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Dr. David Brownstein about Iodine


Dr. David Brownstein’s book Iodine: Why You Need It; Why You Can’t Live Without It:

     “Of all the elements known so far to be essential for human health, iodine is the most misunderstood and the most feared. Yet, iodine is the safest of all the essential trace elements, being the only one that can be administered safely for long periods of time to large numbers of patients in daily amounts as high as 100,000 times the RDA. However, this safety record only applies to inorganic, nonradioactive forms of iodine.  Some organic iodine containing drugs are extremely toxic and prescribed by physicians. The severe side effects of these drugs are blamed on inorganic iodine although studies have clearly demonstrated that it is the whole molecule that is toxic, not the iodine released from it.”


In his excellent short book on iodine, Dr. Brownstein summarizes his own clinical experience with hundreds of patients for whom he has prescribed iodine with excellent results and minimal side effects. To determine whether a patient is iodine sufficient, he uses the iodine-loading test described by Dr. Abraham. This was the test that Abraham used to determine if a person had an optimal amount of iodine in his/her body. Other research had shown that iodine is readily absorbed when ingested orally and readily excreted in the urine. The assumption was that if a person ingests a given amount of iodine and is iodine sufficient, most of the iodine should be found in the urine over a 24-hour period. On the other hand, if the person does not have an optimal amount of iodine in his body, when he ingests the iodine, his body will tend to hold onto it and a smaller amount will be found in the urine during the 24-hour collection period.


To do this test, a patient first empties his bladder and then ingests 50 mg of iodine/iodide (to be discussed further below). The patient then collects his urine for the next 24 hours and a sample of it along with a note that includes the total volume collected is sent to an appropriate laboratory. If the person excretes 90% or 45 mg of the iodine, he is considered iodine sufficient. If less is excreted, the patient is not optimally sufficient or is iodine insufficient and a therapeutic dosage of iodine may be administered for a period of time, after which the test is repeated. Dr. Brownstein has found in using this test, that more than 90% of his patients are iodine insufficient. Once a person is iodine sufficient, the maintenance dose for an adult to maintain sufficiency is about 12.5 mg of iodine/iodide daily. The treatment dose when a person is iodine insufficient is generally between 12.5 mg and 50 mg daily. Preliminary research indicates that if a person is iodine insufficient, it takes about 3 months to become iodine sufficient while ingesting a dosage of 50 mg of iodine and a year to become iodine sufficient while ingesting a dosage of 12.5 mg of iodine daily. However, the patient needs to be monitored closely with awareness of possible side effects and detoxification reactions


Another way of testing for iodine sufficiency is by painting an area of skin with tincture of iodine. It should take between 18 to 24 hours or more for the body to absorb the red or orange iodine stain if the person is iodine sufficient. If the iodine patch absorbs more quickly, the likelihood is the person being tested is not iodine sufficient. This method is probably not as accurate or quantitative as the iodine-loading test with the subsequent collection of the 24-hour urine.  


The dosage of about 12.5 mg of iodine daily can be obtained with 2 drops of Lugol’s solution or as an identical over-the-counter solution. This same dosage is also available over-the-counter in tablet or capsule. Each capsule or tablet or 2 drops of the Lugol’s solution contains 5 mg of the reduced elemental form of iodine (preferred by the breast, ovary and prostate) and 7.5 mg in the iodide form (preferred by the thyroid gland). Numerous testimonials indicate that many patients improve many symptoms with optimal supplementation of this supplement.

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