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Iodine Research

Resource Network of The Iodine Movement


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The Forgotten Iodine
PanAmerican School of Natural Medicine

The many uses of Iodine.

  1. Germicide: Elemental iodine is a potent germicide with wide spectrum and low tissue toxicity. A
    solution of 50 ppm (eg, 50 mg/L) kills bacteria in 1 min and bacterial spores in 15 min.
    Topically, Iodine is excellent for toenail fungus, ringworm, fever blisters, moles and skin tags,
    warts, hangnails, etc. Just a few drops on a q-tip is all it takes. Use daily until the topical gaffes
    are gone.
  2. Water purification: Iodine has been used to disinfect water for nearly a century. It has
    advantages over chlorine in convenience and probably efficacy; many travellers find the taste
    less offensive as well. It appears safe for short and intermediate length use (3-6 months), but
    questions remain about its safety in long-term usage. It should not be used for a long term by
    persons with allergy to iodine, persons with active thyroid disease, or pregnant women....
  3. 3. Radioactive Fallout: There is no medicine that will effectively prevent nuclear radiations
    from damaging the human body cells that they strike. However, a salt of the elements
    potassium and iodine, taken orally even in very small quantities 1/2 hour to 1 day before
    radioactive iodines are swallowed or inhaled, prevents about 99% of the damage to the
    thyroid gland that otherwise would result. The thyroid gland readily absorbs both non-
    radioactive and radioactive iodine, and normally it retains much of this element in either or
    both forms.
  4. When ordinary, non-radioactive iodine is made available in the blood for absorption by the
    thyroid gland before any radioactive iodine is made available, the gland will absorb and retain
    so much that it becomes saturated with non-radioactive iodine. When saturated, the thyroid
    can absorb only about l% as much additional iodine, including radioactive forms that later may
    become available in the blood: then it is said to be blocked. (Excess iodine in the blood is
    rapidly eliminated by the action of the kidneys.)
  5. Fibrocystic Breasts: Many women develop "fibrocystic breast disease". In the 1970s,
    pioneering trace element researcher Dr. John Myers showed that iodine would eliminate even
    the most severe cases of fibrocystic breast disease. In "medium" to "minor" cases, 6 to 8
    drops of SSKI or Lugol's taken in a few ounces of water daily will frequently reduce fibrocystic
    breast disease to insignificance within three to six months. [16]
  6. Herpes virus: If the truth be known, there are many chemicals that destroy or inactivate the
    herpes simplex virus. Iodine is a very common antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal agent for
    topical use. A bit of a water soluble iodine complex like Povidine Iodine (Betadine iodine) might
    be added to the "zinc gluconate" wash to help in the struggle against herpes. Tincture of
    iodine is also used, but it is in alcohol, which may sting tender tissues. Iodine stains the skin
    and clothing, and it is absorbed into the skin where it has its activity. An iodine-colored zinc
    gluconate wash might be helpful in reminding one to retreat. Iodine disappears into the skin at
    rates that are different between people. For example, in a very small 1975 study patients with
    vulvovaginal and cervical herpes virus infections were treated with a regimen of external and
    intravaginal povidone-iodine preparations. In all but one case, the expected duration of
    symptoms and healing time were shortened.
  7. Ophthalmia neonatorum prevention. "Ophthalmia neonatorum" is defined as conjunctivitis with
    eye discharge that occurs during the first month of life. Various bacteria can cause this
    condition, including gonococcus and Chlamydia trachomatis . Several agents have been used
    as drops in the eyes to prevent this condition in infants, including erythromycin, silver nitrate,
    gentamicin, and Povidone-iodine. Tetracycline and penicillin drops have also been used.
    Although this condition is now uncommon in industrialized nations, it remains a problem in the
    developing world with an incidence as high as 20-30% and cases of blindness reported in
    Africa each year. Povidone-iodine ophthalmic solution appears to have broad spectrum
    activity against bacteria, and is less expensive than many antibiotics. It therefore may be a
    cost-effective option in some populations. One drop of 2.5% solution in each eye has been
    demonstrated as being effective in multiple studies.
  8. Molluscum contagiosum: Iodine has been suggested as a topical treatment for molluscum.
  9. Ovarian cysts: It's very likely that SSKI helps eliminate fibrocystic breast disease and ovarian
    cysts at least partly through it's interaction with estrogens….which brings us to another
    important use for SSKI (and other forms of iodine such as "Lugol's solution" and "di-atomic
    iodine"). All of these forms of iodine help your body to metabolize estrone (a slightly
    carcinogenic human estrogen) and 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone (a much more dangerous
    metabolite of human estrogen) into estriol, an "anti-carcinogenic" or at worst "neutral" form of
    human estrogen.
  10. Dupuytren's contracture and Peyronie's disease are two "fibrotic" conditions that can be
    helped considerably by SSKI or Lugol's solution. In Dupuytren's contracture, thickening
    (fibrosis) occurs along one of the tendons in the palm in the hand, pulling the related finger
    down towards the palm. As the problem progresses, the finger often can't be straightened any
    more.
  11. In Peyronie's disease, a very similar thickening occurs along the shaft of the penis, making
    erections increasing "curved" and painful. In both cases, rubbing SSKI into the thickened
    tissue at least twice daily softens and lessens the fibrotic area over a period of several
    months, allowing for more normal function.
  12. For these conditions, it's additionally helpful to take para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) 2 grams,
    three times daily, and to rub a mixture of Vitamin E and DMSO into the thickened areas, also.
    However, if "caught early", SSKI alone will often "do the job".
  13. Keloids are abnormally thick scars, sometimes as much as an inch thick, that can form after
    injury. Although anyone can get a keloid, they're more common among blacks than other
    ethnic groups. Rubbing SSKI into a keloid at least twice daily will ultimately flatten them down
    to a "normal scar", but it can take many months to a year for particularly bad ones. The
    treatment goes faster if SSKI or Lugol's is mixed "50-50" with DMSO.
  14. Fistulas are literally abnormal tunnels through tissues, "tunnels" prevented from healing by
    chronic infection. Two not-unusual types are "peri-anal fistulas" (a "tunnel" from outside the
    anus to the inside of the rectum) and "recto-vaginal" fistulas. Although these fistulas can be
    treated successfully by surgery, they can often be healed by frequent swabbing inside and out
    with an SSKI-soaked "Q-tip". Patience is required: Complete healing often takes several
    months. The treatment appears to work better if the SSKI is mixed with DMSO, which
    enhances penetration.
  15. Hemorrhoids. Richard Kunin, M.D. of San Francisco, is a "world class" expert on the use of
    SSKI and other forms of iodine. He has found that hemorrhoids will sometimes disappear
    literally overnight, when SSKI (20 drops) mixed with flaxseed oil (1 ounce) is rubbed in them at
    bedtime. He's also found that SSKI alone will do the same job, although it "really stings" when
    applied to a hemorrhoid by itself.
  16. Arteriosclerosis. Over 30 years ago, two ophthalmologists observed that a combination tablet
    called "Iodo-niacin" (iodide 120 milligrams, niacin 15 milligrams) 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 (retinal photomicrographs) before and
    after treatment. The published photographs showed a significant lessening of the cholesterol-
    laden artery clogging in the "after" pictures. [14] True to cause, no follow-up study has ever
    been published (probably because niacin and iodide aren't patentable). Recommended is 1 to
    2 drops of SSKI or Lugol's and niacin-containing B-complex daily (along with essential fatty
    acids or fish oil) for anyone with significant cholesterol-related atherosclerotic clogging.
    Thyroid function must be monitored!
  17. Sebaceous cysts are cysts which contain oily, fatty material. They usually appear rather
    suddenly on the face or in the groin or labia. Rubbing in SSKI mixed 50-50 with DMSO will
    almost always persuade these cysts to go away in a week or two; it appears that the iodide
    "dissolves" the fatty, oily material contained in the cysts, allowing your body to slowly re-
    absorb and dispose of it. The famous chemistry professor Louis Feiser made a point of
    demonstrating to all the medical students that iodine and iodide would make oils, fats, and
    waxes (cholesterol is actually a wax) more soluble in water. This known action of iodide might
    likely explain why it might be needed in patients with lipomas.
  18. Sialoliths, parotid duct stone. These are "stones" which can form in the saliva-carrying duct(s)
    from the major salivary glands ("parotid" glands, located at the "angle of the jaw"). 3 to 4
    drops of SSKI taken in water daily reportedly will almost always dissolve parotid duct stones
    within four to eight months.
  19. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema ("COPD"). Lugol's is an invaluable medicine, it gets into all
    body secretions, including often thick and hard to cough up bronchial secretions, which get
    infected very easily. As a well known and old time expectoran, it "loosens" secretions
    remarkably, making them much easier to expectorate, and it prevents micro-organisms from
    growing easily. With regular use, bronchial infection is a much less frequent problem for these
    patients. Depending on the severity of COPD, I recommend 3 to 6 drops of lugol's taken in
    water once daily. As COPD is usually a chronic condition, use will usually be indefinite, so
    make sure to monitor thyroid function!
  20. Infected hangnails are perhaps the easiest to clear up this way, as are nagging bacterial
    infections around the edges of the toenails. Rub in the mixture several times daily, and the
    problem's usually gone in a few days. Herpes simplex ("herpes") ourbreaks can be "stopped
    cold" in the same way, but it often takes longer for the "sore" to heal itself over.
  21. Enlarged tonsils. Persistent "swollen glands" in the throat or groin areas, see a doctor first!
    These can very rarely be signs of leukemia, lymphoma, or another cancer, especially in older
    people. But if all tests and studies are negative, rub in the SSKI with DMSO. In a large majority
    of cases, the "just swollen glands" will gradually fade away.
  22. Onychomycosis. Fungus under the toenails is a difficult problem to treat. Even "conventional"
    anti-fungal drug treatment takes months to work, and (for safety) monthly liver function tests
    are necessary. Lugol's or Tincture of Iodine and DMSO rubbed on, around, and under the
    affected toenails doesn't work any faster, but it's just as effective, and definitely safer.
  23. Vaginal infections. 20 to 30 drops in water, used in a small "douche" once daily for five to ten
    days will usually resolve the infection in several days.
  24. Bladder Infections. 1-2 drops of lugol's in a glass of water, four times daily. Since the iodide
    excretion generally exits the kidney in four hours, for a severe bladder infection give it every
    four hours. I have treated successfully some of the worst bladder infections by this method.
    Lugol's works better than antibiotics, and unlike antibiotics, the infection is not so nearly prone
    to return.
  25. Hypothyroidism. Even though iodine and iodide are absolutely essential to thyroid hormone
    formation, in most "developed" countries, hypothyroid conditions are not usually due to an
    outright lack of iodine or iodide. Still, hypothyroidism is occasionally helped by 1 drop of lugol's
    daily. Make sure to monitor the thyroid profiles!
  26. Vegan gas. reducing the gas from eating beans! Macrobioticists have know for years that
    cooking beans with seaweed reduces bean flatus. If you're soaking beans before cooking
    them, add 1 or 2 drops of Lugol's, and let them soak for an hour or more. Pour offf that water
    before cooking, and add fresh water. You'll be surprised at the reduction in resulting intestinal
    gas! (Technical explanation: There's a naturally occurring enzyme inhibitor in beans which
    interferes with starch digestion in the gut, producing gas. Lugol's inactivates this enzyme
    inhibitor.)
  27. Baldness: In Mexico, some people have used iodine as a means of preventing baldness. One
    woman used iodine for years as a preventive measure against her baldness. She used it as a
    rinse after washing her hair. Another woman told me to "cure" a bald spot by dabbing iodine
    on the bald spot or area of thinning hair. After a while, a crust will form. Eventually, beneath
    the crust fine hairs will start to grow. She said it can take about three months to see the results.
  28. Heavy Metal Detox. The bioavailability of a Lugol's containing 12.5 mg elemental iodine was
    evaluated by measuring 24 hr urine levels of iodide together with the minerals, trace elements
    and toxic metals before and after administration of this preparation. The results obtained
    following iodine supplementation revealed that in some subjects, the urine levels of mercury,
    lead and cadmium increased by several fold after just one day of supplementation. For
    aluminum, this increased excretion was not observed usually until after one month or more on
    the iodine supplementation. [15] Preliminary data so far suggest that
    orthoiodosupplementation results in detoxification of the body from the toxic metals aluminum,
    cadmium, lead and mercury. One of the old materia medicas listed using iodine for mercury
    detoxification. [Mercurial Poisoning, and other chronic metallic toxaemiae, —Potassium Iodide,
    to promote elimination of the poison.]
  29. Precancerous skin lesions: From my own clinical experience, repeated application of Lugol’s
    to the skin appears to cause regeneration of the skin from the bottom up, causing eventually
    sloughing the old version of the skin off. It is very helpful in granulation of new skin in leg
    ulcers when used twice daily as a wound spray. For suspicious spots, if there was a pre-
    cancerous lesion on the old skin, it is replaced with new skin minus the lesion. There does not
    seem to be any skin lesions which are not helped or cured by this procedure. In some cases I
    found clinically obvious low thyroid conditions also needed to be treated to be more
    aggressively. Minor lacerations and healing of surgical wounds respond well. If skin
    regeneration is from the bottom, then there is little or no scar formation. It is better than
    vitamin E, but that helps too.
  30. Cuts and scabs. It is my belief a water solution of iodine (like Lugol's) is an important
    therapeutic agent for skin. Because of its effectiveness and the results, perhaps many skin
    diseases are related to local tissue areas of relative iodine deficiency. Perhaps the most
    graphic lesions are the "keloid" (worm) incision scars formed after surgical procedures. If the
    iodine intake and tissue levels are adequate, such as in Japan, keloid formation doesn't
    happen (17). In addition, iodine's ability to trigger natural cell death (apoptosis) (18) makes it
    effective against all pre-cancerous skin lesions and likely many cancerous lesions. The local
    site is replaced with normal skin.
  31. Our older generation tended to put tincture of iodine onto a fresh wound to prevent infection.
    This turns out to be helpful. It is much more effective (and doesn't hurt) to apply iodine
    repeatedly after a scab has been formed also. The iodine put onto the scab helps to organize
    total repair of the tissue. It is implied a similar approach could be taken to burns of all depths
    but at the same time the physiology of burns suggest there is an acute lack of thyroid
    hormone.
  32. Common cold. The next time you feel that scratchy throat or that first onset snuffle, reach for a
    bottle of Lugol's and start snorting from the open top. You may be surprized to see it rapidly
    quench a rhinovirus infection before it sets in.
  33. Breast Cancer: Based on an extensive review of breast cancer epidemiological studies, R.A.
    Wiseman [25] came to the following conclusions: 92-96% of breast cancer cases are sporadic;
    there is a single cause for the majority of cases; the causative agent is deficiency of a
    micronutrient that is depleted by a high-fat diet; and if such an agent is detected, intervention
    studies with supplementation should lead to a decline in the incidence of breast cancer. It is
    the opinion of several investigators that this protective micronutrient is the essential element
    iodine. [26] Demographic surveys of Japan and Iceland revealed that both countries have a
    relatively high intake of iodine and low incidences of simple endemic goiter and breast cancer.
    Whereas in Mexico and Thailand, just the reverse is observed -- a high incidence of both
    endemic goiter and breast cancer...."
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