By Dr. David Brownstein Reviewed by Ed Hill https://samaritanministries.org/blog/iodine-why-you-need-it-why-you-cant-live-without-it Iodine, Why You Need ItImagine a universal nutrient that could help you improve your health, while preventing many future diseases. Perhaps it could also improve mental function, while preventing Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Wouldn’t it be nice if it would remove heavy metals and clean out clogged arteries, preventing heart attacks, strokes, and other atherosclerosis-related problems? You’d like it to prevent cancer or discourage it if you already had it. And wouldn’t you want it to promote optimal function of all the body’s hormones, greatly helping diabetes? Wouldn’t it be great if it resolved thyroid issues, thus preventing surgery or drug dependence? And what if it could kill parasites, bacteria, viruses, and fungi that cause disease? Such a nutrient does exist, and a growing number of doctors are encouraging “orthoiodosupplementation.” In his best-selling book, Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, Dr. David Brownstein, Medical Director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Michigan, says iodine is the most misunderstood nutrient. He says, “After 17 years of practicing medicine, I can say that it is impossible to achieve your optimal health if you do not have adequate iodine levels. I have yet to see any item that is more important to promoting health or optimizing the function of the immune system than iodine.” Some 50 years ago, Nobel laureate Dr. Albert Györgyi, the physician who discovered vitamin C in 1928, wrote: “When I was a medical student, iodine in the form of potassium iodide (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 ye don’t know where, what, and why, prescribe ye then K and I.’” Doctors in the 150 years preceding World War II prescribed KI in large doses for almost every health problem. But since that time there has been a phobia against using iodine in milligram (mg) amounts. This, despite the fact that Japanese people consume 13.8 mg/day of iodine (100 times the Recommended Daily Allowance in the U.S.) and are among the healthiest people on earth, with much lower cancer rates, infant mortality rates, and a 4-year longer life expectancy than the U.S. Dr. Guy Abraham is a former Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UCLA School of Medicine. In the preface to Dr. Brownstein’s book, he writes, “Medical iodophobia may have caused more misery and death than both world wars combined, by preventing meaningful clinical research in the daily amount of iodine needed for optimal physical and mental health.” He concludes by saying, “May the Most High God, the Ultimate Healer, and Creator of heaven and earth, continue to guide us and bring to light what was kept in darkness for over 60 years … the safe and effective use of the essential element iodine in the medical practice.” Dr. James Howenstine, at NewsWithViews.com, writes, “Lack of iodine is widespread in the U.S. today.” For many years iodine was added to bread so that each slice contained 150 micrograms (mcg), the RDA for iodine. In 1960 the average American got about 1 milligram—1 milligram (mg) equals 1000 micrograms—of iodine daily, mostly from bakery products. This amount of iodine was enough to decrease thyroid absorption of radioactive iodine, reducing the rate of thyroid and other cancers. The breast cancer rate at that time was one in 20. Now it is one in seven and rising by one percent each year. In the ’60s, the food industry decided to remove iodine from baked goods and replace it with bromine. Bromine and iodine appear similar to the thyroid, and bromine binds easily to the thyroid’s iodine receptor sites though it is of no value to the thyroid and inhibits the activity of iodine in the thyroid. Bromine can cause impaired thinking and memory, drowsiness, dizziness, and irritability. This substitution of bromine for iodine has resulted in nearly universal deficiency of iodine among American people. Iodine therapy helps the body eliminate fluoride, bromine, lead, cadmium, arsenic, aluminum, and mercury. Dr. Abraham believes that somewhere around 13 mg/day of iodine is needed for the whole body. But even that amount is not enough to overcome serious iodine deficiency. Dr. Brownstein suggests a dose anywhere from 6-50 mg/day, supervised by a physician. Medical schools have taught for 80 years that there is enough iodine in salt to supply the body’s needs. However, there are no studies to back up this claim. And according to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey done by the Centers for Disease Control, iodine levels in the U.S. have dropped 50 percent in the last 30 years. During the same period, breast cancer rates have tripled, and the percentage of pregnant women with low iodine levels has increased 690 percent. Many studies have shown that children born to these mothers run a significant risk of being born with lowered intellectual ability. One such study measured a 13.5-point difference in IQ scores. In utero iodine deficiency has been associated with a host of childhood ailments including ADD/ADHD, depression, cretinism, dwarfism, and mental retardation. Animal studies have shown that iodide, the form of iodine in iodized salt, is ineffective at reversing pre-cancerous lesions of animal breast tissue, but iodine is much more effective. One of the anecdotes in Dr. Brownstein’s book is about Joan, a 60-year-old English teacher who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989. She refused conventional therapy and looked for other options. She found a holistic doctor who recommended that she take 2 mg/day of iodine in addition to vitamins and minerals. She was also diagnosed with hypothyroidism and treated with thyroid hormone. Over the next 10 years, she felt well and continued to teach. The tumor metastasized in early 2005. Joan’s tumor markers also increased, and she felt very fatigued. She lost 25 pounds by July 2005. After she read of Dr. Abraham’s research on iodine, she found a doctor to prescribe iodine for her. She increased to 50-62.5 mg/day using a tablet form of Lugol’s (Iodoral), which contains both iodine and iodide. She was then able to stop the thyroid hormone. After six weeks, Joan had a PET scan. It showed that all of the tumors were disintegrating. Dr. Brownstein says, “Joan’s case is not unique. Iodine can cause tumors to shrink and die from the center. I have observed similar results with nodules and cysts in the thyroid, ovaries, and uterus after instigating orthoiodosupplementation. I concur with several other investigators that iodine deficiency is a causative factor in breast cancer and fibrocystic breast disease.” He goes on to say that iodine has been shown to induce apoptosis (death) in breast and thyroid cancer cells. Iodine is a potent antioxidant, even more effective than vitamins E, C, and choline. Iodine can function as both an antioxidant and an oxidant in the body. This dual effect makes it a strong anticancer agent. Survival rates for breast cancer victims are virtually unchanged over the last 70 years, despite the use of mammograms, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Perhaps rectifying iodine deficiency will be the missing piece to solving the riddle of breast cancer. Animal research has shown that correction of iodine deficiency results in abnormal breast tissue changing back to normal tissue. Dr. Brownstein says he has seen the same positive results occur in humans. But he warns that using thyroid hormones without first correcting an iodine deficiency can result in breast and thyroid cancers. He also says iodine’s cancer suppressive effect can be enhanced with the use of progesterone. He suggests that perhaps the reason we have made so little progress in our treatment of hormone-sensitive cancers is that the underlying cause has been overlooked. This cause could very well be iodine deficiency. Dr. Jonathan Wright, M.D. is the Medical Director of Tahoma Clinic in Renton, Washington. He writes, “Iodine accumulates in any and all body secretions, including in the sinuses, where it inhibits or kills bacteria, viruses, and fungi, before they can cause an infection.” He says it is nearly 100 percent effective at eliminating bladder infections. He writes, “When I was a pre-med student at Harvard, the famous chemistry professor Louis Feiser made a point of demonstrating to all the pre-med students that iodine would make oils, fats, and waxes (cholesterol is actually a wax) more soluble in water. He urged us to remember this in our medical practices. Over 30 years ago, two ophthalmologists observed that a combination tablet called iodo-niacin taken for several months could actually reverse atherosclerotic clogging of arteries. They proved this effect by taking pictures of clogged arteries in the backs of the eyes before and after treatment. The published photos show a significant lessening of the plaque in the “after” pictures. Finland is an excellent case study of cardiovascular disease and iodine. Endemic goiter was common in people and domestic animals, particularly in the eastern part of the country away from the sea. Studies in the 1950s revealed that the major dietary difference between eastern and western Finland was iodine. The risk of death from coronary heart disease was 3.5 times higher for people with a goiter in Finland. “Whole body sufficiency of iodine/iodide results in optimal cardiac functions,” writes Dr. Abraham. There is an epidemic of cardiac arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation, and Dr. Abraham is convinced that the medical iodine phobia has a great deal to do with this. Adequate stores of iodine are necessary for a smooth heartbeat. Dr. John Young in Tampa, Florida has been experimenting with a new process for reversing type 2 diabetes. Over the past seven years he claims to have a success rate of 80 percent with over 100 diabetics. He uses a combination of alkaline protein and minerals with a form of iodine that he says reverses the process in diabetics in 8-12 weeks. Dr. Jorge Flechas, of Hendersonville, North Carolina writes, “It was while treating a 320-pound woman with insulin-dependent diabetes that we learned a valuable lesson regarding the role of iodine in hormone receptor function. This woman had come into the emergency room with a very high random blood sugar of 1380 milligrams per deciliter. She was put on insulin and instructed to use a home glucometer two times/day. She also had fibrocystic breast disease and was recommended to start 50 mg/day iodine. One week later she reported hypoglycemia, and was told to drop her insulin levels as long as she was having hypoglycemia and to monitor her blood sugars carefully with her glucometer. Four weeks later her glucometer was downloaded to my office computer, showing an average random blood sugar of 98. I praised her for her diligent efforts to control her diet and her good work at keeping her sugars under control with the insulin. She then informed me that she had come off her insulin three weeks earlier and had not been taking any meds to lower her blood sugar! She attributed her better control of diabetes to the iodine.” “Two years later and 70 pounds lighter, she continues to have excellent glucose control on 50 mg/day. We since have done a study of 12 diabetics and in six cases, were able to wean them off all meds for diabetes, while maintaining A1C of less than 5.8 and average random blood sugars of less than 100. The daily iodine dose was 50-100 mg/day. All 12 were able to lower total meds necessary to control type 2 diabetes. Some type 1 diabetics were able to get off insulin. Those who weren’t, were able to reduce the amount needed to control their glucose.” Dr. Abraham says, “Such high requirements for iodine in an environment depleted of this element, do not have a logical explanation. Unless, sometime in the distant past the top soil of planet earth contained significant levels of iodine and meeting these high requirements for iodine sufficiency could then be achieved with any diet. The theory of evolution does not offer an intellectually satisfying answer to this paradox. However, the Biblical account of the origin of the world, through creation 6,000 years ago, followed by the fall of man and the flood, fits very well the current situation. According to the Bible, the Creator declared earth and everything in it, good. Therefore, the original planet contained a topsoil rich in iodine, and all elements required for perfect health of Adam, Eve, and their descendants. Then, as a result of sin, a sequence of events followed, culminating in the worldwide flood 4,500 years ago. After this, the receding waters washed away the topsoil with all its elements into oceans and seas. The new topsoil became deficient in iodine and most likely other elements, whose essentialities are still unknown. Mountainous areas became the most iodine deficient because the receding waters were the most rapid over the steep slopes, eroding deeper into the soil.” All of Dr. Abraham’s research on iodine is available free online at Optimox.com in the Iodine Research section. Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It is available at DrBrownStein.com or from the publisher, Medical Alternatives Press, by calling 1-888-647-5616. Also available is Dr. Brownstein’s book called Overcoming Thyroid Disorders, which includes chapters on fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, and arthritis. There are DVDs which summarize each of the books as well. You can test the iodine levels in your body.  Call MindBody Medicine Center at 480.607.7999 for more information.  To the present, at least 35,000 people in the U.S. have been tested for iodine levels. The results: approximately 96 percent test low, with many initially testing near zero. David Brownstein, M.D. is a Board-Certified family physician and is the Medical Director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, MI. Dr. Brownstein has lectured internationally to physicians and others about his success in using natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice and is the author of nine books.