This article is written/contributed by Lisa Pitel-Killah
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Iodine [Part 1]

We have all heard about iodine before, whether we are familiar with the periodic table, or not.  Iodine is the highest of all elements used in biological systems.  It is an anti-fungal, an anti-viral, and its antibiotic effects go well beyond traditional antibiotics because it will kill viruses [1].  Iodine has also been shown to exhibit activity against bacteria, mold, yeast and protozoa.  Actually, did you know that iodine is capable of killing all classes of pathogens?

Let’s look back on the history…

Bernard Courtois first discovered iodine in 1811 during the course of making gunpowder.  He used a little too much sulphuric acid in his potassium and sodium compound that he was making from seaweed.  Bernard observed a purple vapor coming from the mix and thus due to its purple colour, the new element was named iodine (iodes in Greek means violet). 

The first medical use of iodine was reported by Jean Francois Coindet (1774-1834), who showed that goiter (ie: swelling of the thyroid) could be treated with iodine.  Jean-Baptiste Boussingault (1802-1887) verified the work in 1824 and came to prove in his experiments that goiter did not exist at many silver mining sites.  He concluded that the iodine in the water at the mining sites prevented goiter in the people drinking it.  So, his recommendation at the time was to advise that people eat the iodine-containing salt from these mines. [3]

Governments in North America did recognize the importance of iodine, but it was over 100 years from the time that Jean-Baptiste suggested it.  The one issue with our common “table salt” aka. Iodized salt; is that it contains only micro-doses and iodine is very volatile and evaporates quickly.  Due to this fact we must understand that the longer iodized salt sits out on a counter or table, the less and less iodine it will contain over time.

How do you know if you might be deficient?

Every cell in the body contains iodine, so according to Lynne Farrow, one of the only ways to define what iodine deficiency looks like is to reverse this type of thinking and look at the symptoms that iodine has come to benefit: [2]

  • Allergies
  • Brain fog
  • Dry skin
  • Cysts/nodules
  • Fatigue
  • Thyroid issues
  • Ovarian issues
  • Cognitive problems
  • Weight gain
  • Feeling cold
  • Psoriasis
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Thinning hair
  • Puffy face
  • Depression
  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Scars
  • Infections
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Hearing loss
  • Prostate disease
  • Lung condition
  • Constipation
  • Vaginal infections
  • Eye problems
  • Neck pain
  • GERD
  • Miscarriage
  • Brittle nails
  • Muscle cramps
  • Poor memory
  • Weakness
  • Weight gain
  • Edema
  • Headaches
  • Depression

Our thyroid gland needs iodine, it contains a higher concentration of iodine than any other organ in the human body.  The main thyroid hormones T3 and T4 need sufficient iodine in order to be produced.  Something that needs to be understood is that the iodine receptors in the body may be taken up by other halides that compete with iodine uptake.  Halides namely; fluoride, chloride and bromide.  As I mentioned these halides will compete for a spot on the iodine receptors; however, they will not do the same job as iodine.  Now, the first piece of the thyroid puzzle is to make sure we are consuming enough iodine daily and the second part is to diligently be aware that we are not exposing ourselves to accumulating these competing halides.  We can be exposed by drinking tap water, showering in water that is not filtered, using regular toothpaste, swimming in pools with chlorine and regular hot tub use, just to name a few.  If we are exposing ourselves constantly to any of these and not consuming enough iodine, we may end up with a thyroid disaster.  

It has been noted by Dr. David Brownstein, MD, author of “Iodine, Why We Need It…Why We Can’t Live Without It” that some diets may contribute to iodine deficiency such as those without ocean fish, sea vegetables, as well as some vegan or vegetarian.  Some great additions to nutritional plans to up your iodine intake naturally could include: kelp, dried wakame, nori, wild-caught cod, raw dairy, eggs, tuna, lima beans, etc.

So, what to do?

Limit halide exposure, increase iodine rich foods in your nutrition plan, filter your drinking water and shower water, minimize use of swimming pools or hot tubs with chlorine and switch to a natural toothpaste.  Sea minerals are a wonderful way to get in some much necessary iodine, in fact kelp is one of the richest natural sources of iodine on the planet.  Plus, seaweed is toted for its ability to bind heavy metals and radioactive pollutants as well.  Doctors involved in the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant catastrophe used kelp for detox and thyroid gland rehabilitation.[1]

Some other forms of iodine include one discovered by French Physician, Jean Lugol in 1829.  Lugol’s solution is 10 parts Potassium Iodide to 5 parts Iodine and 85 parts distilled water.  Iodoral is similar in tablet form which contains both iodide and iodine.  If you are interested in looking deeper into iodine sufficiency and levels of halides you may be housing, you can do this through Hakala Labs with a 24-hour Iodine Load test.  When looking at iodine always consult with a Health Practitioner with experience in utilizing supplemental iodine prior to any iodine administration, and always ensure the proper co-factors are used.   Watch for [Part 2] on Iodine coming soon.

[1] Healing with Iodine, Dr. Mark Sircus 2018

[2] The Iodine Crisis, Lynne Farrow, Forward by Dr. D. Brownstein, MD, 2013

[3] Iodine, Why you need it; Why you can’t live without it, Dr. David Brownstein, MD, 5th Editiion, 2014


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