iodine, allergy, deficiency, supplementation

Ask the Doc: Is Iodine Safe?

Ask the Doc: Is Iodine Safe?

© 2006 Wellness Clubs of

My sister says that she cannot take vitamin supplements because most contain iodine. What do you recommend? J.M.

Dear J.M.: Since iodine is necessary for life, people are generally allergic to the form in which it is presented rather than to basic iodine, which is very safe.  This is particularly if the iodine has been plant processed. Unless your sister prepares all of her own food from scratch and never eats food that has been processed or prepared by someone else she is taking in iodine regularly without any reaction. That is because nearly all salt is "iodized" meaning that iodine has been added.

This practice was instituted to prevent the formation of goiter, enlargement of the thyroid gland resulting from iodine deficiency. People have to go out of their way to buy non-iodized salt, which rarely happens.

The power of suggestion is quite potent, however, and it is typical for people who take in iodine in their diet every day to suddenly begin reacting when they see it listed in a vitamin. It is quite likely that your sister is looking for a reaction and attributing any change in sensation to iodine. Life is not a static process. If we look for changes we will inevitably find them, and if we are looking for something to blame we will choose to link them in our mind, regardless of the logic. –Dr. Peterson

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