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Iodine (I)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Atomic number 53, Betadine®, cadexomer iodine, I, Iodin, iodine-125, iodine-131, iodized poppy seed oil, iodized salt, iodothyronine, iodotyrosine, KI, Licartin®, Lipiodol®, Lugol solution, Lugol's iodine, PI, polyvinylpyrrolidone-iodine, potassium iodide, povidone-iodine, PVP-I, radioiodine, SKI, strong iodine, tincture of iodine.
  • Note: This review does not discuss the medical uses of radioactive iodine or iodine contrast agents for imaging studies, such as computerized tomography (CT scanning).

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Iodine is a nonmetallic trace element (atomic number 53) that is required by humans for essential thyroxin hormones (triiodothyronine and thyroxine, or T3 and T4, respectively) that are produced by and concentrated in the thyroid gland. Iodine may be necessary for the optimal function of a number of body systems, including the lactating breast, gastric mucosa, salivary glands, oral mucosa, thymus, epidermis, and choroid plexus.
  • Chronic iodine deficiency may lead to numerous health problems in children and adults, such as thyroid gland dysfunction (including goiter) and various neurologic, gastrointestinal, and skin abnormalities. Iodine deficiency in pregnant or nursing mothers can lead to significant neurocognitive deficits in their infants. Many individuals living in developing countries may be at risk of iodine deficiency and its complications. Iodine deficiency is considered to be a preventable cause of mental retardation.
  • Humans obtain iodine from their diets. The amount of iodine in food or water depends upon the amount of iodine in the local soil. Areas with mountainous (glacier) water or heavy rainfall tend to be low in iodine content, increasing the risk of iodine deficiency.
  • Iodine has antimicrobial properties and is commonly used as a topical antiseptic. Its other primary medicinal use is as an additive to salt, which causes it to be iodized. Iodized salt is commonly used worldwide to prevent iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency is rare in industrialized countries such as the United States, due to the enrichment of table salt and cattle feed with iodine. However, deficiency is common in developing countries where supplementation is absent or irregular.
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Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.