Iodine Deficiency – Important in Many Health Problems, Yet Underestimated and Misunderstood

Based in Perth, Western Australia, Blake Graham specializes in nutritional and environmental treatments for those with chronic medical conditions, such as ME/CFS, FM, and MCS. This article is reproduced with kind permission from his Nutritional Healing Newsletter at


Iodine is a mineral of universal suboptimal status in many places in the world, including Australia and America.

American iodine expert Dr. David Brownstein, MD, author of Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It (4th edition, book or DVD), writes that his clinic in Michigan has tested around 5,000 patients and found 96% of people are iodine deficient.

Dr. Brownstein finds treating this deficiency extremely important for a range of health issues, including:

• Hypothyroidism,

• Chronic fatigue syndrome,

• Fibrocystic breast disease, and many others.

Iodine is most well known for its role as a constituent of thyroid hormones.

But iodine also has many other important functions, including in:

• The metabolism of other hormones (including adrenal and sex hormones),

• Immune function,

• Detoxification of fluoride and bromide [see Dr. Brownstein’s YouTube videos on the need for iodine as a detoxifying agent to counteract widespread bromide, fluoride, and mercury toxicity, which “are only possible in an iodine deficient state” – and],

• Antioxidant balance, etc.

Optimizing iodine levels is associated with:

• A sense of overall wellbeing,

• Lifting of a brain fog,

• Feeling warmer in cold environments,

• Increased energy,

• Needing less sleep,

• Achieving more in less time,

• Experiencing regular bowel movements,

• And improved skin complexion.(1)

Testing for Iodine Sufficiency

The gold standard test for iodine sufficiency is called the Iodine Loading Test. The Iodine/Iodide Loading Test is based on the concept that the human body has a mechanism to retain ingested iodine until whole body sufficiency for iodine is achieved.

• During optimal iodine supplementation, a mechanism is triggered that progressively adjusts the excretion of iodine to balance the intake.

• As the body iodine content increases, the percent of the iodine load retained decreases with an increase in the amount of iodide excreted in the 24 hour urine collection.

• The more deficient a subject is in iodine, the more iodine is retained by the body and the least excreted in the urine.

• Sufficiency is achieved when 90% or more of the ingested amount is excreted in the urine.

• The test consists of ingesting a high dose iodine/iodide (50 mg). Urinary iodide levels are measured in the following 24 hour collection. (1, 2)

Dietary Intake Is Often Insufficient

The doses of iodine required to achieve ideal levels are considerably higher than that provided by iodized salt and basic mineral supplements. To achieve optimal iodine levels people should do the above test. [It can be ordered from the labs listed below, and if your levels are low, ask your medical team about taking an iodine-rich supplement. A very high-dosage product is] Iodoral, by Optimox.

For more information on the importance of optimizing dietary iodine levels, visit Iodine Publications [This linked listing of more than 20 recent iodine research papers includes several published in 2007-2008 dealing specifically with the effects of iodine supplementation in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia patients.]

Lack of Iodine as a Promoter of Cancer, Especially in Women

See the YouTube presentation by Dr. Jorge D. Flechas, MD, MPH, on “Iodine Insufficiency and Cancer,” including thyroid, breast, ovarian, endometrial, stomach, and other cancers. He explains why females are more often affected, and the role of limiting dietary salt intake or cooking with un-iodized salt. Dr. Flechas specializes in iodine therapy and in hormonal therapy treatment of ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia at his clinic in North Carolina.

Some Test Sources

If you are in Australia and would like to do the Iodine Loading Test, send us an e-mail with your postal address and we can post you a test form. The test fee is $60 AUS.

In the U.S., labs offering the Iodine/Iodide 24-hour Loading Test are:

FFP Laboratories, Flat Rock, North Carolina

Hakala Research, Lake Wood, Colorado

DDI – Doctor’s Data Inc., St. Charles, Illinois


1. Guy Abraham, MD. “The safe and effective implementation of orthoiodosupplementation in medical practice,” The Original Internist, 11:17-36, 2004.

2. Guy Abraham, MD, and David Brownstein, MD. “A Simple Procedure Combining The Evaluation of Whole Body Sufficiency for Iodine with The Efficiency of the Body To Utilize Peripheral Iodide: The Triple Test," The Original Internist, Vol. 14, No. 1, 17-23, March 2007

*Blake Graham, BSc (Honours), AACNEM
Clinical Nutritionist
Perth, Western Australia
Phone/Email: See Contact Page

Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is generic and is not meant to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any condition, illness, or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or health support regimen without researching and discussing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.

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