© Jpn Journal Cancer Research
Figure from Funahashi 2001. Breast cancer induced in rats with a carcinogenic chemical. Left column Images are rats pre-treated with Iodine (mekabu seaweed) showing no breast cancer tumors. Right column images are untreated (Control) rats with large breast cancer tumors visible at the red arrows).
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?
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.
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.
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 6 grams per day for several years. This is a well known treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which helps mobilize lung secretions. (18)
FDA recommends 165 mg of Iodine
The FDA has officially stated that Iodine supplementation is safe and actually recommends 165 mg of Iodine 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 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.
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 patentable 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 courtesy of wikimedia commons showing goiter in the neck caused by Iodine Deficiency. The thyroid nodule epidemic is also caused by Iodine Deficiency.
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.
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 as a nutritional supplement from Amazon or from VRP (Vitamin Research Products).(21) A bottle of 90 tablets is about 25 dollars plus shipping.(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.
Spontaneous Regression of Breast Cancer
David Brownstein MD reports three cases of spontaneous regression of breast cancer after women take iodine supplementation.(1) (This is reported on page 63 of the Iodine Book by David Brownstein MD.)
Joan, an English Teacher
The first patient, Joan a 63 year old English teacher, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989, declined conventional treatment, and took 50 mg per day of Iodoral, (Iodine). Six weeks later, a PET scan (left image) showed, “all of the existing tumors were disintegrating“.
The second patient, 73 year old Delores, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003. She declined conventional treatment with radiation and chemotherapy. Instead, Dolores took 50 mg of Iodoral daily. A follow up ultrasound of the breast 18 months later showed,” It appears that these malignancies have diminished in size since the last examination. Interval improvement is definitely seen,” Two years later a follow up mammogram and ultrasound failed to show any abnormality and were read by the radiologist as normal.
The third patient, 52 year old Joyce was diagnosed with breast cancer two years prior, and started on Iodoral 50 mg per day. Three years after starting Iodoral, her follow up mammograms and ultrasound exams show decreasing size of the tumor with no progression.(1)
Iodine Deficiency Causes Breast Cancer – The Overwhelming EvidenceHuman Studies of Areas with Low Iodine
Iodine deficiency is associated with a higher rate of goiter and breast cancer. Similarly, higher dietary Iodine intake is associated with less goiter and breast cancer. For example, Japan has the highest dietary intake of iodine (13 mg per day), and the lowest rates for goiter and breast cancer. However, when Japanese women immigrate and change dietary intake of Iodine to the lower 150 mcg/day in America, breast cancer rates increase.(1)
Iceland is another country with high Iodine intake and low rates for goiter and breast cancer. The high dietary iodine came from the fishing industry before WWI. In those days, the fish meal was fed to dairy cows providing milk with high iodine content. After WWI, the fish meal was eliminated from the dairy cows, and breast cancer rates soared ten-fold. (2)
Iodine deficient diets in animals induces breast cancer and goiter.(1)
Iodine Research from Mexico, India and Japan.
The Shrivastava group in India reported molecular iodine induces apoptosis (programmed cell death) in human breast cancer cell cultures. “Iodine showed cytotoxic effects in the cultured human breast cancer cells”. (3)
From Mexico, the Carmen Aceves Velasco Group reported Iodine to be safe, with no harmful effects on thyroid function, and an anti-proliferative effect on human breast cancer cell cultures. (5)(6)(7) Their 2009 paper reported the mechanism by which Iodine works as an anti-cancer agent. Iodine binds to membrane lipids called lactones forming iodo-lactones which regulate apoptosis (programmed cell death). Iodine causes apoptosis which makes cancer cells undergo programmed cell death.(4) Dr. Aceves concluded that continuous molecular iodine treatment has a “potent antineoplastic effect” on the progression of mammary cancer. (10)
From Japan, Dr Funahashi reported a common seaweed food containing high iodine content is more beneficial than chemotherapy on breast cancer . “He found that administration of Lugol’s iodine or iodine-rich Wakame seaweed to rats treated with the carcinogen dimethyl benzanthracene suppressed the development of mammary tumors. The same group demonstrated that seaweed induced apoptosis in human breast cancer cells with greater potency than that of fluorouracil, a chemotherapeutic agent used to treat breast cancer.“(8)
Mechanism of Action-Altering Gene Expression
A 2008 paper by Bernard A. Eskin MD showed that Iodine actually altered gene expression in breast cancer cells, inducing programmed cell death. (9)
Lung Cancer and Iodine
A 2003 study by Ling Zhang showed that molecular Iodine caused lung cancer cells to undergo programmed cell death (apoptosis). These lung cancer cells had been genetically modified to increase iodine uptake.(12) Interestingly, a 1993 case report describes spontaneous remission of lung cancer in a patient incidentally treated with Amiodorone which contains iodine (about 9 mg per day)(13)
Current Iodine research calls for use of molecular Iodine for all patients with breast cancer. (10)(11) Other cancers such as lung and prostate may also benefit. Further research on Iodine as cancer chemotherapy should receive top priority for NIH funding.
How to Obtain Iodine Tablets
Iodine (Iodoral) is available on the internet without a prescription.
Financial Disclosure: The author has no financial interest in the Iodine Book mentioned above, or in any company that manufactures Iodine Supplements.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended as medical advice. Make sure to discuss with your doctor and follow your own personal doctor’s recommendations when contemplating any changes to your diet, medications, or medical treatment programs.
All About Wellness Solutions sends an overwhelming THANK YOU to Jeffrey Dach MD for this excellent article. I have been aware of the breast cancer/ fibrocystic connection for many years. With Fukushima continuing to add radiation to the planetary environment, iodine is even more important to our health.