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Iodine Robbers

iodine.jpgIodine is a vital nutrient for good health. It's most widely known and well-understood use is in helping to make thyroid hormones, but it is necessary for every cell in the body, not just the thyroid.  It is also essential for reproductive tissue. The breasts, uterus and prostate require large amounts. Iodine is needed for healthy skin and nerve function, too. Unfortunately, iodine is a rare element and only small amounts of iodine are present in land-based foods. Most iodine comes to us from the ocean.

There are a number of chemicals that disrupt or replace iodine in the system. The iodine dysruptors that are the biggest problem are the other halogens. Halogens are a group on the periodic table of elements that all have similar chemical properties. They include iodone, fluorine, chlorine and bromine. When these elements combine with other substances they create iodides, fluroides, chlorides and bromides.

Halogens are non-metalic elements with low boiling points. They are missing one electron in their outer shell and tend to be highly reactive with other substances, looking for an electron to complete their outer shell. Iodine is the heaviest of these four halogens, while fluorine is the lightest.

There are other substances that can also disrupt iodine. Mercury, aspirin and other salicyclates, steroids and unfermented soy products also have iodine disrupting effects. So, although most people in modern society are probably getting some iodine (mostly via iodized salt), many people may not be getting enough to overcome the effects of the iodine robbers they are being exposed to.

Iodine-book.jpgThere are several reasons why you should consider increasing iodine intake. First, iodine is needed to burn fat, so if you're overweight, as many Americans are, you might need to supplement with iodine. You may also need iodine if you have low thyroid and you may even be deficient in some hyperthyroid diseases. However, with thyroid disorders you should be careful with iodine supplementation, because other vitamins and mineral deficiencies may cause problems in utilizing iodine. Selenium, for example, is important for being able to utilize iodine in the thyroid.

There is also some evidence that iodine might help to inhibit breast, prostate and uterine cancers, because cultures where people who consume larger amounts of iodine in their diet show lower rates of these diseases. Many people suffering from fibromyalgia have also benefited from taking iodine. For more information check out Dr. Brownstein's book Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live without It.

But the purpose of this article is primarily to look at the harmful effects of other halogens on our health.

bromine-bromide-web.jpegBromine and Bromides

Bromine is one of the heavier halogens and right above iodine on the periodic table of elements. It is no known nutritional benefit in human health and bromides (substances containing bromine) can be very toxic substances. Animal studies show that bromine intake can adversely affect the accumulation of iodine in the thyroid and the skin, and ingestion of bromine has been shown to cause hypothyroidism in animals. When iodine deficiency is present, the toxicity of bromine is accelerated in the body.

Bromides are being increasingly used in our society. They are used as antibacterial agents for pools and hot tubs, as fumigants for agriculture, and for killing termites and other pests. Between 1981 and 1991 the amount of bromides sprayed in California for pest control increased nearly three-fold.

Bromides are also being added to foods. Bromides found in certain carbonated and sports beverages in the form of BVO (brominated vegetable oil) and are also used in bread flour as a dough conditioner. Iodine used to be added to flour, but was replaced with bromides. Since this took place, obesity has increased dramatically. Instead of getting iodine in bread (which would help burn fat), people are getting bromides, which in turn disrupt iodine, increasing fat deposition.

Bromides are also found in certain drugs, such as Atrovent inhaler, Atrovent nasal spray, Ipratropium nasal spray, Pro-Panthine and Pyridostigmine bromide. This increased use of bromides has caused the amount of bromine in human breast milk to increase 10-fold over the last decade.

Bromides are used in hot tubs as an alternative to chlorine. I find them very irritating to the skin and avoided them completely when I had a hot tub.


Fluorine is the lightest of the halogens. There may be some nutritional value to natural flourine in foods. I read that fluorine is found in green tea for example.

Fluorides are compounds made with fluorine. Generally, they are toxic and should be avoided. Fluorides depress centers of the brain that allow a person to think clearly and logically. They also depress centers of the brain that make people willing to fight to protect themselves. The Germans discovered this and used flourides in the drinking water of the concentration camps to make people docile.

Fluoride also reduces testosterone in men are toxic and increase the risk of bone cancer and hip fractures. Fluorides also lower intelligence, increase depression, and lower available testosterone levels in men. I believe that my mother giving me fluoride tablets as a child delayed my entry into puberty and there is evidence that it helps to create male boobs. I wrote about this in my article: For Men Only.

Many water supplies have been fluoridated and fluoride toothpastes and dental treatments are commonly believed to prevent tooth decay. A holistic dentist told me that swollowing even a small amount of the fluoride material dentists use on teeth can be a serious health hazard, which is why she refused to give fluroide treatments. High levels of fluorides cause mottling, pitting and dulling of the teeth, but there is also evidence that they cause problems with the bones.

If you want to learn more about the dangers of fluoride,  here are a few resources:, The Fluoride Deception, and I do not use fluoridated toothpaste, have fluoridated water or dental treaments, but I believe I am still being exposed to this substance. I learned that most major food manufacturing companies are placed in areas with fluoridated water supplies, which means you get fluoridated water in many foods. Plus, many bottled water brands are high in fluoride. Here's a link to a good YouTube video on the subject.

It is also possible that fluorides can produce goiter or low thyroid. Flouride might displace iodine in the thyroid hormone, causing thyroid function to be low even when thyroid levels are normal.

Fluorine is used in a variety of drugs. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac and Paxil contain fluoride, and there are reports of increased breast cancer with the use of SSRI's. Since low thyroid causes depression, this may be one reason why these drugs can cause depression in some people, and can definitely result in depression when discontinued abruptly. Other drugs that contain fluoride include: Baycol, Propulsid, Posicor, Astemizole, Flonase, Flovent and Fen-Phen. It would be wise to increase iodine intake if one is on any of these medications.

Avoid fluoride by drinking purified water, buying non-fluoridated toothpastes and avoiding fluoride-containing medications. Iodine supplements can help to detoxify fluoride. By the way, SmartWater, which is one of my favorite brands of bottled water, tested the lowest in fluoride in the video I linked to above. Fiji and Crystal Geyser had the highest amount.


Let's move on to chlorine. Unlike bromide and fluoride, which do not have nutritional value, chlorine is used as a nutrient in the body, and in fairly large amounts. The oxidized form of chlorine forms chlorides, which can be toxic.

Dr. Joseph Price, who wrote the book Coronaries, Cholesterol and Chlorine, documented that the rise in coronary heart disease parallels the rise in the chlorination of water supplies. He found that chlorine makes cholesterol “sticky” so it adheres to surfaces. Since iodine is needed to cause fats to be released from surfaces (emulsified), and chlorine displaces iodine, this may be part of the reason chlorine contributes to heart disease.

Chlorine is also linked to birth defects, cancer, reproductive disorders (including still birth), and immune system breakdown. Again, all of these health problems can be due to iodine deficiency. Furthermore, when chlorine mixes with organic matter in the water it forms carcinogenic compounds like trihalomethanes.

That brings us to the issue of Sucralose©, which is nothing more than chlorinated sugar. Sugar is bombarded with chlorine, and although most of the chlorine is allowed to dissipate, there is still a lot of chlorine left in the finished product. We anticipate that in five years or so this newest artificial sweetener will go the way of its predecessors as more and more harmful effects are discovered with long term use.

A reverse osmosis water filtering unit is a great way to reduce chlorine intake in your home or office. You can also remove chlorine with carbon filters or by letting water stand for several hours in an open container to allow chlorine to evaporate. You can also purchase water filters for baths and showers or even whole house models.

Mercury and Radioactive Iodine

Mercury is another iodine robber. We won't spend a lot of time on this, but mercury finds its way into the body through silver amalgam fillings, contaminated sea foods, environmental pollution and vaccines. It also depletes iodine levels and interferes with thyroid function.

radioactive-iodine-pill-web.jpegFinally, while it isn't an iodine robber, radioactive iodine enters the environment from nuclear power plants and nuclear accidents. Radioactive iodine enters the body and destroys thyroid tissue and other tissues that uptake iodine. Increasing iodine intake is the best protection against radioactive iodine, which brings us to an interesting point.

Iodine tablets are part of civil defense plans because taking large quantities of iodine prevents the body's uptake of radioactive iodine. Yet, when a person has a hyperactive thyroid, they are told they should not use iodine because it will make the problem worse. Instead, they are given radioactive iodine, which kills the thyroid.

So, think about this. If the person's body was saturated with sufficient iodine it wouldn't take up the radioactive iodine in sufficient quantities to kill the thyroid gland. This suggests that many, if not all, people suffering from hyperactive thyroid are actually iodine deficient.

The bottom line is that with all the iodine robbers we're exposed to, we probably need extra iodine if we want to maintain optimal health.  We use a high potency iodine supplement called Iodoral and have found many people, especially women benefit greatly from taking it. You can also get this supplement in a liquid form known ad Lugol's solution. There are also newer products that are easily assimilated forms of liquid iodine. I have a Nascent Iodine supplement.

kelp-seaweed-web.jpegIt's easy to tell if you actually need iodine using the liquid forms. Put a few drops in a small glass of water and taste it. If you taste iodine, you don't need it. If the water tastes sweet with iodine in it, you probably need to take some.

Seaweeds, such as kelp, dulse and bladderwrack, are the best sources of iodine, because they are foods. Kelp powder can be generously sprinkled into foods as a salt substitute and other seaweeds can make good additions to soups and stews.  Liquid dulse is a good iodine supplement, especially for children, and again, can be dosed by taste. You can also get some iodine naturally by using natural salts like RealSalt or Celtic salt. These natural salts have color to them and can be found in health food stores and even some grocery stores.

Don't allow iodine robbers to ruin your health. Defend you body by getting enough natural iodine to fight back.