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Iodine – A Heavyweight Health Champion Among Essential Minerals

Iodine – A Heavyweight Health Champion Among Essential Minerals

Most of us know iodine as the tablets we may have used to disinfect water on tramping trips or the infection-preventing tincture our parents might have applied to our cuts and scrapes and which made these minor injuries look so dramatic.

What we may not realise is the true intimacy of our essential relationship with this life-sustaining mineral. Iodine, the heaviest element utilised by the human body, was part of the primal ‘soup’ in that cradle of life – the ocean – and is one of the basic components of all life forms on this planet. Its’ strong presence in the ocean and in marine life is mirrored in our bodies where it is found in every one of our organism’s roughly hundred trillion cells.

Systemically crucial to balanced, co-ordinated and well-paced bodily functions on many levels, a deficiency causes hormonal and far-reaching metabolic dysfunction.

Most prominently associated with the thyroid, iodine enables that gland to synthesise thyroid hormones, notably T3 and T4. These hormones, whose imbalance create hypothyroidism (underactive metabolism often associated with obesity) or hyperthyroidism (overactive metabolism often resulting in an emaciated state), require sufficient iodine in order to be synthesised in adequate amounts. There are 59 diseases associated with a dysfunctional thyroid, as this gland and the hormones it produces regulate body temperature; heart rate and, by extension, respiratory rate; glucose consumption; energy/ATP production and also strongly influence mental and immune function.

Iodine deficiency has risen 400% in the last four decades. The World Health Organisation estimates that 72% of global population and 96% of US population are iodine deficient. This is the result of soils lacking iodine and iodine being displaced in our bodies by environmental contaminants.

A brief summary of iodine’s involvement in crucial physiological processes would include the following:

  • Iodine is an important factor in cell apoptosis – the programmed death of unhealthy cells which results in a reduced risk of sick cells turning malignant
  • There are active thyroid hormone receptor sites in the 3000 – 5000 mitochondria present in all bodily cells. Sufficient iodine to activate the thyroid results in increased ATP production in cells and a significantly increased yield of energy to cells and the whole organism.
  • The tissues of numerous organs and glands, besides the thyroid, have a particularly high content of iodine and prevention of cancer in breasts, stomach, ovaries, thyroid and oesophagus, are associated with sufficiency of iodine. Women with iodine deficiency were found to experience triple the incidence of breast cancer. Iodine deficiency also has a relationship to increased fibrocystic breast disease with significant improvement following iodine supplementation.
  • Thyroid hormones whose production is fuelled by iodine, increase protein synthesis and oxygen consumption as well as key biochemical reactions such as enzymatic activity. Thyroid hormones mediate the function and development of major organs and also greatly influence the progress of the developing foetus.  Deficiency during pregnancy puts the foetus at increased risk of retardation, dyslexia, hyperactivity, miscarriage, stillbirth and more.
  • Iodine is the benefactor in a family of highly toxic elements called the halogens which include fluorine, chlorine and bromine. These extremely damaging substances contaminating us via water, plastics, pesticides, food additives, household chemicals, etc. can fit the same receptor sites as iodine, replacing it through a mechanism termed competitive inhibition. Only by the intake of sufficient iodine can these toxins be displaced and eliminated.
  • Iodine is a powerful antibiotic which destroys viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites.
  • Radioactive Iodine 131 will fill the void created by insufficient Iodine 127 (natural, stable iodine) in the thyroid. After any nuclear event, such as Fukushima, Chernobyl, weapons testing etc., protecting your thyroid from absorption of the radioactive isotope of iodine and likely, consequent thyroid cancer is one major priority.
  • Iodine is essential to mental functioning. Low thyroid function impairs brain circulation and slows intellectual capabilities.
  • Proper thyroid function is essential to heart health as it regulates heart rate. Hypothyroidism leads to heart disease by weakening the heart muscle causing cardiac arrhythmia.
  • Iodine regulates estrogen production in the ovaries.
  • Low thyroid function is associated with Type 2 diabetes. 50 -100 mg of iodine daily has been found to decrease insulin requirements in diabetics.


In 1922 Iodine was proven to reverse goitre in a study which prompted the US to begin iodising salt. Today, along with salt getting bad press, less than 20 – 25% of salt is iodised anymore. The US Food and Drug Administration now recommends a daily iodine intake of 150-290 micrograms depending on age, gender and life cycle while some leading iodine experts suggest 12-18 milligrams daily – 45 times higher. In Japan the average daily intake is 13.8 milligrams and, pre-Fukushima, the Japanese had significantly lower incidence of breast and prostate cancer as well as overall superior health and longevity compared to the US. Up to 100mg (100,000 mcg) daily were safely used in a major recent iodine study.

Safe dosage becomes a non-issue when taking iodine transdermally (absorbed through the skin) as the body will stop absorbing essential minerals taken in this way when sufficiency levels have been reached.

Lugol’s solution is a standard laboratory formulation of elemental iodine and potassium iodide and is typically used for iodine supplementation.

Minerals such as magnesium, potassium and iodine are designated essential for very good reasons. We should take heed that mineral deficiencies and imbalances cause at least as wide an array of health problems as lack of vitamins and enzymes and, as farmers already know in regard to their animals, these deficiencies are relatively easy and most worthwhile to remedy.

By Joe Rifici

Natural Hygienist/Product Developer

SALUD Colloidal and Transdermal Health Products

Salud Health ThyRadGard Transdermal Iodine features easy roll on application to keep your thyroid levels of Iodine at optimal levels.  It is available for secure order from our online shop.

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  • Kylie

    Can you buy Lugols in NZ now? Last time I had to get it shipped over from Oz as the govt doesn’t want us to have the full strength stuff.

  • Kari Wilson

    I was very aware of the need for magnesium and potassium but not iodine for my diet. With cancer in the family, I will do my research. Thank you.

  • Andrew

    I am aware that some iodine is absorbed through the skin, but my question is, what evidence do you have that iodine will not be absorbed when it is not necessary for the body, or even at risk of possible toxicity? The study I have done suggests that iodine (yellow) is gradually reduced by chemical reactions in the skin to Iodide which is colourless. Up to 12% of painted on Iodine is apparently absorbed meaning that daily applications could cause much more than the recognised amount of 2g/day being absorbed if the area applied to is too large. The following website outlines much of the issue
    My concern is that if Iodine on the skin turns clear regardless of the bodies necessity for iodine, and actually has no mechanism for keeping the iodine/iodide from being absorbed then the risk of thyrotoxicosis could be very real. I basically want to see proof of people applying iodine to the skin and the yellow colour remaining for at least a day afterwards supporting the idea that application to the skin is always harmless. Many Thanks

    • Anya (HealthPost)

      Hi Andrew … apologies for the delay in replying to your comment. We have passed your query to the manufacturers of Salud Health ThyRadGard Transdermal Iodine and are currently awaiting their response. As soon as we have one, we’ll post it for you. Many thanks for your patience, Anya

    • Anya (HealthPost)

      Hi again Andrew – here is the response from our naturopath. Best wishes, Anya

      Hi Andrew, Thanks for your inquiry and my apologies for the delay with this reply. I am responding with my own thoughts and that of the supplier of the Salud Transdermal Iodine as well.

      Iodine is not as toxic or dangerous as the medical profession have thought it to be and it would take a very large area of the body to induce a toxic state. The author of the webpage you have directed me to also says in another article:

      “Of all the elements known so far to be essential to health, Iodine is the most misunderstood and the most feared. Yet, it is by far the safest of all the trace elements known to be essential for human health. It is the only trace element that can be ingested safely in amounts up to 100,000 times the RDA. For example, potassium iodide has been prescribed safely to pulmonary patients in daily amounts of up to 6.0gms/day, in large groups of such patients for several years. It is important however to emphasize that this safety record only applies to inorganic non radioactive iodine/iodide, not to organic iodine containing drugs and to radioiodides.
      Abraham Guy E. MD., Jorge D. Flechas M.D. and John C. Hakala R.Ph. “Orthoiodosupplementation: Iodine Sufficiency Of The Whole Human Body.”

      There is another doctor in the US who is a huge proponent of iodine supplementation if you are interested:
      Iodine does not actually cause thyrotoxicosis and the supplementation of iodine on a reasonable size on the skin would not be harmful in any way.
      If you still have concerns about this, you may want to contact Abraham Guy directly for his opinion.
      Kind regards, Kristie Laurantus, BNat.

  • Zandra Gibbs

    Hi. Could you please give me some clarification for the instructions for use. “Apply to an area of skin, such as the sole of your foot. Reapply until colour no longer fades within 24 hours.” Does that mean reapply when it fades within the 24 hours, mine faded within 6 hours, or reapply daily? And when it no longer fades within 24 hours do I stop using it? Thanks for your help with this.

    • Anya (HealthPost)

      Hi Zandra, thanks for your inquiry. These instructions are a little ambiguous – our understanding is to reapply the iodine daily if the colour has faded within 24 hours. If the colour stays beyond 24 hours you do not need to keep applying the iodine. Just do another test patch in a month or so. Please let us know if you have any further questions. Best wishes, Anya

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