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Iodine – How It Works, and Why People Are Scared of It

Iodine – How It Works, and Why People Are Scared of It

June 10, 2023


This week, on A Different Perspective, Dr. Steph Tilden talks about iodine and why the fear of it is so overblown. Why are people afraid of this element, and why does the body need it? 


  • Of all the elements known to be essential for human health, iodine is the most misunderstood and feared. Yet iodine is the safest of all the essential trace elements, being the only one that can be administered safely to large numbers of patients in daily amounts as high as 100,000 times the RDA. 
  • Found in every cell of your body 
  • Essential for thyroid hormones 
  • Needed for an optimally functioning immune response 
  • “Salt-forming.” 
  • The body cannot make it. 
  • Seldom appears as the element, but rather, the salt: Iodide. 
  • Other halogens 
    • Bromine 
      • Competes for iodine receptors. 
      • No use in your body 
      • Toxic 
      • Where you get it 
        • Meds 
        • Bread 
        • Soda — Mountain Dew 
      • Symptoms  
        • Digestive issues 
        • Rashes 
        • Acne 
        • Psych conditions 
        • Fatigue 
        • Loss of appetite 
        • Metallic taste in your mouth 
        • Cardiac arrhythmia  
        • Acute paranoia 
        • Headaches 
        • Dull, apathetic, irritable, depressed 
      • More toxic when in combination with an iodine deficiency  
    • Fluorine  
      • Competes for Iodine receptors. 
      • More toxic when in combination with an iodine deficiency  
      • Does little to protect against cavities. 
      • Linked to 
        • Arthritis 
        • Hypothyroidism  
        • Kidney disease 
        • Cancer (bones) 
        • Male infertility 
      • Where? 
        • Water 
        • Toothpaste & dentistry 
        • Meds 
          • SSRIs 
          • Anti-anxiety 
          • Proton pump inhibitors 
          • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories 
          • Steroids 
  • Actions of Iodine 
    • Antibacterial 
    • Antimycotic 
    • Anticancer 
    • Antiparasitic 
    • Mucolytic 
    • Antiseptic 
  • Therapeutic Uses of Iodine:
    • ADD/ADHD 
    • Breast diseases 
    • Mucolytic 
    • Fatigue 
    • Thyroid disorders 
    • Goiters 
    • Migraines 
    • Hypertension 
    • Atherosclerosis 
    • Infections 
    • Liver disease 
    • Kidney disease 
    • Ovarian disease 
    • Prostate disorders 
    • Thyroid disorders 
    • Dupuytren’s contracture 
    • Peyronie’s disease
    • Hemorrhoids 
  • Where Can You Find Iodine? 
    • Soil near the ocean 
    • Bread, white, enriched, made with iodate dough conditioner, 2 slices**  
    • Bread, whole-wheat, made with iodate dough conditioner, 2 slices** 
    • Cod, baked, 3 ounces. 
    • Seaweed, nori, dried, 2 tablespoons, flaked (5 g) 
    • Oysters, cooked, 3 ounces. 
    • Yogurt, Greek, plain, nonfat, ¼ cup 
    • Milk, nonfat, 1 cup iodized table salt, ¼ teaspoon. 
    • Fish sticks, cooked, 3 ounces. 
    • Pasta, enriched, boiled in water with iodized salt, 1 cup. 
    • Ice cream, chocolate, ⅔ cup 
    • Egg, hard-boiled, 1 large
    • Cheese, cheddar, 1 ounce 
    • Liver, beef, cooked, 3 ounces. 
    • Shrimp, cooked, 3 ounces. 
    • Tuna, canned in water, drained, 3 ounces. 
  • Iodized salt 

What is everyone so scared of? 

    • Increases thyroid hormone production. 
    • Can lead to hyperthyroidism
    • Iodine deficiency will lead to your body changing how it works, so when you give it what it needs, not in the right way, it will react. 
    • Detoxification of bromine can look like hyperthyroidism.  
  • RDA is the bare minimum to prevent a goiter. 
    • RDA is 150 mcg = 1.5 milligrams  
    • Japan and Korea have about 12 milligrams.
    • PubMed says that in healthy individuals, high iodine intakes are usually well-tolerated and don’t cause problems; this has been observed in countries such as Japan and Korea.
    • “But some people with autoimmune thyroid disease or who have a history of chronic iodine deficiency can be sensitive to receiving extra iodine, inducing conditions of iodine deficiency like hypothyroidism and goiter. … Sometimes even just a slight increase in dietary iodine above the RDA can cause iodine-induced hyperthyroidism in sensitive individuals.” 
      • Because the body has adapted and functions differently. 
  • The thyroid uses 70-80% of the available iodine in the body. 
  • Women have more thyroid issues than men. 
    • Men have more available iodine. 
    • Why? 
      • The ovaries are where the second highest concentration of iodine is in your body. 
      • Breast tissue is the third. 
  • Hypothyroidism is a common condition that’s often undiagnosed in many women whose etiology, among others, is caused by iodine deficiency. Hypothyroidism has a major impact on fertility and increases miscarriage risk. Iodine deficiency negatively affects folliculogenesis in the maturation of the ovarian follicle leading to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). When ovarian follicles do not mature, the ovaries cannot release eggs. This is often concomitant with hyperproduction of male hormone testosterone. Although the exact cause of PCOS is yet unidentified, some factors are recognized: insulin resistance, obesity, heredity, iodine deficiency, low-grade inflammation and anything that disrupts hormone disruption can influence the onset of PCOS 13, 5-111. When the iodine levels are deficient in the thyroid, certainly, there must be a deficiency in the ovaries. Thus, sustaining sufficient iodine levels promotes ovarian health through successful folliculogenesis. —The journal of nutritional health and food science. 
    • When iodine is deficient in the thyroid, it must be deficient in the ovaries. 
    • “Heredity” — not a thing 
    • “low-grade inflammation” — chronic, systemic inflammation for long periods of time. This will always lead to dis-ease. 
    • “Insulin resistance” — causes problems for the first step of the Kreb’s cycle, which is how your body creates energy. 
  • Iodine deficiency can change the production of estrogens 

What to do? 

  • Test your thyroid appropriately. 
  • Selenium 
    • Supplements 
    • Brazil nuts — soak, first 
  • Iodine 
    • Get to saturation, and then 13 milligrams is a maintenance dose. 
    • Supplements 
    • Whole foods 


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