Breast Cancer Prevention with Iodine Supplementation
by Jeffrey Dach MD
This article is Part One of a series. For part Two, Click Here.
A good friend of ours just went through an ordeal with breast cancer. The incidence of breast cancer has increased to 1 in 8 women, with 4,000 new cases weekly. You might ask, could there be a preventive measure which is safe, cheap and widely available that has been overlooked?
Above Image: Iodine in beaker, Elemental Iodine Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
The answer is YES, and it’s the essential mineral, Iodine, which was added to table salt in 1924 as part of a national program to prevent Goiter. Goiter is a form of thyroid enlargement caused by iodine deficiency.
Left Image: Mammogram showing small spiculated breast cancer.
Our Diet is Iodine Deficient
Iodized salt is the major source of dietary iodine for Americans. Yet, many of us have been told by the doctor to avoid salt, because salt causes high blood pressure. Those following this advice will have very little dietary iodine. In fact, we have a generalized iodine deficiency in our population. Currently 15% of the US adult female population is classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as iodine deficient. (9) Although all processed foods contain a large quantity of salt, none of this added salt is iodized. There is no iodine added.
Image left Courtesy Hain Salt: Iodized Sea Salt available at grocery store.
The RDA for Iodine is too Low for Optimal Health
According to Guy Abraham MD, our dietary intake of Iodine is too low. This was set at 150 mcg per day as the government recommended daily allowance (RDA). Dr. Guy Abraham recommends higher Iodine intake of 12.5 mg per day, corresponding to the Japanese daily Iodine intake. Higher dietary Iodine explains why the Japanese have the lowest rates for cancer of the breast, prostate and thyroid.
How Safe is Iodine Supplementation?
Iodine is the only trace element that can be ingested safely in amounts up to 100,000 times the RDA. Potassium iodide has been prescribed safely to large numbers pulmonary (COPD) patients in amounts of up to 2,400 milligrams per day for several years.(23) This is a well-known treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which helps mobilize lung secretions. (18)
Image Left: Courtesy Morton Iodized Salt
FDA recommends 130 mg of Iodine
The FDA has officially stated that Iodine supplementation is safe and actually recommends 130 mg of potassium Iodide for adults in case of Radiation Emergency to protect the population from thyroid cancer. (17)
“Iodine allergy” is a misnomer since this name applies to allergy to iodinated radiographic contrast agents, and not to elemental iodine which is quite different chemically. (10) Elemental Iodine is an essential mineral and required for health. Deficiency of Iodine in the developing embryo causes cretinism, and deficiency in the developing child causes goiter. As such, any developing embryo that is allergic to iodine would not survive more than a few weeks, and therefore there is can be no allergy to elemental iodine, same as there can not be an allergy to oxygen or water, also essential nutrients.
Iodine, a well-known topical antiseptic and antimicrobial agent, also directly kills cancer cells and serves as the key player in our body’s surveillance system for removing abnormal pre-cancer cells. There is considerable medical research to support this statement.
Upper Left Image: Povidone Iodine, a topical antiseptic, available at the grocery or drugstore.
Iodine Deficiency Causes Fibrocystic Breast Disease, Breast Cancer and Thyroid Cancer – Dr. Eskin
Dr. B.A. Eskin published 80 papers over 30 years researching iodine and breast cancer, and he reports that iodine deficiency causes breast cancer and thyroid cancer in humans and animals.(11)(12) Iodine deficiency is also known to cause a pre-cancerous condition called fibrocystic breast disease. (13) Ghent published a paper in 1993 which showed iodine supplementation works quite well to reverse and resolve fibrocystic changes of the breast, and this is again the subject of a current clinical study.(14)(15)
Despite its obvious potential, not much has been done with Iodine treatment over the past 40 years in the United States. Since iodine isn’t patent-able and is therefore unlikely to be profitable to market, there is no money to fund studies for “FDA approval”. However, FDA approval is not required since Iodine is already an additive to table salt at the supermarket.
Iodine Deficiency – Thyroid Cysts and Nodules
As an interventional radiologist working in the hospital for 25 years, a large part of my job was evaluating thyroid abnormalities, nodules, and cysts with ultrasound, radionuclide scans, and needle biopsy. Although it was obvious these common thyroid abnormalities were due to iodine deficiency, I often wondered why none of the patients ever received iodine supplementation. The obvious answer is they should have been. The protective role of iodine is ignored by mainstream medicine.
Iodine Deficiency – Fibrocystic Breast Disease
Part of my day as a radiologist was spent reading mammograms and breast ultrasound studies. Fibrocystic breast disease was quite common, and these women would return for needle aspiration procedure of the many breast cysts, and needle biopsy of the benign solid nodules. Many of these ladies returned multiple times for the procedures because the medical system had no useful treatment to offer them. We now know there is a very useful medical treatment. Iodine supplementation not only resolves breast cysts and fibrocystic breast disease, it also resolves ovarian cysts and thyroid cysts. Actually Iodine supplementation has always been available, but again this is ignored by mainstream medicine, and hospital based physicians are unaware of it.
Goiter is Caused by Iodine Deficiency
Iodine deficiency is the direct cause of Goiter, as well as enlargement of the thyroid gland with thyroid nodules and cysts. In severe cases, the enlargement can be massive.
See image at left showing Goiter in the neck caused by Iodine Deficiency. The thyroid nodule epidemic is also caused by Iodine Deficiency. Left Image Goiter in Neck, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Which Iodine Supplement to Use?
There are many Iodine supplements. Lugol’s Solution has been used for many years. We use Iodoral from Optimox (16), a company owned by Guy Abraham, a former professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UCLA who started “The Iodine Project” in 1997, and engaged two family practice physicians, Jorge Flechas and David Brownstein to carry out clinical studies of the hypothesis that the body needs 12.5 mg of iodine a day. Image upper left Courtesy of Optimox: Iodoral, Iodine tablets
More than 4,000 patients in this project consumed Iodine supplements from 12 to 50 mg per day, and in those with diabetes, up to 100 mg a day. They reported their findings that Iodine does indeed reverse fibrocystic disease; diabetic patients require less insulin; hypothyroid patients require less thyroid medication; symptoms of fibromyalgia resolve, and patients with migraine headaches stop having them.
The Nobel laureate Dr. Albert Szent Györgi (1893–1986), the physician who discovered vitamin C, used Iodine freely in his medical practice. The standard dose of potassium iodide given in those days was 1 gram, which contains 770 mg of iodine. Dr. Albert Szent Györgi writes:
“When I was a medical student, iodine in the form of KI (Potassium Iodide) was the universal medicine. Nobody knew what it did, but it did something and did something good. We students used to sum up the situation in this little rhyme: If ye don’t know where, what, and why Prescribe ye then K and I”
Iodoral is available without a prescription on Amazon (21)
Visit the hypothyroidism page on my web site for more thyroid related information.(22)
Iodoral is an important part of our breast cancer prevention program.
See David Brownstein’s Book on Iodine (4)
For additional information on Iodine as a breast cancer preventive: See the following authors: Guy Abraham, MD (1), Robert Derry MD PHD (2) (3), David Brownstein MD (4)(5), George Flechas MD (6) (20), Donald Miller, M.D. (7)(8)
This article is Part One. Part Two: Iodine Treats Breast Cancer, the Overwhelming Evidence
Click Here for WHO Iodine Testing Guidelines: Iodine Guidelines: WHO_Urinary Excretion 2013 World Health Organization
Articles with related interest:
Breast Cancer Prevention with Iodine Supplementation
Iodine Treats Breast Cancer, Overwhelming Evidence
Jeffrey Dach MD
7450 Griffin Road Suite 190
Davie, Florida 33314
Publications by Guy Abraham MD on Iodine references at Optimox.com
(2) Breast Cancer and Iodine : How to Prevent and How to Survive Breast Cancer by Dr. David Derry M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. David Derry Answers Reader Questions Brought to you by Mary Shomon, Your Thyroid Guide. Discussion of Iodine as Breast Cancer Prevention
(4) Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It (2nd Edition) by David Brownstein MD, Book.
Clinical Experience with Inorganic Non-radioactive Iodine/Iodide by David Brownstein, M.D.
Orthoiodosupplementation in a Primary Care Practice by Jorge D. Flechas, M.D.
Iodine for Health by Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD on Lew Rockwell Blog
Iodine in Health and Civil Defense Presented at the 24th Annual Meeting of Doctors of Disaster Preparedness at Portland State University, August 6, 2006 by Donald W. Miller, Jr., M.D.
Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 1996;66(4):350-62. Total diet study: estimated dietary intakes of nutritional elements, 1982-1991.Pennington JA, Schoen SA. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Washington, DC 20204, USA.
Optimum Levels of Iodine for Greatest Mental and Physical Health by Guy E. Abraham, MD, Jorge D. Flechas, MD, and John C. Hakala, RPh THE ORIGINAL INTERNIST September 2002 page 5. Effect of daily ingestion of a tablet containing 5 mg iodine and 7.5 mg iodide as the potassium salt, for a period of 3 months, on the results of thyroid function tests and thyroid volume by ultrasonometry in ten euthyroid Caucasian women See Table 7.
Bernard A. Eskin et al. Rat mammary gland atypia produced by iodine blockade with perchlorate. Cancer Res. 1975 Sep;35(9):2332-9
Dietary Iodine Deficiency as a Tumor Promoter and Carcinogen in Male F344/NCr Rats Masato Ohshima and Jerrold M. Ward. Cancer Research 46, 877-883, February 1, 1986
Benign Breast Disease and the Risk of Breast Cancer. Hartmann, Lynn C. N Engl J Med Volume 353;3:229-237 July 21, 2005
Ghent,W.R., Eskin,B.A., Low,D.A., Hill, L.P.. Iodine replacement in fibrocystic disease of the breast. Can J Surg 1993; 36:453-460.
Clinical Trial for Iodine treatment of Fibrocystic Breast Disease
Study for Treatment of Moderate or Severe, Periodic, “Cyclic”, Breast Pain. This study is ongoing, but not recruiting participants. Sponsored by: Symbollon Pharmaceuticals ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00237523
(16) Iodoral from Optimox
Guidance on Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), December 2001
Bernecker C. Acta Allergol. 1969 Sep;24(3):216-25. Intermittent therapy with potassium iodide in chronic obstructive disease of the airways. A review of 10 years’ experience.
(20) George Flechas MD Web Site Iodine Information
(21) Iodoral on Amazon
Hypothyroidism Jeffrey Dach MD web site
Jeffrey Dach MD
7450 Griffin Road Suite 190
Davie, Florida 33314
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How does iodine interact with blood levels of thyroid supplements in people who have no thyroid gland? Is there a particular method of providing iodine you’d recommend in such cases?
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My daughter began supplementing with Iodoral, and after a couple of months developed significant fatigue. Her doctor checked her iodine levels and they were sky high. she stopped supplementing and her energy levels have stabilized. Have you heard of this happening before?