I have supported the iodine protocol since January of 2007. Between my Yahoo group and my Facebook group there have been well over 30,000 people that have crossed my path. In that time I have helped individuals to understand the importance of iodine and using the correct supporting nutrients to ensure that the body was well balanced in magnesium, selenium, vitamin C and unrefined salt. The dosages of iodine ranged from 6.25 mgs to 100 mgs (in some very rare cases). Some individuals used liquid Lugol’s formula and others preferred the tablets like LugoTabs or Iodoral.
I’m often asked “How much iodine should I start taking?” That’s not an easy question to answer. Everyone has specific needs based on their own health conditions. What I can tell you is that the iodine doctors I have talked to and worked with, on average, put their patients on 12.5 mg to 25 mgs per day. In even more rare cases they have them on 50 mgs. And still rarer cases, as in those patients with cancer, they will push it up to 100 – 300 mgs. But understand this… they don’t take this decision lightly.
I am seeing a VERY troubling trend. While I don’t fear iodine I do see people going from zero to 60 in their dosing of iodine. They don’t even give their current dose a chance to show any benefits. You didn’t get sick overnight and you won’t magically eliminate all or your ailments with iodine by adding insane amounts in 2 weeks time. I see so many people come to my iodine group saying “I started on 12.5 mgs but I want to get to 125 mgs by the end of the month or in the next 2-3 weeks”. WHY? There is absolutely no science behind this. It takes 3-4 mos on average to increase the levels of any nutrient when supplementing. I recently had another group member tell me she was taking 200 drops of 5% solution (1250 mgs). When I asked her what science was behind that she pointed to an iodine doctor recommending it. NO WAY! I know this doctor and there has never been a time when that amount has been recommended – not even for cancer. STOP THIS INSANITY!!
I’ll tell you a little of my story. I had thyroid cancer and went to see Dr Brownstein, a top iodine doctor, in February 2006. I had active cancer with increasing cancer markers. He did a full lab panel of 26 vials of blood. He put me on 50 mgs of Iodoral. Did you see that? FIFTY MILLIGRAMS. I had cancer too! I was on this dose for about 9 mos and then we did a loading test. He already knew I was depleted because of my thyroid cancer so he saw no need to test. He did do a spot test through Quest and it was very low. After my 24 hour loading test, my saturation showed 60%. Dr Abraham stated that an individual should reach 90% saturation if all was working properly within 6 mos to a year. So Dr B increased my dosage to 75 mgs because of this level and my cancer markers were not budging. I stayed on this dose until the following October when we then increased it to 100 mgs and then eventually 6 mos after that 125 mgs as we saw my cancer markers begin to recede. I also tested for and was positive for a symporter defect (Saliva / serum test available on Hakala Labs’s website with doctors orders) which meant it was harder for my body to take in iodine. I finally eliminated cancer in March 2009. Since then I have maintained 100 mgs with some time of lower amounts of 50 mgs. I did retest about a year after my first test and then I went to 66% but I was dumping large amounts of bromide. Insane amounts – 65 mgs / L (toxic is over 5 mgs / L) at a dosage of 100 mgs.
In a world where everyone is a click away from information, drive thru food, and microwave meals that all offer instant gratification I think it’s feeding into this insanity. What does it hurt to take these high levels of iodine? Well maybe a lot. I understand that it is difficult to find an iodine literate doctor and you need to go it alone. That doesn’t mean you get to be reckless.
When you take in high doses of iodine you will be releasing toxins. These toxins are halides. Things like fluoride and bromide. You can also release things like lead and mercury according to Dr Abraham’s urine analysis. When these toxins come out of the body it is very hard on the liver and kidneys. The average person has never done a liver cleanse so the odds of it being very congested are high. So by pushing hard with your iodine you are hammering those much needed organs unnecessarily. The liver coincidentally is where thyroid hormones FT4 are converted to the active FT3 hormones. So if the liver is congested you are going to struggle to make enough FT3 and your thyroid labs may become worse. The kidneys have to filter the toxins from the blood and then eliminate it in the urine. The average individual has no idea how to support their kidneys either. Then there are the adrenals. What leads many people to iodine is a low thyroid or fatigue. In most cases they have adrenal fatigue from their thyroid being poorly / under treated. So when they begin to detox it stresses the body and this beats the adrenals down. Then they have symptoms like anxiety, depression, fatigue, weight gain and more.
So what happens when this happens. I see “I felt so good on high doses and now I don’t – should I increase again?” The answer is probably… NO! You felt good because your body hadn’t gotten overloaded yet. You have now pushed so many toxins out in the blood stream that it is completely overwhelmed and in an effort to protect you from these toxins it’s looking for places to store them to protect your brain. So it goes to the fatty tissues (you gain weight) and then it kicks up the inflammation to buffer the toxins so you get that aching feeling. Then your adrenals scream at you to stop. And yet the insanity continues where people push more iodine. What your body cannot use it flush out so you are now peeing out iodine that you took in for no good reason.
Iodine then gets a bad rap for “damaging” someone. Iodine didn’t do it – you did by being totally out of control with your dosage.
So what do you do?
First – Order a 24 Hour Iodine Loading Test with bromide and fluoride levels from Hakala Labs. Once you get these numbers you know if you are toxic in halides and what your current saturation level is. This gives you a starting point to know where you stand. You don’t have to do this but it’s like nailing jello to the wall in deciding what is appropriate when going it alone.
Second – Consider getting a 4x diurnal Saliva Cortisol test ($129 currently). Knowing if / when your adrenals are struggling can help you target the times of day you need to take support.
Third – Start with a normal dosage and stick to it. I’ve seen the best results in people taking 25 mgs – 50 mgs / day. I’m not telling anyone to do this. I am just saying that in the 13 years I have helped people, when the dosages remained reasonable, this is where people ended up. Stick with this dosage for 6 mos – a year and retest with a 24 hour iodine loading test to see how you are doing. Are you eliminating toxins? A lot of the time saturation can go down while toxin release increases. This is good to know. Because you can make better decisions. You at least know that what you are doing is moving in the right direction.
Fourth – If you are fighting cancer then it may be appropriate to consider doses in the 50 mg – 100 mgs range. But this should not be taken lightly. Cancer patients tend to be very toxic and nutrient deficient. This is a recipe for disaster when pushing toxins out too quickly. I spent a lot of time detoxing and increasing nutrient levels (2 years) before I even went to see Dr Brownstein. So by the time I saw him I only had my amalgams to remove and chelate from. We also did some hormone balancing but otherwise I was in good shape to begin to work on the iodine side of things.
There are a few people out on the internet / Facebook that are self proclaimed experts on iodine. They are the ones recommending insane amounts of iodine. Be very careful. If you encounter one of these people ask them how iodine moves through the body. Have them describe the chemical reactions that occur in the thyroid. What happens in the breast tissue when various things are happening in a woman’s body. If they cannot tell you this then you need to move on. I know someone like this recommending 100 mgs to pregnant women. This individual stole my Guide to Supplementing and put their business logo on it, changed some things to be dangerous advice and when I confronted them, they claimed they didn’t know where the information came from. The iodine doctors (Flechas, Abraham and Brownstein) all researched and determined that 12.5 mgs was the safe amount that could be ingested to avoid any possible detox being pushed to the baby or even too much iodine.
This isn’t a game and what you are doing, you need to understand. It’s not something to fear but if you get good results on a lower dose, increasing more and more and faster and faster isn’t the answer to success either. You can’t hurry health.