The American Thyroid Association (ATA) has issued a statement warning about the risks of too much iodine, especially from iodine, potassium iodide and kelp supplements.1

According to the ATA, such supplements may “contain iodine in amounts that are up to several thousand times higher than the daily Tolerable Upper Limits for iodine.”

They advised against the ingestion of iodine or kelp supplements containing in excess of 500 mcg iodine daily, and noted that ingesting more than 1,100 mcg of iodine per day (the tolerable upper limit) may cause thyroid dysfunction.

Why You Might Only Need High Dose Iodine Supplements in the Event of a Nuclear Disaster

Iodine is a vitally important nutrient that is detected in every organ and tissue and many if not most are deficient in this nutrient. Along with being essential for healthy thyroid function and efficient metabolism, there is increasing evidence that low iodine is related to numerous diseases, including cancer.

There are potentially serious risks to taking too much iodine, however, which is why I generally do not advise taking iodine supplements like Lugol’s or Ioderol. Your thyroid only transports iodine in its ionized form (i.e. iodide).

Your thyroid reduces iodide (I-) into iodine (I2) for use in formation of thyroglobulin. Your body doesn’t utilize iodine directly. It has to split the I2 into two I- ions, which is an oxidative reaction that causes oxidative stress.

Further, taking too much iodine may also lead to subclinical hypothyroidism, which occurs when your thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone. It’s an ironic association, since hypothyroidism is often linked to iodine deficiency,

But research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition2 revealed that study participants taking relatively higher doses of supplemental iodine — 400 micrograms a day and more – paradoxically began developing subclinical hypothyroidism.

I would recommend taking a large dose iodine supplement in the event of some type of nuclear fallout. In this case, if you’re iodine deficient, taking a potassium iodide (a stable form of iodine) supplement can protect your thyroid by “flooding” your system with iodine so your thyroid has no need to take in the radioactive form.

Iodine Is Not Only for Your Thyroid

Though thyroid health is often what people think of when they think of iodine, other tissues also absorb and use large amounts of iodine, including:

Breasts Salivary glands Pancreas Cerebral spinal fluid
Skin Stomach Brain Thymus

Iodine deficiency, or insufficiency, in any of these tissues will lead to dysfunction of that tissue. Hence the following symptoms could provide clues that you’re not getting enough iodine in your diet. For example, iodine deficiency in:

· Salivary glands = inability to produce saliva, producing dry mouth

· Skin = dry skin, and lack of sweating. Three to four weeks of iodine supplementation will typically reverse this symptom, allowing your body to sweat normally again

· Brain = reduced alertness and lowered IQ

· Muscles = nodules, scar tissue, pain, fibrosis, fibromyalgia

Iodine actually induces apoptosis as well, meaning it causes cancer cells to self-destruct. Dr. Jorge Flechas, MD is adamant that absence of iodine in a cell is what causes cancer, and statistics tend to support this view. Unfortunately, iodine levels have significantly dropped in the United States in recent decades due to several factors, including:

· Bromine exposure: When you ingest or absorb bromine (found in baked goods, plastics, soft drinks, medications, pesticides and more), it displaces iodine, and this iodine deficiency leads to an increased risk for cancer of the breast, thyroid gland, ovary and prostate — cancers that we see at alarmingly high rates today

· Declining consumption of iodine-rich foods, such as iodized salt, eggs, fish, and sea vegetables

· Soil depletion

· Less use of iodide in the food and agricultural industry