient... Or if it developed over the weeks that I was taking the tablets in pretty high doses.
    Flash forward to today. I still have this nodule and I've purchased some nascent iodine liquid. I feel good when I take it...but I'm worried that I may causing the nodule to other words, are high doses of iodine counter indicated in the presence of a thyroid nodule?
    Thank you for any insights. ☺

    1. From the reading I've done, I believe that nodules and almost all other thyroid problems are caused by iodine deficiency. I suggest that you buy the following two books: Iodine, Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It & Overcoming Thyroid Disorders. Both are by Dr. David Brownstein. Go online to find his site, and buy it there. Read the Iodine one first. Very readable, both of them, and very interesting. I'd be interested to know what doses of Iodoral you were on. I don't know much about the nascent, but Lugol's Solution, from which Iodoral is made, has a 150-year track record of medical successes. Depending on which country you live in, you can buy Lugol's Solution 5%, the original 1829 formula, and it's about 1/40th the price of Iodoral. Good luck!

  9. Low thyroid all my life. Finally prescribed levothyroxine after menopause. Changed after twenty years because of side effects of levo to WP thyroid, bovine gland. Recently, manufacturer ran out. Sent Nature Throid, made by the same has nine additives. Very sick after taking NT. Got nascent thyroid in the mail about the same time as the nausea and wooziness. Started that and stopped thyroid supplementation. That was a week ago. I am 74 and on NO thyroid replacement, quit cold turkey, and NO PHARMACEUTICAL DRUGS (which I hate and won't take anyway)!!! There are several nascent iodine liquid supplements out there, I chose Detoxadine, and as of today no more fatigue, no more nausea (which I had been having for years off and on in a lesser way than the Nature Throid day), no more feeling like I'm on the verge of tears, no more falling asleep at the computer, no more negative thoughts about how I can never get all my work done and no more depression!! That's why I came to this site. I wanted to see if anyone else had their depression go away due to iodine supplementation. I count this revelation as one of the greatest happenings in my life because it affects everything in my life. I am in a state of immense gratitude and giddiness! And with this thyroid, I'm only taking three drops a day, that's 1950 mcgs equivalent to 1.95 mgs. Many thanks to my computer for helping me find this and boooo! to the clueless doctors I was counting on to help me all these years. Booooo!!!

  10. Hello Nancy - Over the past 20 years I have been suffering from countless health issues some of which include goitre (currently the size of a golf ball), chronic hives (1.5 years) , headaches, migraines, heavy periods, cronic cystitis (2 years), fatigue, foggy was and worst of all incredible emotional turmoil and anxiety. Recently my anxiety reached a stage where I wasn’t able to sleep at all and have been unable to work and live a normal existence. Out of desperation I recently begged my doctor for something to help calm me down so I could get some sleep and some kind of normality. He prescribed Valium which has helped in high doses.

    After losing a brother to an overdose of antidepressants back in 1997 I became anti pharmaceutical drugs hence the majority of help I sought over the years was from alternative practitioners as I lost trust in the mainstream medical system. I tried everything from acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, kinesiology, hypnotherapy and psychotherapy to name a few. Although at times I felt some improvement to this day I haven’t yet got to the bottom of what’s causing my many illnesses.
    My brother who is very intrigued with anything to do with natural healing had been studying the benefits of iodine and recently suggested that I could well be iodine deficient. This inspired me to start my own research so I too reached out to Google and found your article. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am to find this. Since my discovery I now have a bottle of Lugols iodine and have started a daily dose of 12.5 mgs and will increase to 25 over the coming days. I tried the iodine path test which faded completely within 4 hours.
    Fingers crossed I will strtbronsee some results from my newly found remedy. I will keep you posted on my progress. I’m only in day 2 so it’s too early to detect any real changes. Thank you for your article, it was inspiring and gave me the insight and confidence I needed to take the iodine path.

    Louise di Fede

  11. Louise, I hope you receive this reply. I'm sorry I did not see this much sooner, but as I am not currently writing on this blog (five years since my last post), I rarely think to go on an look for comments. I hope you are doing better. Please feel free to email me at