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GSE Iodine health - Functions in body

Iodine - "The Universal Medicine"

Functions - Iodine at work in the body

Iodine is used by almost every cell in the body, but some cells have higher needs than others to enable their normal healthy function

Iodine pumps concentrate iodine into body's cells

Cells which require a higher iodine concentration express (produce) more iodine "pumps" in their cell membranes - to transport iodine into the cell.

Iodine concentration is highest in the thyroid, ovaries and breast tissues - but only when ingested in milligram amounts (as opposed to the RDA micrograms);

–   The thyroid gland -accomplishes the major feat of concentrating iodide to 20–40 times higher than blood levels (determined by Baumann back in 1896) - the mechanism used for concentrating iodine in cells is the iodine pump, which is highly expressed in thyroid epithelial cells. The thyroid's iodine concentration is influenced by Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) under negative feedback control.

–   Ovaries -Next to the thyoid gland, the ovaries contain the largest concentration of iodine.

Slebodzinski AB. "Ovarion iodide uptake and triiodothyronine generation in follicular fluid. The enigma of the thyroid ovary interaction." Domest Anim Edocrinol, 2005; 29(1):97-103]

–   Mammary glands – contain iodine pumps, which during lactation, enable iodide transfer to breast milk for the nursing newborn's thyroid function; Evidence is presented that iodine is essential for breast normality and protection against FDB and breast cancer. Interestingly, Eskins et al found that the mammary glands prefer iodine and the thyroid prefers iodide.

Eskin B et al, Different Tissue Responses for Iodine and Iodide in Rat Thyroid and Mammary Glands. Biological Trace Element Research, 1995

Salivary glands, stomach cells (gastric mucosa) and colon have the ability to concentrate iodide almost as much as the thyroid

Iodide uptake in non-thyroidal tissues does not appear to be influenced by TSH - but a number of other hormones are known to maintain a dynamic iodide balance in tissues.

Cann SA, Iodide Accumulation in Extrathyroidal Tissues, 1999

Tissues that use iodine pumps to concentrate iodine include:

✔ Thyroid gland

✔ Mammarygland

✔  Stomach cells (gastric mucosa)

✔  Fat

✔  Muscles

✔  Mucosa of small and large intestine

✔  Ovaries

✔  Uterus

✔  Placenta

✔  Prostate

✔  White blood cells

✔  Liver

✔  Lung

✔  Heart

✔  Adrenal cortex

✔  Renal cortex

✔  Thymus (master of adaptive immune system)

✔  Pituitary gland

✔  Pineal gland

✔  Skin

✔  Joints

✔  Arteries

✔  Bones

✔  Nasopharynx

✔  Ciliary body of eye deals w/aqueous fluid and intraocular pressure

✔  Choroid plexus in brain, makes cerebrospinal fluid

✔  Specific brain cells (related to Parkinson's)

Distribution of Body's Iodine

A typical body can retain ~1500mg of iodine - Contrary to popular belief, Dr. Abraham's studies indicate that given a sufficient amount the body will retain 1,500 mg of iodine (30 times more than the presumed 50 mg), with only 3% of that 1.5 g amount residing in the thyroid gland, and the rest of the body's iodine concentrated in extra-thyroidal tissues (70% in muscle/fat cells, 7% in skin) where its roles are only now being understood.

Abraham GE. "The concept of orthoiodosupplementation and its clinical implications." The Original Internist, 2004;http://www.optimox.com/pics/Iodine/IOD-07/IOD_07.htm#8

Spitzweg et al, Analysis of human sodium iodide symporter gene expression in extrathyroidal tissues, JClin Endocrinol, 1998;

Cann et al, Iodide Accumulation in Extrathyroidal Tissues, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 1999;

Abraham GE. "The historical background of the Iodine Project." The Original Internist, 2005;

Siebodzinski AB. "Ovarian iodide uptake and triiodothyronine generation in follicular fluid. The enigma of the thyroid ovary interaction." Domest Anim Endocrinol, 2005;

Carrasco N. "Iodide transport in the thyroid gland." Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1993; Brown-Grant K. "Extrathyroidal iodide concentrating mechanisms." Physiol Rev, 1961;

Spitzweg C et al. "Analysis of human sodium iodide symporter immunoreactivity in human exocrine glands." J Clin Endocrinol & Metab, 1999.

Abraham GE. The safe and effective implementation of orthoiodosupplementation in medical practice. The Original Internist 2004;11:17-36. Available at: www.optimox.com/pics/Iodine/IOD-05/IOD_05.html

Iodine is a halogen and other halogens compete for the same cell receptors in the body

Halogens compete for cell receptors - there are five halogens: iodine, bromine, fluorine, chlorine and lesser known astatine, of which only iodine and chlorine are essential to the body.

In an iodine-deficient person, cell receptors may fill up with bromine, fluorine and/or chlorine

–   In the thyroid - this could cause thyroid dysfunction

–   In the stomach - it could cause its iodide-pumps to malfunction.

Substances which compete with iodine for the body's cell receptors (E.g. bromine, fluorine and chlorine), and food's containing these competitors are called GOITROGENS

Follow this link for more information:

Goitrogens vs. Iodine

Iodine absorption and conservation

Iodide ions are easily absorbed through the walls of the digestive tract in the stomach and small intestine duodenum

We do not conserve iodine long-term and so it must be obtained regularly via diet or supplementation.– With an iodine deficiency, the body conserves iodine for a while, but if the inadequacy continues, thyroid hormone is slowly depleted.


Iodine is utilized by almost EVERY hormone/transmitter receptor in the body, thus affecting many health areas

The receptors for almost every major hormone and neurotransmitter need iodine in order to function efficiently.

E.g. thyroid hormones, Testosterone, CORTISOL, INSULIN

Iodine increases the sensitivity of a receptor to the hormone for which it is designed - For example:

INSULIN receptors -helps with diabetes;

✔ Neurotransmitters (e.g., DOPAMINE, GABA) in the brain - helps reverse depression;

Testosterone, estrogen, FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone), LH (Luteinizing Hormone) – in the reproductive organs.

Iodine balances estrogen levels - Iodine/iodide is especially necessary for optimal function of the breasts, ovaries, endometrium, and prostate;

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