Far from the newcomer on the block of holistic remedies, iodine has been a traditional remedy used by doctors in years past as an antiseptic and natural antibiotic. As far back as 2700 B.C. records show that Emperor Shen Nung used seaweed for the treatment of goiters. Pliny, Vitruvius and Juvenal describe prevalence of goiter in the Alps and use of burnt seaweed for treatment in 40 B.C. Dr. Weston A. Price reported in 1939 that certain primitive cultures used iodine to successfully treat goiters.

Why Did Iodine Fall out of Favor?

It was during World War II that patented pharmaceuticals like penicillin and sulfa drugs began to replace iodine. In 1969 Drs. Drs. Jan Wolff and Israel Lyon Chaikoff erroneously theorized that large amounts of it were harmful. Unfortunately, a large portion of the medical community bought their theory and recommended dosages of iodine in the United States dropped to a low of 150 mcg. daily. This stands in sharp contrast to the average Japanese intake of 12 mg. or more daily.

Indisputable Benefits

Iodine is present in every organ and tissue in the body. It is key to intelligence, proper fetal development, the health of salivary glands, endometrium, prostate, ovaries and skin.

Research has also shown that women with good iodine status bear smarter children. Researchers at Bristol and Surrey universities in England studied 1,040 pregnant women and discovered that children born to mothers with even mild deficiencies had lower IQs and reading levels.

Finally, scientists conducting a meta-analysis of studies on iodine in China concluded that “The level of iodine nutrition plays a crucial role in the intellectual development of children.”

Role in Detoxification

Iodine assists in many bodily functions including detoxification of radiation and toxic metals, especially mercury, chlorine and fluoride.  It also supports the following processes:

  • Thins excess phlegm and mucous
  • Improves water metabolism and relieves water retention
  • Cleanses the lymphatic system and blood
  • Supports the production of thyroid hormones. The T4 thyroid hormone contains 4 molecules of iodine, and the T3 thyroid hormone contains 3 molecules.
  • Alleviates liver stagnation

In our clinical experience, iodine is one of the best support minerals for acne and eczema. It is also an important antioxidant as well as an inducer of apoptosis in cancerous tumors. It has anti-sclerotic properties making it beneficial for use in persons with atherosclerosis. Historically it has been used to treat syphilis, malaria, scarlet fever, obesity, depression, pneumonia, uterine fibroids and prostatic hypertrophy.

Breast Health

Part of iodine’s vital role in both thyroid and liver health contributes to protecting the breasts from abnormalities. It is used therapeutically to assist the body in resolving breast cysts, as well as uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts. Iodine deficiency is common finding in cases of fibrocystic breast disease, breast cancer and other hormone driven cancers such as prostate, ovarian and uterine cancers. Essential to breast development and protective against cysts, it desensitizes estrogen receptors in the breasts. It reduces estrogen production in overactive ovaries, making it therapeutic for those suffering from estrogen dominance, premenstrual syndrome and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Food Sources

The best food sources of iodine are wild ocean fish and seafood. For example, seaweed (marine algae) products such as kelp, nori, dulse, hijiki, arame and wakame. But be cautious choosing seaweed products since the Fukushima nuclear power plant leak. Avoid products from Japanese waters.

Assessing Sufficiency

Several laboratories now are able to determine whole body iodine sufficiency through the use of a 24-hour collection test. This is a very simple and cost effective test. It’s available through our office.

Additionally, we offer iodine patch testing. This requires a 2” square patch of iodine painted on the arm or thigh. Then, we assess for its length of time present on the skin. The faster the body absorbs the iodine, the greater the need for it.

How Much is Enough?

100-400 times the USRDA of iodine is recommended by expert doctors such as Guy Abraham, M.D., David Brownstein, M.D. and many others. Supplemental sources that we recommend include Lugol’s, Iodoral, Nascent Iodine and Prolamine Iodine.

According to Dr. Guy Abraham, a researcher and an authority on the safe use of iodine, the daily dose should be 12.5 mg. to 37.5 mg. daily. The Japanese live longer and have lower rates of breast and thyroid cancer than any other population. And as we all know, they generally have very high levels of intelligence. Could it be the iodine?


This information is not medical advice or takes the place of medical advice and treatment from your personal physician. Consul your own doctors or other qualified health professional regarding the treatment of your medical problems. Those taking prescription medications should consult with their physicians and not take themselves off of medicines to start supplementation without the proper supervision of a physician familiar with nutritional supplementation.

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