Iodine, a Critical Nutrient

Iodine, a Critical Nutrient

Research indicates that the entire world population is deficient in iodine, even if iodized salt is part of one’s diet.

Research indicates that the entire world population is deficient in iodine, even if iodized salt is part of one’s diet.

by Dr. Larry Wilson — 

One of the most important and overlooked minerals today is iodine. Iodine is needed by the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones, and it is also necessary for every tissue in the body.


Iodine deficiency is extremely widespread 

Research indicates that the entire world population is deficient in iodine, even if iodized salt is part of one’s diet. Dr. David Brownstein, an iodine specialist, found that 96 percent of his patients had low levels of iodine, which is a major factor for cancer, hormone problems and more.

Several reasons exist for deficiencies.

1. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) guideline is much too low. The current RDA is 150mcg, which may be enough to prevent a goiter, but it is not enough for optimal health. The ideal dosage of iodine should be much higher, probably between 5 and 15mg daily.

2. Good sources of iodine do not exist. Iodine is a relatively rare mineral that is not found in many land-based foods at all, such as vegetables, meats, dairy products, fruits or others. The best sources are found in foods from the sea.

3. Exposure to iodine antagonists. This is a major factor in iodine deficiency and is discussed below.

4. Many people are told by doctors to limit or avoid salt. For many people, iodized salt is one of their few sources of iodine, besides foods from the sea. Refined table salt is a junk food that is best avoided; however, unrefined sea salt is an excellent source of minerals, including some iodine.

6. Iodine is no longer added to commercial breads. Until the 1980s, iodine was routinely used as a dough conditioner in commercial bakeries. This actually provided a significant amount of extra iodine for many people. Due to fears about getting too much iodine (which were probably fabricated), the government forced bakers to stop using it and instead use bromine, a poison, to make bread.


Iodine antagonists

Iodine is a member of the halogen family of elements, which includes fluorine, bromine and chlorine, among others. This is important because:

1. Halogens compete with each other for absorption and even utilization in iodine-binding sites in the thyroid gland and everywhere else in the body. This occurs because all of the halogens “look alike” at an atomic level, so they tend to bind to receptors similarly and can therefore replace each other.

2. Our environment is literally swimming in the iodine antagonists.

• Bromine, a poison, is used in making many kinds of bread. It is also used as a sanitizer in some pools and hot tubs. It is found in soft drinks, such as Mountain Dew®, Crystal Light®, Sprite®, Gatorade® and ginger ale.

• Chlorine, another poison, is added to most drinking water and food. Chlorine bleach is added to refined flour to make it whiter. The food industry uses it to sanitize fruit and other foods before shipping. It is also used in the paper-making industry and others. In short, chlorine is everywhere.

• Fluoride is found in tap water. Highly toxic fluoride compounds are still added to tap water in many cities in America, even though they do not reduce cavities. Fluoride compounds have found their way into all our water supplies and, from there, into all our food. The rest of the world has stopped this horrendous practice.


Iodine effects 

Iodine helps remove toxic metals, toxic chemicals and the iodine antagonists (bromine, chlorine and fluorides). It often helps thyroid problems of all kinds, although care must be taken if one has Grave’s disease or hyperthyroidism.

Iodine also helps the body fight off many types of infection. It acts as an antioxidant nutrient, and may help prevent and heal cancers.


Iodine and thyroid hormone replacement

Medical research indicates that thyroid hormone replacement therapy worsens iodine deficiency. This is important to know. Also, it is my experience, as well as that of Brownstein and other iodine specialists, that supplementing a person with iodine or kelp in the proper amounts, along with a complete natural healing program, often reduces and may completely eliminate the need for thyroid hormone replacement.

Conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and even Grave’s disease can go away on their own when the body is brought into better overall balance and health.


Assessing iodine in the body

Sadly, most doctors do not measure iodine levels and completely ignore it. However, a doctor can measure it one of three ways:

1. The blood serum iodine level. This is not always accurate, but may be helpful.

2. The oral iodine-loading test. Brownstein recommends taking 50mg of iodine in a pill or liquid form. Then all urine is collected for 24 hours. The urine is sent to a specialized laboratory to calculate the percentage of iodine the body excreted from the loading dose given. It should be at least 90 percent. Most people are extremely depleted, however, and do not reach a 90 percent level.

3. The iodine patch test.  A much simpler, although somewhat less accurate test, is to paint some iodine on your forearm and then wait and see how long it takes for the body to absorb the patch or spot. This is very simple, can be done at home at practically no cost and gives a good general idea of your iodine status.

To do the test, simply buy some liquid iodine, such as SSKI, and paint a two-inch square on the inside of the arm. It should not disappear in less than a few days. However, for most people, it is quickly absorbed and disappears within a few hours, indicating a severe need for iodine.


Assessment and nutritional balancing programs 

In my experience, it is unnecessary to assess iodine status if one uses a nontoxic form of iodine supplementation, such as kelp. I find few people who cannot take up to six 600mg capsules of Nature’s Way® or Endo-Met™ Laboratories kelp each day.

The only exceptions are in places where people eat a lot of seafood and seaweed. These people, living in places such as Japan, are generally healthier and may only need three kelp capsules daily. It is surprising to me that they need kelp supplements at all, since they already ingest a lot of iodine. Perhaps they need the other minerals in kelp, rather than the iodine.

Nutritional balancing programs supply a maximum of about 8.5mg of iodine. (This includes taking six kelp capsules daily, six Megapan tablets and six Thyro Complex™ capsules daily.) This seems to be enough. By contrast, Brownstein gives between 12mg and 50mg of Iodoral®. This is a synthetic product, so more may be required. Nutritional balancing may also contribute to better body chemistry and, therefore, less iodine may be needed.


The recommended adult dosage of kelp is about 3600mg to 4000mg daily. This is usually given as six 660mg capsules daily. Some adults need a little more than this, while others need a little less.

The recommended adult dosage of kelp is about 3600mg to 4000mg daily. This is usually given as six 660mg capsules daily. Some adults need a little more than this, while others need a little less.

Iodine supplementation principles 

1. Everyone needs extra supplementary iodine. This is one mineral you cannot get from your food, unless you were to consume a lot of fish and seaweed, but this would give you so much mercury you could die from it.

Please do not listen to doctors, nutritionists or anyone else who claim that you get enough iodine from your food. They may have learned this in school, but in my experience and that of many others, they are entirely wrong. Even worse, it could cost you your life, since iodine deficiency is associated with a greater incidence of cancers, strokes and other serious health problems.

2. It is important to supplement with both forms of iodine. This is easy to do using kelp or other preparations.

3. Chemical forms of iodine are somewhat toxic. Here I differ from many doctors who recommend potassium iodide, elemental iodine in water and other chemical forms of it. They say these are not toxic, but my research indicates that they can be a little toxic, and they can build up in the body.

As a result, I prefer kelp as an iodine supplement. Brownstein, whom I greatly respect, and some other natural doctors prefer to use iodine pills such as Iodoral, or liquids such as Lugol’s solution. Other natural doctors prefer supplements, such as Prolamine Iodine, Liqui-Dulse or others. These are also somewhat toxic, in my experience, or have other problems.

The recommended adult dosage of kelp is about 3600mg to 4000mg daily. This is usually given as six 660mg capsules daily. Some adults need a little more than this, while others need a little less. Children definitely need less. If there is a reaction to this much kelp, it is usually a healing reaction. Just begin with a pinch and work up.

4. Fish and seafood are not the best iodine supplements. Although these foods are excellent sources of iodine, most fish — and even more so shellfish — are very high in mercury today. In fact, mercury replaces iodine in the body.

As a result, I cannot recommend eating fish, except 3 to 4 cans of sardines, weekly. This is an excellent food, especially the boneless sardines, because they are so small they do not have time to accumulate nearly as much mercury. They are also always wild caught and are cooked promptly after they are caught.

However, they do not provide enough iodine to supply our supplemental needs today. So even with three to four cans of sardines weekly, another form of iodine supplement is always needed.


Reactions to iodine supplements

Occasionally, a client reports that taking kelp or another iodine supplement causes nausea, vomiting, upset stomach or some other symptoms. In my experience, this is a healing reaction, and in 99 percent of the cases, it is not an allergy to iodine, as I frequently hear from some doctors.

This reaction occurs because the iodine begins to interfere with and remove the iodine antagonists — bromides, chlorides and fluorides. This is the cause of the reaction and little else.

In almost all cases, if one simply reduces the dosage and begins with a small amount — one capsule daily or less — the symptoms will go away. Then, over a period of weeks or a few months, if necessary, slowly increase the dosage until the full dosage of kelp is reached.


Giving iodine to a person with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Millions of people have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is associated with hypothyroidism. I regularly give kelp to everyone who has Hashimoto’s disease. No problems occur, and it hastens the healing of the Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Beware of Internet articles that say one must not take iodine in this situation. Perhaps this is true if one does not follow a complete nutritional balancing program. I always recommend using kelp along with a complete healing program, and it has worked well.


Giving iodine to babies and children 

I do not suggest giving iodine to babies, as a general rule. I do give it to some children around age 4 and older, as they can be born low in iodine due to a deficiency in their mothers.

These children usually take about half a kelp capsule daily (about 300mg), and a higher dose is given to older children without any problems. Most experience greater energy and an enhanced oxidation rate.


Giving iodine with both slow and fast oxidation

Some people ask if iodine can be taken if one is a fast or a slow oxidizer. The answer is “yes.” While some articles indicate that iodine can inhibit the thyroid gland, at times, I find that both fast and slow oxidizers improve with kelp.

The likely reason is that both metabolic types are usually iodine deficient. A fast oxidation rate in an adult, for example, is always a stress situation that quickly resolves to slow oxidation as the body is renourished and detoxified. To read more about the oxidation types, visit


Taking iodine in cases of Grave’s Disease

Most people with Grave’s disease or hyperthyroidism (an excessively high level of thyroid hormones) cannot take much kelp, in my experience. They may need more iodine, but it must be used cautiously until the Grave’s disease is gone, which can take several months or more on a nutritional balancing program.


Dangers in researching iodine on the Internet

Please be careful with relying on the Internet for information about iodine, as I believe most of it is totally incorrect. For more on this important topic, please read “Internet Research” at


Dr. Lawrence Wilson has a medical degree and has been in the health field for more than 25 years. His books include Nutritional Balancing and Hair Mineral Analysis, Legal Guidelines for Unlicensed Practitioners, Healing Ourselves and Manual of Sauna Therapy and The Real Self. He also co-authored Toxic Metals in Human Health and Disease and contributed to The Dangers of Socialized Medicine. or 928-445-7690.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 34, Number 4, August/September 2015.

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