Lugol's Iodine is named after its inventor the 19th Century French physician Jean Guillaume Auguste Lugol. He developed the solution to treat tuberculosis, and since then it has proven to have a number of other uses.
In particular Lugol's Iodine solution can be used as a very effective antiseptic for cuts and grazes. It is also used as a disinfectant, and, although does not taste particularly nice, can be used to make water safe for drinking.
However the most important use of Lugol's Iodine is as an Iodine supplement to ensure the body has the right amount of this important nutrient.
Lugol's Iodine is a solution of potassium iodide and iodine in distilled water.
Iodine is an important nutrient, and is essential for good health. Iodine deficiency can lead to serious and chronic health problems including hypothyroidism and goitre.
Normally we receive all the iodine the body needs from our food. However modern and intensive farming methods have seen iodine rich agricultural land and soil stripped of iodine and many of the sources from sea-food, normally a iodine rich environment, are over fished and polluted. To counter this deficiency iodine has been added to many brands of table salt. However this brings its own problems as not only does conventional table salt contain many other contaminants the chloride in salt displaces iodine in the body through the process of 'halogen displacement'.
Chlorine and Iodine are a class of elements known as halogens (along with fluorine and bromine). Each of these halogens will displace any other with a higher atomic weight. The atomic weight of chlorine is 35 while Iodine is 127. This problem is compounded by the addition of chlorine to our tap water, and means that for many people their body will not be taking on the iodine it needs to stay healthy. Indeed approximately 5% of women and 0.5% of men suffer from some form of iodine deficiency.
The thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped gland situated just in front of the wind pipe. This gland produces a number of hormones that have diverse and important functions in the human body and effect the genes of nearly every cell. They are particularly important for growth and development and an iodine deficiency in pregnant women can cause particular problems in the developing foetus
Thyroid hormones are produced in the thyroid gland through the synthesis of an amino acid called tyrosine. The thyroid gland needs iodine to make this synthesis take place. The thyroid gland is well adapted to gather and store iodine from the food we eat, but the combined problems of a lack of iodine in the modern diet and halogen displacement can cause a condition known as 'hypothyroidism' or an under active thyroid.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include tiredness, weight gain, depression, dry skin and sensitivity to teh cold. A common sign is the development of a swelling in the throat known as a goitre.
Left untreated hypothyroidism can lead to serious and sometimes life threatening complications. The most effective way to prevent and reverse hypothyroidism caused by iodine deficiency is to give the body the iodine it needs to make the all important hormones. Hormone replacement therapy should only be considered by doctors once iodine deficiency is ruled out and it is properly established that the thyroid gland itself is not working properly.
Iodine: Recommended Daily Allowance*:
|*All measurements expressed in mcg.|
A number of medicines can potentially interact with iodine supplements and have undesired effects. If you are taking any of the following medications, or suffer from any of the conditions mentioned please consult your doctor before taking an iodine supplement.
If you are taking any type of medicine to treat hyperthyroidism (anti-thyroid medicine) then taking an iodine supplement could lead to hypothyroidsism.
Are you are taking certain medicines that are used to treat high blood pressure like angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors? If so taking potassium iodide supplements could lead to hyperkalemia, caused by elevated potassium in the blood. This can also be an issue if you are taking potassium-sparing diuretics.