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Monday, March 19, 2012

20: So You Think You Need Iodine – Part II

In my last article, I left off talking about factors in our lives today that have increased our need of iodine. Most prominent is our exposure to and ingestion of three halogens other than iodine: bromine, fluorine, and chlorine. These other three are all toxic to the human body, and they displace what little iodine we do manage to take in from our diets.

Bromine: Dr. Michael Brownstein, a well-known name in iodine research today in the U.S., now routinely tests every new patient for iodine deficiency and bromine toxicity. In 4000 tests, the results flag a staggering 96.5%.

Want to avoid bromine? Avoid citrus-flavoured soft drinks, pesticides—especially those on Californian strawberries, and enriched flour. Bromine is banned in bakery products in Canada and the U.K. now, but not in the U.S. Some asthma inhalers contain bromine, which is pretty scary when you consider that bromine also aggravates asthma.

Fire-retardants containing bromine are used in children’s clothing (how sad!), upholstered furniture, carpet and underlay, bedding, and vehicles. Fortunately, since 2005 there have been stricter guidelines regarding fire-retardants.
The plastics used in electronics of all kinds contain bromine. Some companies are now pledging to move away from using this toxic substance, at least in some of their products. Ask questions!

Bromine is also found in toys, cosmetics, swimming pool and hot tub chemicals, and hair permanents and colouring.

Fluorine: Exposure to fluorine is something else to avoid in the interest of thyroid health and well-being in general. I now make sure the toothpaste I buy is fluoride-free and I forego fluoride treatments when I have my teeth cleaned.

I’ve got rid of all non-stick cookware. Teflon is made from a fluorine compound. “In two to five minutes on a conventional stovetop, cookware coated with Teflon and other non-stick surfaces can exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases linked to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pet bird deaths and an unknown number of human illnesses each year.” ( Do you remember hearing stories of how they used to keep canaries in the mines as a kind of toxic-gas early-warning? If a canary died, the men would run for their lives. Well, there have been multitudes of pet birds die from haemorrhaged lungs in the heartland of our homes. Heed the warning!

The full-scale fluoridation of municipal water supplies, not to mention chlorination, is scandalous. If you have no alternative but to drink town water, at least spend $20 on a Brita filter. Stop and think about beverages that you reconstitute with tap water: frozen juices, powdered juices (don’t even go there!), infant formula, tea and coffee. Iced tea mixes are already really high in fluoride; mixing them with tap water gives you a double whammy. Many soda pops, ready-to-drink juices, wines, commercial soups, and baby cereals come high in this toxic, iodine-banishing substance.

Chlorine: Three major sources of chlorine exposure are municipal water supplies, cleaning products (avoid anything with the syllable “chlor” in the ingredients), and swimming pools. Inhalation of the fumes from pools is bad enough; the amount absorbed directly through the skin is worse. Competitive swimmers can take on toxic amounts of chlorine in just one training session. My naturopath tells me that he commonly finds thyroid dysfunction in people who have swum a lot in chlorinated pools. For a bit of insight into how bad chlorine really is, check out

These three toxic halogens will take up receptor sites in the body intended for iodine, and they alone are reason enough to consider a hefty iodine supplement. Over time, sufficient iodine will help to bump these three foreign elements from our bodies and allow both subtle and profound healing.

Q. I am moved to follow up on your suggestion that an iodine supplement can be helpful ... and I am wondering what product you actually use, or would recommend. I surfed about a bit on the web and see that there are some choices, different types of iodine, and the drops you mention would not be normally taken internally. Can you advise further? Thank you for your blog.

A. Lugol’s Solution, which I use and therefore recommend, has been used safely internally and with great efficacy for over 150 years. In the 1930s the first synthetic thyroxin medication hit the market and started the gradual marginalization of the use of iodine for thyroid issues. Most doctors do not even consider prescribing iodine when they diagnose thyroid problems, but the fact remains: iodine is absolutely vital for thyroid health and, as researchers are seeing now, is actually needed in every cell of the body.


  1. Because there's so much misinformation out there about the Teflon® brand, I'm not surprised that you are concerned. I'm a representative of DuPont though, and hope you'll let me share some information with you and your readers, so that everyone can make truly informed decisions.

    Because birds have extremely sensitive respiratory systems, bird owners must take precautions to protect them. Cooking fumes, smoke and odors that have little or no effect on people can seriously sicken and even kill birds, often quite quickly. Cooking fumes from any type of unattended or overheated cookware, not just non-stick, can damage a bird's lungs with alarming speed. This is why bird owners should take steps to protect their pets, such as keeping their birds out of the kitchen, never leaving cookware unattended, never allowing pots and pans to overheat, and making sure that their kitchen is properly ventilated at all times.

    It should be noted that butter, fats, and cooking oils will begin to smoke at approximately 400°F (204°C), producing fumes that can irritate eyes, nose, and throat and possibly cause respiratory distress. DuPont non-stick coatings will not begin to deteriorate in appearance or performance until the temperature of the cookware reaches about 500°F

    Regulatory agencies, consumer groups and health associations all have taken a close look at the Teflon® brand. This article highlights what they found -- the bottom line is that you can use Teflon® non-stick without worry.

  2. Hi - unfortunately, Brita filters don't remove fluoride so I've been searching for options. Reverse osmosis filters do remove it, but because the body absorbs it through the skin in the bath or shower water, a whole-house filter would be needed, which I understand can be expensive. There are non-fluoridated bottled waters, but I can't use them to shower with! Calgary municipal water is not fluoridated, so I could move but that's even more expensive than the reverse osmosis filter! I've emailed the mayor & city officials but do not expect the situation to change anytime soon. I think I just need to bite the bullet & pay for the RO filter in the interest of good health!