Is the Iodine Skin Test Accurate, Plus How Much Iodine Should I Take? : The Renegade Health Newsletter

Monday Jan 17 | BY |
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Here’s my brother and I at the Steelers game over the weekend!

It’s Monday again…

This weekend flew by!

Annmarie, my brother and I went to Pittsburgh to see our grandfather. It was an awesome visit because we went through all his old pictures (which he has categorized on the computer) and he told us stories about them as we browsed.

My brother and I also went to the Steelers game, which was a great one. (I have no idea why I mention my love of football, because I assume that many of you don’t care, LOL!)

Anyway, today, I have a great question about the Thyroid and iodine from Jennifer.

Here it is…

“How much iodine in a supplement should one take whether it is capsuled or iodine drops or even kelp supplements?”

Unfortunately Jennifer, there are some issues with figuring out how much iodine is enough, so there’s no direct answer to this specific question.

There are a few considerations and techniques that you can follow to determine if you are getting enough.

Here they are:

1. There is not a good medical test specifically for iodine levels in the thyroid.

There is a test called the Radioactive Iodine Uptake Test, but I think by the name of it, you might already get an idea of why I would not recommend it.

This test requires you to take radioactive iodine to see it if accumulates in the thyroid. Once you take the iodine, you then are scanned by a machine that reads the amount of radioactivity in your thyroid to determine how much iodine as been absorbed during the testing period.

The biggest irony of this test is that if you’re thyroid is not functioning properly, why would you want to risk damaging it further with radioactive material?

One of the warnings that you’ll get as you leave the nuclear medicine department (yep, you heard that right!) is that you must wash your hands and flush the toilet to make sure you remove any radioactive material from your body. (Apparently flushing it down into the public sewer is no problem…)

Unless you’re in dire straits, I would pass on this type of test.

2. The iodine challenge skin test isn’t a great marker either.

I know plenty of you have heard that putting iodine on your arm or stomach and seeing if it absorbs is an effective test to determine if you have enough iodine or not.

Unfortunately, this is not an accurate test at all.

The way this challenge test goes is that you rub liquid iodine on your skin (which is naturally brown) and if there’s little trace of the brown iodine mark in 24 hours, you are supposed to be deficient in iodine.

This type of testing is highly inaccurate. In fact, your body will absorb 6-12% of the iodine regardless of your body’s internal levels. That also means that the other 88-94% will be rubbed off or evaporate.

This 6-12% absorption is actually OK, which proves that you can take iodine topically, but it does not prove that you’re deficient or not.

It just proves what we know – iodine can be absorbed by the skin.

Many of these home tests are not the best way to determine deficiencies and will not get you the best health possible, so be careful of who you listen to.

(One of the better online articles on this is here)

3. Proper testing for thyroid function, doesn’t include iodine testing.

Proper thyroid testing requires looking at how the thyroid hormones are working together.

Dr. J. E. Williams, during the recording of our Complete Thyroid Health program suggests these tests to determine how will your thyroid is functioning:

– Simple Thyroid Screening: TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)
– A More Detailed Approach: TSH, free T4, Total T3
– The Functional Medicine Thyroid Panel: TSH, Total T4, Free T4, Total T3, Free T3, Reverse T3

Each one of these serves a purpose depending on the individual.

If you just want to check your thyroid, then the simple TSH test will be enough.

If you’re having some issues you feel may be related to the thyroid, then TSH, free T4, and Total T3 would be the next step.

If you know you have a thyroid issue and you really want to drill down where you need to improve your thyroid health, then the complete Functional Medicine panel will help.

None of these tests measure iodine, but when your thyroid is not working properly, there is a correlation between iodine levels – low iodine is correlated with hypothyroid and high iodine with hyperthyroid.

If you can bring back the balance of your thyroid function with supplements like iodine as well as other nutrients and adaptogens, then your hormone tests should trend toward normal.

4. You can try with whole foods, but they may not help completely.

There is a small selection of whole foods that contain iodine. Foods like sea vegetables – kelp, dulse and more – and seafood all contain iodine and are the best sources.

Adding these into your diet (only seaweeds if you’re vegan) will help to provide you with some iodine that may help with your thyroid issues.

But here’s the thing…

Sometimes just whole foods are enough and sometimes they aren’t. It’s up to you to monitor your thyroid tests (that I mentioned above) to see if you are getting better or worse results.

It’s only then that you can determine if you need to take a supplement or if you can continue to supplement with whole foods.

If you need to supplement with iodine, then you can follow the advice of Dr. Williams in the next point.

If you don’t have a thyroid health issue, you should be able to eat iodine rich foods as an effective method of prevention of thyroid health issues.

5. How much iodine should I take? Here’s what Dr. Williams says…

This is an excerpt from “The Complete Thyroid Health Program” transcripts. I figure I’ll let the doctor answer questions about iodine supplementation!

“A supplemental form of iodine that absorbs readily is potassium iodine.

“There’s several products out there that have them in generic and then there’s one very well-known one called Ioderol, which is a combination of iodine and iodide, the potassium form. It’s in 12.5 milligrams per capsule. The dosage for the potassium form of iodine, in order to be effective, has to get up to at least 75 micrograms. Double that to 150 micrograms and then work your way upwards gradually towards even as high as 50 milligrams, which is 50,000 micrograms. So you start low and you allow the body to adapt to it and work your way up. Then you follow your blood tests and your symptoms so that you don’t overdose yourself on too much iodine.

“As I mentioned earlier, if you’re getting up to one gram, 1,000 milligrams, you’re taking way too much. But 50 milligrams is far from that. And still that small amount, the microgram dosing, can be very effective.”

So Jennifer, I hope that answers your question clearly. Many natural health “experts” try to over simplify questions like this – and while simplification makes the information easier to understand, it may not exactly work.

That’s it for me!

Be sure to stay tuned for today’s video and a big announcement tomorrow.

It’s going to be some of the biggest news of 2011 in the health world. I promise you that!

Also if you want to access the entire 4 hours of “The Complete Thyroid Health Program with Dr. J. E. Williams” please click here.


Last Day for Up to 20% Off all Superfood and Protein Powders!

Our superfood powder sale is ending tonight, January 17th at midnight… That means you only have 24 hours to get up to 20% off all the powders we have in the store.

The reason we’re doing this sale is because Ann and I have been using a few of these over the last 2-3 months and we’ve been impressed by the results, not only for us, but for our family members – particularly the ones who need an immune boost with Ormus Greens and Truly C.

So to get this year started off right and sniffle free, you might want to check out some of the deals we have for you.

Here are the products on discount (save up to 20%) until tonight Jan. 17th at midnight:

– Sunwarrior Protein
– Ormus Greens
– Vitamineral Green
– Warrior Food from Health Force Nutritionals
– Kev’s SuperDelicious Smoothie Powder
– Vitamin C from Health Force
– B-Flax-D from Hallelujah Acres

This special promo ends midnight on Monday January 17th (today!), so be sure to get your discount and start using these products for your benefit right away!

Here’s where you can go now…

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

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