Iodine - Why You Need It Why You Can’t Live Without It 4th Edition 2009 By David Brownstein, M.D. Medical Alternatives Press Reviewed by Maggie Dail
Brownstein begins by telling “What does Iodine do? “For over 100 years, iodine has been known as the element that is necessary for thyroid hormone production. However, it is rare to see any further mention of iodine’s other effects in the body. Iodine is found in each of the trillions of cells in the body. Without adequate iodine levels, life itself is not possible. Iodine is not only necessary for the production of thyroid hormone; it is also responsible for the production of all other hormones of the body.” P. 21
As defined by the World Health Organization, about one third of the world’s population (app. 1.5 billion people) are iodine deficient. P. 21 How is it that medical professionals are not doing everything in their power to reverse this situation? Within the last few months we asked an allopathic doctor to test his patient’s iodine. His response was “we docs don’t believe that to be helpful.”
Brownstein gives the following therapeutic actions of iodine: antibacterial, anticancer, antiparasitic, antiviral, elevates pH and mucolytic agent. In the same chart he lists Conditions Treated with Iodine: ADD/ADHD, atherosclerosis, breast diseases, dupuytren’s cantracture, excess mucous production, fatigue, fibrocystic breasts, goiter, hermorrhoids, headaches and migraine headaches, hypertension, infections, keloids, liver diseases, nephrotic syndrome, ovarian disease, parotid duct stones, peyronie’s, prostrate disorders, sebaceous cysts, thyroid disorders and vaginal infections. P. 22
Iodine is not present in adequate amounts in most foods, so we must ingest it as a supplement to the diet. Iodine (as potassium iodide) has been added to table salt, but with the concern of ill effects of sodium many people have stopped eating salt. Refined salt is not good, but unrefined salt is healthy. Iodine in the soil is not adequate unless it is near the ocean. The RDA for salt is from 150 mg/day to 290 mg/day. In the United States the content of iodine added to salt is 77 mg per gm of salt. P. 41
Diets That May Cause Iodine Deficiency include: 1) those without fish or sea vegetables. 2) those inadequate use of iodized salt including low-sodium diets. 3) those high in consumption of bakery products (e.g. breads, pasta) which contain bromide. 4) those vegan and vegetarian diets. P. 45 “The iodine-loading test is performed after taking 50 mg of an iodine/iodide combination. Urine is collected for 24 hours after taking the iodine. In an iodine sufficient state approximately 90% of the mixture of a 50mg mg dose of iodine/iodine would be excreted (i.e. 45 mg), and 10% of the iodine would be retained (i.e. 5 mg). Levels of below 90% excretion would indicate an iodine-deficient state.” P. 48 Based on Brownstein’s documentation of his patients, he recommends Lugol’s Iodine Solution because it is a combination of iodine and iodide (10% Potassium Iodide, 5% Iodine and 85% Distilled). P. 55
There is a connection between estrogen hormones and iodine, thus Iodine is used to treat conditions such as Breast diseases, Fibrocystic Breasts, Ovarian Disease, Prostrate Disorders and Vaginal Infections. P. 22 and 69-90 Iodine is part of the class of elements known as halogens along with bromine, chlorine, fluorine and astatine. Bromine/ bromide is actually toxic and yet is put in baked goods and currently used in medications used for breathing difficulties and bladder dysfunction (inhalers and sprays). P. 98-107
Chloride is an important element for the body, however chlorine is toxic. Chlorine in steaming hot water is very toxic – steam of a dishwasher, shower water and “chlorinated table sugar” (Sucrlose / Splenda). Perchlorate (one atom of chlorine and 4 of oxygen) can displace iodine binding in the body, damaging the iodine transport mechanism. Perchlorate is used in car air bags, leather tanning, and fireworks. Consequences of Perchlorate include: breast disease, hypothyroidism, immune system problems, mental retardation in newborns, poor fetal development, poor neonatal development and thyroid cancer. To detox perchlorate is best done by supplementing with iodine. P. 107-114
Not only are we deficient in iodine, but we have toxic levels of the toxic hallogens (including floride). Dr. Brownstein suggests a connection between toxic levels of bromide and flouride with breast cancer. P. 118-121 “Iodine is an essential ingredient in all of the thyroid hormones. T4 (thyroxine) contains four iodine molecules. T3 (thriodothyronine) contains three iodine molecules. Without sufficient iodine supply, the thyroid gland is unable to make thyroid hormones in adequate amounts.” P. 127 Iodine-deficiency may lead to any of the following: goiter, hypothyroidism, and autoimmune thyroid diseases (Grave’s and Hashimoto’s). More detail is given in Brownstein’s book, Overcoming Thyroid Disorders, which I reviewed earlier.
After a discussion on the chemical process that goes with iodine in a molecule, Brownstein completes this chapter saying, “My research and my clinical experience have been clear: the RDA dose for iodine is inadequate to prevent cancer. In fact, I believe that lowered iodine levels will provide fertile ground for cancer to begin in many different hormonally sensitive tissues including thyroid, breasts, ovaries, uterus and prostrate gland.” The optimal dosage for adults varies from 6-50 mg.
In the chapter on The Oxidation and Organification of Iodine, Dr. Brownstein states, “A diagnosis of an autoimmune thyroid disorder does not have to be a prescription for life-long suffering.” “An autoimmune thyroid (or any autoimmune disorder) is an example of excess oxidative stress in the body. Remember, oxidative stress in the body is similar to a fire burning. You can put out the fire by providing the body with what it needs: adequate intake of water, salt, and healthy food full of nutrients. Finally, it is important to reduce your stress levels.” P. 176-177
Selenium, a trace element, is essential for health even though it is not manufactured in our bodies. It must be taken as a supplement or in food. Common Foods that contain selenium: Brazil nuts, tuna, beef, cod, turkey, whole wheat bread and in a smaller amount, white bread. P. 181-182 Illnesses that have been shown to have a correlation to a deficiency of selenium: death from cancer (lung, colorectal, and prostrate), arthritis, heart disease and cardiomyopathy and HIV disease progression. P. 184 Optimal levels of selenium is essential for thyroid function. P. 199
Treating Iodine deficiency can favorably affect the symptoms that children diagnosed with ADHD exhibit. P. 199 Iodine levels in women of child-bearing age must be maintained.
How to Detox from Toxic Halides (bromide, floride, chlorine)
1. Adequate Hydration (weight in pounds /2 = ounces of water per day) 2. Take vitamin C (3-6000 mg a day) 3. Ingest Unrefined Salt (1-1.5 tsp/day – See author’s Salt Your Way to Health) 4. Supplement with Iodine (6-50 mg / day; test by doing the Iodine Loading Test) p. 212-213
Iodine, like any substance, can cause adverse effects (mentioned in the last chapter). For individuals unusually sensitive to supplements and medications, Dr. Brownstein recommends starting low and monitor as you build up. P. 233
After this review, Dr. Brownstein has published the fifth edition.