Japanese Radiation Update 6: Worsening Crises
The news from Japan gets worse and worse. Now, reports show radioactive iodine has been found in rainwater in Massachusetts. Similar findings have occurred in California, Washington state and Pennsylvania. The bad news from Japan makes it clear that there will be more radiation coming our way.
“The drinking water supply in Massachusetts is unaffected by this short-term elevation in radiation,” said Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach (www.msn.com). I don’t know about you, but this statement does not reassure me.
For those low in iodine, this is a problem. Unfortunately, that is a lot of Americans. This is not a call to panic. I do not believe that people will get sick and die from the exposure to this amount of radiation. However, there is no doubt that individuals who are iodine deficient will take up this radioactive iodine in larger amounts as compared to someone who is iodine sufficient.
As I have said in previous blog posts, now is the time to have your iodine checked and work with someone knowledgeable about iodine. Also, keep in mind that the average Japanese ingests approximately 12mg/day of iodine.
My clinical experience has shown this dose safe for the vast majority of people. One Iodoral (Optimox) or Iodozyme HP (Biotics) tablet contains 12.5mg of iodine. Two drops of Lugol’s solution equals 12.5mg of iodine. This amount of iodine will result in a 95% decrease in radioactive iodine uptake by the thyroid gland. Children need to be dosed down for their size.
Is iodine safe for everyone to take? As with any substance, there can be adverse effects. The best results with iodine occur when it is used in a comprehensive holistic treatment regimen. More information can be found in my book, Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It.
One last thought. This needs to be your wakeup call. If you are already taking iodine, you have nothing to worry about. It is important to maintain adequate iodine levels not only to achieve your optimal health but to also be prepared for problems like the Japanese disaster.
I have been asked many questions about pets. Pets should be our concern as they are outside and closer to the ground. My friend and holistic veterinarian Dr. John Simon said that pets can take iodine. He was not sure of the dosing but thought that they could take amounts similar to what I posted for children (0.08mg/pound). I would be open to any other advice about dosing iodine in pets.
I will keep abreast of the situation and follow up with further blog posts.
Japan Radiation Update 5: Question and Answer
Since the disaster in Japan began, I have been inundated with questions about supplementing with iodine. I apologize for not being able to answer all of your questions. I do try to read each and every question. Feel free to keep them coming (I may regret that statement). However, I will try and answer as many questions as I can. I will attempt to answer the commonly asked questions. Rest assured, in future books, newsletters, blogs, etc., I will try to answer all of your questions.
1. Can those with Hashimoto’s or Graves’ disease take iodine?
A: I explain this topic in much more detail in my book, but let me summarize the answer. M research has shown that both Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease are caused, in part, from low iodine. In fact, nearly every new patient with either a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s or Graves’ disease has tested significantly low for iodine. My experience has shown that the vast majority of patients suffering with these illnesses improve their condition when iodine deficiency is rectified. However, some people (including those with and without Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease) may have problems with iodine supplementation. Of course, there can be an adverse effect to anything, iodine included.
The best results with iodine supplementation occur in those that have their levels checked and are followed by a health care provider who is knowledgeable about iodine. Furthermore, iodine supplementation works better when used as part of a complete holistic treatment regimen.
2. My understanding is that the reactor in Japan did not release any
radioactive gases into the atmosphere so no action is required of us here in
the United States. Is this true?
A: So far, the amount of radiation that has made its way to the North America has been small. However, if there is a nuclear meltdown, there will be much larger amounts released. This incident should be a wakeup call for Americans. If we eat better, exercise and maintain optimal whole body iodine sufficiency, there would be little concern about the amount of radioactive iodine that makes it to the U.S.
One final note. Even small amounts of radioactive iodine can be detrimental to those who are iodine deficient. It is best to maintain iodine sufficiency.
3. How many days should I take iodine?
A: The best results obtained with iodine are seen in those who use it for the long-term. Over the last 30 years, due to the toxic world we live in, our iodine requirements have markedly increased. This is due to the increasing amounts of toxic halides bromide, fluoride and chlorine that have permeated our food supply and our consumer goods. If we maintain iodine sufficiency, we will not have to worry about radiation clouds from Japan. How much iodine is required to maintain body sufficiency? My experience has shown that, for most adults, 6-50mg/day will achieve sufficiency. However, there may be some people that need more and some that need less. Remember, it is best to work with a health care provider knowledgeable about iodine. He/she can test your levels and make the appropriate recommendations.
4. Do children need iodine?
A: Yes, children need iodine just as adults need it. However, children need lower doses. They need to be dosed down for their size. A good rule of thumb for children is 0.08mg I/pound. I am not suggesting that anyone supplement a child without seeking care from their health care provider (that also holds for adults).
I will try to answer more questions in upcoming blogs.
Japan Radiation Update 4
This is my fourth post about the Japanese nuclear disaster. First, I have to give credit to the U.S. government for suggesting that U.S. citizens move further away (50 miles) from the radiation danger. This action would serve to verify the severity of the crises.
I believe this crisis should highlight the need for each of us to take a more active role in our own health care decisions. It is important to take the proper steps to achieve your optimal health before a crisis arises. Many times these steps include eating a healthy diet and taking the correct supplements. My experience has shown that ensuring an adequate iodine level is one piece of the puzzle to obtaining your optimal health.
If the Japanese are not able to control the nuclear reaction that is occurring a true nuclear meltdown will occur. What will that mean to us? A nuclear meltdown could cause a large radiation cloud to leave Japan and deposit radiation over the U.S. However, that has not occurred yet. If that occurs, it is important to take precautions including ensuring that you and your family are taking iodine.
Here is how it works. Iodine binds to receptors throughout the body. For example, there are receptors for iodine in the thyroid gland. When iodine binds to its receptors, thyroid hormone is produced. Individuals who are iodine deficient suffer the majority of problems when exposed to radioactive iodine. In these people, radioactive iodine will bind to wherever there are open or empty iodine receptors. After radioactive iodine binds to these receptors, the surrounding tissue will be destroyed due to the radioactive iodine. Furthermore, it will damage the DNA of the surrounding cells. Damaged DNA is one cause of cancer.
Which tissues bind iodine? The largest concentration of iodine occurs in the thyroid gland. However, the largest amount of iodine is found in the fat tissue. Large concentrations of iodine are also found in many other tissues including the breast, ovary, uterus, and prostate. If radioactive iodine binds to any of these sites, it will destroy surrounding tissue and potentially damage DNA. This can lead to long-term problems such as cancer of these tissues.
It is important to keep in mind that every cell needs and utilizes iodine. Therefore, radioactive iodine exposure can have a dramatic effect on the body.
Exposure to radiation is cumulative. That means any exposure to ionizing radiation builds up in the body over time. We should all strive to minimize exposure to radiation. Some forms or radiation are unavoidable such as normal background radiation. However, radioactive iodine emitted from a nuclear disaster in Japan (or anywhere else) is largely avoidable if your body is iodine sufficient.
If your body has enough iodine binding to its receptors in the thyroid, breasts, ovaries, etc., then the radioactive iodine has nowhere to bind. That is why it is so important to have your iodine levels checked before a disaster such as this occurs. If you are iodine deficient, you can rectify this problem by simply taking iodine.
Due to our exposure to so many toxic items that inhibit or block iodine utilization in the body--fluoride, bromide and chlorine--our body’s need for iodine has dramatically increased over the last 30 years. My experience has shown that milligram amounts of iodine are necessary for achieving whole-body iodine sufficiency. In fact, any iodine supplementation program should strive for whole body iodine sufficiency, not just thyroid sufficiency.
How much iodine is needed to achieve whole-body iodine sufficiency? My clinical experience has clearly shown that milligram amounts of iodine are needed to achieve whole-body sufficiency. These amounts can vary between 6-50mg/day for most people. Some may need more, some less.
There is no doubt that the radiation cloud from Japan will pass over the U.S. This radiation exposure is a potential health risk. How much iodine should you take to ensure that your body will not absorb radioactive iodine? Without proper testing, it is impossible to say what dose is perfect for everybody. However, I have recommended that adults take 12-14mg/day of a combination of iodine and iodide. That amount will prevent nearly 95% of radioactive iodine from binding to the thyroid gland and still leave other amounts of iodine available for the rest of the body’s need. Children will need smaller amounts. You can dose a child down for his/her size. A general rule of thumb for children is 0.08mg I/pound of body weight. If a newborn is breast feeding, they do not need iodine supplementation if the mother is iodine sufficient. Iodine can be excreted in the breast milk.
I generally recommend either Lugol’s iodine, Iodoral (from Optimox) or Iodozyme Hp (from Biotics). Lugol’s iodine dosage is 2 drops per day (12.5mg) or 1 tablet of each of either Iodoral or Optizyme HP (both products are 12.5mg/ tablets). When should people begin iodine supplementation? At this point, with the disaster still progressing, I would say it is time to begin supplementation with iodine.
As with any substance, there can be problems with iodine supplementation. Before beginning supplementation, it is best to discuss this option with your health care provider. More information about iodine can be found in my books, Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It and Overcoming Thyroid Disorders.
In the next few days, I will begin to answer some of the many questions sent to me.
Japanese Radiation Update 3
As the news in Japan worsens, I am getting more and more questions about what to do. Let me try and address as many questions as possible. I will keep blogging about this until most of the questions are answered.
First, I believe the Japanese government is not being truthful about the magnitude of the disaster. I believe they do not want to create a panic. This disaster is far from over. In Japan, I feel the situation will get much worse before it gets better. However, for those of us in North America, we will get a much smaller dose of radioactive iodine as compared to the Japanese.
Therefore, the most important thing to keep in mind is do not panic. I do not believe that people will by dying in the U.S. due to the radioactive spread from Japan. However, depending on the amount of radiation released and weather patterns, it is not clear what our exposure will be. I may be wrong on my assessment. Time will tell.
The good news is that there is a safe and effective treatment widely available that prevents harm from exposure to radioactive iodine. It is the use of nonradioactive, inorganic iodine. That is the form of iodine I have been researching and using in my practice for nearly 10 years.
What dose of iodine will prevent damage from exposure to radioactive iodine? My mentor, Dr. Guy Abraham’s research answered this question. His research indicated that milligram doses (note: this is 1,000 times a microgram dose) are necessary to prevent radioactive iodine from damaging the thyroid gland. How much? Around 13mg/day prevents approximately 96% of radioactive iodine from binding to the thyroid gland. That is the approximate dosage of iodine ingested daily by the Japanese. This is over 100x the average daily dose ingested by Americans.
Please keep in mind it is not just the thyroid gland that is at risk with exposure to radioactive iodine. The breasts, ovaries, uterus, prostate, skin, and other organs all bind and require iodine for optimal functioning. In fact, every cell in our body requires iodine for optimal functioning. Therefore, if we are iodine deficient, exposure to radioactive iodine can potentially result in damage to all the cells of the body. My experience has shown over 95% of patients are deficient in iodine.
I believe iodine deficiency is one of the underlying causes of the epidemic of cancer of the breast, thyroid, ovaries, uterus and prostate. Furthermore, iodine deficiency is the underlying cause of thyroid disorders including Hashimoto’s disease, Grave’s disease, goiter, and hypothyroidism. Our iodine levels have fallen 50% over the last 30 years. During that time, all of the above conditions have been rising at near epidemic rates.
I have written extensively about these ideas in my book, Iodine Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It.
Who should supplement with iodine? If you don’t have a contraindication to iodine supplementation, I believe it should be a part of most people’s daily regimen. As with any substance, some people may not tolerate iodine. My experience has shown that most people can tolerate the doses I have written about. Before supplementing with iodine, I suggest discussing this with your health care provider.
I will do my best to keep you updated on this situation. Let’s send our thoughts, prayers, and support to the Japanese.
Japan Radiation Update
I have received many questions from my post yesterday about the nuclear disaster in Japan. Unfortunately, there has been little information about the amount of radiation released from either Japan or the U.S. I find it hard to believe no one in the U.S. government has any idea on the amount of radiation that has been released and the amount of radiation that is predicted to fall over the U.S. in the next 3-7 days.
What should we do? I still say that we have time to sit tight as there is still time to take enough iodine in order to prevent problems from radioactive iodine. How much iodine? As stated yesterday, the U.S. government recommends 130mg of potassium iodide in the event of a nuclear disaster. However, that amount is only necessary for those who are near a nuclear explosion.
Thankfully, we are not near the explosion. As the cloud drifts over the ocean, the amount of radioactivity will dissipate. Although there is no sure amount that we know will prevent damage from this catastrophe, ensuring adequate iodine intake will minimize any exposure to radioactive iodine. How much iodine is that? Until we know what the exposure is going to be, no one can know what dose of iodine to take.
Now it is time to get off the fence. The average Japanese ingests around 13mg of iodine per day. This is 100x more than the average U.S. citizen. I have discussed this in my book, Iodine Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It. Since I have been recommending most people take 6-50mg of iodine per day, I would suggest taking the average Japanese dose of 13mg/day. This is one Iodoral pill or one Iodozyme HP pill or two drops of Lugol’s iodine. I do not believe microgram doses will do the trick.
There is risk with taking iodine, just as there is risk with any substance, but my experience has shown this dose to be safe for the vast majority of people. Please discuss this dosage with your health care provider before beginning supplementation.
In the next day or two, I will try to answer the questions that I have received about this crises. Also, I will keep you informed if any new information becomes available.
Japan, Radiation Fallout and Iodine Recommendations
With the terrible earthquake in Japan, let’s send thoughts, prayers as well as assistance to the Japanese.
I have had inquiries about the use of iodine to prevent problems secondary to the nuclear fallout that will occur. As the Japanese nuclear reactors release radiation into the air, the jet streams will push this radiation to the Western U.S. and Canada. There are estimates that the radiation fallout will reach the Western side of N. American in six to ten days.
Folks, potentially this is a lot of radiation. Fortunately, we have an item that can prevent this fallout from damaging us: iodine. If there is enough inorganic, non-radioactive iodine in our bodies, the radioactive fallout has nowhere to bind in our bodies. It will pass through us, leaving our bodies unharmed.
It is important to ensure that we have adequate iodine levels BEFORE this fallout hits. How much iodine is recommended?
The CDC recommends using iodine to prevent injury from radioactive iodine fallout. Adults and women who are breastfeeding should take 130mg of potassium iodide. Children who are between 3 and 18 years of age should take 65mg of potassium iodide. Children who are adult size should take the adult dose. Infants and children between 1 month and 3 years of age should take 32mg of potassium iodide. Newborns from birth to one month of age should be given 16mg of potassium iodide.
When should you take iodine? For an acute exposure, you want to take iodine just before the exposure hits. Iodine is cleared out of the body within 24 to 72 hours after taking it. However, if you have been using ortho-iodosupplementation as I describe in my books and lectures (taking from 6-50mg/day of iodine and iodide), you should be covered. Remember, the goal is to not let the radioactive iodine bind in the body.
Potassium iodide can be found in many health food stores. Combinations of iodide/iodine can be obtained from holistic physicians. Iodoral, Iodozyme HP, and Lugol’s solution are examples of this form of iodine. For long-term treatment, combinations are much more effective. More information about this can be found in my book, Iodine Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, 4th Edition (available at www.drbrownstein.com).
I do not recommend starting the first dose of iodine right now. It is important to follow the news reports and supplement accordingly. I would suggest starting iodine supplements within one to two days of the expected fallout. If the fallout is expected to continue, you may need to take more than one dose of iodine. I will keep you updated as I find out more information.
Problems with Antidepressant Medications
An article in Family Practice News (7.1.07) stated that antidepressant usage is correlated with the development of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is presently affecting over 50% of the U.S. population. What is metabolic syndrome? It is a constellation of findings that can include at least three of the following:
1. Central obesity (i.e., large waist) as measured by waist circumference in men of >40 inches and women> 35 inches.
2. Fasting blood triglycerides (the fat in the blood) >150mg/dl.
3. HDL cholesterol level less than 40mg/dl in men and 50mg/dl in women
4. Blood pressure >130/85mmHg
5. Fasting glucose > 110mg/dl
This study found that taking an antidepressant medication increased the risk of developing abnormal lipid levels by:
1. 80% in those patients that had schizophrenia
2. 60% in those patients that had schizoaffective disorder
3. 120% in those patients that had major depression
It is well known that there is a relationship between having metabolic syndrome and developing depression.
As I discuss in Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do, there are many adverse effects from many commonly used prescription medications. People who have depression do not have an antidepressant-medication deficit. Often times they have multiple nutritional and hormonal imbalances that need to be corrected. When these items are rectified, many times their symptoms of depression will resolve. If you have depression, I encourage you to have your vitamin, mineral and hormone levels checked before you start on a medication. If you are on an antidepressant medication, do not suddenly stop taking it. Find a holistic doctor who can work with you and help you correct any imbalances and help you detoxify your body. This will allow you the ability to taper off the medication or lower the dose.