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Iodine Research

Resource Network of The Iodine Movement

                             Iodine and the Body


In addition to thyroid hormones, iodine appears to be related to other hormones.
It is related to estrogen and progesterone and, probably, testosterone, insulin, and other hormones.
Iodine may affect the production of hormones as well as hormone receptors.

Brownstein states that  iodine deficiency results in increased ovarian estrogen production, as well
as increased sensitivity of estrogen receptors in the breast.

Eskin provides evidence for an anti-estrogen effect of iodine.

Wright has reported that iodine can help maintain a healthy balance of the three estrogens by
increasing estriol while reducing estrone and estradiol.

Skibola has found that dietary kelp has anti-estrogenic effects. Various components of kelp may be
involved in this anti-estrogenic effect, including iodine.

Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It , 2nd Edition
David Brownstein, MD
Medical Alternatives Press, Michigan, 2006.

Dr. Wright has reported compelling data that iodine, in the form of Lugol's solution (iodine, and
iodide) can help maintain the correct balance of the three estrogens. Specifically, Dr. Wright has
reported that Lugol's solution will help the body metabolize the estrogens to favor the safer form of
estrogen - estriol. My experience has found the same results; the use of iodine helps maintain a
balanced estrogen ratio in favor of estriol. p.76

It is known that the ovaries concentrate a large amount of iodine. After the thyroid, the ovaries have
the second largest concentration of iodine in the body. Iodine deficiency produces changes in the
ovarian production of estrogens as well as changes in the estrogen receptors of the breasts. In an
iodine deficient state, research as shown that ovarian estrogen production increases, while
estrogen receptors in the breast increase their sensitivity to estrogens. Both of these conditions will
increase the risk of developing pathology of the breasts including breast cancer. p.77-78

click here for extensive work

Flechas JD
MP3 audio -- 50 minutes  (takes a while to download)  January 26, 2007.

In this 50-minute radio presentation (mp3 audio), Flechas discusses a variety of iodine-related
issues, including the effects of iodine on hormone receptors and neurotransmitters.

He states that the receptors for almost every major hormone and neurotransmitter need iodine in
order to function efficiently -- thyroid hormones, testosterone, cortisol, insulin, and more.  He also
asserts that the single iodide that is removed in transforming T4 to T3 can join receptors and
increase their sensitivity.

Iodine Deficiency
Flechas JD
MP3 audio -- 2 hours (takes a while to download)  January 5, 2007.

In this two-hour radio presentation (mp3 audio), Flechas discusses a variety of iodine-related
issues, including the effects of iodine on receptors.

He states that all hormone receptors are dependent on iodine, which increases the sensitivity of the
receptor to the hormone it is designed for.  For example, he states that it can increase the
sensitivity of insulin receptors and thus help with diabetes.  Similarly, it can increase the sensitivity
of the receptors for neurotransmitters (e.g., serotonin, dopamine, GABA) in the brain.  Thus,
depression may lift after taking iodine.  It can also increase the sensitivity of receptors for
testosterone and FSH/LH.

Brown kelp modulates endocrine hormones in female sprague-dawley rats and in human luteinized
granulosa cells.
Skibola CF, Curry JD, VandeVoort C,Conley A, Smith MT.
J Nutr. 2005 Feb;135(2):296-300.

Epidemiological studies suggest that populations consuming typical Asian diets have a lower
incidence of hormone-dependent cancers than populations consuming Western diets. These
dietary differences have been mainly attributed to higher soy intakes among Asians. However,
studies from our laboratory suggest that the anti-estrogenic effects of dietary kelp also may
contribute to these reduced cancer rates. As a follow-up to previous findings of endocrine
modulation related to kelp ingestion in a pilot study of premenopausal women, we investigated the
endocrine modulating effects of kelp (Fucus vesiculosus) in female rats and human luteinized
granulosa cells (hLGC)…. These data show endocrine modulating effects of kelp at relevant doses
and suggest that dietary kelp may contribute to the lower incidence of hormone-dependent cancers
among the Japanese.

The effect of Fucus vesiculosus, an edible brown seaweed, upon menstrual cycle length and
hormonal status in three pre-menopausal women: a case report.
Skibola CF.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2004 Aug 4;4:10.

BACKGROUND: Rates of estrogen-dependent cancers are among the highest in Western countries
and lower in the East. These variations may be attributable to differences in dietary exposures such
as higher seaweed consumption among Asian populations. The edible brown kelp, Fucus
vesiculosus (bladderwrack), as well as other brown kelp species, lower plasma cholesterol levels.
Since cholesterol is a precursor to sex hormone biosynthesis, kelp consumption may alter
circulating sex hormone levels and menstrual cycling patterns. In particular, dietary kelp may be
beneficial to women with or at high risk for estrogen-dependent diseases. To test this, bladderwrack
was administered to three pre-menopausal women with abnormal menstrual cycling patterns and/or
menstrual-related disease histories.

CASE PRESENTATION: Intake of bladderwrack was associated with significant increases in
menstrual cycle lengths, ranging from an increase of 5.5 to 14 days. In addition, hormone
measurements ascertained for one woman revealed significant anti-estrogenic and progestagenic
effects following kelp administration. Mean baseline 17beta-estradiol levels were reduced from 626
+/- 91 to 164 +/- 30 pg/ml (P = 0.04) following 700 mg/d, which decreased further to 92.5.0 +/- 3.5
pg/ml (P = 0.03) with the 1.4 g/d dose. Mean baseline progesterone levels rose from 0.58 +/- 0.14
to 8.4 +/- 2.6 ng/ml with the 700 mg/d dose (P = 0.1), which increased further to 16.8 +/- 0.7 ng/ml
with the 1.4 g/d dose (P = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS: These pilot data suggest that dietary bladderwrack may prolong the length of the
menstrual cycle and exert anti-estrogenic effects in pre-menopausal women. Further, these studies
also suggest that seaweed may be another important dietary component apart from soy that is
responsible for the reduced risk of estrogen-related cancers observed in Japanese populations.
However, these studies will need to be performed in well-controlled clinical trials to confirm these
preliminary findings.

Take Progesterone and avoid Estrogens to Get Rid of Breast Cysts
Elizabeth Smith

"Iodine keeps estrogen from binding to the estrogen receptors in the breast. For some patients that
have an iodine deficiency, kelp tablets provide an immediate relief from breast cyst pain. "

Bio-identical steroid hormone replacement: selected observations from 23 years of clinical and
laboratory practice.
Wright JV.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 Dec;1057:506-24.
[abstract only]

To maximize the safety and efficacy of human hormone replacement therapy, it is suggested that
exact molecular copies of human hormones ("bio-identical" hormones) be administered in
physiologic quantities and proportions, following physiologic timing and routes of administration. It is
also suggested that physicians return to the practice of monitoring hormone therapy by precise
laboratory measurement levels of the hormones administered. This paper also presents clinical and
laboratory data concerning appropriate proportions of bio-identical estrogens, the physiologic and
supraphysiologic nature of commonly employed doses, estrogen levels achieved by varying routes
of administration, and the significant effects of iodine on estrogen metabolism and cobalt on
estrogen excretion.

You're just 24 hours away from discovering-and reducing-your breast cancer risk
Wright JV

Iodide (and iodine) reliably promote the metabolism of estrone and estradiol into estriol....Take six to
eight drops of SSKI mixed in several ounces of water daily for two to three months. Then repeat
your test, doing the 24-hour urine collection at the same time of the month as your first one. More
likely than not, your follow-up EQ will be above 1.0-sometimes considerably above. If it is, try
tapering down the SSKI to the smallest amount that helps you maintain your EQ at 1.0 or above.
Some women find that they only need one drop a day, though others need more. Although SSKI is
safe for the overwhelming majority of people, there are individuals who are very sensitive to it. On
rare occasion, long-term use of larger quantities of SSKI may cause thyroid suppression.

Reducing the Hormone Related Cancer Risk
 (link no longer available)
Wright JV

Years ago, when applying Dr. John Myers very effective iodine therapy for fibrocystic breast disease
some of the women had 24-hour urine tests for estrone, estradiol, and estriol. To my surprise, in the
majority of these women the quantity of estriol greatly increased, and the total quantity of estrone
and estradiol (combined) decreased following the iodine treatment. Since estradiol and estrone can
metabolize to estriol only through 16a-hydroxyestrone (estradiol (estrone (16a-hydroxyestrone
(estriol) theoretically it appears that iodine somehow greatly stimulated this pathway. Also
theoretically, this may mean that iodine helps to “drain away” 16a-hydroxyestrone (“bad estrogen”)
by helping to turn it into estriol. “Lugol's solution”, a combination of iodine and potassium iodide,
was used in the “Myers treatment” noted above. As large amounts of iodine or iodide can possibly
affect the thyroid adversely, it's best to work with a physician if using this material or other relatively
high-dose iodine and/or iodide preparations.