Iodine deficiency may contribute to fibrocystic breast condition.
The Role of Iodine in the Body (…and the Breast)
Iodine’s primary role in the body is in the creation of the thyroid hormones, T3 and T4. The thyroid absorbs iodine to make and release these hormones into the blood. In addition to supporting proper thyroid function, iodine has other important effects, including maintenance of healthy breasts. Iodine-deficient breast tissue is an underlying cause of fibrocystic breast condition. Multiple studies show that iodine supplementation reduces symptoms of this condition.
Forms of Iodine
There are two primary forms of iodine for human consumption: iodide (I-) and molecular iodine (I2).
In chemistry, iodine is an unstable element, which means that it reacts with its surrounding environment and loses its useful properties during oxidization (reacting with oxygen). For this reason, scientists combine potassium with iodide to form potassium iodide (KI), a stable form of iodine, which the body can then use.
The thyroid more readily absorbs I- over I2, which can lead to a change in delicate hormone levels in the thyroid. Iodine from I2 is absorbed into the thyroid at a lower rate than iodine from iodide and at a higher rate into breast tissue making molecular iodine the preferred form for breast health. Following a series of uncontrolled clinical studies with different forms of iodine, Drs. Ghent, Eskin, Low and Hill concluded: “These results indicate the superiority of molecular iodine over iodides when treating fibrocystic breast disease.”
View Clinical Studies
In the developed world, iodine deficiency has increased more than fourfold over the past 40 years. In the United States alone, iodine intakes dropped by 50% between 1971 and 2001. This is likely due to the fact that over the last several decades the amount of iodine found in food has decreased significantly while many substances that inhibit iodine uptake have become mainstream.
How Much Iodine Do I Need?
The US recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for iodine is 150-290 micrograms (mcg) for adults, while the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has set the tolerable upper limit at 1,100 mcg. These guidelines may be inadequate to address certain health conditions because 60-80% of a person’s iodine intake is absorbed by non-thyroidal tissues, such as breast tissue.
Daily iodine doses of 3,000-6,000 mcg have been used safely in studies of people with fibrocystic breast condition.
Is Iodine Safe?
- Clinical studies have demonstrated safety and efficacy of molecular iodine over multi-month and multi-year daily use.
- Excess iodine does not build up in the body the way other heavy metals do. Iodine is water soluble and excess iodine is flushed from the body.
How Does Molecular Iodine work?
In women with fibrocystic breast condition, the relationship between cell growth and cell death is out of balance, which leads to excess breast tissue resulting in breast discomfort. Molecular iodine has been demonstrated to normalize this imbalance and consequently helps alleviate the associated symptoms of breast tenderness, swelling, heaviness and aches, while promoting breast health.
Clinical studies have shown that a daily regimen of molecular iodine can provide relief from cyclic breast discomfort associated with fibrocystic breast condition. Molecular iodine has been used in clinical trials of 1476 women. A recent study showed that up to 74% of women experienced improvement in their breast discomfort.