Iodine is a mineral required for human health and optimal immune function. The thyroid gland manufactures thyroid hormone from iodine and tyrosine. Tyrosine deficiency is uncommon but iodine deficiency is extremely common.
Iodine kills most organisms on the skin within 90 seconds. When applied to the skin (topical application), iodine is capable of killing all classes of organisms from bacteria, tuberculosis, fungi, yeasts, and viruses. Iodine exhibits activity against bacteria, molds, yeasts, protozoa, and many viruses. Iodine is an excellent antibiotic, antiviral and antiseptic and has few side effects and no development of bacterial resistance. Iodine can help us in ways that antibiotics can no longer do.
Iodine is used to prevent iodine deficiency and its consequences, including goiter. It is also used for treating a skin disease caused by a fungus (cutaneous sporotrichosis); treating fibrocystic breast disease; preventing breast cancer, eye disease, diabetes, and heart disease and stroke; and as an expectorant.
Iodine deficiency is a common world health problem. The most recognized form of deficiency is goiter. Additionally, across the globe iodine deficiency is thought to be the most common preventable cause of mental retardation. Early in the twentieth century, iodine deficiency was common in the US and Canada, but the addition of iodine to salt has improved public health. The addition of iodine to salt is required in Canada. In the US, iodized salt is not required, but it is widely available. Researchers estimate that iodized salt is used regularly by about half the US population.
Iodine is also used to for radiation emergencies, to protect the thyroid gland against radioactive iodides. Potassium iodide tablets for use in a radiation emergency are available as FDA-approved products (ThyroShield, Iosat) and on the Internet as food supplements. Potassium iodide should only be used in a radiation emergency, not in advance of an emergency to prevent sickness.
Iodine reduces thyroid hormone and can kill fungus, bacteria, and other microorganisms such as amoebas. A specific kind of iodine called potassium iodide is also used to treat (but not prevent) the effects of a radioactive accident.
Iodine deficiency . Taking iodine supplements is effective for preventing and treating iodine deficiencies including goiter.
Iodine is an element found mainly in seawater and in soil close to the sea. The human body needs iodine to make thyroid hormone. During fetal development, infancy, and childhood, thyroid hormone is essential for the brain and nervous system to develop normally. Too little iodine, and thus too little thyroid hormone, can lead to mental retardation, dwarfism, hearing loss, and other problems. Later in life, thyroid hormone controls metabolism. Adults who don’t take in enough iodine can develop a goiter (a swelling of the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland in the neck), and the low output of thyroid hormone can lead to sluggish metabolism, poor thinking skills, infertility, thyroid cancer, and other conditions.
Iodine is needed by various cells and tissues in the whole body, not just the thyroid. Female reproductive tissues have a large need for iodine. Radioactive iodine used to destroy thyroid cells also goes to other iodine concentrating tissues in the body. It does increase the risk of cancer. Autoimmune thyroid problems need to have the underlying cause visited, be it food sensitivity or iodine deficiency, or vitamin or mineral deficiency.
Iodine deficiency is implicated in thyroid cancer and many other diseases. Giving T4 (synthroid) to iodine deficient women increases their risk for breast cancer. Anyone needing to take thyroid hormones should also take supplemental iodine. Normalization of iodine is also important before selenium supplementation in order to prevent hypothyrodism. Normal but borderline thyroid panel lab values make a thyroid problem highly suspect.
Iodine is an essential constituent of your thyroid hormones, which help regulate metabolism (the rate at which your body uses energy). Iodine is a key player in many biochemical reactions that affect heart rate, respiratory rate and a wide variety of other physiological activities.