Buried deep in the medical literature of the early 20th century is a fascinating study-in rabbits-that, nearly 80 years later, provides some insights into the importance of iodine for heart health.
Back in 1933, Dr. Kenneth Turner of Harvard Medical School conducted a series of experiments using rabbits as a model of atherosclerosis, trying to explore the relationship between thyroid health and heart disease.
In these extensive studies, all rabbits were fed a terrible diet rich in unhealthy fats that caused flagrant atherosclerosis in the aorta (the large artery of the chest and abdomen) within months. (All had intact thyroid function.)
21 rabbits - diet only
This group showed flagrant atherosclerosis, as expected. Blood total cholesterol levels averaged 520 mg/dl.
17 rabbits - given the thyroid hormone, T4 (similar to present-day levothyroxine and Synthroid®)
This group showed approximately half as much atherosclerosis as the diet only group. Total cholesterol averaged 399 mg/dl.
30 rabbits - given desiccated thyroid (roughly equivalent to present-day Armour® thyroid tablets) and iodine
This group showed atherosclerosis in only two rabbits. Total cholesterol averaged 178 mg/dl (66% less than control rabbits).
12 rabbits - given iodine only (potassium iodide)
In this group, one rabbit showed atherosclerosis. Total cholesterol averaged 183 mg/dl.
Okay. That's rabbits. Maybe or maybe not relevant to us humans. Any such studies in humans?
Unfortunately, no. What we have instead are studies that suggest that low thyroid hormone levels, or hypothyroidism, which may develop from iodine deficiency, represent a risk factor for heart disease. Iodine deficiency is suggested by increased TSH and reduced free T4 (one of the actual thyroid hormones) on standard thyroid blood tests. (Unfortunately, it is difficult to tease apart iodine deficiency from hypothyroidism without iodine deficiency based just on blood work.)
Some of the studies of low thyroid and its relationship to heart disease:
1971: 247 participants, all with coronary disease, more than 90% with normal thyroid measures. Desiccated thyroid (not iodine) was administered to all, regardless of starting thyroid status.
In addition to improved well-being and greater capacity for exercise, total cholesterol dropped by 22%, regardless of starting thyroid status. Compared to a matched population, there was 58% reduced 5-year mortality rate. (Wren JC 1971).
2000: Rotterdam Heart Study, 1149 females. Those with a thyroid stimulating hormone level of 4.0 or greater (meaning low thyroid activity but within the conventional "normal" range) experienced 230% greater heart attack risk. (No thyroid hormone was administered in this study.)
2008: The recent HUNT Study is the most revealing. In several analyses, the enormous (30,000 participants) HUNT data showed that:
- The lower the TSH, the lower the LDL cholesterol (lowest LDL cholesterol with TSH between 0.5-0.99 mIU/l.
- TSH in the range of 0.5-1.4 mIU/L was associated with lowest cardiovascular fatality. Even within the usually-considered-normal TSH range of 2.5-3.5 mIU/l, risk for cardiovascular fatality was 69% greater.
Like the Rotterdam Study, thyroid hormone was not administered in the HUNT Study. Nonetheless, both of the more recent studies suggest a powerful connection: Even subtle levels of hypothyroidism substantially increase risk for heart disease.
So is iodine deficiency a cardiovascular risk factor? And are you getting sufficient iodine? Will supplemental iodine reduce LDL cholesterol and risk for heart disease?
While the data are far from complete, iodine deficiency is a growing problem as Americans reduce reliance on iodized salt. And I fear that, along with declining thyroid function and goiters, cholesterols and heart attacks will be on the rise.
Yet iodine deficiency is very easy to correct.
Iodine and Cardiac Conditions, Afib, Arrhythmias
ATRIAL FIBRILLATION, ARRHYTHMIAS AND IODINE
By Bruce West, D.C.
[In Health Alert, June 2006, Volume 23, Issue 6. To order, call 831-372-2103, weekdays. Or write Health Alert, 100 Wilson Road, #110, Monterey Ca 93940.]
“As you have read over and over in Health Alert, there is an epidemic of cardiac arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation in this country. Expert Thyroidologists like Guy Abraham, MD, are convinced that the medical iodine phobia has a great deal to do with this phenomenon. Adequate stores of iodine are necessary for a smooth heartbeat.” — Health Alert, Vol. 22, No. 12
Too many years ago medical experts determined that high doses of iodine were dangerous, despite a hundred-year history of extremely high doses (in today’s terms) of iodine prescribed by doctors for just about everything—with great results. As is often the case, the flawed results of this study became medical dogma. And today, more than 50 years later, organized medicine still follows that dogma when it comes to iodine therapy.
This is particularly sad for those who do not have access to alternative medical care and are suffering from problems with thyroid and goiter, female reproductive diseases, menopause, diabetes, obesity, liver disease, polycystic ovaries, breast disease, heart disease, and most especially arrhythmia problems.
Iodine supplementation may be the missing link in a good percentage of heart arrhythmia cases, especially atrial fibrillation. The body needs adequate stores of iodine for the heart to beat smoothly. After close to a year now of using Iodine Fulfillment Therapy, I can attest to this fact. Most of the stubborn cases of cardiac arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation that we were unable to completely correct with our cardiac protocols have now been resolved with adequate supplies of iodine added to the protocol.
Even I was fooled for years—fooled away from using adequate doses of iodine. But thanks to bona fide experts like Dr. Abraham, I was able to see the decades-old medical iodine phobia for what it really was—a mistake. Carefully and slowly at first, I started having patients take sufficient doses of iodine. Much to my surprise, there were no problems, just many great results, especially with arrhythmias and atrial fibrillation.
Iodine fulfillment means the entire body has adequate stores of iodine to function properly. Although iodine can be found in every organ and tissue in the body, some areas utilize more iodine than others. It is not only the thyroid gland that uses iodine but also the heart, breasts, ovaries, muscles, liver, and adrenal glands. We are also discovering that while it may take smaller doses to fulfill the thyroid’s needs, it often takes much larger doses to fulfill the rest of the body’s needs, including the needs of the heart.
These parts of the body are iodine sensitive—that is, if they are starving for iodine, they do not function properly. Since there are so many iodine-sensitive sites in the body, medical experts are finding that iodine therapy can be a “panacea” of sorts for all types of stubborn problems. Just as physicians noted 60 to 100 years ago, iodine therapy can help people with hypo- or hyperthyroid (with or without goiter), fibrocystic breasts, polycystic ovary syndrome, brain fog, constipation, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. In addition, it may prove essential treatment if you suffer from heart disease, arrhythmias, and atrial fibrillation.
In the past, with just about every patient with heart problems, arrhythmias, and atrial fibrillation, I would always use a protocol from Standard Process that included Cataplex F. Cataplex F is a combination of liver extract, omega-3 fatty acids, and iodine. But the typical dose of four to six Cataplex F tablets contains less than one milligram of iodine. While this dose was adequate for most people, some failed to respond, or only got partially better. Old-time physicians used to routinely prescribe up to 100 milligrams daily for all kinds of problems with excellent results. Now I know that they were on the right track.
How Much Iodine, and For How Long?
As I see people with stubborn arrhythmias getting better on 10, 20, 30, and even up to 50 mgs of iodine daily, I know that large doses are sometimes needed by the body. This is what Iodine Fulfillment Therapy is all about. Iodine fulfillment simply fulfills all of the body’s needs for iodine. For those deficient, this may require up to 50 mgs daily for three to four months.
If you have been unable to resolve your heart arrhythmia with one of my protocols, the simplest way to proceed with Iodine Fulfillment Therapy is to add Prolamine Iodine from Standard Process to your heart protocol. Begin with one Prolamine Iodine tablet daily. If there are no problems after a few days to a week, increase the dose to two daily. Continue this procedure, increasing the dose by one more daily until your heart begins to beat smoothly. At this point, you have reached iodine fulfillment. Stay at this dose for a full three months.
Since each Prolamine Iodine tablet contains 3 mgs of iodine, your body may require from 1 to 15 tablets daily for three months. Most people achieve results after 3 to 10 tablets daily. After three full months at your iodine fulfillment dose, begin to cut the dose back by one to two tablets daily each week. If you begin to feel your heart act up again, you have gone past your maintenance dose. Add back one more tablet daily. You will generally end up with a dose of one to four daily—and this dose should be maintained for 12 months. Thereafter, you will probably need even less.
Don’t Take Prolamine Iodine and Amiodarone
Amazingly, while medicine shuns iodine therapy, their most popular anti-fibrillation drug, Amiodarone, actually is iodine in a toxic, sustained-release form. This drug can produce a smooth heartbeat when the body has accumulated about 1,500 mgs of iodine—the exact amount of iodine retained by your body when iodine fulfillment is achieved by natural supplementation with Prolamine Iodine.
Unfortunately, Amiodarone is an extremely toxic form of iodine used by the medical profession. The side effects are often too great (and even life threatening) for most people to endure long enough to achieve a normal heartbeat. In addition, once you stop this drug, your original problem returns. Iodine therapy, on the other hand, fulfills the body’s needs safely, then maintains the smooth heartbeat with a low-maintenance dose.
Because Amiodarone is iodine, you cannot use iodine fulfillment therapy while you are taking this drug. Rather, your doctor needs to wean you off this drug first, so you can then begin natural iodine treatment. In other words, iodine fulfillment therapy is done in place of Amiodarone, not together with it. Amiodarone and iodine at the same time can be dangerous.
If you are on a heart protocol that has been only partially effective, or your arrhythmia or atrial fibrillation problem is stubborn, you will need to test iodine fulfillment therapy. However, you will maintain your original heart protocol with one change. Once iodine therapy has started (even at one Prolamine Iodine tablet daily), you will no longer need to take Cataplex F. Everything else in your protocol remains the same.
The Iodine Test
In the past we held that if it took less than 24 hours for tincture of iodine to disappear from the skin then there was a need for iodine supplementation. Today, I am not so sure this is a good indicator of iodine need. There are just too many variables involved in how quickly the tincture disappears from the skin.
However, tincture of iodine, available in drug stores everywhere for pennies, cannot hurt. Common sense dictates that if the iodine first disappears in a few hours, but stays in place for more than 24 hours after iodine fulfillment therapy, it is a good test. I will leave it up to you if you want to challenge this test.
As far as I’m concerned, I am finding more and more people deficient in iodine—even those I would not have thought would have this problem. At this stage, unless you know you are allergic to iodine (a very rare condition), it would be best to fulfill your body’s needs for iodine if you have any of the problems mentioned in this article.
Simply proceed with caution, slowly and carefully. For anyone setting out on a course of iodine fulfillment therapy, please send us a self-addressed envelope with two stamps and say IODINE. We will send you our full article so you will know exactly how to proceed. The best course of action is to proceed with iodine therapy safely, as there have been some problems reported in certain individuals. I recommend that you proceed only when you have our Iodine flyer in your hands.
Problems and Allergy to Iodine
Few problems have been reported when iodine therapy is accomplished slowly and safely—as outlined in my flyer. Sensitive individuals may experience skin irritation; watery eyes, nose, and saliva; nervousness or headache. Some highly sensitive individuals may also experience a racing heart or irritation of the esophagus. These are extremely rare (I’ve seen very few of these potential problems), and they are easily resolved by either immediately reducing the dose or quitting the iodine.
The greatest problem arises when an individual with a known allergy to iodine tries iodine therapy. This therapy cannot be used by these folks unless their allergy to iodine is resolved.
Resolving an allergy to iodine may be possible with an acupuncture technique called NAET. To find out if your allergy to iodine (or other substances, for that matter) can be resolved, check out the acupuncture site of an old friend of Health Alert, Dr. Devi Nambudripad, at www.naet.com.
The second greatest problem can occur if you try iodine therapy while taking an iodine drug like Amiodarone. This will cause problems that can require medical attention. Do not attempt to take large doses of iodine when you are taking Amiodarone, Pacerone, or Cardarone. If you want to try iodine therapy, your doctor will first have to wean you from these drugs.
In conclusion, if you suffer from heart arrhythmias or atrial fibrillation, or any of the problems listed in this article, keep iodine therapy in mind. If you use iodine therapy, please feel free to send me your results. As I’ve said, I have been nothing but pleasantly surprised with results coming back better and better. And I can finally reach some of those really stubborn arrhythmia and fibrillation cases that just would not respond completely to my protocol containing only a milligram or two of iodine.
It is now beyond a doubt that adequate iodine is necessary for a smooth heartbeat. This ongoing research is truly wonderful news.
Iodine Facts and Results
By Bruce West
[from Health Alert, October 2006, Volume 23, Issue 10]
Iodine therapy continues to be highly beneficial to iodine-deficient people. It is now proven that 50 mgs of iodine daily detoxifies the body of toxic halide compounds such as bromine and fluorine—as well as the heavy metals lead and mercury. It is proven that there is a built-in safety mechanism for iodine overload. With iodine deficiency, the amount of iodine retained in the body is related to the amount of the deficiency. At full sufficiency (when there is no longer any iodine deficiency), the excess iodine is excreted via the urine as iodide. It is proven that the amount of iodine needed and retained in the body for total iodine sufficiency is 1,500 mgs. This is 50 times higher than the amount reported in medical textbooks.
Our environment is now loaded with the toxic halides bromine and fluorine. Up until now we have had no way to detoxify the body of these thyroid poisons. Iodine Therapy now provides a protocol to accomplish what we have desired for years. And as an added bonus, there is additional detoxification of mercury and lead.
Iodine is needed for a smooth heartbeat. Yet the medical establishment continues to have a penchant for the toxic, iodine-containing drug Amiodarone. This drug is extremely toxic to the thyroid and can induce severe thyroid abnormalities. Yet rather than switch to the nontoxic form of iodine, cardiologists and thyroidologists would kill the thyroid gland with ablation of the thyroid (surgical or drug destruction of the gland) in order to continue the use of the toxic drug Amiodarone.
As a result, rather than switch to the nontoxic form of iodine to smooth out a severe cardiac arrhythmia, medical doctors would sacrifice the thyroid gland altogether. This radical procedure is performed so that the drug, which is rarely a successful, long-term treatment for cardiac arrhythmias, can be used. Seem a little drastic? Once something becomes the gold standard in medicine, almost nothing will stand in the way of physicians continuing to prescribe it.
Nontoxic and Effective Treatment
So if you suffer from atrial fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, or any other cardiac arrhythmia, you will probably be prescribed the toxic drug Amiodarone along with the rat poison warfarin (Coumadin). All the while you probably need Iodine Therapy. But take note…you cannot proceed with Iodine Therapy while you are taking Amiodarone. The combination of safe iodine with the drug’s toxic iodine would overwhelm the body.
Instead, you need to start a heart protocol available from us, and then have your doctor wean you from Amiodarone as you prepare for Iodine Therapy. After three weeks off Amiodarone, you can begin Iodine Therapy….
The Body’s Many Needs for Iodine
It seems hard to believe that many, many people need large doses of iodine. But when you consider that toxic halide molecules and heavy metals are in direct competition for the iodine sensitive sites in the body, it makes sense. These toxins are now everywhere in our environment. They are displacing iodine from your body every day. And iodine fulfillment can only be reached when these toxins are released from the body. This happens only with Iodine Therapy.
Aside from the thyroid gland, your heart, muscles, skin, brain, breasts, ovaries, and other glands and tissues are dependent on iodine. People who are just depleted, chronically cold, depressed, obese, forgetful, chronically fatigued, and old before their time probably need Iodine Therapy.
People with heart arrhythmias, heart disease, ovary disease, breast disease, menopausal problems and hot flashes, muscle wasting, hypo- and hyperthyroid disease, “brain fog,” dementia and Alzheimer’s osteoporosis, premenstrual tension, and just about everyone on thyroid hormone medication probably need Iodine Therapy. And just about everyone poisoned with bromine, fluorine, mercury, lead, and the drug Amiodarone probably needs Iodine Therapy.
The Body’s Safety Mechanism
Given what we now know about the built-in safety mechanism for iodine overload, Iodine Therapy is relatively safe. You could be tested for the amount of iodine you need and then checked again to see if you’ve reached fulfillment, but since excess iodine is harmlessly excreted as iodide in the urine, this is often not necessary. Most people reach Iodine Fulfillment on a dosage of between 37 and 50 mgs daily for 3 to 6 months.
The iodine dosage is increased slowly, and after 3 to 6 months on the full dose it is tapered back down to a low dose. The responses to this therapy are often extremely dramatic. Patients with stubborn heart arrhythmia that partially responded to my heart protocol, which contained small amounts of iodine, are now routinely cured with their protocol combined with Iodine Therapy.
A Fountain of Youth?
As a result of Iodine Therapy, women enjoy relief from chronic cystic breasts. Thyroid function is improved. Skin tone is improved. Indeed, in some patients, years seem to roll back. The mind functions better, and the “brain fog” is often lifted. Ovary syndromes are often permanently resolved. And the need for life-long thyroid medication is often diminished or eliminated altogether.
If you fit into any of these categories, you may wish to consider a proper protocol combined with Iodine Therapy. This type of treatment is now very well tested, proven, and safe. Remember to proceed only after you’ve read my Iodine Therapy flyer. Patients routinely use Iodoral (which can be procured from physicians), or Prolamine Iodine from Standard Process.
The clinical evidence of significant health benefits continues to gather from physicians who use this type of treatment. The results we get with our patients show the same kinds of benefits.