Sunday, October 25, 2009

Why Does Iodine Get a Bad Rap?

I have received many emails this week asking me to comment about a recent article claiming that taking iodine causes/exacerbates thyroid problems.     

Let’s think about it.  Thyroid problems have been increasing at epidemic rates over the last 30 years.  Hypothyroidism affects from 13 million to 45 million Americans.  Another 10-15 million Americans are affected with an autoimmune thyroid disorder.  Clearly these numbers are unacceptable and we should be searching for the underlying cause of why thyroid illness affects so many people. 

When I lecture about iodine, I describe iodine as, “The most misunderstood nutrient.”  Iodine has been vilified over the years as causing/exacerbating thyroid illnesses.  In medical school I was taught that iodine supplementation was not needed by anybody.  I can assure you that statement is incorrect.

Over the last 30 years, as the rate of thyroid disorders has been increasing at epidemic rates, iodine levels have fallen by over 50% in the U.S. (NHANES--from  If iodine were the cause of thyroid disorders wouldn’t you expect thyroid disorders to be decreasing over the last 30 years?  In fact, I believe it is iodine deficiency, coupled with the increasing exposure to toxic halides bromide and fluoride that is the driving force behind the epidemic rise of thyroid disorders. 

Let me ask you a question--what percentage of the American population has been taking iodine supplements over the last 30  years? I don’t have the exact numbers to quote here, but I would venture a guess that the number is pretty low.  So, during the last 30 years, as iodine levels have fallen over 50%, what is the problem that is causing this new epidemic of thyroid problems?  Maybe thyroid diseases have increased so dramatically because of televisions.  Americans have more televisions now than in the past.  Perhaps it is more televisions that are causing the increased thyroid problems.  (As a side note—televisions do contain large amounts of bromine which can cause thyroid problems!). 

I know the above argument is ridiculous (except for the bromine info).  But, so is the idea that iodine supplementation is responsible for exacerbating/causing all thyroid problems.  Over the last 20 years of practice, I have seen thousands of patients who have presented with hyperthyroid or hypothyroid symptoms who were not taking iodine.  What caused their symptoms?  Why does iodine always get a bad rap? 

Now, that is not to say that iodine is safe for everyone to take.  Just as drinking too much water can cause problems, iodine supplementation can also cause adverse effects in certain patients.  By far, the most common adverse effect of iodine supplementation is due to the release of toxic halides bromide and fluoride.  Iodine supplementation causes the release of bromide and fluoride from the body creating a detoxification issue for the body.   If the body is not able to effectively release these toxic halides, the patient will experience a detoxification reaction.  What are the signs of a detoxification reaction?  A detoxification reaction can include fatigue, palpitations, nervousness, anxiety, and headaches.  Sometimes you can even see elevated thyroid function tests associated with the detoxification reaction.  Most of the time, these symptoms can easily be managed by supporting the body’s detoxification pathways.

In my experience, I have found the proper use of iodine to be a safe and effective treatment for the vast majority of patients. In order to get the best results with iodine, it is important for iodine to be taken as part of a holistic treatment regimen.  This minimizes detoxification reactions.  I suggest getting your iodine levels checked before and after supplementation with iodine. More information about this can be found in my book, Iodine Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It.

Does iodine cause hypothyroidism?  No.  Iodine deficiency causes hypothyroidism.

Does iodine cause goiter?  No.  The most common cause of goiter is iodine deficiency.

Does iodine cause autoimmune thyroid disease? No.  Autoimmune thyroid diseaes is caused, in part, from iodine deficiency.

Does iodine cause thyroid cancer?  No. Iodine deficiency is related to the development of thyroid cancer.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

How to Treat Inflammation

Big Pharma is now making a push that cholesterol lowering medications should be used in anyone with signs of inflammation.  The Jupitor study (NEJM.  VOl 359; 2008) looked at the use of Crestor (a statin drug) in “healthy” individuals who had elevated laboratory tests showing inflammation (via a blood test known as the CRP test).  The use of Crestor was reported to decrease CRP by 37%.  Inflammation has been thought to be the underlying cause (or one of the underlying causes) of a wide variety of illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.   The CRP test is a well-accepted laboratory measure of inflammation. 

Unfortunately, inflammation is occurring at epidemic rates in our society.  I routinely check my patients for inflammatory markers and I am amazed at the numbers of patients suffering from elevated inflammation markers and inflammatory diseases.

What are the signs of inflammation?  Pain, swelling, and redness are the most common signs.   A bloated abdomen, fatigue and even brain fog can be related to inflammation.  You can see that inflammatory conditions can cause a wide range of problems.  

Why do so many suffer from inflammation?  I have no doubt that diet is the main cause.  Eating a diet full of refined foods markedly increases your chances of developing inflammation.  The Standard American Diet (SAD ) ensures your body will be deficient in vital nutrients which prevent and heal inflammatory conditions.  Obese patients suffer from more inflammation as compared to non-obese patients.  Finally, failure to drink adequate amounts of water worsens any inflammatory condition. 

So, what can you do if you have signs of inflammation?   A recent study showed that Vitamin C reduced CRP by 25% versus placebo (Free Rad. Biol. and Med.   46;2009).  The authors of this study claimed that the effect of vitamin C was similar to those of statins. 

I say, take your vitamin C (2-5,000mg/day), drink adequate amounts of water and eat a diet full of unrefined foods.  This is an inexpensive way to treat or avoid getting an inflammatory condition.   Furthermore, this therapy is virtually free of adverse effects.      

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Why You Should Avoid The Flu Shot

I decided a week ago that I was not going to write about the flu vaccine anymore.  However, every time I see our Government spinning lies about the flu vaccine I get irritated.  Due to this week's heavy media push about the flu vaccine, I feel the need to write one more article (or…perhaps a few more) about this vaccine.   

This is truly an unusual time we live in.  The U.S. government is spending billions of our dollars promoting the mass vaccination of the U.S. population for the flu virus and the swine flu virus.  The U.S. government is making the vaccines widely available and virtually free.   They are spending our hard-earned money to ‘educate’ us that the flu vaccine should be taken by all, from babies to the elderly, and that it will save many thousands of lives.  Furthermore, they have begun a major public relations blitz criticizing those of us that give a differing opinion on the value of these vaccines.

Let’s look at some of their claims and the research behind them.  The U.S. government and pretty much all mainstream groups claim that the flu shot prevents the flu in those that get the vaccine.  However, the flu shots have not been shown to be effective in healthy babies, children with asthma, adults, and the elderly. 

In Children:  A review of 51 studies which included more than 294,000 children found “no evidence that injecting children 6-24 months of age with a flu shot was any more effective than placebo.  In children over two years of age, it was only effective 33% of the time in preventing the flu. (Chochrane Database of Systemic Reviews 2.  2008).

In asthmatic children, the flu shot was found to not provide any benefit in preventing asthma exacerbations.  The authors of this study compared 400 asthmatic children who were vaccinated with a similar number of asthmatic children who were not vaccinated.  They found no difference between emergency visits, clinic visits, or hospitalizations in the vaccinated versus the non-vaccinated group.  (Arch. Dis. Child.  2004.  Aug;89(8):734-5).     If this study wasn’t enough to get your attention a new study found that “Children who get the flu vaccine are three times more at risk for hospitalization than children who do not get the flu vaccine.”  (American Thoracic Society 105th International Conference, May 15-20, 2009, San Diego, CA.).

According the CDC, the elderly are a population at increased risk for acquiring the flu and developing complications of the flu.  In nursing homes or for the elderly living in the community, researchers found the flu shot was ineffective for preventing the flu.   (Chochrane Databse of Systemic Reviews. 3(2006).  In fact, the flu shot has never been shown to lower the rate of mortality from the flu in any population, including the elderly. 

Clearly, there is NO reason to get the flu shot.  It doesn’t prevent the flu and has not been shown to prevent complications from the flu. 

This article used information from “The Truth About The Flu Shot” informational sheet from Dr. Sherry Tenpenny.  She has been lecturing about the problems with vaccines for years.  More information about the flu vaccine can be found at      

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bromine Toxicity

An article on MSNBC ( on 3.21.07 reported on the toxic  fumes found in new cars.  Bromine and chlorine were the most common toxic elements reportedly found in automobiles.  These elements are found in the seats, armrests, door trim and shift knobs and other areas of the car.  Think about it, you spend perhaps two hours a day in your car, with the windows rolled up and little air circulating.  It is no wonder that I have seen many patients who feel that they can become ill from exposure to the air in a new car.  These are the canaries of our population.  Many of these patients have to undergo detoxification for the buildup of dangerous chemicals in their body. 

Bromine and chlorine are members of the halide family which is a group of elements that includes iodine.  If we are exposed to too much of one halide, it will cause our body to release other halides.  My research has clearly shown that we are exposed to too much bromine and chlorine.  These elements are found in many plastic products including computers.  In addition, bromine is a fire retardant found in carpet, clothing, mattresses and many other consumer items.  The consequence of this overexposure  to toxic halides has been a depletion of iodine in our bodies.  Clinically, the result of too much bromine and chlorine and not enough iodine are the high rates of thyroid disorders as well as cancer of the breast, ovary and prostate.   I describe this in more detail in my book, Iodine Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, 4th Edition.

One patient, Ann, complained that her health began going downhill when she purchased a new car.  I diagnosed Ann with Hashimoto’s disease (an autoimmune disorder) of the thyroid gland.  The car dealer would not believe that a new car could cause her health concerns.  Testing found Ann severely deficient in iodine (nearly zero) and toxic with elevated bromine levels.  Ann was detoxified from bromine with a combination of Vitamin C, unrefined salt and magnesium.  I also had her do salt baths and she was  treated with iodine.  As Ann’s bromine levels fell and her iodine levels elevated, she began to feel better.   About 1.5 years after starting therapy, Ann felt that she had regained her health.   In fact, her thyroid blood tests now returned to normal, without the use of thyroid hormone.   Ann said, “All of my symptoms have improved.  I can’t believe how much better I feel.  I never knew anything about bromine,” she said.  

One statement I would make to those who are ill with chemical sensitivity:  Don’t give up. You can overcome your illness by detoxifying and supporting the body’s normal physiologic function.