12 Uses For Iodine (And Other Tips, Research, and Resources)

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on

A full bottle of iodine. This supplement has health benefits such as antioxidant and It's also great for skin and hair health.The following article will give you a better understanding of the most common uses for iodine as a supplement, as outlined by clinical research and by the University of Maryland Medical Center. Additionally, you will also learn about a simple at-home test that can give you a better idea if you have an iodine deficiency.

Iodine Uses

1. Radiation Exposure

Potassium iodine has been used to help individuals exposed to radiation by reducing the harmful accumulation of radioactive substances in the thyroid. However, It has been said that nascent Iodine may be 4-7 times more effective than potassium iodide and is much safer to use.

2. General Use as a Sterilizing Agent

Almost all sterilization products for the body have iodine. It is a wonderful wound cleaner, and has even been used to purify water in tablet or liquid form.

3. Preventing Goiter

Irritation of the throat area and thyroid gland is known as a “goiter”. To prevent this condition, it is suggested to take the daily recommended amounts of a nascent iodine supplement to boost overall thyroid health.

4. Boosting Metabolism

Due to improper thyroid function, metabolism of the body may slow down. Supplementing with nascent iodine may help ensure the smooth functioning of the thyroid gland, which in turn helps regulate the metabolism. It can also aid the body in keeping warmth, steadying the heart rate, maintaining a health body weight, and promoting overall digestive health. Here are a few more tips to boosting metabolism.

5. Harmful Organisms

A nascent iodine solution can be used to assist the body in fighting off harmful organisms. Using an iodine tonic as a throat gargle is also helpful for a cough. Iodine also acts as an expectorant of mucous from the common cold and other respiratory ailments.

6. Breast Health

Much research is currently being conducted on the role of iodine in breast health and overall shape and function. Similarly, iodine is a key mineral in mother’s milk, and is passed on to children for their proper growth and development. However, most nursing mothers are extremely deficient in Iodine.

7. Ovarian Health

Again, much research confirms the link between a lack of iodine and ovarian problems, such as cysts, and reproductive ability.

8. Neurological Health

Children can suffer from mental illness and disabilities due to a lack of iodine. It is important that mothers supplement with this micronutrient as a preventative measure. I recommend using only a safe nascent iodine.

9. Vaginitis

Iodine douches have been used to reduce vaginal irritation, itching and discharge associated with chronic yeast imbalances.

10. Eye Health

Iodine is commonly used as a treatment for a number of different eye conditions. It is also a natural protectant against UVB radiation.

11. Skin and Hair Health

Iodine is a common aid for skin conditions, such as acne, as well as hair loss. The healthy development of skin, teeth, nails and bone are all related to normal iodine levels.

12. Powerful Antioxidant

Iodine is just as important as vitamin C in terms of antioxidant activity. Specifically, it is a strong antioxidant for the blood. Learn more about the benefits of antioxidants.

Tips for Taking Iodine

Taking an iodine supplement is easy, safe and effective. Although it has a mild metallic taste, it can be taken in fruit juice or water.

Normally, iodine is taken in its sodium iodide form, but I recommend using a more bio-available form of nascent iodine. This form can more readily be absorbed by the human body and tissues.

Iodine Deficiency At Home Self Test:

  1. Purchase a USP Tincture of Iodine from your local drugstore. Use a cotton ball to absorb some iodine from the tincture.
  2. Rub about the size of a silver dollar of iodine on your upper inner arm midway between the bicep and tricep muscle. Note the time of application.
  3. If the brownish/orange color disappears within 2-4 hours after application you are extremely deficient and could use supplementation. If you are not deficient in iodine then the circle should remain slightly orange 24 hours later.

NOTE: USP Iodine tinctures or solutions you purchase at a drugstore are not for internal or supplemental use. Do not ingest! If you are deficient use a safe nascent iodine supplement.

Drug Interactions: Consult with your doctor before supplementing with iodine if you are currently taking antithyroid drugs, Lithium or Warfarin, as iodine may interfere with the action of these medications.

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Everything You Need to Know About Iodine

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References (16)
  1. Jun JY, Manni A. Medical management of persistent or recurrent differentiated thyroid carcinoma. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2008 Dec;41(6):1241-60, xi-xii. doi: 10.1016/j.otc.2008.05.005. Review.
  2. de Benoist B, McLean E, Andersson M, Rogers L. Iodine deficiency in 2007: global progress since 2003. Food Nutr Bull. 2008 Sep;29(3):195-202.
  3. Harihara Y, Konishi T, Kobayashi H, Furushima K, Ito K, Noie T, Nara S, Tanimura K. Effects of applying povidone-iodine just before skin closure. Dermatology. 2006;212 Suppl 1:53-7.
  4. Azizi F, Mirmiran P, Hedayati M, Salarkia N, Noohi S, Rostamian D. Effect of 10 yr of the iodine supplementation on the hearing threshold of iodine deficient schoolchildren. J Endocrinol Invest. 2005 Jul-Aug;28(7):595-8.
  5. Henzen C, Buess M, Brander L. [Iodine-induced hyperthyroidism (iodine-induced Basedow's disease): a current disease picture]. Schweiz Med Wochenschr. 1999 May 1;129(17):658-64. German.
  6. Minelli R, Braverman LE, Giuberti T, Schianchi C, Gardini E, Salvi M, Fiaccadori F, Ugolotti G, Roti E. Effects of excess iodine administration on thyroid function in euthyroid patients with a previous episode of thyroid dysfunction induced by interferon-alpha treatment. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1997 Sep;47(3):357-61.
  7. Koutras DA. Control of efficiency and results, and adverse effects of excess iodine administration on thyroid function. Ann Endocrinol (Paris). 1996;57(6):463-9. Review.
  8. Galofré JC, Fernández-Calvet L, Ríos M, García-Mayor RV. Increased incidence of thyrotoxicosis after iodine supplementation in an iodine sufficient area. J Endocrinol Invest. 1994 Jan;17(1):23-7.
  9. Grio R, Zaccheo F, Mazza D, Cellura A, Malara D, Giobbe C, Marchino GL, Calleri W, Bernardo R, Russo P. [Effectiveness of povidone-iodine in the treatment of non-specific vaginitis]. Minerva Ginecol. 1990 Apr;42(4):129-31. Italian.
  10. Estes NC. Mastodynia due to fibrocystic disease of the breast controlled with thyroid hormone. Am J Surg. 1981 Dec;142(6):764-6.
  11. Nyirjesy P, Weitz MV, Grody MH, Lorber B. Over-the-counter and alternative medicines in the treatment of chronic vaginal symptoms. Obstet Gynecol. 1997 Jul;90(1):50-3.
  12. Schlienger JL, Goichot B, Grunenberger F. [Iodine and thyroid function]. Rev Med Interne. 1997;18(9):709-16. Review. French.
  13. Teas J, Pino S, Critchley A, Braverman LE. Variability of iodine content in common commercially available edible seaweeds. Thyroid. 2004 Oct;14(10):836-41.
  14. Yu H, Tak-Yin M. The efficacy of povidone-iodine pessaries in a short, low-dose treatment regime on candidal, trichomonal and non-specific vaginitis. Postgrad Med J. 1993;69 Suppl 3:S58-61.
  15. Zimmermann MB, Jooste PL, Pandav CS. Iodine-deficiency disorders. Lancet. 2008 Oct 4;372(9645):1251-62. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61005-3.
  16. The Department of Health and Human Services, The Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005. 6th edition. U.S. Government Printing Office. 2005 January.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • Wiglaf

    “and has even been used to purify water in tablet or liquid form.”

    Hikers often use it with regularity. See “polar pure.”

  • jd

    men this bad

  • Chief Keef Sosa

    people die from this

  • zbean26

    How about in neti pots? There is some concern about deadly amoebas in unpurified water. Would iodine take care of that?

  • Edward Group

    Hey zbean26, I would encourage you to only use purified water in your neti pot!

  • alvis

    are there any side effects?

  • Donna Chapman Walker

    Dr. Group, can one take this test…

    Purchase a USP Tincture of Iodine from your local drugstore. Use a cotton ball to absorb some iodine from the tincture.
    Rub about the size of a silver dollar of iodine on your upper inner
    arm midway between the bicep and tricep muscle. Note the time of
    If the brownish/orange color disappears within 2-4 hours after
    application you are extremely deficient and could use supplementation.
    If you are not deficient in iodine then the circle should remain
    slightly orange 24 hours later.

    With your iodine?

  • Detoxadine won’t dye the same way, use the USP.

  • Page


  • G.D. Cull

    Sources of iodine deficiency in humans, isn’t just from plants/veggies, that are grown from iodine deficient soil, its also, from Halides or Halogens, …ie. Chlorine, Fluoride, and Bromines. They compete with Iodine in the body and reduce iodine levels, thus creating deficiencies in humans. Bromines in use in Sodas, Bakery goods, and more. Fluorides are put in our mouthwashes and toothpastes, and Chlorine & Chlorimines are put in our water supplies, and of course, used in pools and spas. ALL are carcenogenic and Deplete Iodine.
    In the last 30yrs. Iodine deficiency has increased 50% . Its believed that 95% of the public is lacking iodine in adequate amounts, thus causing a host of health related issues. Check your iodine levels. Also,its viewed by prominent MDs, researchers and scientists, that the RDA of iodine is TOO low, as well as, many other minerals and vitamins, the RDA lists, for daily human intake.
    Processed Iodized salt is also inadequate, in providing sufficient levels for iodine uptake, in the human body. .

  • Pingback: Iodine And The Thyroid Gland()

  • Kristin C.

    Why can’t you use the iodine tincture on your skin as a supplement? I’d love to know the reason.

  • Jac

    Don’t be stupid.

  • Jac

    Because tincture has an ethanol alcohol base, and this type of alcohol is poisonous? Look it up – you obviously have access to the internet.

  • Jac

    You can do the test with Lugol’s iodine, because it is orange, and then you can also use the same solution to take internally. Always find out the safe dosage first, though.

  • Kristin C.

    You don’t think I spent hours trying to figure out why??? Because I have.

  • Vera Crooks

    This test has long since been debunked.

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