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Lugol's Iodine:  An Important Detoxification Tool

We love it for what it is not

By Thomas S. Lee, NMD

Iodine is a mineral that is finally being appreciated for its many benefits for all living systems.  Physicians and patients worldwide are rediscovering the health benefits that getting this nutrient level right will provide.  Most of humanity is now deficient in iodine because the soil levels are depleted and it is used by our bodies to protect us from environmental toxins.

Modern science is adapting this knowledge to even more biologically useful formulations to extend benefits even beyond traditional concerns about hypothyroid conditions.  Iodine is used throughout the body in many tissues, and the thyroid gland uses the Iodide form.  This form is made most commonly in plant cells, and seawater supplies the needed iodine levels plants that live in the sea.  People whose regular diets include seaweeds or foods grown on seaweed-fertilized soils have optimal iodine levels in their bodies, and these populations typically enjoy long and active lives.  Certainly, there are other contributing factors, but many of the degenerative diseases we see in Western society are rare in these populations.

The more you look into the properties of iodine, the more you will consider adding it to your diet and supplementation.  I encourage you to read the fascinating work on iodine by Dr. Guy Abraham and Dr. David Brownstein, as well as numerous researchers published in peer-reviewed medical journals available online and in major libraries.

With this renewed appreciation of iodine, there is something else that we find interesting.  Take yourself back to high school chemistry, or look online at a periodic table of the elements.  The second column from the right, Column 17, is the group of elements known as Halogens, which have relatively similar actions upon our body chemistry.  In that column of Halogens, down at atomic number 53 is Iodine.  Notice that the lighter halogens above it are Bromine, Chlorine, and Fluorine.

These are all natural elements found in living systems, so why do I call some of the halogens less "lovable" than iodine?  Because the other halogens have been so useful and profitable for manufactured chemicals and drugs that we find ourselves in an increasingly toxic environment.  Despite the intended purposes, the cumulative effects of these synthetics on our bodies are often dangerous, hurtful, and even lethal.  We love iodine for its beneficial effects and because it is not a toxic halogen that causes cancer and pain like the brominated, chlorinated, and fluoridated toxic chemicals are proven to do.  Another benefit of iodine use is that it even seems to help dislodge and replace the toxic halogens.

Bromine is used as an antibacterial additive in the water treatment industry.  It is used in drugs as a sedative, and in many herbicides and insecticides.  From there it enters our food chain in the form of grains and refined flour products.  Poisoning with bromine, called bromism, damages the thyroid and worsens iodine deficiencies, which are all too common.

What does bromism feel like?  Dullness, apathy, difficulty concentrating, headaches, and even mental retardation.  So many other factors affect these conditions that most researchers haven't examined the influence of just bromine alone.  Fortunately, iodine can both lessen the body sensitivity to bromines and even help detoxify the injured tissues.  Using sea salt in the diet will also contribute to this effort, because the chloride ion in salt teams up with iodine to push out the bromines.

Chloride is another halogen that obviously has healthful and needed benefits for life.  However, it is so powerful and inexpensive that man has produced an active oxidized form called chlorine that is used throughout the modern world.  Due to its antibacterial effects, chlorine is often added to water supplies and cleaning solutions.  Potable water is obviously necessary for life, but other methods of detoxification are available, and the terrible byproducts—dioxin and perchlorates, among others—have caused cancers, death, and suffering worldwide for generations.  We can protect our immune systems from these dangerous side effects through adequate dietary iodine and even temporary aggressive dosing over the usual nutritional levels.

Fluoride is the least lovable of the halogens.  The poisonous nature of fluoride had been known scientifically for about a century when A.G. Farben was using German death camp experiments to perfect extermination gases upon human prisoners in World War II.  Military experimentation on unaware civilian populations was becoming a modern fashion even back then.

In 1946, the bright idea of putting radioactive waste fluoride into the American water supply was attributed to the morally vacant Harold Hodges, head of the newly created International Association for Dental Research, which was until recently part of the Atomic Energy Commission.  (Think "The Manhattan Project" and the "victorious" atom bombs.)  We have not found any beneficial uses of fluoride other than poisoning rats, so for now, we advise you to put fluorides and fluorine on your detox checklist.

On the other hand, we love iodine for not being a poisonous halogen, although modern medicine has made a poison of one form of it.  Radioactive isotopes of iodine are used to visualize where a human body uptakes iodine.  In situations where this information is critical to a patient's survival, we can see using it as a diagnostic tool.  For most of us, however, radioactive iodine is something to be avoided.  For over a century, doctors have used Lugol's Iodine Solution as a benign (non-radioactive) iodine supplement, and it is still preferred today.

The thyroid uses the iodide form of iodine which occurs in sea life and in crops cultivated with fertilizers that include composted seaweeds.  Iodide also occurs in soils located on ancient seabeds.  You can maintain a healthy iodine level in your body by eating clean seafoods and sea vegetables.  You can also use Lugol's Iodine orally (you only need a few drops in water each day) for the most affordable form of iodine protection.

Iodine is a valuable detoxification tool, particularly for the toxic halogens in our food and water.  The traditional form of Lugol's Iodine that has been in use since 1880 is a natural, balanced form of 5 percent elemental iodine in a 10 percent solution of potassium iodide.  The benefits of using Lugol's Iodine include increasing the metabolism, strengthening the immune system, and calming and relieving nervous tension.  Used topically or orally, its antiseptic properties counteract a broad spectrum of germs (fungal, viral, and bacterial).

Please read the information in the NaturoDoc Store for more specific information on the beneficial effects of Lugol's Iodine.

Further Reading

Abraham, Guy E., MD.  "Iodine: The Universal Nutrient," Vitamin Research News, 19(9):1, 11-14, 2005.

Baselt, R.C.  Disposition of Toxic Drugs and Chemicals in Man.  Seventh Edition, Biomedical Publications, Foster city, CA, 2004, pp. 468-469.

Brownstein, David, MD.  Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It, 4th Edition, Medical Alternatives Press, West Bloomfield, Michigan, 2009.



Related products available in the NaturoDoc Store:


Lugol's Iodine Solution


Nascent Iodine



Vitamin D3

We recommend these products as a detox regimen from various toxins, as well as for their nutritional benefits.  Some are hard to find and may soon be required to bow to regulatory pressure, so stock up now if you can.

Other related articles:

The Sulfur Solution

The Sulfur Study


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