The human body depends on Iodine for many of its vital functions. Iodine is the 62nd abundant element on earth and can rarely be found in its free form. In humans, it is the main component of the thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is situated in the neck and ranks third in size as compared to other organs in humans. The thyroid gland regulates many important functions which include the body’s sensitivity to other hormones. It also regulates the body’s energy consumption level and dictates how proteins are produced. Iodine is an indispensible component of the two hormones Thyroxine and Triiodothyronine produced by the Thyroid gland. These hormones regulate the rate of metabolism of the body and influence how other body systems grow and function.

A dietary deficiency of iodine results in the swelling up of the thyroid gland which looks abnormally large. This enlarged thyroid is called a goiter. An experiment conducted on tadpoles showed how important the thyroid gland is for proper functioning of the body. The experiment involved the administration of agents that blocked thyroid functioning in tadpoles. It was seen that the tadpoles did not turn into frogs. Human babies that lack thyroid hormones are bound to suffer from physical problems, improper development and weakness of the nervous system. Modern societies in the west are plagued by low (hypo) thyroid function. Millions of Americans are suffering from problems of the thyroid, and the reasons behind these problems are mainly an improper iodine intake by the body, due to unhealthy lifestyle. One of the primary causes of worldwide mental disabilities is the diseases caused by lack of iodine, resulting in low IQ. Even a slight insufficiency of iodine in women who are pregnant can lead to defects in the development of the brain of the fetus. According to an estimate obtained from the UNICEF, 2.4 million children born every year in Eastern Europe’s former Communist states were said to be mentally retarded.

It does not take extensive testing apparatus, but just a simple home test, in order to ascertain the level of iodine in your body. This test will also help you understand how the iodine levels affect your thyroid gland function.

In order to perform the test you must first obtain a 2% iodine solution from a local pharmacy store. Wipe your body dry after a bath and use a dry cotton swab or an ear bud for application of the solution to your skin. Do not apply it in areas such as the stomach area or the thigh area where your shirt or trouser will rub it off. Apply the solution to cover an area with a diameter of 2 inches or an area as big as a silver dollar. See to it that you don’t apply any cream, deodorant or any other application on and around that area. Let the iodine mark remain untouched on your skin for about 12 hours. Observe it after 12 hours and check if the patch is still there. Allow it to stand untouched for an additional 12 hours. When 24 hours are up, observe the patch again. If the iodine mark is still there, you have sufficient level of iodine in your body, and your body does not require to make good any loss by absorbing the iodine from your skin. If the mark has become lighter or has disappeared, it means that you are suffering from deficiency of iodine.

If you lack iodine, this testing method can be continuously performed over the next few days till the patch stops disappearing. The test is a good means of supplementing your body with its required iodine levels. Once the patch stops disappearing it means that your body contains sufficient iodine levels and need not obtain it from the patch on your skin.

Supplementing your body with the right iodine level during the test can also be done by drinking some Lugol’s solution mixed with water. Lugol’s solution is different from tincture iodine solution. Tincture iodine is a mixture of the elemental form of iodine and alcohol. Lugol’s solution is a brown mixture of iodine and potassium iodide in distilled water and can be purchased from any local pharmacy store.

To begin with, drink a dilute solution of water and just a drop of Lugol’s solution on the first day. You can increase the concentration by one drop each consecutive day till you reach 7 drops of the solution in seven days. During the 7-day course, if the water ever tastes metallic or iodine-like, you must start reducing the concentration by one drop from the next day onwards. Continue reducing one drop per day till you arrive at 2 drops a day. Continue this till the iodine patch stops disappearing. Care should be taken to see that the concentration of Lugol’s solution in water should never be increased beyond 7 drops, irrespective of whether the patch of iodine is being absorbed or not, and also irrespective of whether the solution tastes like metal or iodine or not. Once your body stops absorbing the iodine from the patch, a dosage of 2 drops a day of Lugol’s solution is generally sufficient in maintaining the required levels of iodine.

The intake of Lugol’s solution may produce the following side effects:
• Sneezing and excessive production of saliva
• A persistent taste of brass in the oral cavity
• Pain around the face, eyes and forehead
• Eruptions and patches all over the body

If any of the above symptoms are experienced by you, you must discontinue the ingestion of Lugol’s solution and report the same to your physician.

Even if you have done well in the home skin test, or even if you are consuming Lugol’s iodine daily, it is highly advisable that you undergo a thyroid test once a year.

If you are in the vicinity of a nuclear power plant or any source of nuclear radiation, it does not take specialized knowledge to understand that you must avoid exposing yourself to such radiation. If accidentally exposed to nuclear radiation, scientists advise that your thyroid gland must be saturated with iodine in order to prevent the absorption of radioactive iodine. Radioactive iodine absorption is the commonly faced risk when exposed to nuclear power plants. Exposure to such a source of radiation as emitted by nuclear power plants commonly results in various diseases, of which Thyroid cancer is common.

According to a study conducted by UNICEF, the 4000 children who were victims of the Chernobyl nuclear accident would not have developed cancer, had their bodies possessed sufficient quantities of iodine.

Author's Bio: 

Helena Ederveen’s education in Nutritional and Environmental Medicine with ACNEM (Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine ) started in 1999 and continues to this day as the understanding of the human body magnifies. She furthered her education by obtaining her qualifications as a Certified Master Practitioner in NLP and Certified Advanced Eriksonian Hypnosis in 1999. She trained under Terry McGlendon whose program is endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners and Applied Psychology in Australia.

Today her works consists of pinpointing dysfunctions in human physiology by measuring imbalances in digestion, hormones, acid stress, inflammation, calcium metabolism, oxidative stress, connective tissue strength and protein metabolism.

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