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Thursday, March 8, 2012

19: So You Think You Need Iodine — Part I

I have received quite a number of responses to my iodine articles. I try to answer fully, but it’s difficult to address everything that might be pertinent in each individual case. Following is the first of two comprehensive articles combining some of these questions and answers.

Q: What was the reason you started supplementing with iodine? In what form do you take iodine? Thank you for sharing what you have learned.

A: If you read the first blog article, Anxiety and the Iodine Intervention, it will answer your first question. Also read articles 2, 3, & 7 for more on iodine in general. I use Lugol’s Solution, which is water-based and hence safe for oral use. It’s important that one not use an alcohol-based iodine internally. If you think you would benefit from iodine supplementation, phone a pharmacy and ask them to bring in Lugol’s for you, and ask them to find out the exact percentage of potassium iodide and iodine. There are different strengths of “Lugol’s” now (as well as other different kinds of iodine), so we need to know the concentration up front. If you find out the specifics on the strength of a solution, I can help you calculate how much to take to achieve a particular dosage.

Q: When we went to the health food store and asked for Lugol’s, they did not stock it as she said that Naka vegetable iodine drops were much superior. As a result, that is what I bought. According to the bottle, each 20 drops contains 1 mg of potassium iodide and the recommended dosage for adults is 10 drops per day. I don’t know if this helps to convert or not. I have looked on the internet and can’t seem to figure it out.

A: In order to get the same dosage that I am taking (which is equivalent to what the average Japanese gets in his diet daily), you would have to take 250 drops of this product per day! I’m guessing it’s a 30 ml bottle, so it won’t even last 3 days!

Their recommended dose, ten drops daily, would give you 500 mcg, which is a little more than triple what the RDA is for iodine, so to some people that would seem generous. This product is, you say, potassium iodide, which is the form your thyroid wants. However, ovaries, breasts, prostate, and other organs utilize molecular iodine. Lugol’s contains both.

Lugol’s is 125 times the strength of the product you bought. You will pay $11 or $12 for a 100 ml bottle. At 12.5 mg daily, that will last you for a thousand days at just over a penny a day.

While you look for some Lugol’s, I would suggest that you get started with 20 drops daily (1 mg) of what you have. Do that for a couple of weeks and let me know if you feel any different in any way.

Q: Iodine is really important—and salt has it in it.

A: Yes, most table salt is iodized, but there are several problems with assuming you can get enough this way. First problem: Salt hasn’t got nearly enough iodine for our needs (based on current research). A little history: A hundred years ago, the region surrounding the Great Lakes was called “the goitre belt.” Soils in this area are so deficient in iodine that this condition of enlarged thyroid was wide-spread. In the 1920s however, the U.S. government began requiring that iodine be added to salt. It was determined that 150 mcg per day would prevent goitre, and so based on how much salt the average person then consumed daily, they calculated how much iodine to add. This plan almost entirely wiped out iodine deficiency in the U.S. “Deficiency” here might be defined as levels insufficient to prevent goitre. However—there are many functions of iodine within the body beyond the needs of the thyroid.

Second: Even if the amount of iodine added to salt had been truly sufficient 90 years ago, for decades now doctors have been warning people to cut back on salt. Every time someone cuts down their salt intake, they cut into that already-minimal intake of iodine.

Third: Current researchers say and Wikipedia echoes: “Iodide-treated table salt slowly loses its iodine content through the process of oxidation and iodine evaporation.”

Fourth: The kind of salt that is iodized (refined) is not good for us. For more on that subject—and the benefits of unrefined salt, read Blog #6: Salt of the Earth.

Fifth: There are complicating factors that have increased our need for iodine in recent decades. We’ll pick up there next time.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent article! I had some thoughts as I read it:

    Edmonton is also in a known goiter area - I live in Edmonton & almost everyone I talk to seems to have a thyroid issue. I had surgery for a nodule several years ago.

    I started on a very low dose of iodine last summer, less than 0.5 mg/day, & ramped it up very slowly so as not to overwhelm my thyroid. I doubled the dose no oftener than once a month & probably much less because I wanted to use up what I had before buying more. Because 2% Lugols's has 2.5 mg/drop, which I thought would be too big a jump for me, I also bought Naka drops - it tastes terrible! I ended up back on kelp tabs although they're not recommended at doses over than 1 mg. I'm now using Lugol's & I have to say, it's a whole lot easier to take - way less drops to get the right dose & no taste at all in OJ or other juice.

    My GP, when asked if I could get a urine test to measure my iodine levels, said "there's iodine in salt so you're getting enough." Sigh.