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What kind of iodine do you take?

Posted Jun 03 2009 2:42pm 1 Comment
The results of the latest Heart Scan Blog poll are in.

204 respondents answered the question:


Do you take an iodine supplement?

The responses:

Yes, I take Iodoral, Lugol's, or SSKI
26 (12%)

Yes, I take potassium or sodium iodide
19 (9%)

Yes, I take kelp tablets or powder
64 (31%)

No, I rely on generous use of iodized salt
23 (11%)

No, I don't supplement iodine at all
66 (32%)

Isn't iodine something you put on cuts and scratches?
6 (2%)


I am heartened by the number of respondents taking iodine in some form. After all, iodine is an essential trace mineral. Without it and health suffers, often dramatically.

However, I am concerned by the percentage of people who don't supplement iodine at all: 32%. Interestingly, this is approximately the proportion of people who come to my office who also do not supplement iodine who are now showing goiters, or enlarged thyroid glands due to iodine deficiency. Goiters lead to hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone levels), followed by hyperactive nodules, not to mention undesirable effects like weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, constipation, intolerance to cold, higher LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and heart disease.

11% of respondents report using lots of iodized salt. This may or may not be sufficient to provide enough iodine to prevent goiter and allow normal thyroid function. The success of this strategy depends to a great extent on how often salt is purchased. Salt that sits on the shelf for more than a month is devoid of iodine, given iodine's volatility.

I am also favorably impressed by the number of people who take "serious" iodine supplements like Lugol's solution, Iodoral, or SSKI. Of course, people who read The Heart Scan Blog tend to be an unusually informed, healthy population. The 12% of people in the poll who take these forms of iodine does clearly not mean that 12% of the general population also takes them. But 12% is more than I would have predicted.

On the Track Your Plaque website, we are awaiting an interview with iodine expert, Dr. Lyn Patrick. I'm hoping for some juicy insights.
Comments (1)
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