Iodine — Frequently Asked Questions

“Iodine is found in each of the trillions of cells in the body. Without adequate iodine levels, life itself is not possible.”—Dr. Brownstein
BOOK: David Brownstein, Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It

Iodine is responsible for the production of thyroid hormone and all other hormones of the body. Adequate iodine levels are required for proper immune system function. Iodine contains potent antibacterial, antiparasitic, antiviral and anticancer properties. Conversely, iodine deficiency predisposes one to an increased risk of breast, prostate, endometrial and ovarian cancer. [Brownstein]

Iodine is a substance that the body requires to function but cannot create unless ingested. It is for this reason most of the world’s population is iodine deficient. Iodine is found in coastal regions; without a diet relying on maritime nutrition, iodine can be a difficult commodity to produce.

The CDC did a national study throughout the United States in 1974 and again in 2018 and found that over 90% of the U.S. population was iodine deficient and up to 74% were severely deficient. [NHANES I - 1974, and NHANES II - 2000, CDC] According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1.5 billion people live in an area of iodine deficiency. [Manner]

Diets that may cause Iodine deficiency:
~ Diets without ocean fish or sea vegetables
~ Inadequate use of iodized salt including low-sodium diets
~ Diets high in the consumption of bakery products (e.g. breads, pasta) which contain bromide**
~ Vegan and Vegetarian diets

**Bromine is a halide (iodine, fluoride and chloride). Halides compete with one another for absorption and receptor binding in the body. Bromine interferes with iodine utilization in the thyroid as well as wherever else iodine would concentrate in the body. [Brownstein p46] Bromide is the reduced form of bromine.

The soil around the oceans generally contains adequate amounts of iodine. Iodine is mostly prevalent around the coastal regions and can be found on rocks near the shore. Sea waves breaking on the shore also cause iodine gas to be released and then deposited in the soil around the coast. Iodine can then be sourced from the soil along the coastline. Seaweed is also another incredible source of iodine as it has the ability to store iodine in concentrated amounts in its cells. Harvesting iodine from seaweed is one of the most effective and efficient ways to source iodine. Conversely, areas away from coastal regions tend to be deficient in iodine and create a greater need for iodine supplementation.

The French physician Jean Guillaume August Lugol developed Lugol’s Iodine Solution in 1829 initially as a cure for tuberculosis. Lugol’s solution is iodine and potassium iodide combined with distilled water. It has been used as a disinfectant and various medical applications and by the 1920s became the standard preoperative treatment for patients with Graves’ disease and used as a pretreatment to thyroid surgery. Lugol’s Iodine solution is still relevant in the medical community and is still commonplace for medical and supplementation purposes.

Different tissues in the body respond to different forms of iodine. The thyroid gland primarily utilizes iodide while breast tissue primarily utilizes iodine. Because different tissues concentrate on different forms of iodine, using a supplement that contains both iodide and iodine is preferable to using a supplement that contains only one form.

Both liquid and capsules provide 12.5mg of iodine per serving (containing both potassium iodide and iodine). The capsules are an easy solution and also contain additional supplements (Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin B1, Vitamin C and Fulvic acid) to better support absorption of iodine. Lugol’s Liquid iodine has the added benefit of incremental dosing: increasing the ability to increase or decrease the amount of iodine required for a specific dose but does not contain the additional cofactors.

The liquid form of Dr. Tennant’s Lugol’s Iodine does contain the same Lugol’s 2% Iodine solution containing both iodine, potassium iodide and distilled water. Dr. Tennant’s Lugol’s Iodine capsules provide Lugol's solution in capsule form and adds Selenium, Zinc, Vitamin B1, Vitamin C and Fulvic acid to provide a comprehensive solution for the body to best absorb and transport iodine to all the cells of the body.

The amount of iodine in iodized salt is not sufficient for the body’s overall needs. There are 77 micrograms (μg) of iodine per gram of iodized salt. An individual’s average salt intake is five grams per day, which would be 385 μg per day of iodine. Urine tests actually show lower levels than this estimate, primarily because the iodine in iodized salt is only about 10% bioavailable.

Medical school teaches that the existing iodine in salt is adequate. However, sea salt, which many people use, contains very little iodine. The current recommended daily allowance (RDA) for adults is 150-220 μg per day, a recommendation developed in 1924 based on findings of goiter prevention studies. This RDA is only the amount that helps prevent goiter and is typically not sufficient for the entire body’s needs. This amount is specifically inadequate to help prevent cancer. The body needs 100 times this RDA alone to produce iodolactone, which is required for normal cell apoptosis.

The thyroid alone needs five to seven milligrams (mg) a day of iodine and is first in line for iodine from the diet. That was milligrams, not micrograms; five to seven milligrams is equivalent to 5,000 to 7,000 micrograms. The current RDA for iodine is a fraction of this (150-220 μg). In terms of how much iodine the thyroid gland needs is more than 31 times the recommended amount of 220 μg per day! Breast tissue and reproductive tissues require a similar amount. Without adequate iodine, breast and other reproductive tissues can develop fibroids. Every tissue in the body requires iodine!

Clearly, the current RDA is not enough. Many healthcare practitioners now use 12.5 mg daily as the current standard for adult supplementation. It is important to work with your practitioner to determine your unique needs. Iodine does have contraindications, especially for patients who may have developed autoimmune thyroid disease. Iodine testing is an important tool to help determine an individual’s ideal iodine level.

RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance established to prevent goiter) is not enough iodine to promote optimal thyroid, endocrine and immune system functioning. RDA is also inadequate to prevent cancer.

RDA for Iodine: [Brownstein p41]
Life Stage – RDA
Adult Male – 150μg/d
Adult Female – 150μg/d
Pregnancy – 220μg/d
Lactation – 290μg/d

Iodine and iodide are great for balancing the thyroid and other hormones throughout the body. Studies have shown that the end use of iodine can be greatly improved by adding zinc and selenium (to help the body absorb) and fulvic acid (to help transport iodine through all of the cells in the body). Dr. Tennant’s Lugol’s Iodine Liquid is just the iodine and iodide solution. Dr. Tennant’s Iodine Plus capsules contain the added vitamins and minerals to increase the overall effectiveness of iodine when ingested.

The majority of iodine in the body is concentrated in the thyroid gland. T3 and T4 are thyroid hormones. The “4” and “3” in T4 and T3 refer to the number of iodine molecules present. Without adequate iodine levels, the thyroid gland is unable to produce adequate thyroid hormone. The end result of iodine deficiency can be a poorly functioning thyroid gland, goiter, increased autoimmune thyroid problems, and increased risk of thyroid cancer. [Brownstein p128-129]

Please consult your pediatrician for appropriate use and specific dosing for children.

Every cell in the body contains and utilizes iodine. The thyroid gland contains a higher concentration of iodine than any other organ in the body, however iodine is concentrated throughout the glandular system of the body.

When an adequate level of iodine is present in the body, hormone regulation, immune system function and cellular generation are made possible. If an iodine deficiency is present, glandular tissue requiring the concentrated use of iodine takes iodine from neighboring cells creating a deficit in those cells. This deficit causes impaired cellular regeneration and can play a critical role in the development of hormone regulation, immune support, energy regulation and autoimmune disorders at the cellular level.

Dr. Tennant’s Lugol’s Iodine Plus capsules are able to be taken without Restore, as they do contain the appropriate levels of coenzymes to help with proper iodine metabolization. Dr. Tennant however does recommend that Iodine, Raw Materials, Digestive Enzymes and Restore, as well as Neo40 (if over the age of 40) should be taken as a complete system for optimal cellular regeneration.

Yes. Iodine is one of Dr. Tennant’s Core Products and is suggested to be taken to compliment Dr. Tennant’s Restore. Iodine plays a critical role in cellular development but because of the unique nature of this element, iodine does not store well on the shelf with other products. Iodine can be taken with other food and supplements (excluding probiotics) and interacts well when ingested. Iodine does not however, react well with other products when stored in the same canister over a period of time and for this reason is stored and sold in a separate container.

Iodine reduces thyroid hormone and can kill other microorganisms such as fungi or bacteria. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that help with the process of digestion by managing the bacteria in the digestive tract. Adding iodine to this process may reduce the effectiveness of the probiotic and as a result should be taken at different intervals. Iodine and probiotics should be taken no less than 2-3 hours apart.

Iodine is a natural substance the body requires to function but is rarely achieved without supplementation. Iodine does react well with food, however when considering the use of iodine with medication, always consult with your healthcare practitioner for appropriate use and specific dosing.

Iodine is usually taken in the morning. Some people have reported that taking iodine later in the day has kept them awake at night.

6 eggs
11 cups of strawberries
2 large eggplants
2 oz (1/8 cup) of sea kelp (sea kelp also contains selenium)

90% of all hypothyroid issues are related to Hashimoto’s disease. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition where the thyroid has antibodies that attack itself (thyroid). This is an immune dysfunction but can present as a thyroid problem and also effects the thyroid significantly.

Common result: Patient sees doctor for thyroid issues and ‘Synthroid’ or another prescription to support the thyroid is prescribed and the root of the problem is not solved.

Hashimoto’s Disease was the first disease ever to be recognized as an autoimmune disorder. Dr. Hakaru Hashimoto, a Japanese physician, studied histology samples from surgically excised thyroids as part of his M.D. thesis in 1912. The disease was later named after him.

Hashimoto’s is frequently diagnosed as depression, bipolar disorder, PMS, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or another autoimmune disease. Hashimoto’s can be hereditary and is more common in women than in men. It is most likely to surface between 45–65 years of age, though it can happen at any age.

Hashimoto’s Disease can be caused by nutritional deficiencies such as iodine, selenium, iron, and zinc. Gluten and other inflammatory foods can also cause it and should be removed from the diet immediately. These types of food include corn, wheat, soy, dairy, sugar, artificial sweeteners, yeast, and anything that is considered to be GMO (genetically modified).

The Link Between Gut Health and Hashimoto’s
Thyroid-Gut-Axis: How Does the Microbiota Influence Thyroid Function?
[National Library of Medicine-MDPI Nutrients: 2020]

Up to 70% of your immune system is located in your digestive tract. If you have imbalances in your gut bacteria (dysbiosis), inflammation, or other disorders, it is much more likely that you will suffer from an autoimmune disease which includes Hashimoto’s. In fact, if you already have another autoimmune disorder, you are at increased risk for developing Hashimoto’s Disease.

When the gut is unhealthy, the lining of the intestines can become compromised. Instead of it having a smooth appearance and acting as a barrier to keep toxins out, unhealthy bacteria or yeast (candida) can cause microscopic holes in the lining. This allows toxins, undigested food particles, and waste products to seep through. Not only does this create inflammation throughout the body, but also in the gut itself. Because the body’s role is to defend itself against invaders, it even begins to attack itself which creates autoimmune diseases including Hashimoto’s Disease. Other auto-immune responses can include:

~ GI issues including bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and pain in the abdomen
~ Leaky gut syndrome
~ Nutrient malabsorption
~ MS
~ Lupus
~ Type 1 Diabetes
~ Fibromyalgia
~ Celiac Disease
~ Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Most doctors test TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) which can give some indication as to whether the Thyroid gland is over or under-producing. Not only is this system of testing antiquated, but it also mainly gives an indication of how the pituitary gland is signaling the thyroid. If there’s not enough T3 available to the cells, the pituitary is going to signal the thyroid gland to produce more and more T4. Some doctors also test the T4 hormone levels, however, this is the inactive form of Thyroid hormone. These two tests will not show other disorders of the thyroid such as the inability to convert T4 into T3, Hashimoto’s, or a condition known as Reverse T3.

The conventional medicine approach to treat a thyroid problem is to prescribe Synthroid or Levothyroxine which are both drug versions of the T4 hormone. This happens time and time again even though the only thing that has been tested is the TSH level and possibly, T4.

This is why we see so many patients who are both frustrated with the medical community and don’t understand why they don’t feel any better. A TSH test will never reveal if a person isn’t converting T4 into T3, and they will continue to get sicker and sicker. Additionally, a TSH test is never going to identify Hashimoto’s since it is an autoimmune condition.

Hashimoto’s Disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland. In order for it to be diagnosed correctly, there are two specific tests that detect elevated amounts of antibodies in the blood that need to be run. The presence of thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO) and Thyroglobulin (TGab) antibodies will indicate whether or not the thyroid dysfunction is autoimmune or not. Treatment protocol differs for Hashimoto’s patients.