Iodine was once considered the "cure-all" mineral. Health professionals recommended it for a multitude of issues – from healing wounds and diseases to destroying bacteria and viruses, even preventing cancer.

Since the decline of recommended iodine from health professionals, there has been a significant increase in higher rates of cancer, thyroid dysfunction, and crucial amounts of toxin buildup in our systems. The amount of iodine once found in table salt and breads have either been reduced or replaced with other (often harmful) chemicals. Sadly, up to one-third of people worldwide are at risk of an iodine deficiency.1,2,3

Most of us are unaware of how iodine functions in our body and how a serious lack of it causes ailing symptoms that mimic other health issues. The result: overmedication and insufficient treatment of the root issue. Fortunately, many integrative medical practitioners and other holistic-thinking individuals are bringing iodine back as a key part of daily nutrient intake.

What is iodine?

Iodine is a mineral found in some foods. The body needs iodine but is unable to produce it. Iodine is mainly found in iodized salt, but as a rule, there is very little iodine in food, unless it has been added during processing.

Why iodine?

Getting sufficient amounts of iodine is important for our bodies to function optimally, particularly, for the thyroid gland. Every cell in our body depends on the thyroid to produce hormones that regulate the body’s metabolic rate, and iodine is a crucial nutrient for its production. Without it, all systems in the body cause the thyroid to work harder. When this happens, it can wreak havoc on our bodies and symptoms of thyroid disfunction will start showing themselves – sometimes in the form of serious diseases, and other times, as symptoms of “seemingly” more common health ailments.

Thyroid dysfunction

Hypothyroidism – low thyroid function or an underactive thyroid is one of the most obvious signs of iodine deficiency. The opposite – hyperthyroidism – is an overactive thyroid, in which the gland is overloaded with hormones. Both types can show up as a multitude of symptoms, ailments or diseases4, including:

  • Autoimmune thyroid disease
    • These can include Hashimoto’s and Gravies’ diseases. Both of these diseases can cause a flux of hypo- and hyper-thyroid. The most recognized form of iodine deficiency in hypothyroidism is goiter (enlarged thyroid).
  • Low metabolism
    • Metabolism is the process where the body converts glucose into biological energy. When thyroid hormones get low, the body has less efficiency at burning calories. This can show up as symptoms of low energy, struggle with weight control, swelling (water retention), digestive issues, food cravings – and all of these can lead to obesity.
  • Brain disorders
    • Mental retardation and cretinism, mainly in infants as the mother’s did not get enough iodine during pregnancy.
    • Autism, ADHD, depression, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
    • Cognitive issues, such as "foggy" brain and poor memory.
  • Immune system
    • Joint and muscle pain, such as fibromyalgia and chronic and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS), which can include muscle pain, joint pain and profound fatigue.
  • Diabetes and heart disease (many times go hand-in-hand)
    • Insulin and cholesterol issues. Iodine can improve blood glucose control.
  • Allergies, asthma, lung disease
    • Low iodine levels can cause thicker bronchial secretions.
  • Female and male organ health
    • Reproductive disorders, breast diseases and prostate issues.
  • Different forms of cancer
    • Breast, prostate, ovarian, thyroid and gastrointestinal, to name a few.

As you can see from this considerable list of medical conditions, it is quite possible that inadequate levels of iodine in our system can mimic some more serious ailments. It would seem to make sense to have our iodine levels measured right along with typical blood work – though it’s rarely done. You can ask your health care professional or nutritionist to run a test via urine or blood testing. There is also an easy way to measure your own iodine levels using the Basal Body Temperature5 method.

Why iodine is rarely recommended as supplemental treatment?

Iodine has largely been forgotten by many pharmaceuticals and physicians in America today. Before widespread synthetic drugs and antibiotics, iodine was used for almost everything from healing wounds and diseases to destroying bacteria and viruses. In the 1940s, when antibiotics came into play as the treatment for most conditions, iodine therapy generally vanished as the popular medical prescription.6 Some therapeutic treatments of iodine are antibacterial, anticancer, antiviral, antimicrobial, parasitic, and to elevate the body’s pH to healthy alkaline levels. 6,7

Where can we get iodine?

Most of the world's iodine is found in the ocean, where it is concentrated by sea life, especially seaweed and in stones near the sea. For many of us that live in “iodine deficient” regions, a diet consisting of certain sea foods and a variety of dairy products, as well as iodized salt, can provide a moderate amount of iodine, however, to obtain optimal levels of iodine, a supplement may be considered. For further information, you can review this fact sheet from National Institutes of Health (NIH).


[1] Ramas, R. November 11, 2017. 10 Signs and Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency.Retrieved online:10 Signs and Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency (

2 Biban, B. and Lichiardopol, C. June 29, 2017. Iodine Deficiency, Still a Global Problem? Retrieved online: (National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI))

3 Benoist, B., Anderson, M., Takkouche, B. and Egli, I. November 29, 2003. Prevalence of Iodine Deficiency Worldwide. Retrieved online: (The Lancet)

4 To Your Health Books, Copyright 2015.“What Doctors Fail to Tell You About Iodine & Your Thyroid,” by Dr. Robert Thompson.

5 Pedagogy Education. How to Take a Basa Body Temperature. Retrieved online:

6 1948.“The Wolff-Chaikoff Effect” is a study published in Bekeley, which claims that daily doses of iodine over 0.2mg/L will cause hypothyroidism in humans. Researched online: ( and (Mary Ann Liebert)

7 McGehee, F. June 3, 2015. Iodine Insufficiency in America: The Neglected Pandemic Retrieved online: College for Advancement in Medicine)

8 Press Release. October 1, 1998 . for Disease Control and Prevention)

9No date. Retrieved online: (WebMD)