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Iodine - Universal Medicine How to Supplement Iodine for health benefits - Sources of Iodine

Iodine - "The Universal Medicine"

Supplemental Sources of Iodine (into the mg range)

Form of iodine in supplements  depends on the actual supplement:

Lugols Solution

First introduced as a bactericide and fungicide in 1829 by French physician, Jean Lugol - it is a transparent brown liquid consisting of 10 parts potassium iodide to 5 parts iodine to 85 parts distilled water, called a 5% solution (contains total iodine content of 130 mg/mL as  Iodide ions (I-) and Triiodide ions (I3- ) ). During the early 1900's, this iodine/triiodide solution was used extensively, effectively and safely in medical practice, for both low activity and above normal activity of the thyroid gland. Lugols is also sold in other dilutions. E.g. 2% solution Lugols is 2% iodine, 4% potassium iodide and 94% Distilled Water.

Other names for Lugols 5% Solution: Potassium triiodide solution, IKI (Iodine Potassium-Iodide); Aqueous Iodine Solution BP.

Lugol's Chemistry - An aqueous solution of potassium iodide (KI) is prepared by dissolving KI in water, say 10g KI in 85g water. Then, once dissolved, 5g iodine crystals (diatomic, elemental iodine) are added to the iodide ions in the KI solution to form a stable, yellowish brown potassium triiodide solution.When diluted or consumed, it disproportionates back to and provides its consumer with iodide ions and elemental iodine. The elemental iodine can react with water to form hydriodic acid and hypoiodous acid, and with potassium present there will be a complex mixture.

Taking Lugol's – Administration of iodine/iodide in liquid solution is not very accurate and it does have a bit of a taste.Take on an empty stomach, about 20 minutes before eating, take desired number of drops in an 8 oz. glass of water (preferably with one tsp. of raw apple cider vinegar added for slight acidification). Number of drops will depend on how many milligrams of iodine/iodide you want to take and the particular concentration of the Lugol's solution.

One drop 5% Lugol's solution contains ~6.3 mg molecular iodine + iodide per drop

Read the label for guidance. To make it more confusing, drops come in different sizes too.

Lugols Dosage Chart

Lugols Dosage Guidelines

Alternative method of administration is 'Painting' the skin (particularly the soles of the feet) with Lugol's before retiring for the night – this allows the body to absorb what it needs from the skin. As treatment progresses, the need for the solution diminishes because the body rebuilds its stores and thus absorbs less and less over each 24 hour period.

–    Only 1-4% of the total iodine applied to the skin is absorbed into the blood stream within the first few hours -The rest of the iodine  within the skin (8-11% that does not evaporate) is slowly released from the skin into the blood stream.

–    Contrary to popular opinion, the rate at which the iodine disappears from the skin is UNRELATED to the body's iodine content - Meticulous research by Nyiri and Jannitti in 1932 clearly showed that when iodine is applied to the skin in almost any form, 50% evaporates into the air within 2 hours and between 75- 80% evaporates into the air within 24 hours. A total 88% evaporates within 3 days and it is at this point that the evaporation stops.

–    Iodine is the only compound of significance during early pregnancy which can pass rapidly through all tissues of the fetus without the aid of any blood vessel or lymphatic transport - It could be that not only does iodine control natural cell death (apoptosis) in the fetus but may also influence stem cell development.

Shelf-Life – Lugol's solution does not keep much longer than a year.

Lugol's solution is getting harder to obtain - recent DEA legislation has limited sales of 5% solution to 1oz without required documentation (apparently Lugol's solution can be used to make metamphetamines). Also some states are requiring a prescription.

Iodoral ® (by Optimax)

Iodoral® is Dr. Abraham's high-potency, precisely quantified tablet form of Lugol's solution - one tablet contains 5 mg iodine and 7.5 mg iodide as the potassium salt. To prevent gastric irritation, the iodine/iodide preparation from 5% Lugol's solution is absorbed into a colloidal silica carrier, and to eliminate the unpleasant taste of iodine, the tablets are coated with a thin film of pharmaceutical glaze.

1 Iodoral tablet is equivalent to 2 drops of Lugol's Solution

Super Saturated Potassium Iodide (SSKI)

1 drop SSKI contains ~50mg iodide

SSKI provides a high dose source of consumeable iodide – E.g. to be used to protect the thyroid before radio-active iodines are swallowed, to protect against radiation fallout and for use in other life-threatening situations

SSKI can be used externally

SSKI is not normally used as a nutritional supplement - which requires much lower amounts

Iodine Tincture

Iodine tincture contains elemental Iodine dissolved in ~45% alcohol /55%water - since elemental iodINE does not dissolve well in water,  2.4% (by volume) sodium or potassium Iodide is added to aid dissolution. Tincture is brown in color.

Elemental iodine is obtained from brines containing iodine - either natural brines or brines from oil wells

Usually sold in 2-7% strength

Sold labeled "FOR EXTERNAL USE ONLY" - used as a first-aid antiseptic, but it does sting!


Prolamine Iodine® (by Standard Process)

Organic form of iodine - 1 Tablet contains 3 mg Iodine (20 x U.S. RDA). Some studies (at least with fibrocystic breast disease) show Iodoral® to be more effective than Prolamine Iodine®, others find Prolamine Iodine® equally effective with all conditions.


Triodide® (by Scientific Botanicals)

Contains the same dose of iodine and iodide as in Lugol's solution - but combined with the sea vegetable called bladderwrack.

Sea-Aloe Gold®

Special Formula for those with prolonged protein deficiency or GERD – when gut absorption of iodine is low due to prolonged protein deficiency. www.SeaAloeGold.com contains a mix of the Sea Minerals along with organic Aloe Barbadensis Miller (200:1) to soothe and promote a rapid healing of the gut epithelial tissue, plus promoting absorption of iodine up to 7X more than water. Product is also fungicidal, viricidal, and bacteriacidal. It is beneficial in GERD cases where stomach iodine reserves are low and the gastric mucosa inflamed, the aloe proves to be very healing and soothing to the epithelial lining of the stomach while also promoting iodine accumulation.

Organic Iodine (Dr. Donsbach)

Contains: 15mg iodine /capsule (from kelp and potassium iodide) + 400mg L-Tyrosine.



Contains iodine extracted from kelp and made into pure iodine crystals, and ammonium iodide synthesized from iodine and ammonium (NH4) - ammonium is different to ammonia (NH3), a form with superior bioavailability because it readily dissolves in water.

Microgram dosages - 1830 mcg iodine /drop


Kelp Tablets / Powder

Common iodine supplement

Kelp usually contains high levels of bromine, a goitrogen - also many souces are contaminated with arsenic;

Very low dose iodine -  usually only supplies microgams close to RDA

Nascent Iodine (aka Magnascent, Atomide or Detoxified iodine)

 Atomic iodine  (iodide, I-)  in liquid form - this negatively “charged” state is held by the atom until diluted in water and consumed, whence it gradually loses energy over a 2–3 hour time span.; 

Produced by: reducing iodine to a 1% concentration in 100% ethyl alcohol, it is then electromagnetically transmuted (while being suspended in a wet bath containing a mild acid solution) into the atomic state;


Low (microgram) iodine content - similar content in food sources


Pharmaceutical Sources (not recommended)

Iodine-containing Drugs - Amiodarone, Cordarone, Pacerone, Iodoquinol, Yodoxin,Vytone

Topical Ointments - Povidone and Betadine


Forms of Iodine from Natural Sources



Sodium Iodine


Sodium periodate  (periodate is the anion IO3- )


Seaweed (e.g. wakame, nori, mekabu)

/ Algal Phytoplankton




Potassium Iodide


Sodium Iodide









Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Jan-Mar; 14(1): 13–17.

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