THE IODINE PROTOCOL

As with LDN, I am no expert on Iodine. I am on it myself, have been for about 6 minths here in may 2020. I will be updating the post as I go along. I will be absolutly honest about what is happening. I won’t be writing too much about the complicated aspects of Iodine. But I want to present some of it. So if you are mostly interested in the more practical aspects and concrete tips, scroll down to “The Protocol”.

THE WOLFF/CHAIKOFF EFFECT

Since I began reading about Iodine, I have realized most of us lack Iodine. In 2007, I was a patient at a national center for thyroid disease in Oslo, Norway. Chief Physician Ingrid Norheim told me, avoid all kinds of Iodine. Don’t take a multivitamin containing Iodine. I listened and believed her. She suffered from the Iodine fear that has plagued the world the past 70 years. Ever since Wolff and Chaikoff’s study from 1948, link to the Wolff / Chaikoff study. The study says that big doses of iodine that exceeds a certain level in the blood, 0,2 mg/L, will hinder inorganic iodine from organification inside the thyroid, that is, there will be less thyroidhormone produced.  So one will become hypothyroid. G.E. Abraham, the nestor in the  Iodine field, says these rats that were given large doses of Iodine, didn’t become hypothyroid. And their thyroid levels weren’t even measured, not before or after the Iodine was injected, link to G.E. Abrahams article.

And yes, you read right, injected. The rats were injected with large doses of Iodine. Nobody injects Iodine. That must be a shock to the system. The doses were also very hefty. These rats thyroids normally contain 10 y (incredible small weight unit). They were given up to 500 y Iodine intravenously. Dr B refers in his book”Iodine, why you need it, why you can’t live without it”, to a study by Okerlund on how much Iodine the human thyroid holds. They found a mean value of 10 mg. If we transfer that to these rats, it would mean injecting humans with 500 mg Iodine!

In addition, they were  injected with radioactive Iodine. They claim, the doses were too small to cause harm.  I cannot evaluate that. The doctors treat hyperthyroidism with radioactiv Iodine all the time, claiming it causes no harm. Nevertheless, people become hypothyroid from the treatment. I don’t understand why they keep on treating with radioactivity unless the patient has a life threatening thyrotoxicosis (very hyper). Anyway, Dr. B says the human thyroid can hold as much as 50 mg Iodine if the body is saturated with Iodine.

Dr. Brownstein and Dr. Flechas

I don’t intend to go too deeply into everything Iodine. Dr Brownstein does it so much better than I ever could. He explains it very well in his book, which I recommend. You don’t even have to buy the book. Both he and DR Flechas have many good and informative videoes on You Tube.

But as I understand it, the Wolff-Chaicoff effect states that large amount of Iodine will hinder thyroid hormone production in the 12 hours after intake. That the thyroid actually gets too little Iodine when the Iodine level in the body is over a certain level. That the thyroid in that situation can’t make inorganic Iodide into organic, which is the form of Iodide the thyroid can utilize. That is how I read it. I see many write, large dose Iodine is dangerous as it can trigger an autoimmune thyreoditis. But that is not what this study is saying. The study has never been replicated. Which is strange, being such an old and widely cited study.

it’s also so strange, that not everyone has remarked and reacted to the fact that the thyroid hormones were not tested. How can that be? The claim that these rats’ hormone production was affected, is just a claim. Not backed by any tests. I find the whole thing weird. That the whole world has become Iodine fobic because of this one, poorly conducted study.

Hypothyroid have lower Iodine levels

It’s not like hypothyroid people have higher levels of Iodine in their bodies or thyroids. They have less. In that study by Okerlund, they used a special scanning method to see how much Iodine the thyroid held. As stated above, in healthy people they found a mean value of 10 mg. In a group of 56 people with an autoimmune thyroiditis, but who still have normal thyroidlevels, they found a mean of 4,7 mg. And in those who had an auto immune thyroiditis WITH low thyroid levles, they found a mean of 2,3 mg. So the problem is obviously too little Iodnine, not too much. As Dr B writes, the Iodine intake has gone way down in the last 50 years, but the prevalence of auto immune thyroiditis has gone way up.

I suspect that not too many have read the actual study. If they had, they wouldn’t have taken this “effect” at face value.  This is a very informative article on the whole Iodine debacle, https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/modern-diseases/the-great-iodine-debate/  Including the Wolff/Chaikoff effect. Lynne Farrow also gives a great overview over the history of treating with Iodine in her book “The Iodine Crisis”.

If it is a elevated TSH that make people believe, high dose Iodine causes hypothyroidism, that is something one often sees in the beginning of taking Iodine. TSH can go all the way up to 30, with the free hormones not being affected. This is most likely because TSH has two functions. One is reporting back to the pituray on the levels of the thyroid hormones. The other is in creating symporters. Symporters are the molecules that transport Iodine into the cells.

The TSH will normalize within 3 to 6 months. The free hormones can also fluctuate. Dr. B doesn’t mention that. But I see people report it in the Iodine groups. And I myself has gone down on FT3. I don’t think that can be due to any Wolff/Chaikoff effect, as I have hardly any thyroid left. App. 10% after 20 years of Hashimotos. But could be it affects my conversion. I wouldn’t think I convert that much though, as I get a lot T3 in my NDT. I was on between 180 and 210 mg, now I take between 210 and 240 mg.

I see in the Iodine groups, there are other people whose FT3 also has come down. Many experience that it goes up, which is what all us hypo people want. Dr. Brownstein says, 1/3 will stay on the same dose,  1/3 will be able to decrease dose and 1/3 can get off thyroid meds altogether. I guess he forgot those of us who must increase our dose, ha ha. I believe he takes thyroidmeds himself. But remember, don’t stop meds unless your free hormones are too high. If you are sure you are going hyper, then Dr.B says, cut meds by half. I see too many just quitting meds with no testing or signs of hyper. And of course, they get sick.

Halogens

Iodine is one of those chemical substances called halogens. Bromide and Fluoride are also halogens. These other halogens occupy the Iodine receptors, and hinders the Iodine uptake. Iodine is important for all the cells in our bodies, so this is serious.

There is a lot of Bromide and Fluoride in our world today. There is Bromide in remedies for pools, in fungus killers, it has been used extensively in medicines, still in some asthma meds and medicine for incontinence. In The US they add it to bread, which is crazy. Fluoride is also everywhere. there is some Fluoride naturally in water in many places, but Fluoride is also added for caries protection. Dentists propagate strongly for Fluoride, and we all brush our teeth with it. I do believe Fluoride can help with tooth decay, but it makes us hypothyroid. Hypothyroidism is certainly NOT good for teeth, what with the dry mouth one often gets. Dentists say, it’s no problem as long as you don’t swallow. As if nothing gets absorbed in the mouth. Fluoride decreases the thyroid’s ability to consentrate Iodine. And studies have shown, that this is exacerbated when one is low on Iodine. Dr. B refers to a study on mice that shows this. I cannot link to the study, it’s from an old endocrinologists textbook from 1998. This is a criticism I have of Dr Brownstein, he refers to so many articles and texts that are either very old and or very difficult to access for other people.

I have used a lot of Fluoride. I have had bad teeth, I get cavities beneath the gums. Because I have a dry mouth, probably because of Iodine deficiency. The saliva glands are some of the glands in the body that hold and use a lot of Iodine.

So dentists have recommended, or more like told me to use strong Fluoride products. Unfortunately. I have been accused by dentist’s assistants, of believing in conspiracy theories when I have said, Fluoride is not good for the thyroid. One meets a lot of ignorant, arrogant people in this world.

One can get tested for halogens. I have done it. You find my test below. As you can see, I have some Fluoride in me. I hope following The Protocol will detox these other halogens. That is one purpose of The Protocol, detoxing halogens.

The Protocol

  • 50 mg Iodine minimum (Can start on 12.5 mg)
  • Vit C, 3000 mg. Might neeed more to detox Bromide
  • 300-600 mg Magnesium
  • 200 mcg Selenium, evnt. Selenomethionine
  • 500 mg Niacin (B3) x 2. Start on lower dose to avoid flush, buy “no flush”.
  • 100 mg Riboflavine (B2) x 3. B2 and B3 are what is called ATP cofactors.
  • 1/2 ts Celtic salt added to diet
  • 1/4 ts Celtic salt in a cup of warm water, followed by a large glass of water, up to twice a day. As needed.
  • In addition, adequate minerals and vitamins
  • Very large doses of Calsium, 2 to 3000 mg a day hinders Iodine uptake.
  • ATP cofactors increase Iodine uptae, and contributes to normalizing TSH. Which can become high in the first few months.

I hadn’t really intended to include the Protocol. But then I saw, it had not been translated into Norwegian. So included it in the Norwegian version. I have copied it from Lynne Farrow’s book. It’s the Protocol that was decided on on The Iodine Conference in 2007.

It’s important to use Lugols Iodine. There are many brands. Lugols have both Iodine and Iodide. The different organs use different forms of Iodine, apparantly. I find that part a bit confusing. As dietary Iodine is converted into Iodide in the stomach. So I don’t really understand why we need both forms. But that is what they say…

Lugols come in many strengths. Here is the content in mg pr drop:

  • 2%  = 2,5 mg
  • 3%  = 3.75 mg
  • 5%  = 6,25 mg
  • 7%  = 8,75 mg
  • 10%  = 12,50 mg
  • 15%  = 18,75 mg

Some get nauseous from high dose Iodine, or get upset stomach. One can get it in tablet form as well, Iodoral. It’s gentler on the stomach. In Europe it costs a lot and is hard to get.

Selenium

I cannot stress enough, how important it is to have good Selenium levles when on the Protocol. If not, you can get an increase in antibodies. But Selenium is a mineral you don’t want too high leves of either. So get it tested. In the US groups, they recommend something called a RBC test, where they measure how much is actually in the cells. That is not something one can get where I live. They say a hair mineral analysis is the second best, better than a serum test.

Testing your thyroid levles

Testing your thyroid levels is a must when on the Protocol. Take a test before you begin, including Anti-Tpo and TRAb. And test often after that. You really want to make sure your thyroidlevels are ok.

TSH can become elevated, up to 30, without the free hormones, FT4 and FT3 changing. This can last for 3 to 6 months according to DR. B. He says, it is most likely because more symporters, Iodine transporter molecules, are being made. As mentioned, TSH has two functions, one is to stimulate thyroid hormone production. The other is to stimulate the creating of symporters. Iodine cannot enter cells except through these symporters. As the body gets more Iodine, it naturally needs more symporters.

So you don’t need to worry about this temporarily increased TSH as long as the free hormones are ok.

Iodine induced hypothyroidism

Dr.B says, that out of several thousands of patients, they have only seen this in 2 patients. But it can happen. My FT3 has decreased. I don’t know if Iodine induced hypothyroidism only pertains to those who had normal thyroid levels before. Not to us hypo who are already on thyroid meds. I will have to see as time goes by. I only have 10% of my thyroid left, so cannot really hope for being able to decrease my dose.

I haven’t been taking much Selenium these past months. My Selenium level is just over range, without my taking much Selenium. On my hair analysis test, my Selenium was mid range. It’s difficult to know about these things. I include these thoughts. These are the kind of things one feels uncertain about.

I see in the Iodine groups, there are others who have gotten a lowered FT3 as well. So whether you take thyroid meds or not, please follow your levels. I don’t want to stop taking Iodine because of that. I feel very good on Iodine at this time.

Iodine induced hyperthyroid

According Dr Brownstein, this happens very seldom also. But it does happen. I see that in the Iodine groups. And if you have a hot nodule, an autonomous thyroid nodules, then don’t take Iodine. Dr. B says, a nodule like that must be taken out before starting on the Protocol.

Iodine is not dangerous as long as one takes thyroidtests and follows one’s symptoms. I see so many in the various Iodine groups who throws themselves into high dose Iodine without reading, investigating or testing. That can go very wrong. But please don’t blame the Iodine, it is you yourself who haven’t done your homework.

If I had Graves, I would try to be followed by an Iodine literate doctor. Those are hard to find, I would think almost impossible in Europe. But I do believe some US doctors do online counseling. I have heard, that Dr B charges a lot. Maybe some of the others in his clinic are less expensive. I would test very often, at the very least. But Iodine has been used to treat Graves for a very long time. And it works.

Antibodies

I have my Anti-Tpo tested more often now. Living in Denmark, I have to pay for online testing. I buy the large Thyroid Plus at  the moment, from Letsgetchecked. My Anti-Tpo has gone way down after I started Iodine. It was 389>100 last summer. After a few months on Iodine, it is 38>35. I don’t have TRAb. Remember, one can have Anti-Tpo and TRAb at the same time. So have both tested. If one’s antibodies increase, then take it seriously and do something about it. In particular TRAb, because those are Graves antibodies. I took a new test now, 15th of June. My Anti- tpo had increased to 50>34.It’s still lower than when I started Iodine, but I will keep an eye.

Our Iodine requirements

I trust both Dr. Brownstein and Dr. Flechas. But I believe they are wrong when it comes to how much Iodine we need.  They say, the Japanese get app. 12 mg a day. And that that is what we all should be getting. I don’t believe the Japanese get that much Iodine in their food. This is a metastudy, looking at several studies. They have assessed how much they get through their food, and also looked at urine excretion, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3204293/. 

The result is between 1 and 3 mg a day. The official Japanese recommendation is max 3 mg a day. I think just common sense would tell us, 12 mg is way too high. Here is a table of the 3 most common seaweeds consumed in Japan:

As you can see, kombu contains a lot of Iodine, the other two not so much. The average intake of kombu in Japan is 450 gr pr household/year. there are 2,5 members in a household. That would make for 0,5 gr of kombu a day. So 1,2 mg Iodine from that. BUT more than 90% of the Iodine can get lost in the cooking process. Other seafoods do not contribute very much Iodine. Cod e.g. contains app. 110 mcg Iodine pr 100 gr.

So I find it very unlikely that the Japanese get those doses. I think it is strange, that the Iodine doctors keep saying it.

When tests show, I am saturated with Iodine, that is, I excrete 95% on the Iodine loading test, I will reduse my dose. I might take what the Japanese get, app 2,5 mg/day. I see people in Iodine groups taking large amounts, 50 to 100 mg a day for years. Some as much as 400 mg! I think that is a big experiment. It could prove very unhealthy. For one thing, it is a strain on the kidneys, filtering all that Iodine out. Some people think, if a little is good, more must be even better. No, more is not always better. Be careful, use your head.

My experiences

It varies very much, on what doses people start. Many do like me, and start on 1 drop 2%, i.e. 2,5 mg. If one has Hashimotos or Graves, one is usually a little cautious. I did not throw myself into it,at least.

The first thing I did, besides reading and watching Dr. Brownstein and Dr. Flechas on You Tube, was to test my thyroid levels and take an Iodine loading test. Before I took my first drop of Iodine. This is my testresult:

The spot test is the morning urine. A sample of that goes into a separate vial. After that, one collects the urine from 24 hours, take a sample and ship it. I believe only Biochorence.eu do these tests in Europe, https://www.biocoherence.eu/en/ . They ship the tests to Hakala labs. so it takes a few weeks. If you live in the US, you have Hakala as well as some other labs doing this test.

One can do an ordinary 24 hours urine test as well. The Iodine loading test is costly, at least here in Europe.  In Norway one can have 24 hours urine test for free in the public health care system. In Denmark we cannot have that done. An ordinary serum blood test for Iodine is no good according to the Iodine doctors.

And be sure to test your Selenium levels as well. I did, and I am a little over range. Even with little supplementation. So i don’t take Selenium, but try to follow it. It’s difficult here in Denmark. We cannot even have vitamins and minerals tested. They claim it has no value, and that eating a normal  Danish diet gives you everything you need. I would laugh if I didn’t cry.

I was quite surprised that I wasn’t more deficient. 81% is not bad. Many have 40 or 50. I haven’t taken any supplements contaning Iodine since 2006. But I have been living by the sea for a long time. One does actually absorb Iodine from the sea air. I also use Celtic salt. And I am not afraid of salt either. But I do have lots of symptoms of Iodine deficiency. My skin on my body is very dry, it was scaly even; before i started on the Protocol. I have very little eyebrows left, particulary on the outer edge. I don’t hardly sweat. I freeze. And then there is my hypothyroidism.

Some claim, one cannot really be sure of that Iodine percentage if there is Bromide and Fluoride in the body. I don’t know about that. I haven’t seen it mentioned in the Iodine books.

I became very, very tired when I first started Iodine. When I first took 25 mg, I became so tired, I just had to lie down. People in the Iodine groups said it must be detox. But I felt it was something more than that.  I have had plenty of detox tiredness in my life. Others said it is an adrenal issue. That could be. I reduced my dose. I actually use a pendulum to determine my daily dose. I am not sure I always trust the pendulum. But it has been a great help with the Iodine.

Note! One can get a lot of sensations around the thyroid in the beginning. That is very normal. It is believed, the thyroid soaks up Iodine now it is available. Some can even see and feel it swell up. I have, as mentioned, only 10 % of my thyroid left. Even so, I could feel it for the first few weeks. If you are not hyper or hypo, and feeling otherwise ok, I would not worry about it.

For a couple of months, the pendulum said to take 1 drop, 2 drops, up to 6 drops a day. Some days nothing. The tiredness went away. After 2 months of that, it suddenly said 20 drops, i.e. 50 mg. And now I have been on that dose for several weeks with no issues. I have more energy most days than I have had in years. It’s difficult to define. It’s like I have more strength in the spine. I really miss it if I forget to take my dose, and leave the house “Iodine free”. I just realized, I need to keep some Ioderals in the car, ha ha.

I don’t think I will go beyond 50 mg. But I will update as I go along. You will find updates at the bottom of this post. Now in late June 2020, I have decreased my dose to 25 mg. I felt it was a little hard on the kidneys. I have read in the thyroid groups, people can get kidney issues. I would be careful if I had weak kidneys. Not take very large doses.

But you absolutely have to recon with detox. In the US, they have a lot of Bromide in the body. Dr. B describes patients with Bromide of 20. It’s a lot of talk of Bromide detox in the Iodine groups. One becomes tired, gets headaches, can get a red rash called Cherry angioma.  It’s apparantly a little more difficult to detox Fluoride.  One can get headaches, get palpitations and get agitated. I have actually felt a bit like that lately, minus the headache.

I don’t follow the Protocol to the T. I don’t take as much as 1000 mg B3 and 300 mg B3. You need to start lower at least. I would take 250 mg Niacin the first evening. Taking at night is a good thing in case of a Niacin flush. I got one of those in the beginning. I didn’t know anything about that, and got quite worried by the sudden, red itchy rash. I called , not 911, but in our Public healthcare system, one can call Emergency Medical Help, and talk to doctors and nurses for free at all hours. But it is not dangerous, and it passes in 30 minutes time. But uncomfortable. That is why I take 500 mg, and not 1000. It’s individual how much one flushes, and besides, you need to buy the no-flush kind. You might still flush. Your urine goes very yellow from Niacin, so don’t worry about that.

What these ATP cofactors do, besides enhancing the Iodine uptake, is give you energy. I take 500 mg Niacin at night and 100 mg B2 x 2 throughout the day.

I take about 3000 mg vit C. I do a powder, so don’t know exactly. I get a lot of acid from vit C. But this one is ok for me, link to Ester-C powder . Remember, I never make anything on products or services I recommend. It’s only in order to help.

NB! Ferritin can go down when you do high dose Iodine. So keep an eye on that.

I already use a lot of Celtic salt in my diet. So I haven’t added anything more. I have done the salt loading procedure several times. I have never had the copious urination they talk about. The salt loading is supposed to push Bromide out of the body. You do it when you feel tired and headachy, detoxing. I have felt it helps even without the urinating. But could be I don’t do it the right way.

Conclusion

I think high dose Iodine is something you intuitively feel whether you should do or not. I saw people write about it in some US groups, and I felt interested immediately.  I felt the same with the LDN. When I get that feeling, I go for it. I feel. Iodine is good for me. I feel stronger, most of all. My dry skin is much better. I am sweating a little again.

If you feel the same way, I think you should try it. But do your homework. Don’t start until you feel ready. Good luck!

Iodine resources

Dr. Brownstein’s site, https://www.drbrownstein.com/

Lots of studies by G.E. Abraham, https://www.optimox.com/iodine-research

Great info on Iodine and related topics on Hakala labs, plus the Iodine loading test, https://www.hakalalabs.com/

The Iodine loading test here in Europe, https://www.biocoherence.eu/en/shop/

My favorite Iodine Facebook group. I think the admin, Brian Haviland gives sound advice on Iodine.    https://www.facebook.com/groups/IodineProtocols

6 Comments

  1. CJ Hinke

    Dear Liv, Great new blog & interesting to see you lead off with iodine.

    I myself went from Graves’ treated with titrated RAI (therefore, the gland only partially oblated). After 12 years I was treated for Hashimoto’s by a thyroid legend, Dr. David Derry in Victoria BC Canada. He was a big proponent of iodine but a drop of Lugol’s each day made me feel much worse.

    I think that may be true for others. Iodine mat make you feel worse–maybe much worse–before you feel better.

    I’ve been scraping bottom for most than two years, trying to adjust T3-only and CT3M. Iodine was one consideration. But I didn’t, as I recalled my past bad experience.

    I’d be very interested in knowing about thyroid sufferers who are using big doses of iodine rather than the experiences of those with so many other maladies in the iodine group. Their protocols and timelines would be most helpful to the rest of us.

    Thank you for the great info, Liv!

    • Liv

      Hi again

      Thank you for your kind words. If I had TRAb and or Anti tpo antibodies, I would test them often when starting Iodine. If you test often, nothing bad can really happen. As you will nip it in the bud. Many don’t do that. My antibidies have come down. But so has my Ft3, and I have increased my NDT dose. But I have only app 10% left of my thyroid. You might start producing a little, or much, yourself. I like the Iodine group I recommend under. But Brian always recommends the STTM loyal Facebook group. Which I don’t like that much. I would advice you to start by watching Dr Brownstein and Dr Flechas on YouTube. And not start until you feel comfortable, or almost comfortable. And if you can afford it, do the Iodine loading test. Selenium MUST be tested. You might be able to get the RBC test over there, red blood cell test. If you can afford it, I believe Dr Brownstein’s clinic do online counseling. But expensive. And please make sure you are optimal on your thyroid levels. Read my post on it. You are welcome to ask me about them. Read under “Contact”. All the best, Liv

  2. CJ Hinke

    P.S. I missed the part where you mentioned you’re taking iodine yourself. How & why did you start, what protocol did you follow? What have you observed in your condition?

    • Liv

      Hi CI Hinke

      Did you read the whole post? I believe I have included this info under “My experiences”. I have come to love Iodine. I feel stronger, a sense of something upright in the spine. At the moment I take 50 mg and don’t think I will increase. My Anti tpo had gone down 38>35, as compared to 389>100 before upstart. Now they have come up to 50. I will keep an eye on them. I hope this answers your question. Blessings Liv

  3. Britt Bakke

    Hei

    Jeg har Struma og Hashimoto og ble nettopp fortalt av en lege på sykehuset, at jod ville gjøre min Hashimoto verre og anbefalte meg å ikke ta det. Men når jeg leser her om hva du skriver, så har jeg og det akkurat som du beskriver. Veldig trøtt på dagtid, mistet begge øyebryn, veldig tørr hud på kroppen m.m. Jeg føler at dette kunne absolutt være noe for meg å prøve, men hvordan går jeg frem ? Jeg får mye bivirkninger på Levaxin, så jeg har byttet til Euthyrox og det går bedre.

    • Liv

      Hei Britt!

      Min blogg er på to språk, norsk og engelsk. Du må være kommet over på den engelske. Jeg kan ikke få gitt deg et ordentlig svar uten å se noen blodprøvesvar. for du kan jo også være underdosert, eller ha for lavt FT3. Hvis du går inn under “Kontakt” og ser hva jeg trenger, og så sender en mail til den mailadressen som står der. Så vil jeg gjerne få lov til å poste ditt spm med mitt svar under “Spørsmål og svar” i anonymisert form. Dekk over personlige opplysninger på prøvesvar. Du får kopi av prøvesvar hos legen. Jeg kommer så til å slette denne kommentaren. Dette er et spm som mange kan ha interesse av. Du vil få mye bedre hjelp på denne måten.

      Kjærlig hilsen Liv

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