I recommend that most people apply iodine to their skin to supplement their iodine. Iodine is found naturally in fish and other seafood. However, if you live in a land locked state (like I do in Colorado) chances are you are probably deficient in iodine. Iodized salt also contains iodine, though it’s not very helpful. Further, I don’t recommend using iodized salt. (Click here to learn more about what salt I do recommend.)
So how do we get more iodine? And why do we need it in our bodies? Read on to learn more!
What does iodine do?
Iodine is an important mineral for our bodies. Iodine is used by the body to make hormones in your thyroid. Fluorine and chlorine compete with iodine to by used in your thyroid because they’re a similar enough molecule. Both fluorine and chlorine are toxic to our cells, meaning they damage the cells function. If there is not enough iodine in your cells, your body will quickly uptake whatever it can find that’s closest – meaning fluorine and chlorine. Being well nourished and having enough iodine will prevent your body from trying to use fluorine or chlorine in your thyroid.
Your thyroid is gland that is responsible for regulating hormones in your body, primarily those of heat regulation and weight regulation. It also helps us rise us to a stressful situation without getting overly stressed. Symptoms of a poor or low functioning thyroid are poor heat tolerance and getting overheated easily, not being able to maintain your body temperature, not sleeping well, not being able to sleep or waking up frequently, hair loss or thinning hair, dry skin, and weight problems or the inability to lose weight. Some people, if their thyroid is not functioning well, will also experience heart palpitations because thyroid function is connected to the heart. The palpitations actually have nothing to do with their heart and helping the thyroid will ease these. The thyroid is also responsible for female hormone regulation. For men, not sleeping well is an indication of poor thyroid function, even if it does not show up on blood work.
How do I apply iodine?
First, make sure you use a lugol’s solution of iodine. My recommendation for an ideal iodine solution can be found on our Resource Page. A lugol’s solution will absorb well into the skin.
Apply the iodine to your thyroid or near your thyroid so that your thyroid can easily utilize it.
Use a palm size amount of iodine. Use the size of the palm of the person that you’re applying the iodine to. Then just use the dropper or a roller ball and apply the iodine directly to the skin. Within a minute, the iodine should be dry enough to not stain skin or clothing.
Be sure to rotate the spot where you apply your iodine to as iodine can be somewhat drying to your skin. Also make sure you don’t take a shower or bath right after applying your iodine.
How do I know if I need to supplement iodine?
Once you’ve applied a palm size amount of iodine to your skin, wait to see how long it takes for the iodine to disappear. If the iodine is still there after 24 hours, then you have enough iodine in your body. However, if the iodine is absorbed and you don’t see it on your skin anymore, you need more iodine.
This palm size patch test is a great way to know if you need iodine!
Is there anyone who should not supplement with iodine?
Age-wise really anyone can be supplementing with iodine. There is a lot of information that discourages people with certain thyroid issues from supplementing with iodine. However, the key is in how you supplement iodine if you have these certain issues.
If you have certain thyroid issues, be sure you have enough selenium in your diet, especially if you are supplementing the iodine internally. If you are supplementing iodine only by putting it on your skin, there’s very little chance of a negative reaction or an autoimmune reaction.
Selenium is important for our brain function so I often recommend it. You can find it as a trace mineral in some salts. It’s also found brain and nervous tissue so if you are issuing meat cuts or consuming stock with brain or nervous tissue that will also provide your body with selenium. For example, consuming a pork chop with a piece of the spinal cord attached or head cheese. Brazil nuts are the other way to get selenium. One way to listen to your body and get an idea for how much selenium you may or may not need is eat Brazil nuts very mindfully. Most people can eat one to two Brazil nuts and get an efficient amount of selenium. If the Brazil nut tastes like the best thing you’ve ever eaten, your body needs more selenium. When they taste like sawdust, you now have enough selenium. The amount you need will depend on your body so listen to your body!
Can you have too much iodine?
In theory, yes, you can have too much iodine. Some of the issues come if you have too much iodine without enough selenium. Also if you are taking very high doses of iodine internally and are not monitoring it closely, you can have too much iodine in your system. If you are taking iodine internally, you need to make sure to work with someone who is an expert with iodine to monitor your levels.
When you’re putting iodine on your skin, it would be very difficult to get too much iodine. Your body will simply stop absorbing the iodine when it has enough. Unless you were making yourself head to toe orange every day, you’re not going to overwhelm your body with iodine.
Occasionally, when someone applies iodine to their skin, it can burn. I believe it’s a detoxification issue. I’ve seen it happen with those suffering from gut issues if the iodine is applied near their abdomen. However, moving the iodine to another area of their bodies, like the arm, stops the burning. The other potential is that the iodine is binding with protein and the protein it’s finding is being destroyed.
When in doubt, apply iodine to your skin. If you feel iodine is important to help treat what is going on with you, be sure to work with someone who can help you.
What are other ways to support my thyroid?
Removing chlorine from your water is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to help your thyroid. Remember, chlorine and fluoride are very close to iodine on the periodic table of elements so our bodies will supplement chlorine or fluoride for iodine. A Britta filter or a charcoal filter will remove chlorine from your water. Some fridge water filters will as well or you might be able to change your fridge’s water filter for one that can remove chlorine. You can also get a shower filter to remove chlorine.
Fluoride is much harder to get out. It’s added to our drinking water and the added fluoride is a different molecule than what is found naturally. Removing it can be difficult so drinking natural water whenever possible is preferred. In northern Colorado, I recommend Eldorado Spring Water. Berkey filters also have an optional attachment to remove fluoride. The other way to remove fluoride is reverse osmosis. Any of these ways can be more expensive so supplementing with iodine will help ensure your body doesn’t pull what fluoride is in your body to use in your thyroid. If you have a significant thyroid issue, sadly you probably won’t be able to get ahead of it without removing the fluoride from your water.
Watch the video below to learn more about applying iodine to your skin!
Before you start applying iodine, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider. To schedule your appointment with me, click here.
Do you have more questions about iodine? Check out our newest iodine video covering your most frequently asked questions!