Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day and I encourage everyone to live it up and Eat Local for the Holidays no matter what part of the world you are in. I posted a recipe a couple of months ago for Gluten-Free Oat Soda bread. Maybe tomorrow would be a good time to try that out
Now I want to talk about something more important — Japan. My heart breaks for those who have already been affected by the tragedies and I fear for those who may yet be. My brother is an English professor living in Seoul, South Korea, and has taught many Japanese students over the years both in the U.S. and in Korea. I know he’s feeling a great deal of sadness right now given his close relationships, as well as, feeling somewhat fearful because of his close proximity to the devastation. I imagine there are many, many others out there with similar ties, so please keep everyone in your thoughts and prayers.
The occurrences, particularly the nuclear reactors, are sparking some interesting conversations in our house. Are we prepared for such an event if it were to occur close to us? I don’t think so. I recently came across a Facebook page called Back to the Basics – Hope for the best, Prepare for the Worst and I am blown away by the amount of information on here. Truly a great deal of time, thought and energy is being put into this page and with over 9k fans, it’s obvious that people are interested. We spend so much time and energy planning how we can make more money, but very little on disaster recovery — at least on the front end. How about changing that? What is going on in Japan is a definite possibility anywhere and we are vulnerable. We’re part of nature whether you live in the country or in the urban core and stuff happens. Some of it we can control. Some of it we can’t. The least we can do is become a little more self-sufficient and prepared so if the time comes we might have a fighting chance.
So, maybe you never encounter a natural (or unnatural) disaster in your lifetime. But if you live your life more prepared for it then I bet you end up leaving this world a better place in the process. Of course, this is not news to all of you urban homesteaders out there, so consider this a another cool source of information. Don’t hesitate and go check out this Facebook page. Maybe we can boost them up over the 10k mark!
Okay, let’s lighten it up a bit now. I want to share (with her permission) some of the incredible notes that Melynni has written for this page. Very detailed information about the many uses of many different things — garlic, lemons, olive oil, witch hazel, and on and on. I’m going to eventually share them all, because I have gotten so much out of them and I think you will too. It’s quite a bit of reading, though, so I’ll share them one at a time to give you a chance to absorb. If you want to read ahead then please do! Just go to their Facebook page, “Like” them, and read all of their notes with comments. You will find so many people posting useful links, tips and questions, as well. Be warned — it is addictive. Thanks, Melynni, for letting me share these!
The Many Uses note one I’m starting with is out of order (#19), but I think it’s appropriate given the nuclear situation. Did you know how critical iodine is to our health? You will soon….
This may be the most important message you will read this week, this month or possibly this year because it has the potential to improve your life and to prevent years of ill-health and disease. The subject is obviously iodine and the use of iodine supplements but here’s what most people don’t realize about this incredible trace mineral.
Too little iodine and especially too much iodine can lead to severe health problems which in their earlier stages will go undetected by most physicians. Why is this?
Most physicians don’t think about the effects of iodine deficiency or iodine toxicity. Seldom is there a thought about what I call the Optimal Dose Requirement (ODR) for iodine and iodide.
The problem is this. Every vitamin and mineral (vitamins A, E and the B’s, calcium, magnesium, zinc, etc.) can be found in nutrient laden foods but with iodine and iodide it’s different. It’s just not there anymore. Our soils are iodine depleted and the quality of seafood and sea vegetation has become overly polluted.
The question then is, is iodine important enough to supplement and what’s the best source?
I continually review the medical research on the many health benefits of iodine and iodide yet I know your time is
valuable and that right now learning about the benefits of iodine is not on your urgent ‘to-do’ list for today.
BUT if you are searching for a good iodine supplement you must know the dangers of taking too much iodine and iodide. Therefore the first thing I suggest you do is to read the blog, the Dangers of Too Much Iodine.
But if you are one of fortunate few who is not in a hurry then read on.
Everyone not supplementing with iodine and iodide is experiencing symptoms of deficiency. Half the world’s population is suffering the effects of inadequate iodine and iodide intake. Weight gain, lack of motivation, apathy, negative thinking, poor concentration and memory, and fatigue all have to do in part with low levels of these all important trace minerals. Then how much do we need?
The body requires every single nutrient. But if we take too little we become deficient. If we take too much we become toxic. The goal then is to provide our bodies with all the nutrients in the right amounts.
Every nutrient then, including iodine and iodide, has a safe and effective dose. I underline safe because safety is the first concern when selecting an iodine supplement.
Iodine is the heaviest member in a family of chemical elements called halogens. The halogen group includes fluorine, chlorine, bromine, astatine, and iodine. Halogens readily combine with other elements to form salts. At room temperature, iodine is a shiny, dark black, nonmetallic, crystalline solid. Good food sources of iodine are fish and shellfish from the sea, as well as other seaweeds. Milk and eggs, vegetables and fruit contain small amounts of iodine.
Pure iodine is never found in nature—it is always combined with other elements. When iodine is heated it sublimes (passes directly from a solid to a vapor, skipping the liquid state). The iodine vapor is violet colored and has an irritating odor like that of chlorine. The vapor rapidly condenses on a cold surface. Pure iodine is toxic (poisonous).
Iodine is only slightly soluble (capable of being dissolved) in water, but it dissolves easily in a potassium iodide solution. It is also soluble in alcohol, chloroform, and other organic substances. Tincture of iodine (iodine dissolved in alcohol) is commonly used to kill germs on cuts and scrapes.
Iodine compounds are found in seawater, soil, and rocks. Iodine is obtained as sodium iodate, an impurity in the sodium nitrate beds in the South American country of Chile (the world’s largest source of commercial iodine). Other important sources of iodine are underground pockets of brine (saltwater) found in Michigan, California, and Louisiana.
Most plants and animals require small amounts of iodine for normal growth. In man and other mammals, iodine is concentrated in the thyroid gland (in the neck), where it helps the body make thyroxine and other bio-chemicals that are important in metabolism (the process by which cells provide energy for bodily functions). Without enough iodine, a person’s growth may be stunted (halted or slowed), and he may develop a condition called goiter (in which the thyroid gland swells into a large lump).
Today these conditions have been mostly wiped out in the industrialized world by the introduction of table salt containing potassium iodide or sodium iodide.
Courtois Discovers Iodine
Iodine was discovered by French chemist Bernard Courtois (1777-1838) in 1811. Courtois was barely making a living in his family’s business of manufacturing saltpeter, which was used to make gunpowder. Saltpeter was made from the ashes of seaweed, which were treated with acid to remove sulfur compounds. One day, Courtois accidentally added too much acid, producing clouds of vapor having an attractive violet color. When the vapor condensed on cold objects, it formed dark, shiny crystals.
Although Courtois investigated the properties of the new substance by combining it with several other elements, he did not have enough time or money to follow through on his discovery. He asked for help from two French chemist friends, Charles Bernard Desormes and Nicholas Clement, who completed the work and made the research public in 1813.
Later that year, Humphry Davy and Joseph Gay-Lussac, working independently, showed that iodine was a new element. This research was made public in 1813. Although Davy’s and Gay-Lussac’s research over-lapped, it was Gay-Lussac who gave the new element its name after the Greek word “iodes,” meaning “purple.” Gay-Lussac went on to study the substance and its compounds, such as hydrogen iodide, in great detail.
In 1831 Courtois received a prize from a French scientific institute for his work. Despite this small measure of fame, Courtois’s saltpeter business declined. With the end of the Napoleonic Wars (1804-1815), the demand for gunpowder dropped, and Courtois’s factory failed. Although he continued to produce and sell iodine, Courtois had little success, and he died in poverty.
In 1814 J. J. Colin made an important discovery in microanalytical chemistry when he showed that iodine reacted with starch to produce a blue color so bright that iodine could be detected in amounts as low as one part in 400,000.
In 1819 Jean-Baptiste Dumas proved that sponges used for many years to treat goiter contained iodine. By 1820 iodine had been discovered in a seaweed called kelp, which had also been used as a goiter treatment. Kelp was one of mankind’s earliest sources of iodine. In Japan, kelp is still harvested from the sea and dried under the sun to provide a raw material for iodine production. It is also considered a delicious food by the Japanese, so their diets do not need to be supplemented with iodized salt.
In the mid-1800s, French agricultural chemist Jean Boussingault first suggested that iodine compounds might be able to cure goiter. A young doctor had asked Boussingault to analyze samples of certain salts used by South American Indians to treat goiter. Boussingault found iodine in the salts and suggested the cure, but it was not until 1896 that this treatment was confirmed.
German chemist Eugen Baumann (1846-1896) discovered that the thyroid gland was rich in iodine, which had never been found before in animal tissue. Baumann also determined that the thyroid was the only tissue containing iodine. Just two years later, an Austrian psychiatrist named Julius Wagner von Jaurreg (1857-1940) established that goiter could be prevented by taking iodine tablets regularly. He also proposed that iodized salt be sold in areas where goiter was widespread; Austria and Switzerland later adopted this idea.
The modern use of iodine in the prevention of goiter was a result of studies by D. Marine in the United States. Marine used iodine to prevent goiter in schoolchildren in Akron, Ohio, where the disorder was common. The success of his experiments led to the adoption of this use of iodine in many regions of the world where goiter was a health problem.
One of the most important uses of iodine is prevention of thyroid problems as iodine is a vital mineral for our body which is necessary for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Iodine, in form of silver iodide is used in photography.
Here, are some of the iodine uses in the human body, medical uses of iodine and some other uses of iodine.
Uses of Iodine
Prevention of Goiter: Lack of iodine causes goiter (abnormal expansion of the thyroid gland). So, prevention of goiter, is one of the most important iodine uses in the body. Iodine is often added to salt, to ensure sufficient intake of iodine.
Conjunctivitis: If a person is suffering from bacterial conjunctivitis, then a solution of povidone iodine is used for effective treatment.
Metabolism: Thyroid glands play an important role in many life processes inside the body, like maintaining body temperature, heart rate, body weight and digestion of food. Iodine is essential for smooth functioning of thyroid glands, which indirectly helps in good metabolism.
Breast Health: Iodine is considered very important for breast shape and health. It is found in breast milk. There is a lot research being conducted about the connection between iodine and breast cancer.
Cretinism: This is a congenital IDD (Iodine Deficiency Disease). In cretinism, the child suffers from mental illness and physical disabilities.
Ovarian Problems: Due to deficiency of iodine, many ovarian problems like ovarian cyst and cancer may be caused.
Eye Health: Iodine is used to treat eye infections, also iodine protects against UVB radiations.
Antioxidant: Iodine is a vital mineral for our body, and is considered as important as vitamin C. One of the uses of iodine in the body, is that it acts as an antioxidant in the blood.
Acne Potassium iodide is used often for treating common skin problems like acne.
Skin Health: Development of healthy skin, nails, hair and teeth, is one of the most important functions of iodine in the body.
Cancer: Some radioactive isotopes of iodine are used to destroy the thyroid damaging cancer cells. Many times a low iodine diet for thyroid cancer is prescribed.
IDD: Iodine is essential to prevent iodine deficiency diseases. Some results of IDD in pregnant women, are stillbirths, miscarriages and other pregnancy related complications. To learn more, read on iodine deficiency symptoms.
Cough Treatment: For treating cough problems, a cough mixture of potassium iodide aqueous expectorant is used.
Sterilization: Many products used for cleaning of wounds contain iodine. For example, betadine, alcohol and some antibiotics contain iodine.
Purification of Water: To clean impure water, iodine solution or tablets are often mixed with water, especially in emergency cases. The water is purified within 15 – 20 minutes.
People suffering from iodine deficiency, are often asked to take iodine orally by the doctor. Iodine has an unpleasant metallic taste, so it can be taken with fruit juices or plain water, to improve its taste. Over consumption of iodine might lead to side effects like diarrhea, fever, skin rashes and other iodine allergy symptoms. In such a case, contact the doctor immediately. Pregnant women have to take special care to avoid any iodine deficiency, to maintain health of the baby and their self.
The above iodine uses show how necessary iodine is for human body health. A teaspoon of iodine, is enough for human body. However, body doesn’t store iodine for long. So, regular supply of iodine to the body is essential. In some places, where there is deficiency of iodine, human beings may not get iodine in their food naturally, so iodine enriched salts and oils are used as supplements.
Other Iodine Uses
Iodine’s most important use is in the health sciences. One of iodine’s radioactive isotopes, 1-131, is widely used in medical diagnosis as a radioactive tracer. It can also be used to treat thyroid cancer.
In addition to its use as a goiter treatment, iodine serves as an important antiseptic thanks to its germ-killing properties. Tincture of iodine was frequently used to disinfect open wounds. Because of the tincture’s irritating sting, however, more complex iodine compounds have been developed for first-aid purposes. Iodine combined with cleaning agents is used in common sanitizers. Iodine is also used to sterilize drinking water.
Iodine has several major industrial uses. Silver iodide is the main light-sensitive substance in photographic film emulsions and photographic papers. Silver iodide is also used by weather scientists for “cloud seeding” in rain-making experiments. Other iodine-containing compounds are used as dyes, in engraving, as an indicator in analytic chemistry, and in special soaps and lubricants. Commercial bakeries add sodium iodate to certain kinds of flour to improve the quality of the bread. Some inorganic iodides are used in producing high-purity titanium and silicon metals.
“According to our readers, not only does iodine (the painting of or the internal consumption of kelp or Lugol’s iodine solution) cure an impending cold or flu, iodine also cures acne, PMS, anxiety, allergies, hypothyroidism, bladder infections, moles and dermatitis. Additionally, we just had a report that iodine (in the form of kelp) has cured fibrocystic breast disease.”
“Ted writes, “Sometimes kelp is often improperly processed and has high heavy metals and/or contaminants. This is a well known fact that supplements also have fillers added. In that case, your next best choice is just use iodine foot painting or eat some seaweed. I never seem to have problems with eating seaweeds often sold in supermarkets. I guess they have better manufacturing standards as the market is much larger than those that take kelp supplements.”
“Using decolorized iodine for the face, take a q-tip and dab the dermatitis with iodine. If this is not on your face, you can use regular iodine. But it will stain you orange for a few hours. If your dermatitis is on sensitive skin around your nose, like me, it will burn like crazy when you apply the iodine. Don’t inhale the fumes while it is drying (takes about 10 seconds to dry). After it dries, apply some natural vitamin e oil. I open a large capsule and use that for several days before it runs out. Your skin will redden from the iodine and dry out, but the vitamin e will heal it and keep it from flaking. Keep this area moist with vitamin e oil all day and night if possible. Do the topical iodine for 2 days, 3x a day. After the 2nd day, cut the iodine back to 1x a day. However, you will still want to keep the vitamin e oil on all day. After 3 days of 1x daily application of iodine, cut the iodine back to every other day. Continue every other day for 10 days (or less). Keep up the vitamin e oil every day until the dermatitis has disappear completely. Let me tell you, the iodine and vitamin 3 oil starts to work on clearing up the dermatitis in about 24 hours! Initially the skin will look red and inflamed, but don’t worry… the vitamin e speeds up the healing process.”
“Barb from Auckland, New Zealand writes, “Alopecia Areata is bald spots that occur all of a sudden on your scalp. I dab it on once a day on bald spots for a week to a fortnight – and then forget about it (if I can) and hope:) So far it seems to start the growth of hair again. It changes the scalp texture from red and irritable back to normal scalp. Within 6 weeks to 8 weeks usually spot is covering with little hairs. The iodine may even help the fatigue that comes when your hair falls out too – when a bald spot is occurring I tend to get deathly pale and feel exhausted.”
“Stephanie from Loganholme, Qld. Australia writes, “Iodine cures brittle and easily broken finger nails. It makes the fingernails hard, chip proof and unbreakable. Dip your fingernails in colorless iodine once a day for 1 week; then once a week for 3 to 4 weeks; then once a month. It dries almost instantly. It begins hardening the nails under the cuticle and as the nail grows out it stays hard and un breakable. Once the new hard nail reaches the length you want, you will never again have chipped and broken nails. No need for all those expensive formulas sold in beauty parlors and chemist shops.”
“Michael, from Peoria Az writes us: “I have used Lugol’s internally for years. My wife had a major bladder infection and had 2 bio’s performed and all kinds of drugs prescribed including a Dr. stating we were passing a virus thru sex back and forth. I refused to take the chemicals. Finally she wanted to try the Lugol’s and within 2 weeks began to walk with no pain. I placed it in the water containers of my 2 dogs. My 3 pound 10 old dog came alive once again. I feel it killed all the worms in her that were bleeding her of energy. I believe in Lugol’s for everything. I purchase it by the 500ml’s and give it away to people who are real ill or sick.”
“Tel from Dewey, AZ writes, “Lugol’s iodine cured food poisoning in less than an hour: 6 drops in a cup of water. Also cures, Cold, Flu, and the blase feeling, same dose 6 drops in a cup of water… do not take if allergic to Iodine.”
“Quita from Atlanta, GA writes, “I had a severe sore throat recently (I could not even swallow) and my good friend suggested painting the inside of my wrist with iodine. I thought she was crazy. But it worked! The pain was completely gone the next morning. Shortly thereafter my son became sick with a bad cold. Although she recommended the iodine for a sore throat, I used it on my 3-year old and the next day he was 100% better. “
“Loni from Tallahassee,Fla. writes, “Iodine is my drug of choice. I use it for EVERYTHING. I raise my kids and now my grandkids on iodine. My son was due to have his tonsils removed and I decided to paint his tonsils and he has never been had any more problems with his throat. I took a spray bottle and poured some iodine into the bottle and sprayed his tonsils. As you may know iodine dries quickly, so he didn’t really swallow any. It worked within 24 hours after spraying the throat. I have done it for my sore throat and it clears it right up.”
“Cindy, from Shady Cove, OR writes, “I use Lugol’s iodine anytime I am getting a cold. I was a chronic user of antibiotics because of asthma. I have not had a bout with bronchitis because anytime I am getting a cold or virus I put 6 drops of Lugol’s in water 3 times over a 24 hour period and the infection is gone.”
“Teresa, from Lowell, North Carolina writes, “I had a raised mole to come up on my face and several skin tags to appear under my arm. I was embarrassed by the mole on my face, but didn’t have the money to have it removed. Using a q-tip, I rubbed iodine on both the mole and skin tags at night before going to bed. Within 3 to 7 days the skin tag dried and fell off while the mole went away. I have shared this information with my sister who has removed several as well.”
“Tish, from Granger, IN comments: “I just started painting twice a day. I have always had irregular menstrual cycles and cysts and recently started having problems with acne. It has been about 1.5 weeks now and my acne is almost gone. I have had acne problems for the last 6 months and tried everything over the counter and topical you could imagine.”
“Donna, from Aspen, CO writes us about the wonders of iodine solution to cure PMS: “I totally cured my PMS, as I used to have severe anxiety, temper flare ups and acne. I paint myself with 2% tincture of iodine every AM & PM. Noticed the change within 2 days! Also, my allergies went away, my teeth weren’t sensitive anymore.”
“So in case you are wondering why iodine restored your hair, iodine kills the fungus and that helps the fungus from eating up the ends of the hair follicle. But the issue goes more than this, fungus EXISTS BECAUSE your body is already high in heavy metals. Without high heavy metals, they die. And one reason WHY your body was high in heavy metals in the first place could come from many things, one of which iodine deficiency reduces your body’s ability to rid of heavy toxic metals such as cadmium, mercury, lead, etc.”
“In case you worry about iodine poisoning. The antidote for iodine overdose is easy: chocolate or cocoa. It is high in bromine and it displaces iodine when the need comes.”
“Iodine foot painting is safer and often done only weekly. There is hardly any reaction of this unless it was done more than 4 days in a row. The best way to use iodine (Povidone Iodine) is externally and allow iodine absorption transdermally. This way you DON’T have to worry about iodine tolerance since this is absorbed rather slowly. In fact the iodine they sell in drug stores cannot be used for internal use since the solution is often an alcohol which is toxic to the body anyway. By applying to the skin, the alcohol will evaporate leaving whatever iodine it is to be absorbed. Ted”
“Carolyn from Woodlawn, IL writes, “I got a large burn from a motorcycle exhaust. I did not blister or scar with iodine on it.”
“Catherine, from Laval, Quebec, Canada writes, “When I was 21, I came back from the lake with what we call ‘ringworm’. It is not a worm but a fungus. An older man I showed it to told me to put iodine on it. The red skin cleared within a few days. Ever since, I have been using it on abandoned cats that come in from the cold with various states of the fungus. It clears within days.”
“Dianna, from Houston, AR writes, “I have wormed my dogs and cats successfully for twenty-seven years with iodine. Its slower than commercial wormers but safer and with less side effects.”
“Here is a remedy that’s been around quite a long time. It stops Salmonella poisoning immediately. Also used to treat Giardia. If you have gas and bloating and suspect Salmonella poisoning, here’s the recipe: 1/2 glass of water, add 6 drops of Lugol’s Iodine Solution, stir and drink in entirety. You will feel better within an hour. Take this 4x a day, after meals and at bedtime, for 3 days in a row, then as needed.”
“Iodine is a very effective method for water purification. Iodine destroys bacteria, viruses and cysts, and its action is dependent on its concentration, the water temperature and duration of contact. A concentration of 8 mgs per litre at 20 degrees centigrade, will destroy all pathogens if left for 10 minutes. Lower concentrations and lower water temperatures require a longer duration of action. Various preparations of iodine are available, including tincture of iodine, iodine crystals and tablets. Manufacturers instructions should be followed in each case. With tincture of iodine, adequate levels are normally achieved by using 4 drops to 1 litre of water or one drop to a glass. As with all halogens it is less effective against cryptosporidia.”
“There is some evidence to suggest that hypothyroidism and/or iodine deficiencies may contribute to the development of fibrocystic breast tissue. People with fibrocystic breasts experience tenderness, particularly just before menstruation. Certain foods may worsen breast tenderness such as caffeine (including from chocolate) and high fat foods. During a physical exam, the doctor can feel cysts and fibrous (hardened) tissue. A review of clinical studies found that iodine replacement therapy (particularly for those with low levels of iodine) may improve the tenderness associated with fibrocystic breast tissue. The women taking iodine experienced very few side effects.”
“Iodine deficiency has also been associated with ovarian cysts, breast cancer, thyroid goiter and hypothyroidism. Recent work in the field of iodine deficiency has shown that replacement therapy decreases the risk of breast cancer and promotes the reversal of fibrocystic breast disease.”
“Many women with chronic vaginal symptoms use over-the-counter preparations such as iodine to relieve symptoms. Iodine, used as a douche, may reduce vaginal inflammation as well as the itching and discharge that go along with this health condition. Povidone-iodine has the advantage of iodine without the disadvantages of stinging and staining. Douche for vaginitis: generally two tablespoons of an iodine solution to one quart of warm water once per day. Douching should not be done without first consulting your healthcare provider.”
“Iodine is commonly used as a topical treatment for wounds. Ointments containing iodine are frequently used on burns to lower the risk of infection.
“Ted writes, “Iodine is taken when you suspect you have a deficiency. But it is not taken everyday at all and often it is taken once or twice a week. Only when you know you need it. Seaweed contains both iodine and bromine, which generally means you can’t overdose on iodine. The reason is simple: bromine displaces iodine. But when bromine and iodine are present together, it makes for iodine bioavailability, while bakery products high in bromine will displace the iodine. The interesting thing is when bromine and iodine (found in nature) as in seaweed are found together, once the body doesn’t need iodine it can easily be removed due to the presence of bromine. I have not seen any case of excess iodine consumption from taking of seaweed, but I have seen quite often excess consumption of iodine when they are added in the salt and taken too much. The reason is nature presents us with many minerals in their respective ratios and their antagonism preventing such an overdose and allowing the body to achieve greater equilibrium. This issue appears to be consuming foods from natural rather than chemical if you fear of any possible overdose. Ted”
Iodine is an element (atomic number 53) which is required by humans for the synthesis of thyroid hormones (triiodothyronine/T3 and thyroxine/T4).
Chronic iodine deficiency can lead to numerous health problems in children and adults, including thyroid gland dysfunction (including goiter) and various neurologic, gastrointestinal, and skin abnormalities. Iodine deficiency in pregnant or nursing mothers can lead to significant neurocognitive deficits in their infants. “Cretinism” or severe mental retardation is a rare outcome of severe iodine deficiency during early development. Growth stunting, apathy, impaired movement, or speech/hearing problems may occur. Many individuals living in developing countries may be at risk of iodine deficiency and its complications, and iodine deficiency is considered to be a preventable cause of mental retardation.
Humans obtain iodine from their diets. The amount of iodine in food or water depends upon the amount of iodine in the local soil. Areas with mountainous (glacier) water or heavy rainfall tend to be low in iodine content, increasing the risk of iodine deficiency.
This review does not discuss medical uses of radioactive iodine or iodine contrast agents used for imaging studies such as computerized tomography (CT scanning).
Atomic number 53, Betadine®, cadexomer iodine, I, Iodin, iodine-125, iodine-131, iodized poppy seed oil, iodized salt, iodothyronine, iodotyrosine, KI, Lipiodol®, Lugol solution, potassium iodide (KI), polyvinylpyrrolidone-iodine, povidone-iodine, PVP-I, radioiodine, SKI, strong iodine, tincture of iodine.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Uses based on scientific evidence
Iodine deficiency is one of the causes of goiter (hypertrophy of the thyroid gland as it tries to make more thyroid hormone in the absence of iodine). Physically, goiter appears as an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland in the neck. Other causes of goiter include autoimmune thyroiditis, excess iodine, other hormonal disorders, radiation exposure, infectious causes, or inborn errors of metabolism. Although goiter due to low iodine intake is rare in developed countries, it may occur in regions with endemic low iodine levels. To avoid iodine deficiency in the United States, table salt is enriched with iodine (“iodized” salt), and iodine is added to cattle feed and used as a dough conditioner. Iodine supplementation is generally not recommended in developed countries where sufficient iodine intake is common, and excess iodine can actually cause medical complications (including goiter). Iodine supplementation should be considered in cases of known iodine deficiency, and should be administered with medical supervision if possible. Notably, the treatment of goiter usually involves administration of thyroid hormone, most commonly levothyroxine sodium (Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid). Iodine generally does not play a role in the acute management of this condition.
In regions with low iodine intake or cases of known deficiency, iodine enrichment of foods or supplementation should be considered. To avoid iodine deficiency in the United States, table salt is enriched with iodine (“iodized” salt), and iodine is added to cattle feed and used as a dough conditioner. Iodine deficiency is uncommon in developed countries, but is common in other parts of the world. When considering iodine enrichment or supplementation, supervision by medical personnel or public health officials is recommended due to the potential complications involved with iodine replacement in the setting of previous deprivation, particularly if considering supplementation in pregnant women or children.
Radiation emergency (potassium iodide thyroid protection)
Potassium iodide (KI) can be taken in the setting of radiation exposure in order to reduce levels of radioactive iodine uptake by the thyroid, thus reducing the risk of later development of thyroid cancer. It is important to note that KI does not provide immediate protection from radiation damage, and does not have protective effects against other complications of radiation exposure. KI can serve as a part of a general strategy in cases of radiation emergencies, in conjunction with shelter and control of foodstuffs. Many radiation emergency kits include KI.
Iodine is commonly used in topical disinfectant preparations for cleaning wounds, sterilizing skin before surgical/invasive procedures, or sterilizing catheter entry sites. Betadine solution, for example, contains povidone-iodine. Other topical disinfectants include alcohol and antibiotics, and iodine is sometimes used in combination with these. Commercially prepared iodine products are recommended in order to assure appropriate concentrations.
Iodine can be used as an antimicrobial agent for the emergency purification of water. Tablets and solutions are commercially available. Effects generally occur within 15 minutes.
Povidone-iodine solutions (for example, 1.25% ophthalmic solutions) have been used in the management of childhood bacterial conjunctivitis, and may be as effective as other anti-bacterial solutions such as neomycin-polymyxin B-gramicidin. This is not an effective treatment for viral conjunctivitis. Medical supervision is recommended.
Graves disease (adjunct iodine/iodides)
Graves disease is an immune-mediated disorder that causes hyperthyroidism. Thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins bind to the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) receptor and mimic the action of thyroid TSH, and stimulate thyroid growth and thyroid hormone overproduction. Standard treatments for Graves disease target the thyroid gland (rather than the source of the disorder), and include antithyroid drugs such as propylthiouracil or methimazole, radioactive iodine to ablate (destroy) thyroid cells, or surgery to remove thyroid tissue. Beta-blocker drugs may be used to control symptoms. Iodide preparations can be used to suppress thyroid hormone release from the thyroid, such as strong iodine solution (Lugol solution), potassium iodide (SSKI), and iodinated radiographic contrast agents (sodium ipodate). Patients undergoing thyroid surgery are commonly treated preoperatively with antithyroid drugs to achieve a euthyroid state, then 10-14 days of SSKI.
Ocular surgery infection prevention / Cataract surgery antisepsis
Topical iodine solutions such as povidone-iodine are used preoperatively to sterilize prior to ophthalmologic procedures. For example, povidone-iodine solution has been studied and used preoperatively for cataract surgery antisepsis.
Iodine is an element, the 53rd element of the periodic table. In its pure state it exists as a diatomic molecule of two iodine atoms, I2; it’s a solid that sublimates (evaporate directly into a gas without passing through the liquid phase) even at room temperature. Iodine crystals have a variety of licit and illicit uses and applications.
Ophthalmia neonatorum prevention
“Ophthalmia neonatorum” is defined as conjunctivitis with eye discharge that occurs during the first month of life. Various bacteria can cause this condition, including gonococcus and Chlamydia trachomatis . Several agents have been used as drops in the eyes to prevent this condition in infants, including erythromycin, silver nitrate, gentamicin, and Povidone-iodine. Tetracycline and penicillin drops have also been used. Although this condition is now uncommon in industrialized nations, it remains a problem in the developing world with an incidence as high as 20-30% and cases of blindness reported in Africa each year. Povidone-iodine ophthalmic solution appears to have broad spectrum activity against bacteria, and is less expensive than many antibiotics. It therefore may be a cost-effective option in some populations. One drop of 2.5% solution in each eye has been demonstrated as being effective in multiple studies.
There is limited research to suggest that iodine mouth rinses may decrease the severity of mucositis in the mouth related to cancer chemotherapy or radiation therapy. The management of mucositis should be discussed with the cancer care team.
Thyrotoxicosis / Thyroid storm (adjunct iodides)
Hyperthyroid crisis (thyroid storm) is a medical emergency caused by excessive release of thyroid hormones into the circulation. Initial management of this condition involves inhibition of thyroid function with thioamide drugs such as propylthiouracilor methimazole. Iodides (such as potassium iodide) can then be administered to block the release of thyroid hormone, but should only be given an hour after thioamides to assure that the iodide is not used by the thyroid to make more thyroid hormone and worsen symptoms. Caution is warranted, because iodide preparations carry a risk of causing serum sickness. Iodides should not be used for long-term treatment of thyrotoxicosis.
Povidone-iodine bladder irrigation has been suggested prior to catheter removal, or prior to prostatectomy surgery, to reduce the risk of infection. There is limited research in this area.
Povidone-iodine irrigation before large bowel resection has been suggested as a sterilization technique.
The potential role of non-radioactive iodine in cancer care remains unknown. Antioxidant and anti-tumor effects have been proposed based on laboratory research. In contrast, some scientists have asserted that tumors may uptake more iodine than normal tissues. It has been suggested that high rates of gastric (stomach) cancer or low rates of breast cancer in coastal Japan may be due to high iodine intake, although this has not been demonstrated scientifically. Povidone-iodine solutions have been used as a part of alternative cancer regimens, such as the Hoxsey formula. Overall, no clear conclusion can be drawn based on the currently available evidence.
Corpus vitreous degeneration
Topical administration of iodine eye drops may reduce corpusvitreous degeneration. Further study is needed to confirm these results.
Footcare with betadine may help in the management of filarial lymphoedema.
Iodine deficiency can cause goiter (hypertrophy of the thyroid gland). Other causes of goiter should be considered in patients with this condition, such as autoimmune thyroiditis, excess iodine, other hormonal disorders, radiation exposure, infectious causes, or inborn errors of metabolism. Although goiter due to low iodine intake is rare in developed countries, it may occur in regions with endemic low iodine levels.Initial management of goiter should involve a medical evaluation to identify the underlying cause, and assessment of levels of thyroid hormones in the body. Treatment usually involves administration of thyroid hormone, most commonly levothyroxine sodium (Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid). Iodine plays a role in goiter prevention, but not in acute management of this condition. Iodine deficiency should be corrected if found, with supplementation.
Povidone-iodine has been suggested as a topical treatment for molluscum. There is limited research in this area.
Gargling with povidone-iodine before oral intubation reduces the transport of bacteria into the trachea.
Periodontitis / Gingivitis
Povidone-iodine mouthwash has been suggested to reduce mouth flora in the setting of periodontitis or around oral surgery. Evidence in this area is not conclusive.
Preoperative vaginal scrub with povidone-iodine decreases the incidence of postcesarean endometritis. This intervention does not seem to decrease the overall risk of postoperative feveror wound infection.
Renal Pelvic Instillation Sclerotherapy (RPIS)
Povidone iodine 0.2% has been shown to be as effective for RPIS as 1% silver nitrate.
It is not clear if healing of wounds or skin ulcers is improved with the application of topical iodine solutions. Iodine solutions may assist with sterilization as a part of a larger approach to the healing process.
Visual outcomes in corneal ulceration
The addition of povidone-iodine to standard antibiotic therapy did not improve visual outcomes in corneal ulceration patients in one study.
Uses based on tradition or theory
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Antimicrobial,Ascaris lumbricoides, burn wound healing, chronic otitis media, circulation enhancement, cognitive function enhancement, cutaneous sporotrichosis, dendritic keratitis, diabetic foot ulcers, energy level enhancement, fibrocystic breast disease, hookworm, hyperlipidemia,infant mortality improvement, Kashin-Beck osteoarthropathy, keratoconjuctivitis, renal impairment, respiratory congestion, thyroid adenoma,Trichuris trichiura,Schistosoma mansoni, vaginitis, venous leg ulcers, weight loss, wound infection.
Oral iodineis available in various preparations, for example as Lugol solution (5% iodine, 10% potassium iodide), containing approximately 8mg iodide/drop; or as saturated solution of potassium iodide (SSKI, PIMA), containing approximately 50mg iodide/drop.
Topical iodineis available in various preparations, for example as povidone-iodine which comes in different concentrations.
Adults (18 years and older):
U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA): 150mcg daily in adults ages 18 and older (220mcg daily for pregnant women, 290mcg daily for breastfeeding women).
Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL):1100mcg daily in adults ages 18 and older.
Hyperthyroidism, Graves disease, thyroid storm: As an adjunct to prescription drug inhibitors of thyroid function (such as propylthiouracil or methimazole), saturated solution of potassium iodide (SSKI, PIMA) 1-5 gtt by mouth every 8 hours, or Lugol solution (8mg iodide per drop) 2-6 gtt (1 mL) every 8 hours has been used. For thyrotoxicosis, parenteral treatment may be used, and sodium iodide 1 gram by slow intravenous drip every 8-12 hours has been given. Management should be under the supervision of a licensed healthcare professional. Lower doses may be used in pregnancy.
Preoperative before thyroidectomy: Lugol solution 5-10 gtt three times daily, or 2-6 gtt twice or three times daily given 10-21 days prior to surgery has been used. Use for longer than 14 days can lead to “iodide escape” with rebound thyrotoxicosis, and should be avoided. In pregnant women there is a risk of fetal goiter, although brief administration of lower doses (6-40mg per day) can be considered. Potassium iodide (SSKI, PIMA) 1-2 gtt three times daily mixed in juice or water has also been given. Administration of these preparations should be under the direction of the operating surgeon.
Skin/wound sterilization: Various concentrations of iodine have been used, for example 2% tincture or 2% aqueous solution to affected areas; 10% povidone-iodine applied prior to insertion of catheters; 0.9% iodine ointment for diabetic foot ulcers; and 1% povidone-iodine for wound irrigation. Use as directed.
Iodine deficiency: Iodine deficiency is rare in industrialized countries due to supplementation of table salt and cattle feed with iodine. In areas of endemic iodine deficiency, various doses of iodine have been used as prevention or treatment, including 200mg or 2mL of iodized oil daily by mouth. For prolonged supplementation, a single annual intramuscular injection with 1mL Lipiodol UF (480mg of iodine) or 570mg of oral iodine has been used. In those with goiter induced by iodine deficiency, correction may not be practical, and treatment should involve thyroid hormone replacement with levothyroxine sodium (Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid).
Goiter: In those with goiter induced by iodine deficiency, correction may not be practical, and treatment should involve thyroid hormone replacement with levothyroxine sodium (Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid). Other causes of goiter should also be considered, under the supervision of a licensed healthcare professional. For endemic goiter, 400mcg of iodine dialy as di-iodotyrosine has been used, or 150mcg iodine/500mcg iodide with levothyroxine has been used. For gestational goiter, under medical supervision, doses of 50-200mcg of iodide daily has been used.
Radiation emergencies: Potassium iodide (KI) should be taken just prior to, or as soon as possible after exposure. For adults exposed to 10 centigrays (cGy) of radiation or more, KI 130mg is given (for pregnant or lactating women, 120mg KI is administered for radiation exposure of 5cGy or more).
Water sterilization: Salt iodization of water supplies on a large-scale basis can be performed with the addition of iodide or iodate salt with an iodine content varying from 7-100mg/kg of salt. For individual use,tincture of iodine 3-10 drops per quart of water has been used, with 15 minutes for anti-microbial effects to occur.
Cataract surgery antisepsis: 1% povidone-iodine solution used preoperatively.
Mouthwash: As an antibacterial mouthwash, 10-20mL of povidone-iodine mouthwash has been used as a rinse and gingival sulcus irrigant. For prevention of plaque and gingivitis, mouth rinses have been used up to twice daily. For chemotherapy mucositis prevention, povidone-iodine rinses have been used up to four times daily.
Chronic suppurative otitis media: 5% povidone-iodine ear drops, three drops taken three times daily for 10 days has been used, although other approaches such as antibiotics should be considered and discussed with a supervising healthcare professional.
Upper airway sterilization: 1% povidone-iodine solution inhaled via nebulizer twice daily has been used, with gargle twice daily.
Children (younger than 18 years):
Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA):50mcg daily for infants 0-12 months; 90mcg daily for 1-8 years; 120mcg daily for 9-13 years; 150mcg daily for 14-18 years.
Adequate Intake (AI) for infants:110mcg daily for ages 0-6 months; 130mcg daily for 7-12 months.
Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL): 200mcg/day for ages 1-3 years; 300mcg/day for 4-8 years; 600mcg/day for 9-13 years; 900mcg/day for 14-18 years (including pregnancy and lactation).
Radiation emergencies: Potassium iodide (KI) should be taken just prior to, or as soon as possible after exposure. For infants, babies, and children, KI is administered for exposure of 5 centigrays (cGy) or more. For birth through 1 month, 16mg can be administered; for 1 month through 3 years, 32mg can be administered; for 3-12 years, 65mg can be administered; for adolescents ages 12-18 years, 65mg can be administered (or up to 120mg if the adolescent is approaching adult size).
Skin/wound sterilization: Various concentrations of iodine have been used, for example 2% tincture or 2% aqueous solution to affected areas.
Thyroid disorders: Children should be managed under medical supervision.
Iodine deficiency: Iodine deficiency is rare in industrialized countries due to supplementation of table salt and cattle feed with iodine. In areas of endemic iodine deficiency, various doses of iodine have been used as prevention or treatment in children, including 150mcg/day.
Ophthalmia neonatorum prevention:1 drop of 2.5% povidone-iodine applied at birth has been used. No advantage of a second drop has been found.
Iodine is commercially available in tinctures (solutions of iodine in alcohol; the pure crystalline form sublimates quite readily, however, and therefore must be stored in such a fashion that it cannot all evaporate). Iodine crystals are usually kept in sealed containers for this reason.
The federal government regulates the sale of iodine crystals since combining iodine crystals with water and phosphorus (usually in the form of red phosphorous or phosphoric acid) yields hydriodic acid, a chemical some people use in the production of methamphetamine. Sales of iodine crystals exceeding .4 kilograms to a single individual or entity in a two-month period must be tracked by suppliers; there are state-specific regulations that may apply as well.
Some companies and online vendors like Granny’s Store sell iodine crystals for water disinfection and purification; iodine tablets are also available from many sporting goods stores. The iodine kills microorganisms in the water to help make it safer to drink; adding iodine will not, however, remove solids or chemical contaminants, and some protozoan cysts (like those of Giardia parasites) may be more resistant. It’s generally not recommended to disinfect water in this way over a long period of time, although if used occasionally or as needed it should be safe; always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Animal Feed and Other Uses
Animal feed is often supplemented with iodine compounds like potassium iodide in order to ensure animals have sufficient iodine in their diet. Iodine crystals can be used to produce antiseptic tinctures for humans and farm animals. Iodine crystals also find use in the manufacture of chemicals for developing photographic film, dyes, inks and other industrial uses.
Pure iodine is potentially toxic at very high doses; an oral dose of 2 to 3 milligrams may be lethal according to the World Health Organization, and doses of iodine tincture in the 30 to 250 milliliter range are potentially harmful as well. Always take appropriate precautions.
B2B Reader’s Comments:
Pete Nauman 3 drops of iodine on your inner arm, rub it in, let dry. The sooner the color disipates the more you need it. Careful it stains.
Bonnie S Can be used to disinfect water (with some limitations) or a wound.
I suggested this item. I have some in my medicine cabinet, along with rubbing alcohol and Hibicleanse ( 4%… w/v chlorhexidine gluconate), and I have to admit that I usually just use a handy tube of Neosporin on “boo-boos”! :->
I just starting doing research on its protective qualities during a nuclear incident, and I hadn’t realized that the pills might be needed in an emergency kit, not the liquid? Unless I want to work my daily iodine dosage into some kind of henna-inspired decoration on my feet and hands, LOL. Ooops.
“When fallout is first anticipated, but has not yet arrived, anyone not already sheltered should begin using their N95 particulate respirator masks and hooded rain ponchos. Everyone should begin taking Potassium Iodide (KI) or Potassium Iodate (KIO3) tablets for thyroid protection against cancer causing radioactive iodine, a major product of nuclear weapons explosions. If no tablets available, you can topically (on the skin) apply an iodine solution, like tincture of iodine or Betadine, for a similar protective effect. (WARNING: Iodine solutions are NEVER to be ingested or swallowed.) For adults, paint 8 ml of a 2 percent tincture of Iodine on the abdomen or forearm each day, ideally at least 2 hours prior to possible exposure. For children 3 to 18, but under 150 pounds, only half that amount painted on daily, or 4 ml. For children under 3 but older than a month, half again, or 2 ml. For newborns to 1 month old, half it again, or just 1 ml. (One measuring teaspoon is about 5 ml, if you don’t have a medicine dropper graduated in ml.) If your iodine is stronger than 2%, reduce the dosage accordingly. Absorption through the skin is not as reliable a dosing method as using the tablets, but tests show that it will still be very effective for most. Do not use if allergic to iodine. If at all possible, inquire of your doctor NOW if there is any reason why anybody in your household should not use KI or KIO3 tablets, or iodine solutions on their skin, in a future nuclear emergency, just to be sure.”
- Bonnie S Here’s a better link on the water disinfecting: http://www.high-altitude-medicine.com/water.html#chemical
- Karen Hild @Aimee…check with your local garden shop…they should have diatomaceous earth…used in gardening.
- Ron Molekül proper iodine tincture can be tough to come by thanks to its use in the manufacture of methamphetamine…at least in most U.S. pharmacies. Vet/pet supply stores often carry it as a disinfectant
- Jodi Osborn iodine takes away the pain from fireant bites, i carried in work truck when i lived in fl
- Connie Nelson-Cochran I keep a bottle of iodine on hand for cleaning/disinfecting wounds on my livestock and myself. My grandfather was a believer in it and it’s something I continue to use with great results.
- Sabers WarDogs iodine is good and also old fashion black salve and hydrogen peroxide
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