How to Perform the Iodine Patch Test

Iodine is one of the building blocks the thyroid uses to produce the hormones necessary for proper metabolic function. As you might guess, without enough iodine, you can experience a number of problems, such as hypothyroidism. There’s a quick and easy way to tell if you’re iodine deficient, the iodine patch test. The Iodine Patch Test simply measures how quickly the body absorbs iodine through the skin.



What is the Iodine Patch Test?

The iodine patch test measures how quickly your body absorbs iodine. The steps to perform it are relatively simple:

  1. Get a solution or tincture of iodine (the orange solution, not the clear one.
  2. Paint a 3-inch by 3-inch square on your abdomen, inner thigh or inner forearm. Allow it to dry before touching anything, as it will stain.
  3. Monitor the patch over the next 24 hours for color changes.

The thing to pay attention to is how long it takes for the iodine patch to disappear. If the patch still exists 24 hours later, the results are normal. If the patch disappears or mostly disappears in less than 24 hours, it may indicate some degree of deficiency. In fact, significant lightening or disappearance in less than 18 hours could indicate moderate to severe iodine deficiency and suggest a need for supplemental iodine.

Things to Remember

There are a few things to keep in mind. Make sure you use an iodine solution made for application to the skin. Although several recent studies have demonstrated increases in iodine levels through skin absorption suggesting the result of this test may reflect a deficiency or adequacy of iodine, remember that this is a home test and the results shouldn’t be interpreted as an iron clad diagnosis. [1] [2] [3] Supplementing your diet or nutritional regimen with iodine may be something to think about.

Everything You Need to Know About Iodine

There’s no question about the importance of iodine for good health. If you’re not intimately familiar with this vital nutrient, check out this video for my recent webinar, Everything You Need to Know About Iodine.

– Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

References:

  1. Miller KL, Coen PE, White WJ, Hurst WJ, Achey BE, Lang CM. Effectiveness of skin absorption of tincture of I in blocking radioiodine from the human thyroid gland. Health Phys. 1989 Jun;56(6):911-4.
  2. Zimmermann MB, Crill CM. Iodine in enteral and parenteral nutrition. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Feb;24(1):143-58. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2009.09.003.
  3. Tomoda C, Kitano H, Uruno T, Takamura Y, Ito Y, Miya A, Kobayashi K, Matsuzuka F, Amino N, Kuma K, Miyauchi A. Transcutaneous iodine absorption in adult patients with thyroid cancer disinfected with povidone-iodine at operation. Thyroid. 2005 Jun;15(6):600-3.

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  • Michael Labelle

    I’ve done some reading concerning adding iodine to both fertilizer (I manufacture organic fertilizer) as well as using iodine as a foliar spray/soil amendment. Do you have any info about such practices?

  • ghc_health

    Haven’t seen that information Michael, do you have a link or info you can share?

  • Michael Labelle

    I’ve done some reading on the subject. Ultimately, the purpose of fertilizer is to make the fruit of the plant more nutritious. Certain foods provide specific minerals specific to that food. For example, turmeric supplies the body with yttrium, a mineral crucial for one specific bacteria in our gut that produces a specific enzyme that protects the body from some forms of cancer. Brazil nuts supply the body with selenium. Iodine is readily taken up by spinach, so it serves to reason that supplying spinach with an iodine enriched fertilizer would increase the amount of iodine in the spinach.

  • michelle

    I have had Gastric Sleeve surgery which takes a significant part of the stomach out. If I take this product will it be absorbed properly…I have to take sublingual B-12 because of absorption issues.

  • ghc_health

    It’s hard to say… although the patch test specifically is absorbed through the skin and would not likely be impacted.

  • Angel

    Mine faded in 4 hours. And my moms faded in 30 minutes. My mom’s thyroid has completely failed. And The doctors think that I might have hashimoto’s

  • Brenda

    My TSH level was 388. I have all the symptoms of hypothyroidism. The dr. says I do not have hypothyroidism. My question is this:If the iodine disappears before 24 hours, can I just keep applying the iodine daily or weekly to treat this or is something else needed to be done?

  • Kelly

    Are you sure your TSH was 388 and not 3.88?

  • Kelly

    The article completely contradicts the information in the video: Says to put it on at night (before bed) and that the test is a 24 hour test, yet the video says to put it on in the morning, and check it over the next 12 hours. ???

  • Simone Judge

    mine disappeared in four hours but my blood test came back with borderline resuts which in Drs trms means normal?????

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    Has it changed after supplementing with iodine?

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    Sure, borderline normal at that moment when your blood was taken.

  • Anonymous

    I have been taking five drops of Lugol’s 2% solution for the past two years. I’ve become more cold tolerant and don’t sweat profusely in heat and humidity since taking the Lugols solution. When doing the Iodine patch test, the stain still disapears in less than 24 hours, some times less than 12. Your thoughts?

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    It sounds like your body is absorbing the iodine.

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