In order to stay healthy, we all need enough iodine in our bodies. You might be surprised to hear how many common ailments today are based in iodine deficiency. Learn why iodine is so vital, the numerous symptoms of iodine deficiency and, most importantly, what to do about it!
These last years have reminded us that the old adage about an ounce of prevention being better than a pound of cure is really true! And now, when most of us thought the troubles of the past were just that… in the past… we hear murmurings about new and varied “threats” to our wellness.
While we’re focusing on what to do to maintain our health, one major point is often overlooked:
A majority of the world’s population has iodine deficiency.
Iodine is a substance that the human body does not produce itself, yet we all need iodine! We need iodine to maintain a strong immune system to fight off infections, and to avoid many other ailments.
ATTENTION! Do not take alcohol-based liquid iodine internally if the bottle states: FOR EXTERNAL USE ONLY! Iodine for external use is usually made with isopropyl alcohol that can cause blindness or kill you if taken internally! Only take iodine internally if it is made specifically for internal use! (see below for details)
What is Iodine and What Happens To Humans Without It?
Iodine is a trace element that is essential for thyroid function. The thyroid gland requires iodine so it can produce the important T3 and T4 thyroid hormones that regulate growth, metabolism, immunity and cognitive function.
Iodine is present in natural environments all over the world. It is found in varying degrees in the soil, in plants, in rocks and foods, and in the oceans. In areas where iodine is lacking, whole populations suffer from iodine deficiency. This deficiency can cause both mental and physical developmental issues, as well as other health problems.
We all depend on iodine for proper growth and metabolism. Iodine also has powerful antiseptic, antiviral and antibacterial properties and has long been used during surgery to prevent infection. Iodine is used worldwide for treating immediate wounds such as cuts and scrapes.
But without sufficient iodine, we also open ourselves up to systemic illnesses; some annoying and uncomfortable, some chronic, and some deadly.
Iodine Deficiency: Symptoms to Look For
There are so many ways that iodine deficiency affects the health. If you have insufficient iodine you might experience a few or more of these symptoms:
- difficulty in fighting infections
- weight gain and difficulty in losing weight
- low energy levels, depression, anxiety
- breathing and lung problems
- constipation and bowel issues
- fatigue and excessive sleep
- low body temperature and intolerance to cold
- thinning eyebrows, especially at the outer edges
- sexual dysfunction
- dry skin, brittle and weak nails
- hair loss and little or no hair on arms and legs
And here is just a short list of some conditions that can result from prolonged iodine deficiency:
- Fibrocystic Breast Disease, Breast Cancer, other reproductive organ cancers
- Prostate Cancer
- Thyroid Goiter and Thyroid Cancer
- Autoimmune Disease, especially those caused by heavy metal poisoning
- Infectious Diseases
- Mental Deficiencies
- Heart Diseases
- Fingernail/Toenail Fungus
- Gastric Problems
- Psoriasis, Eczema, Acne and other skin problems
Iodine Health Benefits
Just to make things really clear, let’s look at iodine from the angle of the health benefits. Here is a list of the major ways that iodine benefits health when you are getting the right amount of iodine as part of your daily intake of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients:
1. Antibacterial, Antiviral, Antibiotic, Antimicrobial and Antifungal
Iodine has long been used as an effective topical antibacterial and antibiotic. It has been ubiquitous in the infirmaries of every large historical war front, and is regularly used in modern surgery to disinfect specific areas of the patient’s body as the surgeon moves through his protocol.
There is no question that iodine is also anti-viral, antimicrobial and antiseptic. Aside from its use externally as mentioned above, it’s important to know how iodine works for us internally to boost immunity.
As all of the blood in our bodies moves throughout the body, it passes through the thyroid gland. If there is sufficient iodine stored in the thyroid, blood cells that are weakened due to infection are annihilated as they meet the iodine. During these past 3 years, iodine has been used successfully to mitigate SARS-Cov2 and Cov-19 viruses. And that, my friends, is just what we want when there are so many “infections” going around these days!
Iodine is also incredible at destroying chronic or stubborn foot and nail fungus that won’t go away.
Excess estrogen is one of the main causes of breast and other cancers of the female organs and also pre-cancerous fibrocystic disease. Iodine is anti-estrogenic, which is important, because there are so many estrogenic compounds in our environments today that cause hormone and endocrine disruption. I’m referring to those found in environmental waste, plastics and pesticides – all of which are difficult to avoid in every day life.
With its anti-estrogenic qualities, iodine actively seeks out and destroys weak and diseased cells before they can replicate and cause cancer. Iodine also works to actively eliminate cancerous cells and tumors (apoptosis). Iodine has been successful in preventing other cancers, such as prostate, thyroid, ovarian, cervical, uterine and pancreatic cancers, among others.
Historically, it has been shown that in areas where iodine is environmentally deficient, the rate of women having breast cancer is increased. Today, however, due to widespread toxins in our environment and depletion of iodine in soil, plants and food, iodine deficiency is more widespread across the world. We see evidence of this by increasing breast cancer, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer rates.
3. Detox For Heavy Metals and Halogen Disruptors
Halogens are a group of chemical elements containing: iodine, bromine, fluorine and chlorine. In modern times, chlorine, fluorine (in the form of fluoride) and bromine (in the form of bromide) are ubiquitous in our environments. Whether added to water (as fluoride or chlorine) as a disinfectant, or added in processed foods and medications (fluoride, bromide) these elements are found almost everywhere.
When we are deficient in iodine, these other elements “edge out” iodine, taking up iodine receptor space in our glands, and blocking the proper functioning of iodine. The result is a build up of excess bromine, chlorine and fluorine in our bodies that is harmful to our health. So, we need a sufficient amount of iodine intake to exclude excess bromine, fluorine and chlorine.
This is also the case regarding heavy metals such as mercury, lead, barium, arsenic, nickel, cadmium and uranium that are present in our environments. Overexposure to these elements creates toxicity in the body. Increasing our iodine intake is one way to flush out these toxins.
4. Effective For Treating Lung Ailments
Iodine is excellent for clearing up lung congestion, respiratory allergies, treating asthma symptoms in children and adults and resolving coughs. In severe cases, as with lung cancer, iodine can be used via nebulization (under care of a doctor).
5. Weight Loss and Balancing Metabolism
Many people find it difficult to lose weight and have a hard time digesting carbohydrates. The fact that obesity is at an all time high around the world is due almost entirely to disrupted metabolic function. It will come at no surprise to you that metabolic function is disturbed by the ubiquitous chemicals in our food, soil and environment. Here again, iodine is blocked by these chemicals from performing its necessary functions in our bodies.
Bringing up our iodine consumption through supplementation will balance the thyroid, remove the chemicals that throw our metabolism out of balance and allow for easier weight loss.
6. Improves Mental Health; Relieves Anxiety and Depression
Our bodies rely on the thyroid to produce the T3 and T4 hormones that regulate brain activity and mental health. Without T3 and T4 hormones properly activating neurotransmitters that regulate brain function and mood (such as serotonin, dopamine, GABA, etc.) we may experience depression, anxiety, brain fog and lack of ability to focus. The worst case scenario is that prolonged iodine deficiency could result in dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.
Iodine is crucial to our mental functioning and brain power! So it’s important to get enough iodine to allow for proper and continual hormone development for brain health.
7. Improves Sleep
With proper iodine levels in the body, our ability to get good sleep at night is improved. Plus we can gain relief from chronic issues such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.
8. Heart Healthy
Iodine is key to healthy heart function. Proper iodine levels promote heart rate regulation, improve blood quality (such as thinning sluggish blood, thereby preventing blood clots) and regulate heart muscle activity and decreasing risk of heart attack.
9. Alleviates Skin Problems
As mentioned above, iodine can aid the body in detoxing heavy metals that cause skin drying and skin ailments. Iodine helps to regain proper skin moisture levels and regenerates the skin. Additionally, iodine can heal chronic skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema, via both internal and topical use.
10. Prevents Hair Loss and Encourages Hair Regrowth
Iodine deficiency is largely responsible for hair loss! Taking iodine as a supplement and even applying it topically can actually encourage hair regrowth. Iodine is necessary for healthy hair follicle growth and regeneration of stunted or weak hair follicles.
Additionally, hair loss can be caused due to fungus or bacterial infections on the scalp. Due to its antifungal properties, de-colorized or “white” iodine can be applied directly to the scalp and many people report new hair growth from topical use.
(I have not tried this myself, but there are testimonials online from many sources).
Meanwhile, taking iodine internally will certainly help to prevent hair loss, greying and dry hair.
How To Get Enough Iodine
The Food We Eat
We can get a fair amount of our daily required iodine through diet, but due to over-processed foods, chemicals in farming and lack of purely natural, affordable wholesome food in most supermarkets, we don’t usually get enough iodine through diet alone. Even if you aim for all organic meats, dairy and produce, you can’t reasonably eat enough iodine to counteract the environmental toxins we face. However, dietary iodine is important, so here is a list of foods highest in iodine:
- meats and organ meats
- sea fish such as tuna and cod
- shell fish such as shrimp, oysters and mussels
- dark green veggies such as spinach and kale
- dairy products
- beans, such as limas and black eyed peas
- various seaweeds, such as kelp, wakame and nori
- natural mineral rich salt such as sea salt, Himalayan salt
Regarding Iodized Table Salt: Now, about iodized salt. It’s been known for so long that iodine is needed for health that “someone” decided it was a good idea to add it to table salt. The problem is that the procedures used to get that iodine into your salt don’t just involve adding natural iodine to salt.
Rather, they most often involve using synthetically produced iodine and require the use of nasty chemicals that block iodine absorption in the process. Not to mention that most doctors regularly advise their patients to reduce or eliminate their salt intake… so it’s like one step forward and two steps back… not a viable health solution!
If you want to get more iodine intake via your regular salt use, unless you eat all of your meals at home it is nearly impossible to avoid iodized table salt. But for health purposes, it’s so much better to use natural sea salt or Himalayan mineral salt when cooking at home (links below), both of which are natural and contain natural iodine. (Do read labels to make sure – sometimes even Himalayan salt is processed with bromide – ugh!)
The fact that so many people are deficient in iodine today shows us that it is difficult to get enough regular iodine intake simply through diet. This is why seemingly “healthy” people can suddenly succumb to various infections and diseases – because they are actually iodine deficient – seriously so – and they don’t even know it!
Supplementation With Iodine
Because most people are deficient in iodine these days, it is important to take iodine internally as a supplement. If you are unsure, and you frequent doctors’ offices, you might want to get your thyroid checked. Be aware though, that if you show any sign of iodine deficiency, most doctors will suggest that you take a synthetic form of iodine or a thyroid hormone as “thyroid medication” but that will not be as effective, can cause multiple other health issues down the line, and is difficult to stop, once started down that path.
If you have a cancer diagnosis or other serious illness diagnosis, high doses of iodine will probably be required. In this case, we’d suggest that you consult a naturopath who will understand your desire to take natural remedies for your ills and help you with your iodine intake.
For those who are suffering from some of the symptoms of iodine deficiency listed above, you can try taking iodine as a supplement. As with most natural remedies, more isn’t always better, so it is good to take a minimum amount of iodine on a daily basis. It serves as a preventative and also a curative in the case of infection and other ills.
De-colorized iodine can also be used as a disinfectant for inanimate objects that get a lot of traffic.
How To Take Iodine As A Supplement
It’s important to go slowly when taking an iodine supplement. We suggest taking liquid iodine made for internal use because it is easy to take – just one to two drops in a glass of water to start with… and check for how you feel in the first few days. Some people immediately feel more energy and some relief from their symptoms, but as with any natural remedy… everyone is different! And while natural remedies are quite miraculous in their curative abilities… there are usually no “instant miracles” when taking natural remedies.
However. That said, if you have a toxic buildup of halogens and/or heavy metals, you could experience some nausea, headache or a skin rash when you first begin taking iodine. You might even have a little acne breakout if your body is very high in excess fluoride, for example. Don’t be alarmed! It’s just your body letting you know that you have started the (necessary) detoxing process.
This detox process is known as a Jarisch Herxheimer Reaction, or Herxheimer Reaction. In the scientific community, this reaction is commonly associated with negative symptoms experienced when the body starts to throw off toxins due to taking a remedial such as antibiotics (also sometimes referred to in the holistic healing community as “Herxing”).
If you had this reaction from taking iodine, a medical doctor would probably tell you that you are allergic to iodine and to stop taking it… but, in fact, very few people are allergic to iodine. Doctors are not trained to recognize the symptoms of detoxification of heavy metals or the halogen elements, so they just assume that it is an allergic reaction. Unless your symptoms are uncommonly intense, you are probably just experiencing the effects of detox. So, take it slowly when starting iodine.
If you feel uncomfortable, you can either continue with that dose and drink much more water to help the body flush the bromine and fluorine out more quickly. Or, you can stop the iodine for 1-2 days and then begin again at a smaller dose and increase again slowly. But most people don’t have issues because… they need iodine!
There are various types of iodine available to take as supplements, including as a liquid or in tablet form.
We suggest taking iodine in liquid form because you can control the dosage easier and you can also use it topically if you choose.
Note: Iodine is a mineral, so, regardless of its source, it will never be designated as an organically grown product, because organic certification refers to “organic plant matter” which iodine does not contain. 🙂
Firstly, there is Lugol’s liquid iodine recipe, which is sold by various companies as “Lugol’s iodine. It is often available in pharmacies around the world. However, many people don’t like the taste of Lugol’s iodine, so they opt for one of types I’ve listed below this section. Lugol’s is good for topical use because then you don’t have to taste it. 🙂
You’ve probably heard the name “Lugol’s iodine” at some point in your life, and most of us are familiar with the deep orange-red tincture that was a part of our family’s medicine kit growing up. Although iodine is a natural trace element, in 1829, Jean Guillaume Auguste Lugol, a French chemist, created a solution that contained potassium iodide (10 parts) with iodine (5 parts) in water (85 parts). So when you hear the name Lugol’s iodine today, it is not referring to a company but rather to this original formula as Lugol created.
It became widely known as a super effective, nearly miraculous anti-bacterial, antiviral and antifungal medicine that was used across the world. It was (and still is!) quite inexpensive and its curative and preventative abilities since that time are nearly unparalleled. However, as it was also not possible to become wealthy from iodine sales, iodine use and prescription were more or less discontinued when patented pharmaceutical antibiotics were invented in the mid 1920’s as antibiotic, antiviral and antibacterial solutions.
Today, as numerous patented drugs are losing their effectiveness due to overuse, many people are now turning once again to tried and true natural remedies that do not fail over time. I’ve talked about this before, especially in another article about artemisia annua. Aside from being an anti-viral wonder herb, artemisia annua has a long history as a traditional treatment for malaria that is still effective since thousands of years, even as some prominent malaria drugs are failing as the malarial parasite develops resistance to the drugs!
You can check out more about all that in this article about how artemisia has been successfully used to treat SARS-Cov2 and Cov-19 recently as well:
Nascent iodine is created by using an electromagnetic field to make the iodine easier for the body to absorb, that is to say, more bioavailable for faster and easier assimilation. Iodine tends to convert to iodide in the digestive tract, however nascent iodine is already in its iodide form, so it is more easily assimilated.
We recommend Heritage Store Nascent Colloidal Iodine ✓ from Heritage Store, one of our favorite companies for natural supplements. They have a long history of dependability and for providing useful products of excellent quality. Their nascent colloidal iodine is de-colorized iodine from sea kelp, and you can use it for external use (without staining) and for internal use. It is suspended in water and vegetable glycerin.
It has little or no flavor and is easy to take. Suggested dosage is 1 drop daily, in water or on the tongue. especially to start with, depending on your current health condition. You can increase the dosage if you have no adverse symptoms and are trying to heal a stubborn health issue.
Heritage Store Nascent Colloidal Iodine also does not contain alcohol – which is good! because most alcohol used in iodine solutions today is make from GMO corn; you need to check that as well, if you go with an alcohol based iodine product.
Or, you could also try this one, which is a traditional 2% water-based iodine solution (no glycerin). It is suitable for topical or internal use and is also an excellent product. This one is not derived from sea kelp, but is from deep earth deposits of iodine:
If you prefer to take iodine tablets, Optimox, Iodoral, Iodine/Potassium Iodide Tablets ✓ are a good choice.
Natural Sea Kelp (Ascophyllum nodosum) Powder As A Supplement
Another way to increase your iodine intake is to take natural sea kelp as a supplement. Natural sea kelp contains over 70 minerals (!) all of which are fantastic for health. With a high level of iodine, kelp can be added to your diet. We are always looking for the most economical ways to improve health, so we suggest to purchase kelp powder in bulk. For example, this 1 lb. bag of organic kelp powder ✓ will provide you with over 6 months of kelp! Be advised… kelp smells bit fishy – it is seaweed, you know… It can be added to soups, stews, veggies, etc added to smoothies.
Since the recommended daily amount is about ¼ teaspoon of powder, you won’t really taste kelp in foods. I wouldn’t suggest just putting ¼ teaspoon of kelp powder in your mouth and swallowing it. though… it tastes yucky and is very sticky… like stick-to-your-teeth sticky. However, you can always get empty gelatin capsules ✓ or empty veggie caps ✓ and make your own kelp capsules and take it that way. You save so much money buying kelp in bulk, it’s really a great deal!
But… if you just don’t feel like dealing with loose kelp powder, you can always get kelp capsules all ready to go, like these natural Icelandic Kelp capsules ✓
In addition to supplying you with the additional iodine that helps immunity, kelp is great for dental and gum health. Kelp is great for digestion, as it provides fiber and soothes the digestive tract, relieves constipation and helps in weight loss.
In addition to minerals in notable amounts, such as calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and potassium, kelp also contains flucoidans. Flucoidans are phytonutrients that counteract inflammation, so it is excellent in treating arthritis.
Note: Most people have no issues taking kelp, but if you have a sensitive stomach, you could experience griping and/or diarrhea as a side effect, so go easy! Start with 1/8 teaspoon once per day and gradually build up to 1/4 teaspoon per day. On the other hand, if constipation is your issue, kelp could help in that regard!
Additional Supporting Supplements
It is often also suggested that you support your iodine intake with other supplements that assist the body in assimilating iodine, such as selenium and Vitamin C, sometimes referred to as “companion elements” to taking iodine as a supplement. These elements help the body to flush out the bromide that is hindering iodine absorption.
This combo, by Bluebonnet Nutrition ✓ that contains Selenium, Vitamin C, Beta-carotene and Vitamin E would be a good choice.
Dr. David Brownstein, a Board-certified family physician who practices holistic medicine also has written several books on the subject of iodine. He suggests using Selina Celtic Sea Salt ✓ for use as table salt on a regular basis. Here is a great source for Himalayan Pink Salt ✓ with no additives or preservatives.
Iodine is a natural chemical element that our bodies need. Due to an overabundance of toxic halogen chemicals in our environment, our bodies do not have enough iodine to maintain good health. Even if we eat well, we are probably deficient in iodine.
It’s a good idea to include iodine rich foods in your diet, but if you are suffering from any of the symptoms listed above, you can try iodine supplementation to push out excess bromine, chlorine and fluoride that doesn’t allow iodine to do its work for our wellness.
You might be very amazed to see how your health improves with the simple addition of iodine to your health care regimen. Just remember to start slowly and enjoy the benefits!
If you are under the care of a medical doctor, please consult your doctor before dietary supplementation, especially if you have a pre-existing health condition.
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