The importance of iodine to our body’s health cannot be overestimated. In addition to expediting normal thyroid function, iodine works as the immune system’s bug killer, both inside and outside the body. The parts of the body that are exposed to the outside world have iodine levels .30 times that found in the blood. Years ago parents routinely put tincture of iodine on their children’s wounds. Today we know that having optimal levels of iodine in their systems can help people avoid infections and prevent chronic conditions.
What is the best way to ensure this, since people in the U.S. tends to be iodine deficient? Taking iodine in pill form can kill all of the good bacteria in the gut. That means that if you take iodine pills you will solve one set of problems but, in the process, create another (good bacteria should be protected, not eliminated). A far better means of increasing your iodine level is by dosing it through the skin. This can be done by spraying Lugol’s solution (also known as Lugol’s iodine) on the skin each morning after showering. Be sure to dry this water-based solution before dressing as it will stain clothing. (Use a hairdryer on the application site.)
Lugols’ solution was first made in 1829 by a French physician named J.G.A. Lugol. It consists of elemental iodine and potassium iodide dissolved in water. It is safe to drink. In fact, it is used for emergency disinfection of
drinking water. Be sure to use only Lugol’s in this manner, not a tincture of iodine because the tincture is made with alcohol and is toxic if taken internally. Lugol’s is absorbed into the body according to need. If a person is iodine deficient, his or her body will absorb the Lugol’s gradually. Within 24 hours the stain from the solution will disappear. Lugol’s should be applied daily until it is no longer absorbed into the body. At that point your body is telling you that you have enough in your system, and you only need to apply it once per week thereafter for maintenance.
Drinking Lugol’s is an excellent treatment for food poisoning because it kills bacteria. It will even inactivate snake venoms and help prevent allergies. (Iodine inactivates large foreign proteins that are ingested, thus preventing them from becoming allergens.)
Iodine plays a critical role in the health of people of all ages— even before they are born. Fetal iodine levels are five times that of an expectant mother. If the expectant mother’s levels of iodine are too low, miscarriage, birth defects, failure to thrive once the baby is born, and mental retardation can result. It is very important for women who will become pregnant to protect their levels of iodine. Iodine deficiency is the leading cause of intellectual impairment in the world. (What does this say about the increasing rates of ADD and ADHD in our society?) Hypothyroidism is also the leading cause of violent behavior in the world.