75—Why aren't more people talking about...

You, me, and iodine — part one

Young girls dance in a purple flowery haze to represent the health benefits of iodine

I need you to help me to help you

I do a lot of work in the area of Iodine Therapy1. Unfortunately, Iodine Therapy is also a very contentious area of health to be involved in. That said, I see so many people with iodine deficiency — or poor thyroid function — that it would be remiss of me not to offer this service to my clients, especially given the fabulous results that can be achieved. (Please see the testimonial section of this post.)

Achieving such wonderful benefits for clients doesn’t happen by chance. It results from having a strong and transparent partnership between me, as a health professional, and my client.

Health professionals follow robust systems designed to consider a client’s health needs and possible treatments from a holistic perspective. When a client accepts the advice and treatments offered, they are in effect entering a contract with the health professional, committing to following the advice exactly. When they choose not to, or they don’t fully share their health progression, then the careful planning by the health professional for that person can be wasted, and no-one is likely to get the results they were after.

Now, the problem with iodine is that many health professionals still believe that large amounts of iodine causes medical conditions like Hashimoto’s disease & Graves’ disease — and even Hypothyroidism itself. These beliefs are in stark contrast to our current environment, where the incidence of these diseases is rising, while our iodine levels are falling2.

Note: I’ll talk more about the fact that we are in no way ingesting enough iodine to promote healthy thyroid function, let alone upset our thyroid function, in my next blog-post.

There is also confusion between the different forms of iodine and how they are used. I recommend dietary supplementation with ‘benign’ iodine (inorganic & non-radioactive).  However, the only use conventional medicine has for iodine is either as a diagnostic tool (in radiological exams) or as a therapeutic agent to destroy the thyroid (using radioactive iodine).

Note: They also use the ‘benign stuff’ as a topical solution that is applied to skin before surgery, or used on skin for its antiseptic properties.

These views on iodine have created a real problem for the many people who suffer from an iodine deficiency (which can lead to a variety of serious health conditions), and for the few health practitioners who recommend this mineral based on the emerging medical literature.

While I love the work I do in this area, unfortunately it’s really hard work recommending Iodine Therapy. Why is this?
1) Having to contend with the controversy
2) The intense work required to educate and provide careful instruction at ongoing follow-up consultations with clients.
3) Dealing with the negativity and lack of positive health outcomes of those clients who choose to not follow instructions carefully.

I can therefore understand why many of my colleagues choose to stay well clear of this area — as simply put: they just don’t need this kind of stress in their lives.

So, why do I do it? Why do I persevere in this contentious area of health?

Because I believe clients have the right to choose a treatment that may well give their health and sense of wellbeing an amazing boost!

When iodine therapy is implemented correctly — boy do we get some fabulous results.

A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.

When I’m informing my clients about the controversy that surrounds Iodine Therapy, I often also tell them that up until about 1.5 years ago, I too thought iodine was a mineral to be wary of. I had read a couple of snippets here and there about it ‘blowing out your thyroid gland’ — and hadn’t thought to challenge this thinking.

Essentially, I was relatively ignorant on this particular subject. Like most other people, I therefore refused to use it in its supplemental form!

Note: I actually became interested in Iodine Therapy due to the work I was doing in correcting subclinical thyroid dysfunction. 

Your iodine deficiency made me do it!

The vast majority of my clients need to be supplemented with this mineral. Not only do I know this in theory (we have an iodine deficiency epidemic2) but it’s also because I evaluate my clients symptoms, I assess their diets, and I check their thyroid activity. Based on this, I will then commission urine analysis to test their iodine sufficiency.

All of this considered, it would be negligent of me not to attempt to correct their iodine deficiency. This is important even if they are suffering from Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s Disease, Graves’ Disease — or even if they have no thyroid at all (if it has been surgically removed)!

Note: I’ll discuss all of this further in my next blog-post.

According to David Brownstein, MD2 (and from what I’ve witnessed myself in practice) around 96% of the population test poorly for iodine sufficiency. Iodine is not only important for correct thyroid functioning, it is important to help protect us from certain types of cancer. It is also used to correct a whole plethora of seemingly unrelated health conditions like fibromyalgia, migraines and sex hormone imbalance.

Note: Please see the previous blog-post I wrote about iodine deficiency: Iodine Deficiency. This post outlines the symptoms of deficiency, and the health conditions you can use this amazing mineral to correct.

Testimonials from my fabulous clients

Ana Collins
Within a week of taking iodine drops the pain of Endometriosis disappeared, my skin felt softer and I started losing weight. I feel better than I have in years!

I think the iodine is making a big difference… Still on six drops (36mg). I don’t feel the cold the way I used to, have better energy and my chiropractor actually commented that my thyroid felt much improved last visit 🙂 Good huh?!

I consulted Lisa with many symptoms and general fatigue etc that I put down to being a mother of 3 energetic boys.  After completing the iodine loading test and starting on iodine regularly, I can only say I wish I had found Lisa sooner.  Since taking the iodine and finding the right dose for me I have more get up and go, feel brighter and more energised and some say look younger, I feel like a new person.

Now I’m on an Iodine supplement I find I have more stamina and focus during a standard 10hr work day. No more 4 o’clock fade!

I found myself exhausted, emotional and having a few health issues after becoming a mum. I went to see Lisa who after testing me found I was iodine deficient. We worked on dosage and from then things began to change, a lot.

I first noticed my energy levels were higher, I was less lethargic and didn’t crave coffee like I used too. My mind became a lot clearer and noticed my pms was almost non existent, so much so I couldn’t tell when my period was due. I also noticed my breasts reduced in size (they needed too) and I started losing weight…

…I felt alive again. I can honestly say as part of gaining my health back taking iodine has been an integral part. So all up Lisa, iodine is the shiz! Ha Ha! Thank you so much.

Adelle Hammond
Just thought I’d touch base. I’ve been taking the iodine on and off, some mornings I just forget… naughty! But the combo of that and the wormwood seems to have balanced me out & I rarely find I’m truly “hungry” which is awesome. As a result I went back onto the ketosis diet and I’ve lost 3.5kgs 🙂 Off to Fiji early Nov so I’m going to keep it up until then. You’re a life changer!

Angela Ely
Since I have started taking Iodine I’ve found an increase in my energy, and a distinct improvement with my hair.  It is not falling out as much as it used to and is looking thicker and healthier.  My increase in energy has allowed me to start exercising again and lead to a weight loss.  Can’t do without it now!

I was feeling so exhausted ALL the time. I couldn’t function without coffee and was eating more to try get energy- but to no avail! But nothing came up in my thyroid test with my GP so when I came to see Lisa and found out that it in fact wasn’t all ‘in my head’ it was a huge relief! After taking iodine my energy levels bounced back, that foggy groggy feeling went away along with the need for coffee. Weight went back to normal- lost a couple of kg’s and most of all my horrible acne cleared up! Iodine saved my life pretty much so am happy to be an advocate for it 🙂

Note: More testimonials, from my fabulous clients, will feature in the next blog-post!

There's only so much I can do on my end...

I am completely transparent in my practice — I always inform my clients about the controversy surrounding the use of high-dose iodine supplementation before I gain their consent to use this mineral as part of their treatment program.

I spend the majority of their appointment teaching them about this area of health. I effectively provide a ‘mini iodine lecture’ each time I recommend it to someone, to ensure the person not only understands the concerns related to this mineral, but that they also understand that some of these concerns may be unfounded. (There is a lot of unnecessary fear associated with the use of iodine supplementation.) I also detail to them how very important it is to follow their treatment program and to keep me informed, so that I can monitor them and make any necessary adjustments to their treatment plan and their iodine dose.

Note: Everyone is different and will therefore respond differently to any particular treatment protocol.

In most cases, when you make your first appointment at OOMPH you are emailed a comprehensive health evaluation form. (It takes around 10 mins to complete this form.)

Before you arrive for your initial appointment I go over this form.

We then sit and discuss your health complaints for around one hour. If during this time, there are indications that the underlying health issue may be due to poor thyroid function or an iodine deficiency, I will then get you to complete another form. This form not only provides me with more focused information, but it also qualifies you for Thyroflex testing. The Thyroflex accurately checks thyroid activity. At your next appointment, I will test your thyroid function via your reflex function.

If this test indicates that you have Hypothyroidism (or that you potentially have Hashimoto’s or Graves’ — which would need to be confirmed with blood-testing), then I will establish your iodine insufficiency through a (gold-standard) testing procedure (iodine-loading test).

Note: This is as well as other nutrient + diet + lifestyle changes I may recommend.

When your results come back, and it’s confirmed you are insufficient in this mineral, I then have a strong iodine solution (Lugols) prescribed to you by a Pharmacist. This solution has 6mg of iodine per drop.

Note: How many ‘drops’ I recommend will depend on your test score, but more importantly it will be adjusted depending on how the iodine makes you feel at a given amount.

Off the shelf

The average person from mainland Japan consumes 13.8mg of iodine through their daily diet. This is why after assessing your dietary levels of iodine, and taking into account your symptoms, I have no problem recommending that you take 12mg of supplemental iodine per day. (This is without you having to perform an iodine test.)

In New Zealand you can only ‘get hold’ of therapeutic levels of iodine supplementation via prescription. (It’s 6mg per drop.)

Only low dose iodine supplementation is available in a health store. (It’s around 250mcg per drop.)

Hey Patient! Please be patient.

Everyone is different and therefore everyone reacts differently to iodine therapy. You and I play different roles in an effort to ‘get you healthy’:

My job — to determine whether and how to prescribe.

Your job — to let me know what’s happening so that we can make any necessary changes. This way, any adverse effects can easily be rectified. Or, if things aren’t working for you — the dose can be individualised to your body’s requirement.

Note: I always explain to my clients that while iodine may be the ‘key’ to their health — and a good place to start — they may also be deficient in other vitamins or minerals that may be affecting how they process their iodine. With correct monitoring and reporting we can ascertain the probable cause and correct this going-forward. 

The clients who get the best results are the ones who keep in touch with regard to their progress. This way, we can ‘tweak’ their treatment protocols as necessary.

The clients who don’t get the results that they were after, are generally the ones that go ‘off the radar’ and I never hear back from — even though I explained how important it is for them to keep me updated on their progress (at their appointment + again via email).

It’s very important to play your part when working with any health care provider:

Read your instructions carefully and ask if you’re not sure of anything
It’s simple stuff.

Be consistent with taking your remedy or Remedies
This is how you get consistent results.

Have realistic expectations
I don’t sell magic beans at OOMPH 😉
It takes time to turn your health around (some people take longer than others).

It’s important that you let me know if you experience any ill-effect from following any part of my treatment plan, or if you find you’re not benefitting that much from it.

Note: And, it’s always (always!) fabulous to be told when things are working well.

To me, it makes more sense to go back to your prescribing practitioner than it does to go to an entirely new practitioner and explain everything again.

Please see this previous blog-post I wrote about what your relationship with your Naturopath should look like.

In the next blog-post...

I’ll explain to you, that under the care of a health professional, you should consider taking high-dose iodine:

If you suspect you have a thyroid dysfunction
I will confirm this for you at your appointment with me.

IF YOU are already Taking Medication for your thyroid function
And you’re finding that you’re still experiencing symptoms of Hypothyroidism.

if You suffer from an auto-immune thyroid dysfunction
Graves’ Disease or Hashimoto’s Disease.

if you are Without a thyroid
It has been removed via surgery.

I’ll  be discussing why when you get blood-checked for your thyroid function (during iodine therapy) your results will appear abnormal for some time. (And that the doctor will be concerned and want to medicate you.)

I’ll also share more testimonials from my fabulous clients with you!

(Here’s part-two for you.)

Make an appointment with Lisa

Lisa Fitzgibbon is a degree qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath & Medical Herbalist. She runs her own private practice – OOMPH in Grey Lynn, Auckland, New Zealand.

Lisa has been involved in the Natural Health industry for 16 years. She draws on her professional training and experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice.

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