Last week we investigated the prevalence of iodine deficiency. In this article we shall discuss ways to obtain adequate iodine intake.
Iodized table salt (sodium chloride) is an ineffective dietary source of iodine, because the much greater amount of chloride in food-grade salt competes with the iodide for intestinal absorption.
The National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES Study), undertaken by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) from 1971 to 2000, showed that iodine levels in the general population have fallen over 50 percent in the last 30 years.
Oral administration of inorganic, nonradioactive iodide/iodine preparations has been demonstrated to benefit thyroid disorders, including goiter, nodules, cysts and thyroid cancer. It has also helped persons with diabetes mellitus and other endocrine system imbalances; those with heavy metal and halide toxicity; persons with chronic fatigue syndrome; those suffering from ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder); fibromyalgia and other myopathic syndromes; fibrocystic breast disease and other mastopathies; ovarian cysts, including polycystic ovary syndrome; sebaceous cysts; Dupuytren's contractures; Peyronie's disease; keloidal scarring; parotid duct stones; acute, subacute and chronic infectious conditions; immune system dysregulation and deficiency syndromes; autoimmune disorders; neoplastic diseases, especially hormonally mediated cancers; cardiovascular dysfunction, such as arrhythmias and hypertension; obesity; protection from nuclear fallout, industrial pollution and reduction of oxidative stress.
Lugol's solution may vary in concentration, tastes unpleasant, stains clothing and can be inconvenient to take. Iodide-only products, such as SSKI (saturated solution of potassium iodide), are inferior to iodide/iodine preparations in the repletion of iodine deficiency due to varying rates of absorption. Iodoral is a new, dry tablet form of standardized, inorganic, nonradioactive, potassium iodide/iodine that delivers 12.5 mg of elemental iodine per tablet (5 mg iodine and 7.5 mg iodide as the potassium salt).
The recommended dosage of Iodoral is 12.5 to 50 mg daily, according to the person's age, size and degree of deficiency, as indicated by iodine loading challenge testing. Iodoral is generally given for two to three months, and then the patient is retested. Once iodine sufficiency is re-established, a maintenance dose of 12.5 to 50 mg daily is recommended. In very severe deficiencies, as may be seen in morbid obesity, diabetes, malignancies and other chronic diseases, dosages of well over 50 mg daily may be required for four or more months. Administration during pregnancy and lactation is safe under medical supervision.
An iodine loading challenge test may be obtained from Vitamin Research Products at (800) 877-2447 to determine the degree of iodine deficiency (not available in New York or California).
Appropriate iodine supplementation may result in decreased requirements for thyroid hormone, insulin, antiarrhythmic and antihypertensive medications. Careful medical monitoring of these patients is necessary.
Patients may report increased energy, an enhanced sense of well-being, sought-after weight loss and improved bowel movements within the first three weeks of iodine supplementation.
Clinical iodism (acne, metallic taste in mouth, increased salivation, sneezing, frontal sinus pressure/pain), from alleged iodine overdosing, is infrequent, occurring in less than five percent of patients. The presence of known allergies to fish, shellfish, radioactive iodine or organic, iodinated compounds in x-ray contrast dyes, does not indicate that there is an allergy to inorganic, nonradioactive iodide/iodine. In fact, true allergy to inorganic, nonradioactive iodide/iodine is extremely rare, and if present, usually manifests as urticaria (hives), which is readily manageable.
Medical supervision is recommended for those desiring iodine supplementation.
Please also read Part I of this series.
The Historical Background of the Iodine Project, G. E. Abraham, M.D.
The Wolff-Chaikoff Effect: Crying Wolf? G. E. Abraham, M.D., 2003
Clinical Experience with Inorganic, Non-radioactive Iodine/Iodide, D. Brownstein, M.D.
Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It, Medical Alternative Press, 2004, D. Brownstein, M.D.
Orthoiodosupplementation: Iodine Sufficiency of the Whole Human Body, The Original Internist, 9:30–41, 2002, Drs. G. E. Abraham, J.D. Flechas, J.C. Hakala