Last Modified on May 12, 2016
An essential trace element, iodine functions in regulating normal growth and development of the body. Nearly 60% of the iodine in the body is stored in the thyroid gland, which functions to produce hormones and control the body’s metabolic processes. As such, iodine can be used to treat and even prevent a wide array of health conditions.
What is Iodine?
A mineral found in some foods, iodine plays a role in a variety of the body’s processes. The body requires iodine to produce thyroid hormones, natural chemicals that regulate many functions of the body. Thyroid hormones are responsible for regulating metabolism, maintaining proper bone and brain development and performing a variety of other functions.
Iodine is naturally found in a variety of foods. Fish, dairy products, grains, and fruits and vegetables possess adequate amounts of iodine. Additionally, iodized salt contains added iodine to support good health. Iodine can also be found as a dietary supplement and as part of many multivitamins.
Health Benefits of Iodine
With such important processes, iodine is an important nutritional component. While uncommon in the United States and Canada, iodine deficiency prevents the thyroid from making sufficient amounts of hormones, often leading to birth defects, lack of focus and attention, diminished cognitive function, and goiter problems.
At a basic level, sufficient iodine is responsible for proper development and metabolism in individuals. The nutrient supports an appropriate metabolic rate in the body, maintains constant energy levels, benefits the formation of healthy skin, teeth and hair, and regulates the reproductive system. The nutrient is also beneficial for appropriate immune function, prevention of fibrocystic disease and cancer, and maintaining healthy cells.
As iodine plays such an important part in development, processing and function, it can also be used to treat a wide range of health conditions. Iodine can be used as an effective treatment for acne and other skin lesions as well as anxiety attacks, arrhythmia and alopecia. As it is an antifungal agent, it can also be used to purify water and eliminate infection.
The applications of iodine are virtually limitless. The nutrient can be used to treat conditions as minimal as bruises and as severe as thyroid disease and heavy metal toxicity.
Remedies for Iodine
The Popularity of Iodine Remedies - Full List
I need some more info on Iodine and deficiency, dosages and ailments it may fix. I believe I am Iodine deficient as I am not eating anything with it. I eat healthy but none of the foods I eat contain iodine. I eat fruits, eggs, sweet potatoes, vegtables and sometimes chicken and red meat. I know foods that contain high amounts of iodine mainly come from the sea. Which Iodine is most preferred? I heard Lugol's 5% is a good one to get, but what is the best application? Is it Painting or 1 or more drops in water? I see people talking about painting it on the skin and the average recommended dose is 2-5 inches, is this just a line, circle or square that is supposed to be painted with that length? Also I am trying to fix fatigue, dry scalp, dry skin, dry hair, allergies, and dry eyes and burning eyes. Are these symptoms of Iodine deficiency? Any help would be much appreciated.
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Snohomish, Washington, Usa
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Copyrighted 2005 by Robert Sarver
Published with the permission of the author.
By Robert Sarver
Dr. David Brownstein has a US medical practice dealing primarily with thyroid patients. He has been quite successful treating hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism with the iodine/iodide supplement Iodoral that is available over the Internet without prescription. Dr. Brownstein believes that the usual thyroid medication prescribed by doctors is the wrong treatment because it does not deal with the underlying iodine deficiency problem. All cells in the body need iodine for proper functioning. All glands (thyroid, adrenal, etc.) especially need iodine for the production of hormones. Dr. Brownstein believes that iodine deficiency is a major cause of breast cancer and other diseases of the reproductive organs such as ovarian, uterus and prostrate cysts and cancers. Iodine levels in US soil have fallen 50 per cent over the past 50 years and soil in the US is deficient in iodine. The Great Lakes region has some of lowest soil iodine levels in the world and this results in high levels of cancers related to iodine deficiency. Dr. Brownstein has been quite successful in treating fibrocystic breast disease (cysts in the breast) with iodine/iodine supplementation. In one case a 37 year-old woman with severe fibrocystic breast disease was completely cured after supplementing with 50 mgs of iodine a day for two months. Women with large breasts need more iodine than women with smaller breasts. Other medical authorities agree that iodine deficiency can lead to fibrocystic breast disease and/or ovarian cysts.    Iodine can similarly reduce uterine fibroids and one of the first conventional medical treatments for severe fibroids was to paint the uterus with iodine.  Some other medical conditions associated with iodine deficiency are goiters, Graves' Disease, Hashimoto's Disease, fatigue and impaired immune system function. Iodine deficiency during pregnancy can lead to miscarriages and reduced IQ in surviving offspring.  The World Health Organization says that iodine deficiency is the largest single cause of mental retardation. Iodine also detoxifies the body by removing mercury, fluorides, chlorides, and bromides.
If iodine/iodide are so crucial in the body, why hasn't there been more research studies published? Dr. Brownstein believes that because iodine cannot be patented there is no incentive for the drug companies to perform the research. Iodized salt and the iodine supplements usually found in health food stores contain the iodide form of iodine. Dr. Brownstein has had little success treating patients with only iodide. The supplement Iodoral contains both the iodide (reduced) and iodine (oxidized) forms of iodine because the body needs both forms. The US RDA for iodine is 150 mcg. Iodoral contains 100 times (12.5 mgs) the RDA's requirement of iodine/iodide. It seems the conventional medical establishment again has grossly underestimated the amount of a nutrient needed for good health. According to Dr. G. E. Abraham, "Of all the elements known so far to be essential for health, iodine is the most misunderstood and the most feared. Yet, it is by far the safest of all the trace elements known to be essential for human health. It is the only trace element that can be ingested safely in amounts up to 100,000 times the RDA. For example, potassium iodide has been prescribed safely to pulmonary patients in daily amounts of up to 6.0 gm/day, in large groups of such patients for several years. It is important however to emphasize that this safety record only applies to inorganic nonradioactive iodine/iodide, not to organic iodine-containing drugs and to radioiodides." 
Seafood and sea plants such as kelp (seaweed) are good dietary sources of iodine but few people in the US consume enough of these foods. On a personal note, I found sellers of Iodoral on the Internet and purchased 180 tablets for $40. The usual dosage as a supplement is one tablet a day but up to four tablets a day can be taken for medical conditions under a knowledgeable MD's supervision. For those interested in knowing more about iodine's function in preventing and treating diseases, four of Dr. Brownstein's video clips located at http://vitamincfoundation.org/videos. Dr. Brownstein's home page and links to his books are located at drbrownstein.com/iodine.shtml.
His books include Iodine: Why you need it Why you can't live without it, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders and Salt: Your Way To Health which encourages consumption of sea salt in order to obtain many trace minerals.
Informative research papers about iodine are at http://www.optimox.com/pics/Iodine/opt_Research_I.shtml.
Iodine deficiency may be a major contributor to the widespread arthritis problems in the US. A folk remedy for arthritis is consumption of two drops of Lugol's solution each day. Two drops of Lugol's solution contain the same amount of iodine as one Iodoral tablet. Lugol's solution is a water solution of 10 per cent potassium iodide and 5 per cent elemental iodine. Iodine deficiency may be a major contributor to the widespread emotional disorders in the US. A folk remedy for the treatment of some emotional disorders is consumption of two drops of Lugol's solution each day. Hormones control body weight. Malfunctioning glandular systems due to iodine deficiency may be a major cause of the overweight problem in the US.
 J. D. Fleches, MD, http://www.helpmythyroid.com/iodine.htm
 Abraham, G. E., Flechas, J. D., Hakala, J. C., "Orthoiodosupplementation: Iodine sufficiency of the whole human body", http://www.helpmythyroid.com/IOD-02.html
 James Howenstine, MD, "Iodine is vital for good health", http://www.newswithviews.com/Howenstine/james37.htm
 Herb and Supplement Encyclopedia, http://www.florahealth.com/flora/home/canada/healthinformation/encyclopedias/Iodine.asp
 Iodine Deficiency Disorder, http://indorgs.virginia.edu/iccidd/aboutidd.htm
 G. E. Abraham, MD, "The safe and effective implementation of orthoiodosupplementation in medical practice", http://www.helpmythyroid.com/IOD50.htm
J.C. Jarvis, M.D. author of Folk Medicine was particularly fond of iodine replacement due to the chorine content of our drinking water. He writes: "The clinical activity of any one of these four halogens is in inverse proportion to its atomic weight. This means that any one of the four can displace the element with a higher atomic weight, but cannot displace an element with a lower atomic weight. For example, flourine can displace chlorine, bromine and iodine because flourine has a lower atomic weight than the other three. Similarly, chlorine can displace bromine and iodine because they both have a higher atomic weight. Likewise, bromine can displace iodine from the body because iodine has a higher atomic weight. But a reverse order is not possible. A knowledge of this well-known chemical law brings us to a consideration of the addition of chlorine to our drinking water as a purifying agent. We secure a drinking water that is harmful to the body not because of its harmful germ content but because the chlorine content now causes the body to lose the much-needed iodine..." -- (Folk Medicine, Henry Holt & Co., 1958, HB, p. 136)
To counter the effects of iodine loss, Dr. Jarvis recommended various methods including: eating foods rich in iodine: food from the ocean, radishes, asparagus, carrots, tomatoes, spinach, rhubarb, potatoes, peas, strawberries, mushrooms, lettuce, bananas, cabbage, egg yolk, and onions; Painting a small area of the body with tincture of iodine; and taking preparations known to be rich in iodine, including cod liver oil, kelp tablets.
Dr. Jarvis was very keen on Lugol's iodine for treating various illnesses, including colds and flu, and for countering the effects of stress: He writes, "Supposing you do follow the suggestions outlined above and find that some weeks the pressures of your private and your business life are causing you to lose the ability to bounce back. Then you should add a drop of Lugol's solution of iodine to your glass of apple or grape juice at breakfast, or you may take it in the mixture of apple cider vinegar and water. The point is that the potassium in the solution (Lugol's is 5% potassium iodine) blocks off the body mechanism that organizes for aggressive action, releasing its hold on the body when opportunity for rest and relaxation arises. The iodine swings into action the body and the building up and storing of body reserves. When working under pressure, include the Lugol's solution dose each day until the period of pressure passes. If it should happen that your body becomes saturated with iodine, you will find that there is an increase of moisture in the nose. If this occurs, omit the iodine until the nose is normal.
Lugol's Iodine can be purchased in some drug stores or over the internet.
Iodine is a very effective method for water purification. Iodine destroys bacteria, viruses and cysts, and its action is dependent on its concentration, the water temperature and duration of contact. A concentration of 8 mgs per litre at 20 degrees centigrade, will destroy all pathogens if left for 10 minutes. Lower concentrations and lower water temperatures require a longer duration of action.
Various preparations of iodine are available, including tincture of iodine, iodine crystals and tablets. Manufacturers instructions should be followed in each case. With tincture of iodine, adequate levels are normally achieved by using 4 drops to 1 litre of water or one drop to a glass. As with all halogens it is less effective against cryptosporidia.
Iodine has been used safely for periods of several months, however it is not known whether there are adverse effects associated with longer term use. Those with a history of thyroid disease or iodine allergy, the pregnant and the very young may be advised against using iodine for water purification.
The taste of iodine can be largely removed by neutralising the iodine, after it has had time to work, with dissolvable vitamin C tablets, lime or lemon juice. It should be noted that this also stops the disinfectant action, so care should be taken to prevent recontamination of water.
Tincture of Iodine: USP tincture of iodine contains 2% iodine and 2.4% sodium iodide dissolved in 50% ethyl alcohol. For water purification use, the sodium iodide has no purification effect, but contributes to the total iodine dose. Thus it is not a preferred source of iodine, but can be used if other sources are not available. 0.4 cc's (or 8 drops) of USP tincture (2% iodine) added to a liter of water will give the 8 mg/l (same as 8 PPM). If the iodine tincture isn't compounded to USP specs, then you will have to calculate an equal dose based on the iodine concentration.
Lugol's solution: Contains 5% iodine and 10% potassium iodide. 0.15 cc (3 drops) can be added per liter of water, but 3 times more iodine is consumed compared to sources without iodide.
Betadyne (povidone iodine) Some have recommended 8 drops of 10% povidone iodine per liter of water as a water treatment method, claiming that at low concentrations povidone iodine can be regarded as a solution of iodine. One study indicated that at 1:10,000 dilution (2 drops/liter), there was 2 PPM iodine, while another study resulted in conflicting results. However, at 8 drops/liter, there is little doubt that there is an antimicrobial effect. The manufacturer hasn't spent the money on testing this product against EPA standard tests, but in other countries it has been sold for use in field water treatment.
Replied by Chad
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
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Posted by Tish (Granger, IN)
I just started painting twice a day. I have always had irregular menstrual cycles and cysts and recently started having problems with acne. It has been about 1.5 weeks now and my acne is almost gone. I have had acne problems for the last 6 months and tried everything over the counter and topical you could imagine. I was ready to give up and go to the doctor for meds. Thank God for iodine! It is too early to comment on the female issues, but I am having some positive signs in this area too.
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Posted by Sandra (Gwent, South Wales ) on 02/23/2009
30 years ago my son lost his hair through nerves he was only 8 year old at the time, a old lady told me to rub in white iodine every night which i did, within 6 week his hair was so thick, i also had very weak nails the iodine strenghened them, now i am in my 60s my hair is thining out and i need to get some white iodine, please tell me where i can buy white iodine. i cannot buy it in the uk. any one know where i can buy it?
EC: Google product search under "decolorized iodine" might help: http://www.google.com/products?q=decolorized+iodine
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Maplewood, New Jersey
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Posted by Rob (Hawthorn Woods, IL) on 08/16/2007
My wife unexpectedly had all the hairs in her eyebrows fall out over a period of several weeks. There was no apparent cause but we suspected stress had something to do with it. They did eventually grow back, but were very thin and the follicles were still weak. It wasn't until almost a year later that a wonderful holistic doctor tested her and found her iodine deficient. She was put on an iodine pill, her energy levels came way up, the her eyebrows are as thick as ever. Kelp tablets would probably do the trick too, as they are high in iodine.
Replied by Rob
Hawthorn Woods, IL
Posted by Barb (Auckland, New Zealand) on 09/12/2006
Alopecia Areata is bald spots that occur all of a sudden on your scalp. I dab it on once a day on bald spots for a week to a fortnight - and then forget about it (if I can) and hope:) So far it seems to start the growth of hair again. It changes the scalp texture from red and irritable back to normal scalp. Within 6 weeks to 8 weeks usually spot is covering with little hairs. The iodine may even help the fatigue that comes when your hair falls out too - when a bald spot is occurring I tend to get deathly pale and feel exhausted.
Posted by Betsy (Atizapan de Zaragoza, Mexico) on 01/28/2006
In Mexico, some people have used iodine as a means of preventing baldness. One woman used iodine for years as a preventive measure against baldness. She used it as a rinse after washing her hair. Another woman told me to "cure" a bald spot by dabbing iodine on the bald spot or area of thinning hair. After a while, a crust will form. Eventually, beneath the crust fine hairs will start to grow. She said it can take about three months to see the results. I don't know if this would work with men. It's something I've heard about. Can you give me your opinion on this?
Posted by Anne-Marie (Palm Coast, FL) on 02/04/2007
While I would not consider myself "cured" of anything, I have found that Iodine..or the lack thereof...causes me to have panic and anxiety attacks. This is a recent (within 3 months) development for me as I have never had panic and anxiety attacks prior. And although I now take Kelp in a Thyroid supplement (for my newly developed Hypothyroidism), My Iodine test (painting a 2x2 in sq on my abdomen) still shows a regular Iodine insufficiency. Interestingly, I also drink protein shakes that contain 30% FDA Iodine each. I drink 2-3 of these each day. Yet, my Iodine is consistently depleted.
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Lake Oswego, Or
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Kansas City, Missouri, usa.
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Posted by June (Cincinnati, Oh Usa) on 12/28/2009
I have a cardiac arrithymia since childhood. I am 54 now. I have researched and researched and researched after going to alot of cardiologists and trying mainstream remedies. I have tried magnesium, B vitamins, salt, potassium,etc. They all helped but did not cure my palpitations. My heart used to skip, and beat incredibly fast. I stopped going to the emergency room because they immediately wanted to do surgery, etc. The whole thing was terrifying. I cured this condition with one drop of REAL elemental iodine in my orange juice in the morning. Sea kelp and drugstore iodine did not work. Dr. Brownstein has written a book about it. You can tell if you are deficient by putting any iodine on the inside of your arm and watching to see if it lasts 24 hours. All my thyroid tests were normal. Every person I have told (who has arrithymia) has had a similiar experience!!!! One itsy bitsy drop of elemental iodine changed my life COMPLETELY. (I also paint my arm with it sometimes.)
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San Fernando, Luzon, Philippines
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Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France
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San Fernando, Luzon, Philippines
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Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France
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Fort Madison, Ia
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Mansfield Township, Nj
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Posted by Bill(San Fernando, Philippines) on 02/22/2012 | 1230 Posts
Just found a research review paper by Dr Donald Miller, a well known iodine researcher, which describes all the other major benefits of iodine apart from benefitting just the thyroid gland. This review should also help make clear alot of areas and benefits that are still so ill-understood about iodine
This research review(in PDF format), all backed by research, isn't long or too complicated and should help to easily clarify many of iodine's benefits. See the link.
Posted by Carol (Post Falls, Idaho) on 07/09/2011
I can't believe you don't indicate the Atomidine! As written about in Wikipedia: Atomidine is a liquid iodine preparation that was recommended as a therapeutic measure in over 600 "readings" (channelled writings) by Edgar Cayce. The manufacturing method is called a "modified detoxification process" which involves a stage in which electricity is run through the substance; the result is "electrified atomic iodine", or "atomidine. " The electrification is said to allow the Atomidine to continue to function as an iodine supplement the original use of detoxified iodine while also giving it added attributes that affect the immune system.
This company and product still exists. I buy mine at Super Supplements.
Posted by T (Maryland, USA) on 06/28/2009
I must post about my recent experience with Atomidine (iodine trichloride) as it's been nothing short of amazing for me. I'd been intending to try Lugol's (after dithering due to reading some things warning thyroid/Hashimoto's patients off taking supplemental iodine). But so far I've yet to buy some. While browing online I ended up buying some Atomidine as it wasn't too expensive. I started taking a single drop most days in my usual water+ACV a few weeks ago, and it has made a seriously remarkable change for me!
After becoming very ill by the end of 2007 due to Hashimoto's (autoimmune thyroid disease), and finally self-diagnosing and spending a painful 2 grand to wring some meds out of appallingly ignorant and uncaring doctors (a rant for another time!), I've spent the last year or so greatly changing my diet, starting Levoxyl, taking supplements and researching like mad, trying this and that. I did improve some, but it's not been nearly enough to get me back to normal...until the Atomidine. I've hardly had the chance to haunt EC like I normally do because I'm off and out getting so much done! Not only do I have more energy, I have MOTIVATION (that's been a very elusive thing!). I do still have 'down' time but it's not anywhere near like it was before starting the Atomidine. I am so very grateful to God for this miracle and I hope it continues on.
I've had swollen glands in my neck for years, and they are mostly gone now. I've also been putting Atomidine on a suspicious mole on my arm that I was supposed to get removed long ago (I chickened out!). It's flaked over twice now (pain-free), yet the skin around it is fine, like the Atomidine is affecting only the suspicious spot. I'll report back with any more changes on that; I do expect it'll take some time if it's really going to get rid of it.
This has been my own experience so far with Atomidine. As always, research for yourself before trying anything.
I'm hoping to see some more discussion on the various types of iodine, and also hoping someone else has experience of Atomidine and can advise if I should continue taking it as I have been (single drop most days, with days off here and there) or should I be changing something. I'm afraid I'll somehow cause its effectiveness to fade...and I can't bear to go back to the way things had been! I don't usually take it on the days that I take my tiny dose of Levoxyl (I only take half of a low-dose pill every few days now).
On a side note re: the Hashimoto's, I've been taking chlorella on and off after seeing someone here post that their antibodies disappeared after taking that for awhile. I'm going to try to take it more consistently. I hope to have the funds to retest in a few months and see where my antibodies stand after these measures - and I'll report that here too :)