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By Dr. James Howenstine, MD.
November 5, 2005

Lack of iodine is widespread in the United States today. For many years iodine was added to bread in generous quantities which prevented iodine deficiency. Each slice of bread contained 150 mcg. of iodine filling the whole days RDA of iodine In 1960 the average diet consumed about 1 mg. of iodine daily with bakery products accounting for about 75 % of the total. This quantity of iodine was enough to decrease the thyroid glands ability to absorb radioactive iodine and it was also sufficient to prevent excess release of thyroid hormone thus preventing many cases of hyperthyroidism (Grave’s Disease).

Forty years ago the food industry decided to remove iodine from baked goods and replace the iodine with bromine. Iodine and bromine appear similar to the thyroid gland and bromine easily binds to the thyroid gland’s receptors for iodine. Bromine, however, is of no value to the thyroid gland unlike iodine and it inhibits the activity of iodine in the thyroid gland. Bromine also can cause impaired thinking and memory, drowsiness, dizziness and irritability. This substitution of bromine for iodine has resulted in nearly universal deficiency of iodine in the American populace. Iodine therapy helps the body eliminate fluoride, bromine, lead, cadmium, arsenic, aluminum and mercury. Could this substitution of bromine for iodine have been carried out to increase diseases and thus create more need for pharmaceutical drugs?

Among the problems caused by iodine deficiency are:

  • Underactivity of the thyroid gland produces fatigue. In rodents iodine deficiency leads to abnormal pituitary-adrenal function. The adrenal gland provides energy and stamina.
  • When iodine no longer binds to thyroid cell membranes enzymes called peroxidases are able to damage these membranes and produce autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Hyperthroidism (Graves Disease). Researcher Dr. Guy Abraham has observed several cases of thyroiditis and hyperthyroidism that have been corrected by the simple replacement of iodine. For more than 100 years high doses of iodine have been known to benefit both underactivity (hypothyroidism) of the thyroid gland and overactivity of the thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). Iodine therapy allows the sluggish thyroid gland to resume normal production of thyroid hormone leading to resolution of hypothyroidism. Provision of iodine stops the peroxidase injury to the thyroid membranes in hyperthyroidism which permits hyperthyroidism to resolve. Thus thyroid surgery for hyperthyroidism is no longer necessary.
  • Several human organs need iodine but can not absorb it until blood iodine levels reach high values (stomach, salivary glands). Most persons exhibit impaired production of stomach acid as they age. This impaired capability to produce adequate stomach acid may be a result of iodine deficiency as iodine promotes stomach acidity.
  • Resolution of cysts Iodine therapy resolves nearly every case of breast cysts. This treatment also can heal ovarian cysts and works well on skin cysts when rubbed over the cyst.
  • Iodine is found in large quantities in the brain and the ciliary body of the eye. Lack of iodine may be involved in production of Parkinson’s disease and glaucoma.
  • Lipoprotein (a) This dangerous substance is quite important as it produces plaques in arteries because it is very sticky and collects platelets, calcium and fibrin from the blood circulating inside our arteries. Excessive clotting and vascular disease resulting from high levels of lipoprotein (a) can be reversed by iodine treatment.
  • Other Health Problems Iodine has proven value in treating headaches, keloids, and parotid duct stones.

How Can Iodine Deficiency Be Detected?

An accurate test for diagnosing iodine deficiency exists. Dr. Jay Abrahams has developed a loading test to settle this issue. The patient takes 4 iodine tablets (12.5 mg each). If there is sufficient iodine in the individual the excess iodine is excreted in the urine in the next 24 hours. If iodine is lacking the body retains most of the iodine with little iodine appearing in the urine. Use of this test has shown that nearly every patient with any condition known to be associated with iodine deficiency tested positive for iodine lack. Therefore, it often is sensible to assume iodine lack and proceed to treat with iodine.

However, when a patient takes iodine for several months and has shown no improvement this test can be used to exclude a problem with absorption of iodine. Iodine lack is known to be a factor in the development of breast and prostate cancer. Sixty patients with a variety of cancers were studied. All sixty patients were found to have serious iodine deficiency.

To correct iodine deficiency by taking iodized salt is not feasible. You would need 20 teaspoons of iodized salt daily to get adequate quantities of iodine. Dr. Abrahams has developed an iodine preparation named Iodoral to treat iodine deficiency. This is composed of dried Lugol’s solution containing 12.5 mg of iodine per tablet. A person with adequate iodine stores who takes 4 of these tablets (50 mg.) will excrete 90 % of the iodine in their urine.

Dr. Abrahams thinks that the correct quantity of iodine needed to maintain sufficient amounts of iodine in the body is 13 mg. daily. This is 100 times more than the government recognized RDA for iodine. This quantity of daily iodine would be distributed as follows –six mg. to thyroid gland, five mg. for the breasts in females and two mg. for the remainder of the body. Males appear to usually, but not always, need slightly less than females.

Prominent thyroid researcher, Dr. Benjamin Eskin, has shown that the thyroid gland and skin prefer to concentrate the iodide form of iodine while the breasts concentrate iodine. His research suggested that the body needs both the iodide and iodine form of iodine. This is easy to accomplish with Lugol’s solution developed by French physician Dr. Jean Lugol in the 1820s. His solution mixed iodine (5 %) with potassium iodide (10 %) and 85 % water. Dr. Lugol’s solution killed germs and was used with success in treating infections and many other conditions. This solution in the recommended 2 drop dosage contains 5 mg. of iodine and 7.5 mg. of iodine which is exactly the quantity of iodine recommended for daily intake by Dr. Abraham. Lugol’s solution tastes metallic unless greatly diluted and stains clothing and skin.

A third solution that works well in correcting iodine deficiency is Triodide made by Scientific Botanicals of Seattle, Washington. This has the same dosage of iodine and iodide combined with a sea vegetable called bladderwrack. This can be obtained from natural food stores, Tahoma Clinic Dispensary and compounding pharmacies. This contains 12.5 mg of iodine in the same 2 drop dosage.

Dr. Abrahams recommends taking 50 mg of Iodoral (four 12.5 mg. tablets), Lugol’s solution (8 drops)or Triodide (8 drops) daily for 3 months as a loading dose. Then this dose should be gradually reduced to the 12.5 mg. maintenance dosage under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care professional. Dr.Abraham feels that 14 to 15 mg. of iodine/iodide daily is the upper maximum of safety. This is close to the recommended dose of 12.5 mg daily so caution is necessary in managing iodine repletion. Japanese researchers have discovered patients with hypothyroidism who were taking 20 mg. of iodine or more daily.

Another valuable iodine preparation is saturated solution of potassium iodide. This does not have the correct ratio of iodine iodide recommended by Dr.Abrahams for correcting iodine deficiency but it does have a multitude of valuable healing properties. It can help open up blocked arteries, disinfect water, cure bladder infections, reduce or eliminate ovarian cysts, diminish unsightly keloids, loosen thick bronchial secretions, reduce or eliminate Peyronie’s Disease and Dupuytron’s contracture.

Endocrine Cancers And Iodine Stores

Iodine deficiency is a recognized risk factor in the development of cancer of the breast, prostate, and probably the ovary and endometrium. Breast cancer is twice as common (12.1 %) in women taking natural thyroid hormone or synthetic thyroid hormone as in women not taking thyroid hormones (6.2 %). The risk for breast cancer in women taking thyroid hormones increases with time. Women who had taken thyroid hormone for 15 years had a 19.5 % incidence of breast cancer while women who had been on thyroid hormone therapy for five years had only a 10 % incidence of breast cancer. This increase in breast cancer with time suggests that correction of a iodine deficiency might well eliminate the need for thyroid hormone and would also lower the incidence of breast cancer.

Japanese women, who are eating lots of seaweed, have the highest iodine intake (13.8 mg. daily) of women anywhere in the world. They also have the lowest incidence of breast cancer in the world. Japan has one of the lowest worldwide rates of every type of cancer with the exception of stomach cancer. In addition Japan has one of the lowest incidences of iodine deficiency, goiter (enlarged thyroid gland), and hypothyroidism. Iceland, another high iodine intake country, has low rates of goiter and breast cancer. Two countries with low iodine intakes (Thailand, Mexico) have high rates of breast cancer and goiter.

Patient Studies.With Iodine Therapy

A patient of Dr. Rowen named Betty had severely painful breast cysts. She took 5 mg. of iodine daily with complete disappearance of painful breast cysts.

Veronica, another patient of Dr. Rowen, had advanced breast cancer with severe hip pain from a bone metastasis. Iodine loading test showed severe deficiency of iodine. After three months of Iodoral she still has not restored her iodine levels but her excretion of bromine has increased 10 fold. Her cancer therapy with IPT and artemisin has been stable with only an occasional IPT and she continues with 25 mg. of Iodoral three times daily. Dr. Abrahams relates that he has seen two remissions of breast cancer in persons taking 75 mg of Iodorol daily. Iodine deficiency plays a role in allowing breast cancer and prostate cancer to develop.

Another physician has seen a case of prostate cancer go into remission after taking Iodoral and supplements.

George Flechas MD relates that many of his diabetic patients need lowering of insulin dosage and diabetic drugs after repletion of iodine deficiency. Dr. Rowen has observed the same thing.

Food Sources Of Iodine

Iodine from fish must be limited because of mercury problems. However, sardines have such a short life span they do not get contaminated with mercury. My suggestion would be to buy tins of sardines packed in tomato sauce so you can avoid the transfats used in oil packed sardines.

Brown and red seaweeds contain the most iodine (kombu, focus, etc.).of sea vegetables. You may still need supplemental iodine to get an adequate quantity for repletion of iodine deficiency. unless you are eating lots of seaweeds.

Iodoral can be purchased from Optimox 310-618-9870 if you are willing to buy a case. Otherwise you can probably find this in health food stores. Lugol’s solution is a satisfactory way to obtain iodine but you will need a prescription. The dose is 2 drops daily. Be careful in measuring as 3 drops daily can lead to toxic symptoms.

The evidence presented here proves that iodine is vital to human health. Many persons will experience improved health when their iodine deficiency is corrected.

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Index Words in order

Iodine, hyperthyroidism, bromine, thyroid gland, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, hypothyroidism, breast cysts, ovarian cysts, skin cyst, Parkinson’s Disease, glaucoma, lipoprotein (a), keloids, bladder infections, arteries, bronchial secretions, Peyronie’s Disease, Duputron’s contracture, cancer breast, cancer ovary, cancer endometrium, cancer prostate, goiter, diabetes

© 2005 Dr. James Howenstine - All Rights Reserved

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Dr. James A. Howenstine is a board certified specialist in internal medicine who spent 34 years caring for office and hospital patients. After 4 years of personal study he became convinced that natural products are safer, more effective, and less expensive than pharmaceutical drugs. This research led to the publication of his book A Physicians Guide To Natural Health Products That Work. Information about these products and his book can be obtained from and at and phone 1-800-416-2806 U.S. Dr. Howenstine can be reached by mail at Dr. James Howenstine, C/O Remarsa USA SB 37, P.O. Box 25292, Miami, Fl. 33102-5292.









Forty years ago the food industry decided to remove iodine from baked goods and replace the iodine with bromine. Iodine and bromine appear similar to the thyroid gland and bromine easily binds to the thyroid gland’s receptors for iodine.