Iodine History

1819 marked the beginning of nutritional medicine, many years before vitamins or nutrients were discovered, when a Swiss physician, J. F. Coindet, found that large doses of the recently discovered element iodine, would cure “toxic goiter” or Grave’s disease.  The Chinese had been successfully using seaweed for this purpose for centuries, but this is the first time a specific element was applied to a specific disease to cure it, such as Grave’s Disease and other thyroid problems.  Find a Grave’s Disease Cure Here.

Through the 1800’s and early 1900’s iodine was used extensively to cure many illnesses, not just of the thyroid gland, but to cure cancer, goiter, infections, skin problems, lung conditions, and autoimmune conditions.  In fact, a little couplet was given to help medical students remember a rule:

“If ye don’t know where, what, and why
Prescribe ye then the K and I”

“K and I” is potassium (the letter “K” on the periodic table of the elements) and iodide salt.

However, in the early 1900’s several other forces were at work to change the face of health care.  Whereas, before this time surgery was only done in the most extreme cases, with the discovery of anesthesia it would be accepted by many more people.  Moreover, there were new compounds being formed which could be patented and make lots of money.  Thus, surgery and drugs were marketed heavily for the treatment of the thyroid and other conditions for which iodine had previously been used, and iodine fell out of favor.  During this time iodine supplementation and treatment was vilified to the point of near-extinction.

Persistent prejudice against supplements

This “iodophobia” continues to this day.  If you ask your doctor about iodine he/she is likely to say that you should just use iodized salt, and as long as you don’t have a goiter there is no need to supplement.  Some will even tell you it’s dangerous to take more than one milligram.  Ironically, though, if a doctor diagnoses a goiter they will recommend drugs, surgery or radiation to treat it, instead of iodine.  I had one case of a woman with a simple goiter and thyroid hormone imbalance for over ten years.  She went to five different doctors, including a thyroid specialist at a major university medical school, and not one of them recommended the cure – iodine supplementation.  Instead, they all recommended treatment with drugs, surgery, and radiation.  Since there is no market for iodine, there will be no one to pay for advertising, though iodine continues to be used by a few doctors with great results, including goiter, Grave’s Diseases and to cure cancer.  Read about Treating Grave’s Disease with Iodine by Following This Link.

The iodine deficiency epidemic

Thyroid problems are rampant in the United States, most of which have some root in a lack of iodineGrave’s disease is a common thyroid illness.  Women have more thyroid disease because they have more need for iodine.  The breasts and ovaries require iodine to function properly, and when there isn’t enough they get cysts and tenderness.  I have had many women tell me about going to their OB-GYN doctor for an annual check-up complaining of lumpy and tender breasts.  They were told it was normal.  This is because iodine deficiency is so common that a majority of women in the United States are deficient. Read the Report By Clicking Here.

Iodine deficiency is a risk factor for cancer.  Women in Japan average over ten milligrams of iodine per day because they eat seafood, especially seaweed, and have half the risk of breast cancer as women in the United States.  It is generally known that “Fibrocystic Breast Disease” is a risk factor for breast cancerIodine is needed to help dispose of unwanted cells that cause cancer.

Diseases associated with a lack of iodine, or that may be treated with iodine include:

  • Fibrocystic breast disease
  • Breast cancer
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue syndrome
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Uterine fibroid tumors
  • Thyroid problems (almost all of them)
  • Nodular vasculitis
  • Pyoderma
  • Fungal infections
  • Bronchial asthma
  • COPD
  • Cretinism
  • Fluoride, bromide and chloride toxicity

The World Health Organization recognizes iodine deficiency as the greatest cause of preventable mental retardation in the world.  Pregnant women who are deficient in iodine will have children that have IQ scores 10 points lower.

Consider supplementation

Iodized salt may give you a very tiny amount of iodine, just sufficient to prevent goiter, but not enough for normal functioning of the body or to prevent other hyperthyroid or hypothyroid problems, or even help cure cancer.

Since the large majority of people are deficient in iodine, and since we are exposed to large amounts of bromide, fluoride, and chloride, I believe supplementation is a good idea for everyone.  I have done tests in my office and found almost everyone deficient to start so I decided not to do the test; instead I just tell everyone to take a supplement.  The test could be done after a few months if there is a reason to suspect continued deficiency.

How does one get enough iodine?  It seems the optimal dose is in the order of 10mg per day.  This 50 times more than you will find in the usual supplements.  A good way to get enough without spending a whole lot of money is to take about two drops per day of Lugol’s strong solution.  This may be hard to find since 2007 when the DEA made it illegal to sell more than one ounce over the counter because it was being used to make illicit drugs.  You can still get it with a prescription.  A good non-prescription form that can be ordered on the internet is called IODORAL, which comes in 12.5 mg, a good daily dose.

If a person has a health problem associated with a lack of iodine, such as fibrocystic breasts, I usually recommend four capsules of IODORAL per day (or eight drops of Lugol’s solution) for three months, then one capsule (or 2 drops of Lugol’s) daily thereafter.  If the problem persists I do testing.

For excellent health,

Scott Saunders, MD
Barton Publishing, Inc.