Iodine in Health and Civil Defense
Presented at the 24th Annual Meeting of Doctors of Disaster Preparedness
at Portland State University, August 6, 2006
by Donald W. Miller, Jr., M.D.
Text for each PowerPoint Slide (with references):
When I told my daughter, a Harvard-trained pediatric cardiologist, that I was preparing a talk on iodine for this meeting she
left unsaid the question uppermost on her mind, which was ―Why is a heart surgeon giving a lecture on iodine?,‖ and instead
confessed, ―I don’t know much about iodine.‖ She speaks for the medical profession in general, endocrinologists included.
Iodine in Heart Surgery
Most physicians and surgeons view iodine from a narrow perspective. It is an antiseptic that disinfects drinking water and
prevents surgical wound infections, and the thyroid gland needs it to make thyroid hormones—and that’s it. Surgeons scrub
with it and have their nurse paint iodine on the patient. Tincture of iodine remains the best antiseptic for preventing wound
infections after surgery. It kills 90 percent of bacteria on the skin within 90 seconds.
Elements that Compose the Human Body
Iodine is one of 25 elements that make up the human body, number 12 in number of atoms, after magnesium. It is the largest
element in the body and the only one that by itself stops x-rays.
Napoleon and Nuclear Weapons
In 1811, a French chemist discovered iodine brewing soda to make saltpeter for gunpowder that Napoleon needed.
With nuclear weapons scientists found that radioactive iodine-131 is a major component of the radioactive fallout they
produce. This isotope is produced only by nuclear fission, from splitting the nucleus of uranium-235 and plutonium-239.
Taking iodine to block thyroid uptake of its radioactive form in fallout is an essential civil defense measure in a nuclear war.
Iodine in Thyroid Hormones
The thyroid gland produces two thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Among its 31 atoms, consisting
of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, T4 has four iodine atoms, which because of their large size comprises 65 percent
of thyroxine by weight—and inT3, 59 percent. The gland synthesizes 100 ug of T4 and 5 ug of T3 each day. 
Actions of Triiodothyronine
T-3 is the active form of the hormone. Cells take up T4 and remove one of its iodine atoms, converting it to T3, which
attaches to receptors on the DNA of the genes that control the cell’s metabolism via the mechanisms listed here. The cell
wall and energy-producing mitochondria also have T3 receptors. 
When there is too little iodine in the diet for the thyroid to produce enough hormone the gland swells up trying to capture
what little there is available. It becomes a goiter, a visible, noncancerous enlargement of the thyroid gland. Some them
become quite large.
The World Health Organization estimates that 2 Billion people, 30 percent of the world’s population, suffer from iodine
deficiency disorders. More than a billion people have visible goiters and 5.7 million are cretins. An estimated additional 750
million people without goiters have undiagnosed hypothyroidism , and many millions have iodine-related mental
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, impaired concentration, and in some people, frank depression / fibromyalgia,
joint pains, and constipations/ a decreased sex drive and an intolerance to cold.
Signs of hypothyroidism include weight gain and the other ones listed here. The thyroid gland in reptiles is less active than
in humans; and a person with an underactive thyroid gland takes on reptilian features. The skin becomes dry and thick, and is
cold to the touch. Hair is dry and falls out, reflexes are slow, and the body temperature drops below normal. Signs of
congestive heart failure include difficulty breathing and fluid build up on the lungs.
IDD: Mental Retardation
Iodine deficiency has caused mental retardation in 50 million children worldwide, including 10 million in China. 
A study done in Sicily showed that two-thirds of children born in an iodine deficient area had attention deficit and
hyperactivity disorders (ADHD), whereas none of the children born in an iodine-sufficient area had this disorder. In addition
to ADHD, their IQs were 20 points lower. On average, the IQs of children born and raised in an iodine-deficient area are
13.5 points lower than children not deprived of iodine. 
Cretinism is the most severe iodine deficiency disorder, mental retardation combined with physical deformities. 
Worldwide Iodine Nutrition
The thyroid gland needs only 70 ug of iodine a day to synthesize T4 and T3. Health organizations consider iodine nutrition
to be sufficient if urinary excretion is greater than 100 ug/L, which is said to correspond to an iodine intake of 150 ug/day.
The International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders defines optimal intake as 150 to 299 ug/day. It
judges intake to be excessive if it is greater than 750 ug a day.  Note that the Japanese consume an ―excess‖ amount of
RDI for Iodine
Starting in 1980, medical authorities in the United States and Europe have established a Reference Daily Intake (RDI),
formerly called the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for iodine of 100-150 ug/day. In milligrams, this is 0.1 to 0.15
mg/day, a tiny fraction of the amount that mainland Japanese consume. Authorities recommending this amount of iodine
include the American Medical Association, NIH National Research Council, Institute of Medicine, UN Food and Agricultural
Organization, WHO Expert Committee, and the European Union International Programme on Chemical Safety. [5, 9] Now
that’s a consensus.
This is the standard medical view of iodine—thyroid-based and focused on the three mentioned iodine deficiency disorders.
But there is growing evidence that iodine provides important extrathyroidal benefits when taken in milligram amounts.
David Derry’s book, Breast Cancer and Iodine introduced me to this side of iodine. A fellow Dartmouth-educated physician,
Brad Weeks, who practices ―corrective‖ medicine, recommended it. The book is a bit disorganized, has references at the end
of each chapter not cited in the text, and no index; but it was an eye-opener nonetheless. 
Iodine Intake in Japan
The first thing I checked out was Japanese iodine consumption. Seaweed is a potent source of iodine, and the Japanese eat a
lot of it. More than 95 percent of the iodine they consume comes from seaweed, which includes kelp (brown algae); nori
sheets (red algae), with sushi; and chlorella (green algae).
The nutrition section of Japan’s Bureau of Public Health did a study on Japanese food consumption, published in 10064, and
found that they eat 4.5 gm of seaweed a day.  Saltwater fish contain iodine, but one would have to eat 15-25 pounds of
fish to obtain 13 mg of iodine from this source.
According to health department officials, Japanese consumption of seaweed in 2001 was 14.6 grams a day. Assuming
similar iodine content, this amount contains 43.8 mg of iodine. 
Studies measuring urine concentration of iodine confirm that the Japanese consume iodine in milligram amounts. 
Residents on the coast of Hokkaido consume 200 mg of iodine a day. 
Iodine Intake in the US
The average daily intake of iodine in the U.S. is 240 ug—a quarter of a mg. This is half the amount Americans consumed 30
years ago, when iodine was used more widely in the diary industry and as a dough conditioner for making bread. Now it is
only added to table salt, and 45 percent of American households purchase salt without iodine. Furthermore, since the 1980s
those who do use iodized table salt have decreased their use of it by 65 percent. As a result, 15 percent of the U.S. adult
female population, 1 in 7, suffer from iodine deficiency and have a urinary iodine concentration less than 50 ug/L. [15,16]
The same percentage of American women, it turns out, will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. 
Health Comparisons: U.S. and Japan
The incidence of breast cancer in the U.S. is the highest in the world, and in Japan was, until recently, the lowest. Japanese
women who emigrate from Japan or consume a Western style diet have a higher rate of breast cancer, decreasing the
likelihood of there being a genetic component in the low incidence. [19, 20]
Life expectancy in the U.S. is 77.85 years, and in Japan, 81.25 years, the highest in the industrialized countries but slightly
behind such places as San Marino, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
The infant mortality rate in Japan is the lowest in the world, half that in the United States. 
Atmospheric and Evolutionary Importance of Iodine
Iodine has an important and little understood history. It turns out that this relatively scarce element has played a pivotal role
in the formation of our planet’s atmosphere and in the evolution of life.
Earth’s First Atmosphere
The earth is close enough to the sun that when it formed 4.6 BYA its first atmosphere consisted of hydrogen and helium
obtained from the gas envelope that projected out from the new sun. Solar winds stripped away this atmosphere.
Degassing of volcanoes formed the planet’s second atmosphere, which lasted until 2.2 billion years ago. It consisted of water
vapor, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.
Bacteria transformed this atmosphere through photosynthesis into the one we have now.
Life arose on the planet around 3.8 BYA in the form of single-cell bacteria. About 500 M years later a new kind of bacteria,
cyanobacteria, also known as Blue-Green Algae, evolved. These bacteria make chlorophyll, which uses the energy in
sunlight to orchestrate a chemical reaction that combines water and carbon dioxide to make food. Cyanobacteria turn 6
molecules of CO2 and 6 molecules of water into a molecule of sugar, dextrose, 6 molecules of oxygen. Over the last several
billion years, cyanobacteria have been expelling oxygen as a waste product of photosynthesis into the ocean and atmosphere.
The oxygen level in the atmosphere gradually rose to 21 percent, where it has remained for the last one billion years.
Along with producing oxygen, cyanobacteria were also the first life form to develop an affinity for iodine. The most likely
reason is that these organisms employed iodine as an antioxidant. 
Iodine as an Antioxidant
Oxygen breeds reactive oxygen species, which include superoxide anion, hydrogen peroxide, and the hydroxyl radical. The
hydroxyl radical wreaks havoc by reacting with lipids in the cellular membranes, nucleotides in DNA, and sulphydryl groups
on proteins. In algae, in a species of kelp, Kupper et al. have shown how inorganic iodine works as an antioxidant. It
neutralizes hydrogen peroxide by converting it first to hypiodious acid and then water, thereby blocking its conversion into
the hydroxyl radical. These investigators found that kelp will absorb increased amounts of iodine when placed under
oxidative stress.  Other investigators have shown that iodide is a specific scavenger of hydroxyl radicals , and that it
increases the antioxidant status of human serum similar to that of vitamin C .
The ability of iodine to neutralize reactive oxygen species and free radicals apparently made photosynthesis possible.
Cyanobacteria have been absorbing iodine and replenishing the atmosphere with oxygen for the last 2.7 billion years; and
they continue to do so in stomatolites like these.
Cyanobacteria under the microscope
Cyanobacteria are single cell organisms that do not have a nucleus. They coexist in filamentous colonies and differentiate
into several cell types. The membrane-enclosed chloroplasts in terrestrial plants that perform photosynthesis are derived
from these organisms.
Empires of Life
The cell is the basic structural unit of life, and two types of cells that make up living things. They constitute what biologists
term the two empires of life. 
Prokaryotes consist of bacteria, which include Cyanobacteria, and the more recently discovered bacteria-like archaea, who
thrive in such places as hot sulfur springs and high salinity habitats. Prokaryotes have no nucleus and no membrane-enclosed
organelles like mitochondria and chloroplasts.
Eukaryotes have both. They are 10-100 times larger than prokaryotic cells and form the structural unit of all plants and
animals. Except for Cyanobacteria, seaweed and other algae are all single-cell eukaryotes. They range in size from
microscopic phytoplankton to colonies of kelp more than two hundred feet long. We are multicellular animals composed of
100 trillion eukaryotic cells.
Evolution of Life on Earth
Viewing our planet’s history on a 5-hour clock, with each hour representing a billion years, life existed only in the ocean for
its first 3 hours, or 3 billion years, initially as prokaryotes in an oxygen-free environment. Then, when oxygen began to
accumulate in the ocean and the atmosphere, eukaryotes evolved. This cell type lives on oxygen, obtained through gills,
lungs, or directly through its cell membrane.
This is how long our species has been present on the planet, for only a tiny fraction of a second on this clock.
Iodine in Salamanders
The thyroid gland arose in vertebrates 480 million years ago, first in agnathans, jawless fish, like eels.  In fish,
amphibians, and reptiles, thyroxin controls growth and development. Birds and mammals use thyroxine for thermogenesis
and to control their metabolism.
Salamanders need thyroxine to metamorphose from the aquatic tadpole larva stage into their fully developed terrestrial air-
breathing state. The axolotl, once thought to be a unique species, is actually an iodine-deficient salamander stuck in its
tadpole larva stage that nevertheless grows up to a foot in length and mates without shedding its gills. It is found in lakes in
central Mexico. When given iodine an axolotl will transform itself into a gill-less, air-breathing salamander.
Iodine in Neanderthals
A similar situation has existed with humans. Archeologists and paleontologists classify Neanderthals as a separate species of
humans. They existed in Europe and parts of Western Asia from 350,000 to 30,000 years ago. But in 1998 Jerome Dobson
concluded that Neanderthals were modern humans with cretinism. 
Bone Morphology Comparisons
He examined Neanderthal skeletons in museum collections and compared them with cretin skeletons and found that the bone
morphology of Neanderthals and cretins are virtually identical.
Similarities Among Skeletal Morphologies
Similarities between the two are listed here.
Iodine is largely a coastal resource, found in saltwater fish, shellfish, and seaweed. There is very little iodine in fresh water
or soil, especially in mountainous areas and formerly glaciated regions, where Neanderthals lived. During the last ice age
when they became extinct the oceans were 400 feet lower than they are now, making it even more difficultto obtain iodine.
New York City’s coastline extended 60 miles out from its current location.
Dobson postulates that perhaps the main difference between Neanderthals and modern humans was a single genetic mutation
that improved the ability of the thyroid gland to concentrate iodine.
Function of Iodine in Humans and Other Animals
Animals don’t need a thyroid gland to make the two thyroid hormones T4 and T3. Invertebrates produce and use thyroxine.
Mollusks synthesize considerable quantities of thyroxine. Sea urchins employ T-4 in their development, which they obtain
by eating algae who make it for them. For some, algae serves as a primitive ―thyroid gland‖ that supplies the organic
iodinated molecules ancestors of vertebrates came to require. 
In addition to Kupper’s study in algae, other investigators have documented inorganic iodine’s role as an antioxidant. It
defends brain cells in rats from lipid peroxidation, for example, by attaching to the double bonds of polyunsaturated fatty
acids in cellular membranes rendering them less susceptible to free radicals. [29, 30]
Iodine induces apoptosis, programmed cell death. This process is essential to growth and development (fingers form in the
fetus by apoptosis of the tissue between them) and for destroying cells that represent a threat to the integrity of the organism,
like cancer cell and cells infected with viruses. Its anti-cancer function may well prove to be iodine’s most important
Iodine has other functions as well, which all need more study
It removes toxic chemicals—fluoride, bromide, lead, aluminum, mercury—and biological toxins 
Suppresses auto-immunity 
Strengthenes the T-cell adaptive immune system [33, 34]
And protects against abnormal growth of bacteria in the stomach. 
References documenting these functions are in the handout.
Iodine-Induced Apoptosis in Lung Cancer
Zhang and coworkers spliced two iodine-related genes into human lung cancer cells, the sodium/iodine symporter gene,
which enhances absorption of iodine, and the thyroperoxidase gene, for iodinating proteins. Iodine induced apoptosis in
more than 95 percent of these genetically modified cancer cells. The dead cells stain red, whereas the iodine-resistant cancer
cells remain alive and unstained. This was done in vitro, in cells grown outside the body. 
Effect of Iodine on Tumor Growth
Then they implanted the cancer cells in mice. When the tumors reached a set size, they gave some of the mice iodine five
times a week and others none. Four weeks later the mice were sacrificed and the tumors removed, weighed, and
photographed. These are the tumors removed from 9 mice not given iodine, and these are the tumors in 12 mice treated with
iodine. As you can see, in most animals iodine markedly restricted the growth of these tumors.
Organs with Iodine Concentrating Ability
Other organs contain the same sodium/iodine symporter pump that the thyroid gland uses to absorb iodine. Stomach mucosa,
mammary glands, and salivary glands have it and can concentrate iodine almost to the degree that the thyroid does. These
tissues also have this pump—the ovaries; thymus gland, seat of the adaptive immune system; skin; choroid plexus in the
brain, which makes the cerebrospinal fluid; and in joints, arteries and bone.
These are total-body scintiscans of a woman taken after injection of radioactive iodine-125, at 30 minutes, 6, and 20 hours. It
is rapidly excreted into the bladder. Stomach mucosa absorbs the intravenously injected iodine, and it is concentrated in the
thymus, thyroid, and salivary glands, and in the choroids plexus. 
But despite these facts…
The Reigning Truth on Iodine
The accepted truth on iodine is that only the thyroid gland needs it, and a daily intake of more than 1 or 2 mg is excessive and
Quote on new paths to truth
As with all accepted truths, this statement applies, especially to iodine: ―When you seek a new path to truth, you must expect
to find it blocked by expert opinion.‖ 
Today’s medical establishment is wary of iodine, almost to the point of it becoming a phobia. It discounts the fact that other
tissues in the body have an affinity for this element and the means with which to concentrate it. Like the recommended
dietary allowance for vitamin C being designed to prevent scurvy, the RDI for iodine is designed to prevent goiter and
The Real Truth
There is growing evidence that the RDI’s for both these essential nutrients are far too low. I would contend that the real truth
on iodine is this: Although the thyroid only needs it in microgram amounts, the rest of the body needs iodine in milligram
amounts—for achieving optimum health, to prevent and treat fibrocystic disease of the breast, prevent cancer, and, all will
agree at least on this point, for civil defense. Furthermore, iodine is effective in gram amounts for treating various
dermatologic conditions, chronic lung disease, fungal infestations, and arteriosclerosis, albeit with an increased incidence of
Different Kinds of Iodine
It is inorganic, nonradioactive iodine that confers extrathyroidal benefits. Iodine plays other roles in an organic form and in a
manufactured inorganic, radioactive state.
Forms of Inorganic, Nonradioactive Iodine
The four main, commercially available forms of orally administered inorganic, nonradioactive iodine are potassium iodide;
SSKI; Lugol’s solution, and Iodoral tablets. Lugol’s solution and Iodoral are one-third elemental iodine, I-2, and two thirds
potassium iodide. Tincture of iodine and povidone-iodine (betadine) are applied topically.
Thinking it was iced tea, this 54 year old fellow drank a "home preparation" of SSKI in water that his aunt kept in the
refrigerator for her rheumatism. He consumed 600 ml containing 15 gm of iodide. This amount of iodine is 100,000 times
more than its recommended daily allowance. He developed swelling of the face, neck, and mouth, had transient cardiac
arrhythmias, but made an uneventful recovery. 
The vast majority of people without thyroid disease can take iodine in doses ranging from 10 to 200 mg a day without any
clinically adverse affects on thyroid function. 
In 1962, I spent the summer after my first year of medical school at the Marine Biology Laboratory in Woods Hole,
Massachusetts with one of my professors doing research on the electrophysiology of tunicate hearts. Dr. Albert Szent
Gyorgi, the Nobel laureate who discovered vitamin C, was there. I was fortunate to be able to meet him and attend his
lectures. Dr. Szent Gyorgi, it turns out, loved iodine and took it himself in gram doses. He enjoyed excellent health and
lived to the age of 93. In his book Bioenergetics  he writes, ―When I was a medical student, iodine in the form of KI
[potassium iodide] was the universal medicine. Nobody knew what it did, but it did something and did something good. We
students used to sum up the situation in this little rhyme:
If ye don’t know where, what, and why
Prescribe ye then K and I”
The standard dose was 1 gram of KI, which contains 770 mg of iodine.
With regard to iodine salts in general, the venerated 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, published in 1911, states,
―Their pharmacological action is as obscure as their effects in certain diseased conditions are consistently brilliant. Our
ignorance of their mode of action is cloaked by the term deobstruent, which implies that they possess the power of driving
out impurities from the blood and tissues. Most notably is this the case with the poisonous products of syphilis. In its tertiary
stage—and also earlier—this disease yields in the most rapid and unmistakable fashion to iodides, so much so that the
administration of these salts is at present the best means of determining whether, for instance, a cranial tumor be syphilitic or
Iodine in Dermatology
This 19th and early 20th century medicine continues to be used in gram amounts in the 21st century, by dermatologists. They
treat inflammatory dermatoses, like nodular vasculitis and pyoderma gangrenosum, with SSKI, beginning with an iodine dose
of 900 mg a day, followed by weekly increases up to 6 grams a day as tolerated. Fungal eruptions, like sporotrichosis, are
treated initially in gram amount with great success. 
For many years doctors used potassium iodide in doses starting at 1.5 to 3 gm and up to more than 10 grams a day, on and
off, to treat bronchial asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, with good results, and surprisingly few side effects.
Many women suffer from painful, lumpy breasts. The incidence of fibrocystic breast disease in American women was only 3
percent, when studied in the 1920s. Today, however, 90 percent of women have fibrocystic breast disease. In this disorder,
epithelial hyperplasia occurs along with apocrine gland metaplasia and fluid-filled cysts form, accompanied by fibrosis. Six
million American women with this disorder have moderate to severe breast pain and tenderness that lasts more than 6 days
during the menstrual cycle. 
In animal studies, female rats fed an iodine-free diet develop fibrocystic changes in their breasts. [46, 47] Iodine in its
diatomic, elemental form, as I2, cures it. 
Two studies, a Russian one  and this study by Ghent and colleagues, show that iodine effectively relieves signs and
symptoms of fibrocystic breast disease in 70 percent of patients. This paper is a composite of three clinical studies, two in
Canada and one in Seattle. The one done in Seattle, at the Virginia Mason Clinic, is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-
controlled trial designed to compare elemental iodine, I-2, in a dose of 3 to 5 mg, to a placebo, an aqueous mixture of brown
vegetable dye with quinine. The women were followed for six months and subjective and objective changes in their
fibrocystic disease tracked. 
In the Ghent paper results were reported without tests for statistical significance. Two years later, however, a company took
the Seattle data, enlarged from 56 to 92 women, and subjected it to a rigorous statistical analysis. This sponsor submitted a
Special Report on iodine’s efficacy and safety to the FDA, seeking its approval to do a larger clinical trial.
This report documented that iodine did indeed have a highly statistically significant effect on fibrocystic disease, with a p
value of less than 0.001. Iodine reduced breast tenderness, nodularity, fibrosis, turgidity, and number of macroscysts, the five
parameters in a total breast examination score that an investigator measured who was blinded to which treatment the woman
had, iodine or placebo. 
The FDA refused to approve it, saying, according to Dr. Low, the lead investigator for this report, that it could not endorse
the trial because iodine is a natural substance and not a drug.
Unfortunately very few physicians who treat breast disease know about the Ghent study, or the earlier Russian one that had a
similar success rate , and none know about this statistically analyzed FDA report, which until now has been kept
Iodine Prevents Breast Cancer
Animal studies provide evidence that iodine does indeed prevent breast cancer, arguing for a causal association to the
epidemiological finding that women who have a high intake of iodine are found to have a low incidence of breast cancer.
[51,52] Garcia-Solis and coworkers analyzed the effect of iodine on preventing breast cancer in rats given the carcinogen
nitrosmethylurea. Molecular iodine (I2) was more effective than potassium iodide, significantly reducing the cancer
incidence (30 %) compared to controls (73 %) (P < 0.05).  Another study, using DMBA as the carcinogen, showed the
same thing (P < 0.01). [56,57]
Other evidence that adds biologic plausibility to the hypothesis that iodine in milligram amounts prevents breast cancer
includes the finding that the ductal cells in the breast that become cancerous are the same ones that contain an iodine pump
(sodium iodine symporter) for absorbing this element.  And people with goiters resulting from iodine deficiency have a
three times greater incidence of breast cancer. [58,59]
Presented with this evidence on fibrocystic disease and that on breast cancer, it is reasonable to hypothesize that fibrocystic
disease of the breast and breast cancer are, like goiter and cretinism, iodine deficiency disorders. [60,61] But as of 2003,
after most of these studies were published, a leading textbook on breast diseases, Bland and Copeland’s The Breast:
Comprehensive Management of Benign and Malignant Disorders, fails to mention iodine anywhere in its 1,766 pages. 
The Iodine Project
Dr. Guy Anderson, a former professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UCLA, decided to mount this project after he read the
Ghent paper in the Canadian Journal of Surgery. He formed the company that makes Iodoral, and in 2000 engaged Dr.
Flechas to do clinical studies with it to confirm Ghent’s findings. Dr. Brownstein joined the project in 2003.
Their hypothesis is that whole body sufficiency of iodine requires 12.5 mg a day. The conventional view is that the body
contains 25-50 mg of iodine, of which 70-80 percent resides in the thyroid gland. Dr Abraham concluded that whole body
sufficiency exists when a person excretes 90 percent of the amount ingested. He devised an iodine loading test where one
takes 50 mg and measures the amount excreted in the urine over the next 24 hours. He found that the vast majority of people
retain a substantial amount of the 50 mg dose. Many require 50 mg a day for several months before they will excrete 90
percent of it. His studies indicate that given an adequate amount the body will retain much more iodine than originally
thought, not 50 mg, but 30 times more, 1,500 mg , with only 3 percent of that amount residing in the thyroid gland.
More than 4,000 patients in this project have taken iodine in daily doses ranging from 12.5 to 50 mg, and in those with
diabetes, up to 100 mg a day. These investigators have found that iodine does indeed reverse fibrocystic disease; their
diabetic patients require less insulin; hypothyroid patients, less thyroid medication; symptoms of fibromyalgia resolve, and
patients with migraine headaches stop having them. To paraphrase Dr. Szent-Gyorygi, these investigators aren’t sure how
iodine does it, but it does something and does something good. And they have a lot of grateful patients. 
Thyroid function remains unchanged in 99 percent. Untoward effects of iodine—allergies, swelling of the salivary glands
and thyroid, and iodism—occur rarely, in less than 1 percent. Iodine removes the toxic halogens fluoride and bromide from
the body. Iodism—an unpleasant brassy taste, runny nose, and acne-like skin lesions—is caused by the bromide that iodine
extracts from the tissues, and it subsides on a lesser dose of iodine. 
Amiodarone is used to treat cardiac arrhythmias. I give it to my heart surgery patients. The chemical structure of
Amiodarone is similar to that of thyroxine, and it blocks the T3 receptors on DNA.
Patients on 300 mg of Amiodarone will absorb 9 mg of inorganic iodine a day from metabolism of the drug. This does not
seem to bother doctors who follow the party line on taking iodine only in microgram amounts.
Amiodarone causes hypothyroidism in 20 percent of people. Endocrinologists blame side effects of Amiodarone on
inorganic iodine released from its metabolism and not on the organic molecule itself, without evidence to support this claim.
Isotopes of Iodine
Scientists have made 37 isotopes of iodine. Most of them disappear in seconds or minutes. I-127 is the stable, naturally
occurring isotope. Four other isotopes, which are used clinically, have half-lives varying from 13 hours to 60 days. Three of
them, I-123, 124, and 125 are made in a cyclotron and are used for diagnostic purposes. I-125 is also used in brachytherapy
for prostrate cancer, where urologists inject seeds containing this radioactive isotope to kill the cancer. I-131, with a half-life
of 8 days, is made only by nuclear fission, either in a nuclear plant or by exploding a nuclear weapon. It is used
diagnostically and to treat hyperthyroidism, thyroid cancer, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Trans-Pacific Radioactive Fallout
The greatest health threat affecting the largest number of people following a nuclear bomb explosion will come from the
release of radioactive fallout that is carried downwind for hundreds of miles. The thyroid gland is especially vulnerable
because radioactive isotopes of iodine are a major component of fallout. Smaller nuclear weapons are the most dangerous,
those less than 500 kilotons, because their fallout only enters the troposphere and falls back down to earth fairly quickly,
before I-131, with its 8-day half-life, disappears.
An atmospheric test of a 300 kiloton weapon in China in 1996 produced fallout that reached the US. The leading edge of the
fallout cloud extended as far east as the dotted line running from Arizona to the Great Lakes.
Trans-Pacific Fallout from a nuclear war where 200-300 megatons are exploded, as Cresson Kearny writes in Nuclear War
Survival Skills, ―could result in tens of thousands of unprepared Americans suffering thyroid injury.‖
KI Blockade of Thyroid Irradiation by I-131
The Department of Health and Human Services has approved potassium iodide, in a dose of 130 mg, as a thyroid blocking
agent in radiation emergences. To be most effective, however, it must be taken in a window 24 hours before and up to 2
hours after exposure, as these grafts show.
It doesn’t have to be KI. Sixteen drops of Lugol’s solution, 8 Iodoral tablets, or 3 to 5 drops of SSKI work just as well.
Actually, Lugol’s solution is better than KI because the breast concentrates iodine, which KI does not have, and would better
protect the breast from radioactive iodine. And lacking an oral source of iodine, applying 2 percent tincture of iodine to the
skin works almost as well. Painting iodine on the abdomen in a 4 x 8 inch patch blocks thyroidal radioiodine uptake by 95 to
A person who takes 15 mg of iodine a day is already well protected from the radioactive iodine in fallout. The thyroid gland
will retain less than 2 percent of absorbed I-131, similar to that after consuming a 130mg KI tablet.
When exposed to radioactive fallout, in addition to iodine one had best have a survey meter, which measures the intensity of
the radiation, like these two here, and a high-range dosimeter that measures the accumulated amount of radiation received.
Chernobyl is the only accident in the history of commercial nuclear power where radiation-related fatalities have occurred.
The steam explosion and fire in this reactor, uncontained and lacking an emergency core cooling system, released 5 % of the
reactor’s radioactive core into the atmosphere. 134 employees developed acute radiation sickness and 28 died from it. No
increase in cancer incidence or mortality has been observed attributable to the ionizing radiation it released. In fact, based on
the hormesis model discussed here at this meeting, this accident will prevent 20,000 people from dying of cancer in the
former USSR over the next 65 years.
Thyroid cancer is another matter. The explosion spread significant amounts of I-131, raising the incidence of thyroid cancer
in children in the Ukraine from 0.7 per million to 4 per million. Our own Dr. Arthur Robinson reckons that only 70 extra
cases of thyroid cancer have arisen in children living near Chernobyl as a result of the accident, and these cancers could have
been prevented had the Ukrainian authorities provided these children with iodine.
Sound Science and Iodine
Two centuries ago sound science was applied to iodine, following this chain of evidence:
The Coventry Remedy for goiter that was so effective in treating this disease, long held secret, was published in
1779. It was burnt sea sponge.
Bernard Courtois discovered iodine in 1811.
Andrew Fyfe, in 1816, found that sea sponge contain high quantities of Iodine.
Whereupon, a French physician showed that tincture of Iodine will shrink goiter.
Consensus has replaced science, and the consensus view is that iodine intake should not exceed 300ug/day.
Endocrinologists decree, without supporting evidence, that Iodine >1 mg/day is excessive
Physicians discount and ignore studies showing that iodine in mg doses can cure fibrocystic disease of the
The first controlled study on iodine was done 70 years ago to study its benefits in preventing goiter in school-aged children.
The treatment group received an average of 11 mg/day of sodium iodide and a control group none. The iodine treatment
group had a 0.2 percent incidence of goiter and the control group, a 22 percent incidence—a 110x greater difference. 
Now, finally, the FDA has seen fit to approve a randomized controlled trial on the benefits of iodine for fibrocystic disease
sponsored by this company, Symbollon. ● A phase III trial enrolling 175 women is underway.
One hopes sound science will eventually prevail with this essential element and overturn the phobia that has arisen against its
use in milligram amounts. [67, 68]
Health Benefits of mg-dose Iodine at 100x the RDA
Consuming iodine in mg doses should, of course, be coupled with a complete nutritional program that includes, in particular,
adequate amounts of selenium, magnesium, and Omega 3 fatty acids. So done, an iodine intake 100x the recommended daily
allowance, as one observer puts it, is ―the simplest, safest, most effective and least expensive way to help solve the health
care crisis crippling our nation.‖
These are the health benefits people experience with adequate doses of iodine:
They Feel Healthier
Sense of Well-Being
Lifting of Brain Fog
Increased Energy - Achieve More in Less Time
Feel Warmer in Cold Environments
Need Less Sleep, 30 minutes to an hour less
Have Regular Bowel Movements
Improved Skin Complexion
A Strengthened Immune System
It prevents Cancer
And taking 12.5 to 25 mg of iodine a day will block 98 percent of 1-131 absorption from radioactive fallout
without having to take any extra doses.
These presumed health benefits require further investigation. As one leading researcher in this field states, ―The extrathyroidal
actions of iodine are an important new area for investigation.‖  Especially given the epidemic of breast cancer that afflicts
American women, more investigators need to study the extrathyroidal effects of iodine. And public and private funding organizations
must award them grants to do this.
Meanwhile, perhaps we should emulate the Japanese and substantially increase our iodine intake, if not with seaweed, then with two
drops of Lugol’s Solution (or one Iodoral tablet) a day.
In the time remaining I would welcome any questions or comments.
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