Category Archives: Iodine

Iodine Therapy

04Jan/16

The Power of Iodine

 

iodine-bottles

Few people know about the amazing element iodine and the importance it holds in maintaining good health.  My goal over the next few weeks is to offer a multi-part blog series on the topic of iodine so that you can “digest” the information slowly.  It can get confusing and to those who are new to the topic can feel overwhelming.  So let’s start with the basics.

If you bring up the topic of iodine to a medical professional he or she will undoubtedly link it to the function of the thyroid gland and they would be partially correct.  The thyroid is the primary consumer of iodine within the body.  When fully saturated it can hold 50 mgs of iodine.

The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland that sits in the neck just above the collar bone and wraps around the windpipe.  It is responsible for controlling the bodies metabolic rate.  You cannot live without this gland.  If it is removed you will be forced to take a thyroid hormone replacement medication for life.  Before I forget….. Just to dispel a common belief about iodine for the thyroidless – yes you still need it.  But that’s for a future blog post.

Iodine is used within the thyroid follicular cells.  It enters into the cell through the Na/I Symporter (NIS) or sodium iodine symporter located on the basolateral membrane.  Iodine enters from the blood stream through the NIS which acts as a pump to pull it into the cell.  Once iodine passes through the NIS, it enters into the follicular cell.  It then moves to the follicle colloid where a hydrogen peroxide reaction occurs on it converting it to iodide.  This is then used in the thyroid hormone creation process.  When you see the hormones T4 or T3, the number represents the number of iodide molecules in that hormone.  The process is  a little more complex than what I have described here but this gives you the basic concept.  You can look at the diagram below for more detail.

iodine path

Iodine levels in the soils have become depleted over the years and in some areas, like the goiter belt, they have historically been low.  The area depicted in pink in the image below has been described as the deficient area.   Currently it expands to pretty much all of the states in the union.  It was in the 1930’s that the government decided to try adding iodine to the salt in order to eliminate goiters in school children and it worked.  This is how we obtained iodized salt.

Goiter Belt

After the release of a research paper in 1948 which described a phenomenon called the “Wolff-Chaikoff effect”, iododphobia (as Dr Guy Abraham describes it) became rampant.  In this paper, they described how ingesting “too much” iodine would shut down the thyroid hormone creation process causing hypothyroidism.  The problem was that it was a transient event and the levels eventually normalized.  An update to this research was posted at a later date but the damage had already been done.   Even today this study is used as defense against milligram supplementation of iodine.  You can read more about this in Dr Guy Abraham’s article, The Wolff-Chaikoff Effect:  Crying Wolf.  Because of the W-C effect fear, the usage of iodine in foods became less and less and with its restriction came an increase in thyroid disease.

When the thyroid gland has too little iodine, the result can be goiter, nodules, cysts, hypothryoidism, hyperthryoidism, autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimotos and Graves) and at its worst, thyroid cancer.

Iodine is antimicrobial, antibacterial, anticancer, antiparasitical, and antiviral.  It’s a powerhouse in an element.

Today, there are a few doctors who are returning to the old methods of supplementation and discovering the amazing benefits.  Many patients are going it alone because finding support in the medical arena can prove to be challenging.  That is why I created the Facebook Iodine group in 2009.  It now has almost 13,000 members.  It exists to teach individuals about the benefits of iodine supplementation and how to put it into practice safely and effectively.

You can join us by going to the IODINE Facebook group.

If you want to get a head start on reading about iodine, you can download the guide to supplementing that I share on my group.  It is located in the resources of this site.

Next blog post:  Thyroid Disease and Iodine

23May/14

Thyroid Cancer 9 Years Have Passed

 

Today marks 9 years since I had my last radioactive iodine (RAI) treatment. I use that term loosely because the definition of treatment is medical care given to a patient for illness or injury. Radioactive iodine is not caring. It is destructive. I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer in March 2000.  After that time I was submitted to 2 partial thryoidectomies (March & April 2000) because my doctor didn’t know what he was doing.  He neglected to do a frozen section to check for malignancy before closing me back up so I had to go back in and have the rest of my thyroid removed in order to have the RAI treatment.

On May 26th, 2000 I received 100 mCis of RAI that I was assured would take care of the cancer and allow me to continue my life with the addition of a little pill (Synthroid).  I was so naive.  I had no idea that radioactive iodine is the cause of cancer.  When there are nuclear reactors that leak or meltdown it is I-131 (the same isotope I was given) that is released and the reason why the government will hand out potassium iodide to protect the thyroid gland from radiation damage.

I was sent home after taking the I-131 capsule.  It was so toxic that the technician didnt even handle the prescription bottle.  It arrived in a lead cylinder with a screw on top.  She removed the bottle with tongs and handed it to me.  I was forced to take it with water and then show that it was no longer in my mouth like a child.  I would remain in isolation in my home for 10 days due to being radioactive.  My son was 6 mos old at the time.   Here is a link to a detailed post on my first RAI.

In years past, patients were required to stay in the hospital in isolation.  All items that entered into the hospital room were not allowed to leave.  All food scraps were placed in a special garbage can and disposed of separately.   No one entered the room for up to 5 days.  Then someone would come into the room with a Geiger counter to check for radiation levels before the patient could be discharged.  Now the NRC believes it is safe to be sent home to radiate your family and pets.

In January 2001, my new doctor declared that I still had cancer because my first doctor treated me incorrectly.  So I returned for another round of RAI.  This time 150 mCis.  My  son was  now 15 mos old.  I once again went into isolation at my home.  The treatment was rougher than the last one.  You can read the full experience on my blog post.

Things seemed to go well for the next few years.  I had my second baby in June 2002.  I did OK but was always fatigued and dealing with anxiety.  I thought that I had put the cancer behind me.  But then in 2005 it happened again.  I heard the words Your cancer is back and you need more RAI.  This time I would receive 250 mCis of RAI and would be sent home again to my almost 3 yr old and 5  yr old.  They did not understand why mom could not be with them for 10 days.  I purchased 10 dollar store toys for each to open one per day so that they could count the remaining gifts to know how long before mom could be with them again.  It seems like yesterday, yet it seems like a dream.  This treatment was the the last RAI I could receive because it put me at the maximum lifetime dose.  I never want to go through that form of treatment again.  It was truly hell on earth.  That part of my story can be read here.    I thought I had finally conquered it.. or so I hoped.

Then in January 2006, I heard the words I didnt want to hear.  Your markers are up again and we need to consider external beam radiation.  I had a ThyCa friend who had traveled the same path I had traveled.  Three RAIs (failed) and then external beam.  Except he died after the external beam.  I could not bear to leave my 3 & 5 year old w/o a mother.  As I wept in the parking lot after my endocrinologist appointment I heard a gentle voice tell me  I have given  you all you need to heal.  You just need to find someone to help you.   The next day I made an appointment with Dr Brownstein and by August of 2009 I was cancer free no external beam radiation.

Today I celebrate the 9 years since my last radiation treatment.  I praise God for healing me with his perfect provision.

Psalm 118:17 (KJV)

17 I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.