The Iodine Project

Treating symptoms, not masking them.

Graves, Hashimotos and Thyroiditis

        Eight months ago while I was in my last few months of pregnancy I noticed a lump on my husband's neck. After visiting his doc he was sent to an endocrinologist, who then sent him to get an ultrasound and blood tests. The results revealed that he had a large nodule on his thyroid gland and despite this the doctor's were convinced he didn't have a thyroid condition based solely on his blood tests that said he was within the "normal" range. Hearing this news was devastating to my husband as he knew something was wrong with his body but the doctors couldn't tell him what it was, they merely suggested he have his thyroid removed.

       Time went by as the excitement of our daughter's birth distracted us, and thankfully so. Delivery was smooth but there were some complications afterwards necessitating two trips to the ER in an ambulance. The stress threw Kris into a downward spiral. His thyroid was taxed and he began dropping weight and having anxiety attacks, at first they would be a couple times a week but soon it was a few each day. Kris had three seperate trips to the ER because of his anxiety attacks, he didn't know what was causing them and hoped someone could give him some answers, or drugs ; )

        The first prescription they gave him was Paxil which was out of the question,  it was a psychotropic drug and had warnings regarding its use by people that were paranoid, that's Kris all the way. The second drug was a sedative which he could not take at work which is where he experienced the most attacks due to late hours and exhaustion. On a mission I began looking online, I slowly learned more and more about the thyroid and natural remedies to treat thryoid conditions. After much research I formed the conclusion that he was originally hypo and something dietary had changed over the past year that caused a change in his thyroid that brought on the goiter and then the hyper symptoms. He was in the middle really, he had the attacks and the rapid weightloss associated with hyper yet was suddenly cold all the time, dozed off way to easily and still suffered from exhaustion. All these symptoms, three blood tests later and the doctors still insist he is "normal". I was determined to find a natural cure, I spent all night researching and woke him up to tell him we were gonna shrink his goiter naturally and make him feel better, I made him promise not to get surgery until he tried the things I'd found. The first thing I found was coconut oil, oh what a blessing it was to find out about this. Coconut oil helps to regulate the thyroid so that it functions better. I went out to buy some after picking Kris up from work one evening, he was exhausted and starting to feel an anxiety attack coming on. It took 3 stores to find one that carried it and by then he was already starting to get the anxious feeling. Before driving home I asked him to take some, he scraped some out of the jar and ate it. The drive home was about 20 min. and right before we got home he told me that he was no longer tired, didn't feel anxious or panicky anymore and actually had energy! We were both excited, that began our natural journey towards a healthier life.

The kelp that I bought was to increase his iodine intake since I had learned the importance of iodine for ones thyroid. I had read that some kelp contains arsenic, so I researched the brand I bought. Funny enough the brand I bought had been found as the culprit for high arsenic levels in a mother and daughter who were taking it, sadly the mother died. Soooo I took that back and began trying to find another source for iodine, that's when I found out about Iodoral and how necessary "high" doses were.

 

All that to say that you most likely started out like my husband, with or without the goiter, you started out hypo and turned hyper. In layman's terms, there are iodine seeking enzymes in your body, they require a constant source of iodine which should normally be in your blood, however when you are deficient in iodine these enzymes go on a hunt for iodine. What little amounts you do get automatically get absorbed by your starving thyroid, since the iodine is concentrated in the thyroid, these enzymes start tearing apart your thyroid to get to the iodine, thus leaving you with some form of hyperthyroid and an atrophied thyroid. In factual terms...

 

"Among the problems caused by iodine deficiency are: underactivity of the thyroid gland produces fatigue. In rodents iodine deficiency leads to abnormal pituitary-adrenal function. The adrenal gland provides energy and stamina. When iodine no longer binds to thyroid cell membranes enzymes called peroxidases they are able to damage these membranes and produce autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto¹s thyroiditis and Hyperthroidism (Graves
Disease). Researcher Dr. Guy Abraham has observed several cases of thyroiditis and hyperthyroidism that have been corrected by the simple replacement of iodine. For more than 100 years high doses of iodine have been known to benefit both underactivity (hypothyroidism) of the thyroid gland and overactivity of the thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). Iodine therapy allows the sluggish thyroid gland to resume normal production of thyroid hormone leading to resolution of hypothyroidism. Provision of iodine
stops the peroxidase injury to the thyroid membranes in hyperthyroidism which permits hyperthyroidism to resolve. Thus thyroid surgery for hyperthyroidism is no longer necessary.
Several human organs need iodine but can not absorb it until blood iodine
levels reach high values (stomach, salivary glands). Most persons exhibit
impaired production of stomach acid as they age. This impaired capability to
produce adequate stomach acid may be a result of iodine deficiency as iodine
promotes stomach acidity."
(Per http://www.vickeryseaplantminerals.com/Page.html)

And this quote from Second Opinion Newsletter    

November, 2004, Issue

"While iodine will help the thyroid increase the production of hormone where necessary, it also inhibits over-release from the gland by giving thyroid enzymes what they want. These iodine-seeking enzymes that attack thyroid membranes can be normalized when they get the iodine they need. This old information is terrific news for the many people (usually women) who have been told to have their thyroid removed to end hyperthyroidism. These draconian measures ensure the patient will have to rely on prescriptive thyroid hormone for the rest of their life. But iodine can completely solve the problem."

Testimonials (per http://www.earthclinic.com/Remedies/iodine2.html)

 Jan from Buffalo, NY writes: "Lugol's cure for Hyperthyroidism. 2 years ago I went to the doctor for fast pulse rate. Resting it was 105 to 110 bpm. He sent me to an endocrinologist who recommended the radioactive pill approach to killing the thyroid. I asked him about Iodine. He was very specific about how dangerous it would be to treat it with Iodine. I went home and ordered a bottle of Lugol's from the internet and three days later having taken doses for 3 days, my pulse rate was below 75 and the swollen throat had subsided. It was common goiter. The allopathic treatment seems to be kill the thyroid and take T4 for the rest of your life. there should be a law against the quackery practiced in modern medicine. What a waste of 12 years of education."

More Information straight from Dr. Guy Abraham (per  http://www.healthsalon.org/450/iodine-safe-and-effective-implementation-by-guy-e-abraham-md/)

 

 IV. The Use of Inorganic, Non-radioactive Iodine/Iodide in Graves’ Disease


             Since Graves’ disease represents up to 90% of hyperthyroidism,52 we will limit our discussion to Graves’s disease, called by different names in different publications: exophthalmic goiter or goitre, hyperthyroidism, and toxic goiter.


             Iodine was used in the treatment of toxic goiter as early as 1840 by Von Basedow 53 and in 1854 by Stokes.54 In 1863, Trousseau inadvertently used tincture of iodine successfully in a patient with exophthalmic goiter.55 “In the course of October, 1863, I was consulted by a young married lady, who habitually resides in Paris. She was suffering from subacute exophthalmic goiter… I still found her heart beat at the rate of 140 to 150 times in the minute… I wished to administer at the same time tincture of digitalis, but preoccupied with the idea that there would be some danger in giving iodine, I wrote iodine instead of digitalis, so that the patient took from 15 to 20 drops of tincture of iodin a day for a fortnight. (For the reader’s information, “tincture of iodine” is a 10% solution of iodine in 95% ethanol. The daily amount ingested was 75-100 mg). When she than came back to me her pulse was only 90. I found out my mistake, and I substituted tincture of digitalis for that of iodine, but, after another fortnight, the pulse had again gone up to 150, so that I at once returned to the iodine.” Trousseau had the distinction of performing the first double-blind study of iodine in a cohort of one patient with Graves’ disease. He also achieved remission of Graves’ disease with prolonged administration of potassium iodide.56

              Thompson, el al,57 in a 1930 publication, quoted several authors in the late 1800s and early 1900s who used Lugol solution alone successfully in Graves’ disease, with complete remission of the disease, eliminating the need for surgery. Destruction of the thyroid gland with goitrogens and radioiodide was fortunately not then available for the management of Graves’ diseased. Professor Kocher came on the scene in the early 1900s and had an adverse iodophobic effect on the treatment of Graves’ disease. Professor Theodore Kocher carried a lot of weight, being the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology in 1909, for his work on “thyroid surgery,” the only Nobel Prize assigned to research on the thyroid gland. He was against the use of iodine/iodide in exophthalmic goiter and all forms of hyperthyroidism.58,59

              Cowell and Mellanby in their 1925 publication 60 give a glimpse of Kocher’s influence over the thyroidologists of that time, bordering on intimidation, “Kocher taught that the administration of potassium iodide must never be carried out in exophthalmic goiter, and on the whole, this advice has been taken. As evidence of this fact may be mentioned the discussion on the treatment of exophthalmic goiter at the Royal Society of Medicine in 1923. No speaker mentioned iodine or any preparation of iodine as being of any value in the treatment of the disease, and it can be inferred that therapy involving the use of iodine has been deliberately avoided.”

            The influence of Kocher divided thyroidologists into two schools: the iodine/iodide school which favored the use of Lugol solution first and then adding surgery later for the patients not responding to this approach alone, while continuing the iodine/iodide supplementation; and the surgical school discouraged the use of iodine/iodide, prior to the post surgery. In 1927, DeCourcy 61 stated, “That the administration of iodine prior to operation for exophthalmic goiter controls the symptoms. Lowers the basal metabolic rate and lessens the hazards of operation, is no longer questioned. This teaching, however, is directly contrary to that of only a few years ago. Formerly the surgical school led by Kocher opposed the use of iodine in any form of Graves’ disease, holding that it increases the severity of the symptoms and may, in fact, be responsible for the development of exophthalmic from simple goiter.” In the same publication, DeCourcy’s own experience revealed that out of 30 cases of exophthalmic goiter in children, Lugol solution 5-10 drops (30-60 mg) three times a day “made operation unnecessary” in 11 cases. That is a 36% success rate.

            Some brave souls defied Kocher’s moratorium and continued to use inorganic iodine/iodide successfully in Graves’ disease. Retrospectively, Kocher’s stand against inorganic iodine/iodide in Graves’ disease proved to be the main cause of the high rate of pre- and post-operative mortality, following thyroidectomy. In 1924, Plummer and Boothby from the Mayo Clinic 62, 63 reported their experience with 600 cases of Graves’ disease, who received Lugol solution for several days pre-operatively and post-operatively, resulting in zero medical mortality, ” In the Mayo clinic we now give 10 minims of Lugol’s solution as a routine three times a day for at least seven days previous to a thyroidectomy. (For the reader’s information, one minim is one drop of Lugol, containing 6.25 mg of total elemental iodine. The daily amount was about 180 mg.) The solution is administered for a longer period to patients who have been in a particularly bad condition and are at the end of this period rapidly improving. To patients in a crisis or near-crisis, 50 minims are given during the first two or three hours, by mouth if it can be retained, otherwise by rectum. If the patient is in a crisis, this is followed by 50 minims during the following forenoon. To the patients having so-called post-operative recurrences that can be controlled are given10 minims of the solution daily over an indefinite period. This period is generally determined by stopping the iodine at intervals of a few weeks, and noting the patient’s condition at the end of 10 days. If there is any recurrence of hyperthyroidism, the administration of iodine is again resumed… From January 1 to September 1, 1924, from 600 to 700 new cases of exophthalmic goiter were observed in the Clinic. During this period there were no medical death.”

             In 1925, Frank H. Lahey 64 from the Lahey Clinic in Boston reported his experience with Lugol solution in Graves’ disease. “The introduction of Lugol’s solution by Dr. Henry S. Plummer as a method of preparation for operation in exophthalmic goiter marks a step of forward progress in the surgical management of this disease. It has practically eliminated preliminary pole legation in our Clinic and has made it possible to complete the operation of subtotal thyroidectomy in one stage upon a great majority of our patients. It has saved for us many of those delirious and desperately toxic cases which previously died before any operation could be done upon them, and it has almost completely done away with post-operative thyroid reactions. It has been a real boon to the patient suffering from exophthalmic goiter or primary hyperthyroidism.”
 

            Thompson, et al 57 published the results obtained in 24 patients with exophthalmic goiter treated with Lugol solution alone without surgery, using a daily dose of one drop. As mentioned previously, goitrogens and radioiodide were not available for use in Graves’ disease until the mid 1940s, coincident with the appearance of iodophobic publications by the same authors who promoted the goitrogens as an alternative to Lugol solution in the management of Graves’ disease. Thompson, et al stated: “Twenty-four patients with exophthalmic goiter (14 mild and 10 severe or moderately severe cases) have been treated in this clinic with iodine alone, either continuously or intermittently for periods ranging from one and one-half months to three years. The period of treatment was a year or more in 13 instances. With three exceptions (all unsatisfactory responses to iodine) the patients pursued their daily work throughout the period of observation, thus eliminating the effect of rest.” That is an 88% success rate.

            S.P. Beebe from New York reported favorably in 1921, on the use of Lugol solution in hyperthyroid forms of goiter, 49 based on his experience over a period of 10 years, which did not confirm Kocher’s iodophobic attitude, “In going over these statements in the literature, it seems probable that the actual basis for the conclusions has been theoretical considerations and preconceived notions rather than careful clinical observations… In this writer’s experience iodine is one of the most valuable therapeutic agents we have in the treatment of the hyperthyroid forms of goiter. As in the case of any potent drug, injury can be done with it. So can we do injury with digitalis and salvarsan. During the last 10 years the writer has treated a large number of cases of hyperthyroidism, and with most of them the administration of iodine has been a part of the treatment. There is no danger in so doing if the dose is properly regulated. The extreme sensitiveness described by some writers is a rare event. If the dose is properly regulated there need be no fear of iodism or iodine Basedowism.”
Starr, et al 65 from the Massachusetts General Hospital used 15 drops (90 mg) of Lugol gaily for the treatment of exophthalmic goiter, with a 92% success fate, eliminating he need for surgery. “Of these 25 cases, 20 (80%) responded to iodine by a more or less extensive remission of the disease. Of these 20, 12 (48%) responded with the acute iodine resembling the effect produced by subtotal thyroidectomy. In the remaining eight (32%) the remission occurred, but was less extensive. In five unsuccessful cases (20%) two of the patients were pregnant, and one had cardiac decompensation. If these are omitted from the calculation, iodine administration was successful in 20 of 23, or 92% of our hospital cases.”
         

             A cursory review of the literature suggests that the use of Lugol solution in Graves’ disease, the preferred approach by thyroidologists of that time, resulted in a higher success rate with fewer complications than the use of iodine and iodide alone. 45,57,60-66 The daily amount of Lugol solution used in Graves’ disease ranged from one drop (6.25 mg) to 30 drops (180 mg). A complete nutritional program in our experience improved further the response to orthoiodosupplementation in Graves’ disease and other thyroid disorders.
No serious attempt was made by physicians of the early 1900s to incorporate a complete nutritional program with Lugol supplementation in the management of thyroid disorders. The reason is that not much was known about vitamins, minerals, and essential trace elements at that time. Today, the importance of good nutrition in overall well-being is commonly accepted, and more and more publications are emphasizing the interaction between micronutrients in their overall effects on biological systems. We have incorporated a total nutritional program with orthoiodosupplementation, emphasizing magnesium instead of calcium (discussed further in Section VII). The effect of this nutritional program with orthoiodosupplementation on thyroid function tests in a 40-years-old female patient with severe hyperthyroidism is displayed in Table 3.
         

            She was a classic case of Graves’ disease with exophthalmia. After researching the medical literature, she refused treatment with radioiodides, goitrogens and surgery. She was placed on the nutritional program, including 1,200 mg of magnesium/day for one month prior to iodine supplementation, followed by the same program with the addition of 12.5 mg elemental iodine (1 tablet Iodoral®) daily afterward. TSH was undetectable at <0.01 mU/ml. Total T4 was 18 mg/dL; T3 442 ng/dL; Free T4 = 5 ng/dL. Following one month on a high magnesium program, she stated she felt calmer, with less palpitation, could sleep better. The burning, irritation, and lacrimation of the eyes improved. TSH remained undetectable at 0.03 mU/ml; Total T4 dropped to 16 mg/dL and Total T3 from 442 to 299 ng/dL. Free T4 did not change appreciably. After the first week on iodine/iodide at 12.5 mg/day, she noticed a clearer mind with improved cognition. Following one month on this program, she slept better and was better organized with improved social activities. Her palpitation decreased markedly with normal pulse rates. Serum TSH became normal at 2.3 mU/ml; Total T4 , Total T3 and Free T4 were all within the normal range at 8.0 g/dL, 195 ng/dL, and 1.2 ng/dL. She continued to improve. After three months on the same program, TSH was not measured, but Total T4, Total T3 and Free T4 remained within the normal range (Table 3). She experienced some diarrhea following four months on magnesium at 1,200 mg/day, and the daily amount was decreased to 600 mg/day. As of this writing, the thyroid function test remained within the normal range; she has no exophthalmia; she gained 16 pounds; and her social activities have improved to the point of matrimony. She praises God every day for saving her thyroid gland and making her healthy again.


            Published studies on the safe and effective use of Lugol solution in Graves’ disease mysteriously disappeared during the 1940s and afterward, concurrent with the appearance of iodophobic publications and the promotion of goitrogens as an alternative to Lugol solution in the management of Graves’ disease. (See Table 4.) Introduced in 1943 by E.B. Astwood 67 for the management of Graves’ disease in the forms of thiourea and thiouracil, these goitrogens evolved into more powerful ones, 68 and eventually the thiionamides: methimazole, carbimazole, and propylthiouracil. These goitrogens rapidly replace inorganic iodine/iodide in the management of Graves’ disease. The synchronization of iodophobic publications with the introduction of goitrogens to replace inorganic iodine/iodide (Table 4) was a brilliant move, and it worked wonderfully. Obviously, no one was awake to ask questions. In 1953, when Godley and Stanbury 69 introduced a new goitrogen, potassium perchlorate, in the treatment of hyperthyroidism, they acknowledged that the thiionamides were used widely in Graves’ disease, instead of inorganic iodine/iodide. “At the present time propylthiouracil, methylthiouracil and 1-methyl-2-mercaptoimidazole (methimazole) are widely employed in the preparation of thyrotoxic patients for surgery, and to a lesser extent in the chronic control of the overactive thyroid gland (5).” This new goitrogen, that is potassium perchlorate, was so toxic that it was removed from circulation shortly after its introduction. Reintroduction of this goitrogen is currently being attempted by lowering the recommended dosage.70 Astwood and his associates reported very high remission rates in Graves’ disease with use of goitrogens, which mislead thyroidologists and encouraged them to use these drugs instead of inorganic iodine/iodide. In two studies published in 1953 and 1966, his teams reported a remission rate of 50-75%.71, 72 However, his findings could not be reproduced by others. Wartofsky 73in 1973, and Reynolds and Kotchen74 in 1979 observed much lower remission rates of 11-16%. Increased ingestion of iodine/iodide by the patients was blamed by Wartofsky for the low success rate. Wartofsky’s study was done at a time when one slice of bread contained the full RDA for iodine. In an attempt to improve success rate with goitrogens, patients were told to limit their intake of iodine, which discouraged further its use by the patients. Wartofsky, et al 73 failed to realize that iodization of bakery products started several years before the second study by Astwood, et al 72 published in 1966, which reported a very high success rate. In 1965, London, et al 25 reported an estimated iodine intake of 1 mg/day with 726 mg coming from bakery products. In the end, one concludes that Astwood’s optimistic reports on the use of goitrogens in Graves’ disease could not be reproduced by others. Since the word “goitrogens” implies goiter-causing drugs, Astwood called them antithyroid drugs. So, instead of normalizing thyroid function physiologically with sufficient amounts of inorganic, non-radioactive iodine/iodide, thyroidologists became destructive in their approach with goitrogens and radioiodide, resulting in hypothyroidism in the majority of those unfortunate patients who eventually join the ever-increasing T4 consuming population.


             In the 1980s, thyroidologists in the US decreased their use of goitrogens in Graves’ disease due to low remission rate and side effects and relied more and more on inorganic iodide, but unfortunately the wrong kind (i.e., the radioactive kind). Thyroidologists en masse joined the nuclear age. In 1990, a survey by the American Thyroid Association76″This chapter considers the three forms of treatment of thyrotoxicosis — antithyroid drugs, radioactive iodine (radioiodine), and thyroidectomy —- that are in wide use now.” In a subsection entitled “Other drugs used in the treatment of thyrotoxicosis caused by Graves’ disease,” Cooper stated, “The effect of iodide on thyroid function are complex and are discussed in detail in the section on the effects of excess iodide in Chapter 13.” The reader is preconditioned to be in an iodophobic mode when he goes to Chapter 13, an ominous number, with “excess iodide” in the title and where inorganic iodine/iodide is blamed for the severs side effects of organic iodine-containing drugs such as amiodarone, and is called “a pathogen.”


Obviously, the unsuspecting thyroidologist relying solely on this textbook for information will avoid inorganic iodine/iodide like leprosy. However, if he is inquisitive and searches the literature carefully, he may read the publication by Phillipou, et al,4who studied the effect of inorganic iodide on thyroid functions and compared his results with the effects of amiodarone, “We can, therefore, conclude that the effect of amiodarone, benziodarone, Na iopanate, and other iodine containing substances with similar effects is due to the entire molecule, and not to the iodine liberated. It should be noted that the cytotoxic effect of amiodarone in all cultures is also due to the entire molecule, and not to the iodine present in it.” It is most amazing that no one so far has proposed the use of inorganic, non-radioactive iodine/iodide at 9 mg/day in patients with cardiac arrhythmia. Indeed, we have a zombified medical profession. Case in point, patients are told to protect their thyroid gland from radioactive fallout by ingesting inorganic, if diagnosed with Graves’ disease, are told to stop taking inorganic, non-radioactive iodine/iodide to penetrate their thyroid gland, a destructive dose that is! Does that make any sense?

 

Right now I'm on Synthroid or another T4 med., what can I do? Right now I'm on Armour or other dessicated thyroid gland med., what can I do?

First things first, you should talk with your doctor and get a full workup in regards to vitamin/mineral deficiency. If the doctor you currently have is not wise in the ways of Iodine then I suggest you fork over the dough and invest in a naturopathic, homeopathic or holistic doctor who can really help you as these are the Drs who are educated about Iodine supplementation. Once you have that done you will know where you stand and what you need to start supplementing with. Iodine is top priority of what your body needs but it works synergisticly with other vitamins and minerals, remember you also need to provide support for you adrenals (for natural adrenal support click here). Most people are able to slowly decrease their dose of meds while slowly increasing their intake of iodine, and eventually are pharma drug free! This can be a slow process and you must pay attention to your body to decide when to increase or decrease whether by your self or with your doctor, but everyday you are one step closer to a healthier life!

My thyroid was removed surgically or destroyed with radioactive iodine, what can I do?

It's so unfortunate the number of people whose condition is made worse by removing such an important part of our body. Most people who've had this done have been put on Synthroid or another T4 med that does not help in any way, before you get your thyroid working or regrown you should definitely switch to armour, which is a dessicated thyroid gland; for those of you who are taking your health into your own hands like myself, you can also find this at your local vitamin shop. Fortunately, your body does not need your thyroid alone to utilize iodine, you actually need the iodine anyways. What's really exciting is that many people whose thyroid was removed or destroyed have actually regrown their thyroid, this can happen when you have an iodine rich diet and it is possible because with surgery the doctor can only remove so much tissue, they avoid the tissue closest to your voicebox and trachea. Once you get your body healthy again it will have an easier time regrowing, though this may not happen for everyone, it has happened to many others so you have good reason to hope! To get started on your way to a healthier life click here.

 

 Ok so now I believe I'm deficient, what do I do? Well, you can start by clicking here.

 

Got more questions? Contact us and we will be happy to provide you with the answers. 

 

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