Iodine - what is the correct daily dose?

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See My Book - The Underactive Thyroid - Do it yourself because your doctor won't

Use as an anti-microbial

See also Iodine - another vital multitasking tool that should be a household word for how to use Iodine as an anti-microbial

The Basics

The benefits of micronutrients in modern medicine have been hugely dumbed down. The Government recommended daily amounts (RDAs) of micronutrients are the lowest levels required in order to prevent obvious pathology - for example the RDA for Vitamin C (90mg) is set to stop scurvy, rather than optimal health.

These amounts do not reflect the optimum amount of micronutrient for optimum health. The two amounts (i.e. the RDA and the optimum amount) for individual micronutrients may be very different and this is well illustrated by iodine. It is now assumed that iodine is only necessary for the production of thyroid hormones, but actually breast tissue requires just as much and deficiency results in fibrocystic disease of the breast and in breast cancer. It is notable that countries with the highest iodine intake have the lowest risk of breast cancer. Indeed, a tendency to cysts generally, including polycystic ovaries, may well be an iodine problem. See the table below for how the body uses iodine:


See My Book - The Underactive Thyroid - Do it yourself because your doctor won't for much more detail on the uses of thyroid, including:

  • Autoimmunity
  • Brain
  • Sleep
  • Skin
  • Energy delivery mechanisms
  • Bon*and others...

For the Dr B West reference, see The Iodine Movement - heart
For the 2003 reference, see The thyroid, iodine and breast cancer

See also

How much iodine in the body

A normal thyroid gland contains 50mgs of iodine, fat in the body and breast tissue contain 700mgs, striated muscle - 650mgs (lack of iodine in muscle may result in muscle pain). 20% of body iodine (about 400mgs) is present in skin and without it the skin cannot sweat.

Complete lack of iodine in the unborn infant and young child results in cretinism with severe mental deficiency. A deficiency results in low IQ. Mothers who supplement iodine during pregnancy have notably brighter babies!

Also essential for oxytocin...and helpful in autism

Iodine is also essential for production of oxytocin. This hormone is the "love" hormone - it is what Puck must have given to Titania so she fell in love with Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream! Without oxytocin there is no empathy. See Synthesis of oxytocin using iodine for oxidative cyclization and silica gel adsorption chromatography for purification

Indeed, it has been postulated that there is a deficiency of oxytocin in autism and early trials have shown that oxytocin is helpful in this condition. See Oxytocin Infusion Reduces Repetitive Behaviors in Adults with Autistic and Asperger's Disorders in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

Lugol's iodine

Jean-Francois Coindet in 1820 used 250mg a day of iodine in order to treat goitre with great success. The French physician Lugol in 1829 used 37.5mg per day for the treatment of infectious disease, again with good results. Indeed, he developed Lugol's iodine, which was a mixture of 5% iodine with 10% potassium iodide, which greatly enhanced the absorption of iodine.

American physicians then used between 12.5mg and 37.5mg daily to treat both hyper and hypothyroidism, with some patients requiring 90mg daily. This resulted in a 90% success rate for treatment. It became recognised that there was a pandemic of iodine deficiency. As a result of this, iodised table salt was introduced generally and the benefits of iodine supplementation were forgotten. However, iodine and iodides compete with the other halides (such as fluoride, chloride, bromide) for absorption. Iodine deficiency has been made much more common in recent years because many people are subjected to high levels of fluoride because of their water supply or because of dental treatments; bromide was routinely used in bread making and also as a fire retardant. Thus the high levels of fluorides and bromides in our diet and the environment mean that we are all at great risk of iodine deficiency. Furthermore, the recommended daily amount of iodine is 150 μg - that is to say a thousand fold less than the sort of doses that were used in the 19th century. See The Iodine Study 8 - The Historical Background of the Iodine Project which discusses this work and also that of Dr Flechas and Brownstein and lists 23 references.

Interest in iodine was re-awoken in 1993, when Ghent demonstrated that 5mg a day of iodine is highly effective in the treatment of fibrocystic disease of the breast. A study in Japan showed that the average daily intake of iodine was 13.8mg (because of their high intake of seafood) and the Japanese have the lowest incidence of breast cancer in developed nations.

See Iodine replacement in fibrocystic disease of the breast

Buy Lugol's 15% at my Online shop

Iodoral formulation

Work done by Professor Guy Abraham (whose work I have been following for many years now and whom I highly respect) has lit up an interesting new way of using iodine as a therapeutic intervention. Indeed, he quotes from the Nobel Laureate Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, who discovered vitamin C in 1928, who commented when I was a medical student, iodine in the form of KI 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 you do not know where, what and why, describe ye then K and I."

Abraham has developed Lugol's iodine into a tablet form (Iodoral) which is well tolerated. It contains a mixture of 5mg of iodine and 7.5mg of iodide. He recommends a three month loading dose of 4 tablets daily, starting off with 1 tablet a day for a week, then 2 tablets daily for a week, 3 tablets daily for a week and then 4 tablets.

The clinical observations Abraham has made as a result of many patients taking this regime are as follows:

1. The excretion of mercury, lead, cadmium, aluminium, fluoride and bromine is hugely increased.

2. There is increased well being and energy levels with lessening brain fog.

3. Patients feel warmer, they seem to need less sleep, their bowel action becomes more regular and their skin complexion improves.

4. Interestingly, there is often an increase in body odour for the first two weeks (which probably represents excretion of toxins) and some patients have cloudy urine for several months.

This regime strikes me as being eminently sensible and safe. You can buy Iodine here - Lugol's 15% or you can buy Iodoral here - Link for Iodoral. Take at bed time - this avoids taking Vitamin C and Iodine at the same time - vitamin C is a reducing agent, iodine is an oxidising agent. However, some people find that iodine is stimulating and may keep them awake at night - I think this is due to a DDD reaction (see Diet, Detox and Die-off Reactions ). If you find that iodine is keeing you awake at night, then take it in the morning. The key thing is that Vitamin C and Iodine (taken by mouth) should be taken apart from each other - leave a gap of around 2 hours.

It is likely that anyone with hypothyroidism, especially when it is not due to autoimmunity, will be iodine deficient. Because iodine is so necessary in tissues other than the thyroid (eg breast, bone marrow, immune system, brain), the iodine levels should be tested by a urine test.

Symptoms of iodine deficiency also include high cholesterol, hypochlorhydria (see Heartburn - at last I have sussed out why this is such a common problem) and inability to sweat. The tongue is often enlarged, and when protruded, fills the entire space between the corners of the lips.

Iodine can be used to treat conditions associated with excessive production of scar tissue such as keloid, Peyronie's disease and Dupytron's contracture.

Refs: Much of the above I have learned through attending lectures by Dr Jorge Flechas (Nov 2011) and Dr David Brownstein. For further information about Dr Brownstein's work, see The Iodine Study 8 - The Historical Background of the Iodine Project

Take vitamin C away from iodine

They work in different ways and combining them reduces the effectiveness of both. If the iodine is inhaled then there is no need for a gap. Otherwise allow an hour between doses. For the chemists amongst us, iodine is an oxidising agent (electron acceptor) while vitamin C is a reducing agent (electron donor) – if taken together they risk ‘knocking each other out’.

How much Iodine in the various Lugol's preparations

Please see the table below -


The safe and effective dose of iodine for thyroid disease, fibrocystic breast disease and much more

Please see here for many supporting studies on dosage and efficacy - Optimox - Resources for Iodine Research

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