Iodine Deficiency Or Excess What Is The State Of Understanding?

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untitledDr Miller an American Surgeon reviews the current state of iodine related health problems from a predominately American perspective. He does  summarises in his review, published in issue 75 of the UK journal Caduceus a substantive set of opinions and research that brings the importance of iodine and supplementation back into the clinic.

Used extensively until the mid 1900’s iodine has largely fallen out of medical favour and remains a controversial nutrient. Dr Miller elegantly describes the transition from ubiquitous therapy to supplement pariah and the extensive data collected from over 12,000 patients that indicate its therapeutic value.

Everyone agrees that a lack of iodine in the diet causes a spectrum of disorders that includes, in increasing order of severity, goitre and hypothyroidism, mental retardation and cretinism (severe mental retardation accompanied by physical deformities). Health authorities in the US and Europe have agreed upon a Reference Daily Intake (RDI), formerly called the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), for iodine designed to prevent these disorders, which the World Health Organisation estimates afflicts 30 percent of the world’s population.

The Nobel laureate Dr Albert Szent-Györgi (1893–1986), the physician who discovered vitamin C, writes: ‘When I was a medical student, iodine in the form of KI was the universal medicine. Nobody knew what it did, but it did something and did something good. We students used to sum up the situation in this little rhyme:

‘If ye don’t know where, what, and why
Prescribe ye then K and I.’

The standard dose of potassium iodide given was 1 gram, which contains 770 mg of iodine. Regarding KI and other iodine salts (like sodium iodide), the venerated, 11th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, published in 1911, states;

‘Their pharmacological action is as obscure as their effects in certain diseased conditions are consistently brilliant.

The Journal Cadeceus has generously made the article available for free download.

Miller,M. Iodine High dose intake cuts breast cancer and hypothyroid related illnesses. Caduceus issue 75 View Full Paper

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • I read abut the subject of iodine, but I don’t find a happy medium. I think japanse and other oriental people are nutrigenomically different than european and american continent people and they might do ok with large amount of iodine. However, here in america, where we have this melange of blood lines, a much lower amount is needed. Like if you are of latino or irish or brazilian or french or even brittish descent, you may do well with a supplement of 150 to 450 micrograms/day of iodine.
    I can’t find a clear position that more than that is really needed for occidental beefeaters, non-soy raised, carb/wheat-loving, like me and my patients.
    Daniel Nuchovich, MD, Jupiter, Florida


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