Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health
Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health


Are you iodine-deficient?

Reasons for iodine deficiency

Symptoms of iodine deficiency

Benefits of iodine supplementation

Iodine as a chelating agent

Tests for iodine deficiency

Side-effects / contraindications

Iodine Sources

Optimal iodine absorption

Download Iodine eBook


Are you iodine-deficient?

iodine dropper into a glass of water - David

Do you often feel tired, and have low energy? Do you have muscular and skeletal aches and pains? Brain fog, unenthusiastic or depressed? Do you have a variety of allergies or intolerances? Are you prone to fungal and other infections? Digestion not what it used to be?.

It is possible that you are iodine deficient. Medical and scientific research tends to focus on those diseases that are caused by a critical shortage of iodine (goitre, cretinism and hypothyroidism). However, diseases that are caused by a less severe iodine deficiency are not just common - they are endemic.

A century ago, iodine was called the universal medicine, and was used to treat a wide variety of conditions and ailments (2,5,6,10,11). Iodine deficiency affects much more than the thyroid. For example, iodine supplements have been used to successfully treat fibrocystic disease (6).

Pressure from pharmaceutical companies and other commercial interests has led to the deliberate discrediting of iodine as a remedy. The recommended daily intake (RDA) for iodine has been set at a level that will prevent goitre, but is short of the level required for optimal health. In fact, if you get no more than the RDA of 150 mcg per day, you will be deficient.

In Australia and New Zealand, iodine deficiency at the (low) RDA level is a widespread problem in the general population. A dietary survey conducted in 2008 by the national food regulator (FSANZ) found that 43 per cent of Australians don't even get the low RDA level. 70 per cent of women of child-bearing age and about 10 per cent of children between the ages of two and three did not even meet the RDA.

Reasons for iodine deficiency

Symptoms of iodine deficiency

Benefits of iodine sufficiency

Iodine as a chelating agent

A study showed that after starting iodine supplementation, the levels of mercury, cadmium and lead measured in the urine of test subjects increased by several fold after just 24 hours (5). For aluminium, increased levels in the urine took a month or more to appear (5). Bromine and fluorine are also excreted at high levels (7), and may result in cloudy urine for several months and body odour for one or two weeks. Bromine can take up to two years for full removal (7).

Tests for iodine deficiency

Iodine patch test. This is a quick, rough, simple, inexpensive test. Paint a 5 cm (2 inch) square of iodine tincture (such as Lugol's solution) onto your inner arm or thigh. If the stain disappears or almost disappears:

You can repeat this test every couple of weeks to see when your iodine dose can be reduced.

Iodine urine test. Take 4 iodine tablets (12.5 mg each) or 8 drops of Lugol's solution in half a glass of water. You will need a laboratory or test kit to monitor the iodine in your urine during the next 24 hours. If you have sufficient iodine, 90% of the 50 mg dose will be excreted during the next 24 hours. If iodine is lacking the body retains most of it with little appearing in the urine.

Side-effects / contraindications

Research (2,3) based on the experience of several thousand patients taking a high iodine dose for up to three years, has shown that approximately 1 - 3% of them experience side-effects. The side-effects reported are:

The headaches and skin eruptions are probably caused by the release of stored toxins. During iodine supplementation, I recommend that you drink more water than usual to help remove the toxins being released. If any unacceptable side-effects persist, simply reduce the iodine dose you are taking.

Do not supplement with iodine if you suffer from Hashimoto's disease or other autoimmune thyroid disorders, as additional iodine may stimulate an attack on the thyroid. Those with symptoms of hyperthyroidism should not supplement with iodine.

Children and pregnant women should not supplement with iodine except under doctor's advice.

Iodine / iodide Sources

Iodised salt contains about 100 mcg/gm. Even if you eat vast quantities of this salt, it is not enough to get your iodine level back to a healthy level. In addition, I strongly recommend that you do NOT use processed salt (supermarket salt). Rather use sea salt, though unfortunately it is not a good source of iodine.

There are a few rich food sources of iodine, mainly foods coming from the sea. However, most fish, seafood and seaweed is not sufficient. Some seaweeds contain very little iodine, though others are high in iodine. If you want to get sufficient iodine without further supplementation, it is important to know which foods to use regularly.

The Grow Youthful Iodine eBook that has the all information on this web page, plus:
Details of the different sources of iodine, and which are the most effective, bio-available, and cheapest.
Details on which are the most cost-effective forms of iodine to supplement, how much iodine to take, and how long.

Here is a good iodine supplement:

Nascent Iodine - Australian distributor

Nascent Iodine - USA distributor

Optimal iodine absorption

If you are iodine-deficient, your body will efficiently absorb the iodine in your diet. When iodine sufficiency is reached, any excess is excreted in the urine. However, this is not an excuse to overdose. Any supplement should always be taken with care.

There is a synergy between iodine and selenium, which means that if one consumes too little selenium, the body uses iodine inefficiently (and probably vice versa, though there is no research that has been done to show this).

Of all foods, Brazil nuts usually contain the highest level of selenium. If you eat one Brazil nut per day, you may get sufficient selenium for good health, without overdosing on barium and radium, which are also very high in Brazil nuts. (15) Other food sources of selenium include kidneys, shellfish, fish and egg yolks.

Tin, magnesium and vitamin C also assist with the absorption of iodine (8), so David Niven Miller recommends using transdermal magnesium oil and a diet high in vitamin C whilst supplementing with iodine, especially if you don't seem to be experiencing any improvements.


1. Orthoiodosupplementation: Iodine Sufficiency Of The Whole Human Body. Abraham, G.E., Flechas, J.D., Hakala, J.C., The Original Internist, 9:30-41, 2002

2. Clinical Experience with Inorganic Non-radioactive Iodine/Iodide. Brownstein, D., The Original Internist, 12(3):105-108, 2005

3. Orthoiodosupplementation in a primary care practice. Flechas, J.D., The Original Internist, 12(2):89-96, 2005

4. Iodine Deficiency and Therapeutic Considerations. Patrick, Lyn., Alternative Medicine Review, Vol 13, No. 2, 2008

5. Iodine, The Universal Nutrient. Guy E. Abraham., 2007

6. Iodine Replacement in Fibrocystic Disease of the Breast. Ghent, W.R., Eskin, B.A., Low., D.A., et al., Can. J. Surg., 36:453-460, 1993

7. Iodine Supplementation Markedly Increases Urinary Excretion of Fluoride and Bromide. Abraham, G.E., Townsend Letter, 238:108-109, 2003

8. Evidence that the administration of Vitamin C improves a defective cellular transport mechanism for iodine: A case report. Abraham, G.E., Brownstein, D., The Original Internist, 12(3):125-130, 2005

9. The safe and effective implementation of orthoiodosupplementation in medical practice. Abraham, G.E., The Original Internist, 11:17-36, 2004

10. Iodine in Medicine and Pharmacy Since its Discovery - 1811-1961. Kelly, Francis C., Proc R Soc Med 54:831-836, 1961

11. Optimum Levels of Iodine for Greatest Mental and Physical Health. Abraham, G.E., Flechas, J.D., Hakala, J.C., The Original Internist, 9:5-20, 2002

12. The concept of orthoiodosupplementation and its clinical implications. Abraham, G.E., The Original Internist, 11(2):29-38, 2004.

13. Iodide Goiter and the Pharmacologic Effects of Excess Iodide. Wolff, J., Am. J. Med., 47:101-124, 1969

14. Intermittent therapy with potassium iodide in chronic obstructive diseases of the airways. A review of 10 years experience. Bernecker C., Acta Allergol. 1969 Sep;24(3):216-25. Article

15. Margaret P. Rayman. Food-chain selenium and human health: emphasis on intake. British Journal of Nutrition (2008), 100, 254-268. doi:10.1017/S0007114508939830.

16. C Bernecker. Potassium iodide in bronchial asthma. Br Med J. Oct 25, 1969; 4(5677): 236. PMCID: PMC1629847.