Why I Prescribe Iodine for Breast Pain, Ovarian Cysts, and PMDD

Iodine for female hormones.

As I discuss in my new book Hormone Repair Manual, iodine helps with breast pain, premenstrual mood symptoms, and the prevention of ovarian cysts. It works by promoting healthy estrogen metabolism, down-regulating estrogen receptors, and stabilising estrogen-sensitive tissue including breasts, uterus, ovaries, and the brain.

Iodine’s anti-estrogen effect makes it one of the best treatments for estrogen excess or “estrogen dominance,” although I don’t use that term.

Iodine for women’s health

Iodine can be effective nutritional treatment for the following women’s health conditions:

👉 Tip: Additional treatments for premenstrual mood symptoms include a dairy-free, histamine-reducing diet, magnesium, vitamin B6, and progesterone.

An effective dose of iodine for breast pain is between 300 and 3000 mcg (0.3 and 3 mg) preferably as a molecular iodine (I2) formula such as the Violet brand which is better for breasts and safer for the thyroid.

iodine and women's health
Molecular iodine is better for breasts and safer for the thyroid.

Be careful if you have thyroid disease

Before taking iodine, it’s important to test thyroid antibodies (also called anti-thyroid antibodies, or anti-TPO antibodies) because too much iodine, especially potassium iodide, can harm the thyroid or trigger autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s thyroid disease). 

If you have Hashimoto’s or test positive for thyroid antibodies, you should probably not take more than 300 mcg or 0.3 mg of iodine.

👉 Tip: Taking selenium at the same time as iodine can help to protect the thyroid gland.

Assessing iodine deficiency

Breast tenderness is the most reliable symptom of iodine deficiency. Other risk factors for iodine deficiency include perimenopause and an exclusively plant-based or vegan diet (because a plant-based diet is low in iodine).

Food sources

  • Seafood (10 – 190 mcg per 100 grams).
  • Egg yolks (24 mcg per yolk).
  • Grass-fed butter, but only if it’s grown on iodine-rich soil.
  • Iodized salt (400 mcg per teaspoon).
  • Seaweed or kelp (2 – 800 mcg per 100 grams). Unfortunately, kelp also contains bromine, which prevents the uptake of iodine, and may contain toxic metals.
  • Plant foods such as mushrooms and leafy greens, but only if they’re grown on rich soil.

201 thoughts on “Why I Prescribe Iodine for Breast Pain, Ovarian Cysts, and PMDD”

  1. Good article! Just adding my experience with iodine. I’ve been taking it for about 5 months now. I’ve always suffered from painful cycles (cramps, pms) since i first started menstruating a couple decades ago. After taking the iodine tablets i noticed i would have a cycle or two without cramps or pms. Then i switched brands of iodine and stated taking sea iodine tablets the past 2 months and i haven’t had a painful cycle since then, 2000 mcg daily.

    I’m hoping it will help with other issues like fibrocystic breasts and fibroids but won’t know until my next doctors appointment. Iodine is needed that’s for sure even for mental health. Most doctors these days don’t tell you what’s good for you to prevent and treat conditions they are in to managing symptoms.

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  2. Hi. I’m sorry if this posts twice. I wrote my first comment and after I clicked ‘post’, I received a message saying I was posting comments too fast and I should slow down.
    I wanted to be sure about iodine supplementation in the presence of thyroid antibodies. My Dr and the lab say low levels are normal and nothing to worry about. My results were <10kIU/L for thyroglobulin antibodies and <9 kIU/L TPO antibodies. So I'd like to understand – is the advisory against iodine supplementation relevant if there are low levels present or only if they're higher? Thank you.

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  3. Hi Dr Briden. Please could I check something with you about iodine and the presence of thyroid antibodies. My thyroid test shows positive but low levels of antibodies, which the lab calls normal. My integrative Dr says it’s normal too, not a problem. (Thyroglobulin <10 kIU/L and TPO <9 kIU/L.) So is iodine only an issue if you have high antibody levels, or does the warning apply in the presence of any at all? Thank you.

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  4. Hi, when you mention Brest tenderness for iodine deficiency, is that in general or can it also mean tenderness before your cycle comes on? Or is that natural for your breast to get tender before your cycle?

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  5. Thank you for all you do! My cycles are regular after I took your advice about taking DIM Zinc and Mag. After getting off birth control. Do you have recommendations for skin care products that you love?

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  6. Hi Dr. Briden,

    I’m 21 and have struggled with my periods ever since I was 14. I’m reaching out because I really appreciate your approach to women’s health. I am running out of ideas as I’ve never been able to find answers to my problems. Doctors have always told me to just gain weight or to go on birth control. I eat a healthy diet and have a pretty sedentary lifestyle. My periods have never been able to come consecutively since it started and I’ve gone years without a normal period. In Oct 2019, it came consecutively for 4 months naturally but I’ve lost it again ever since (I wasn’t doing anything special/different).

    I recently did some labs and I would appreciate it if you would be able to help me find some answers and advice for my next steps to take to help me get my period back naturally.

    For reference:
    5’3, 106lb
    Bhcg: <1.20
    Vit D: 12.8 (low)
    TSH: 1.2757
    Dhea-sulfate: 347.0
    Progesterone: 0.4
    LH: 19.4
    Prolactin: 5.27
    Testosterone: 54.65 (slightly high)
    Estrogen: 209
    FSH: 6.37

    Thank you so much for your time!

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  7. Will your new perimenopause book discuss nerve pain, inflammation and ALA effect on thyroid at all?

    I’m literally crossing off the days with my tears until I can preorder your new book (even though there’s no date for release for people in the states) because I’m so desperate for help.

    I have your other book and am on Mag, Zinc, B’s, Chaste, Rhodiola, Ashwaganda, Taurine, just started Glycine but have been experiencing nerve pain in my extremities for 8 months that we’ve been able to rule out anything else other than wild hormones with all normal CAT scan, EMG, Bloodwork, ANA, RA, Lyme, Lupus, etc. I was taking ALA and I think it helped with with the nerve pain but my thyroid just dropped more than 1 point and I’ve had insane fatigue, brain fog, dizziness that felt like low blood sugar so I stopped taking it a week ago and that’s all stopped but now the nerve pain is back. (I also am working on getting my Vitamin D up and have increased if by 20 points so far.) I’m not diabetic or overweight and I’m 46.

    I’ve read in a few places that because estrogen receptors are all over the body, you can have burning/numb/tingling when estrogen falls – but so little is written about it let alone with any references to sources. I was having mast cell/histamine issues for the last 6 years until I came across your book a year ago and did low histamine diet, removed gluten, dairy and I don’t do sugar. The B complex I take now helped with that but finding out 7 months ago I have a soy allergy and removing all the foods that have it (a lot!!) I think is decreasing my estrogen and causing issues.

    Ugh… I was trying to be brief because I know you’re inundated with requests for help.. I just thought a little background would help for you to know why I’m asking. If your book doesn’t cover those things then I need to be looking elsewhere to figure things out. I just hope your new book comes out soon.

    Thank you so much for all the work you’ve done. I wish I had come across your first book sooner. You’re seriously a life saver and I can’t thank you enough. I made my sister buy it so she can help her two teen girls and I tell all my friends about it.

    Reply
    • Hi. I’m someone who just now happen to come across Dr Bridens website and your comment. Felt compelled to reply! I’m very interested in Dr Briden’s reply if you get one. Having gone/going through similar symptoms. I’m 39. But the first thing that jumped out of your comment and I wonder if the b complex helped have you ever had proper checks of active B12 vitamin? Your symptoms COULD point to b12 deficiency and it should be investigated by your GP (I’m in the UK) or primary physician? Taking folic acid/ or folate can mask a b12 deficiency. Also is the supplement the useable version, b12 is usable in methyl or adenyl not cyan. Similar with folic acid better natural folate methyl folate. Nearly half of people are undermethylaters and cant convert folic acid very well! And perniciousanemia means can’t absorb b12. It needs investigating! Nerve pain in extremities fatigue brain fog mood swings all symptoms that could relate to b12 and or folate deficiency. And blood tests can be normal not necessarily anaemia. Need to check active vitamins. Take care.
      Dr Briden – thank you so much for your website.

      X

      Reply
      • hi there… my B-complex is a methyl one with folate and not folic acid. It has B12 in it but I also take a methyl b12 spray every so often to make sure I’m getting enough. My b12 was tested and came back normal (I don’t recall the number but if the range was 200-800, mine was 500 – half way) so I’m assuming it’s not an issue. (I can‘t find what an ideal number would be for b12 but I’ve considered that maybe it needs to be up a little from where it is.) I’ll have to dig up the numbers and get back to you. Thanks for your comment.

        I’m also reading the Tao of Trauma, by Elaine Duncan, to cover my bases that I have to consider is part of the picture. I also have gone to physical therapy for the last 4 months to help with my muscles being so insanely tense (lower back has contributed to some of the leg pain and right shoulder from an injury) but it’s been slow progress and I still feel like there’s a deficiency there or something that’s either contributing to the nerve pain, brain function or muscle tenseness. I’m considering trying GABA but I don’t know, there’s so much I’ve already added in and my budget is rather shot. Let me know if you make any progress and thank you for replying.

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  8. Dear Lara, I bought your book, which was really useful to find out that my pco diagnose was fake. Finally was hypothalamic amenorrhea (10 months without my period and my hormons are low). However, I would like to ask you if it is possible to have endometriosis and amenorrhea at the same time, since I have a pelvic pain since two years ago, and my belly is swollen everyday of my life.
    Thank you a lot and I will be really grateful if you help me with this!

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  9. Hi Lara, you suggested Violet as a safe option for painful breasts. Violet is not available for shipping to Australia. How do you access it? x

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  10. Is it advisable for women in menopause to continue taking iodine if they found it effective when still menstruating? The purpose would be to support estrogen detoxification.

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  11. Thank you very informative. I’m 43 years old and my fibrocystic is worst now than ever before especially my left breast. I dont know where to go to have the proper dosage of iodine. I live in upstate NY, any recommendations? Thank you

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    • Melissa, you can find Violet at violetdaily.com. It used to be carried at Walgreens and the Vitamin Shoppe, but it doesn’t look like it is anymore. I think Violet is extremely overpriced, and I found good results with one drop daily of a product called Iosol Formula II. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  12. I’m from Brazil. I have a friend who was healed from fibroids and adenomiosis due to taking iodine everyday for 3 months. Now the best: she got pregnant! She’s been helping other women since then.

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  13. I have been trying to research iodine and there is so much conflicting info! My main concern is, when I look up selenium (which is in the Violet brand) there is some information saying that taking too much or taking any amount long term can be unsafe. I have previously taken kelp supplements which really seemed to help a lot with breast tenderness, but now am learning that kelp may not be the best source because of possible bromide, although some brands seem to claim they are “clean.” I tried a different type (Life-Flo, a liquid which just lists iodine and potassium iodide as ingredients) but it does not seem as effective, although I am not sure, the difference could be due to other factors. Are there ANY brands (I live in the US) that are effective but lower dose and/or no selenium? Is Violet really the only “molecular” form? Are there any other best options if I don’t want to take Violet? When I took the kelp form it was effective even in a small dose. This is all so confusing!!

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  14. Since Violet Iodine is not availabe in my country, I have looked for different brands and found some Iodine solutions. I was wondering which of these would be best for breast health:

    1. Lugol’s 1% (Potassium Iodide and Iodine in water)
    2. a mixture of Iodine and Ammonium Iodide (in water) (is Ammonium Iodide a safe form to take?! Never heard of it)
    3. Iodine (in glycerin and water), it’s called “Nascent Iodine” but I’m pretty sure it’s just molecular Iodine

    I really appreciate your efforts!

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  15. Hi Lara!

    I really appreciate all the work you do! Thank you so much.

    Do you have any remedies for shrinking/eradicating dermoid cysts? Would iodine be appropriate?

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  16. I’ve been taking Violet Daily (3000mcg of iodine plus selenium) for 2 months and it’s Completely eliminated my breast soreness/lumpiness. My question is, isn’t 3000mcg of iodine WAY over the recommended daily amount? Why haven’t I had iodine poisoning? Is it safe for me to continuing taking this for the long-term?

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  17. Dear Doctor Briden.
    I am 48 years old I would like to know if I can take iodine for PMDD if I am on levothyroxine aswell, two years ago I had a total thyroidectomy (I had Hashimoto since 2000). Can I take both of them together? I am not a good T4 to T3 converter so I am feeling very tired all the time.
    My 21 year old daughter also has Hashimoto’s, is there any natural way to regulate her antibodies? she also takes levothyroxine.
    My youngest daughter (almost turning 18 ) was recently diagnosed with mild adrenal hyperplasia (she has hirsurtism), is there any natural way to treat her case? I want her free of syntetic hormones and spirilactone.
    Sorry for so many questions, I wish there was a doctor like you in my country so focused on women’s issues and experienced as you are.

    Best regards

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  18. Do you suggest any other brand of iodine. Violet has a lot of unwanted filler ingredients in their pills. Most brands I see with Molecular Iodine also I’ve potassium iodide.
    You also suggest selenium to take with iodine, in what dosage along with iodine?

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  19. Thanks for your great information. I am 51 and get painful breasts at times. I also take levothyroxie for my thyroid and have a Mirena IUD. I am still a little confused as to whether or not I should take iodine. I take magnesium at night time. It would be great if there is something that could help the painful breasts. Thank you!

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    • do you have Hashimoto’s disease? If so, if you have “thyroid antibodies” or thyroid autoimmunity, then you’ll need to be careful with iodine.

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  20. Hi Lara, question for you–a functional medicine doctor I’ve been seeing for Nutrition Response Testing for irregular periods has advised I take Standard Process Thyroid Complex. I am nervous about taking Iodine as my esthetician instructed me two years ago to remove iodine from my diet to help resolve a severe acne break out after coming off the BCP, which I did and the acne did get much better. I am negative for thyroid antibodies but low for iodine based on recent blood draw. I am nervous to take the supplement she recommended because I dont want a bad acne breakout again. I am already taking Standard Process Organically Bound Minerals which has 200 mcg iodine and she recommends I take both that and the Thyroid Complex which as 300 mcg iodine. I am coming to you to hear your thoughts on the matter?? As a background I’ve had very irregular cycles since coming off the BCP — they were 100-200 days a part although they’re now 50-80 days apart after increasing my calories, gaining weight and reducing exercise. Any feedback would be so appreciated. Thank you so much!!

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  21. Hi Dr Briden, Thank-you for your article. I have Hashimotos disease … and I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year at age 41. I take desiccated Thyroid and supplement with selenium, magnesium and a multi vitamin. What amount of iodine supplement would be safe for me to take so that I still get the benefit of preventing a recurrence of breast cancer without damaging my thyroid?

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  22. Hello Dr. Briden, please, regarding dermoid cysts, is surgical removal necessary if it is small, about 1.25 cm? Being a dermoid can it turn into malignant? Thanks

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  23. Hi Lara – Thank you SO much for all the wonderful wisdom you share with the world!! I’ve struggled with fibrocystic breast pain and swelling since high school and would love to give iodine a try. I had a full thyroid removal 10+ years ago and take synthroid daily. I’m curious – do you know of any reason why iodine supplementation would not be recommended for those of us on synthroid who do not have thyroid glands?

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  24. Hi Lara, I’m currently breastfeeding and recent ultrasounds for mastitis have shown I have fibroadenomas, and new ones discovered at a subsequent follow up ultrasound. I have been taking a pre-conception/pregnancy/breastfeeding multi for close to two years now. Do you think there is something worth exploring here? The specialist is not recommending a biopsy. Thank you for all you do!

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  25. What if you have TPO antibodies, but they are below the lab’s range (range from 6-10 IU/mL). Should one still stay low with the iodine dose?

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  26. Does the mere presence of TPO antibodies, even though they are below the threshold set by the lab (range from 6-10 IU/mL), mean that one needs to be careful with the iodine dose?

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  27. Does the mere presence of TPO antibodies, even though they are under the threshold set by the lab (range from 6-10 IU/mL), mean that one needs to be careful with the dose?

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    • If they’re below the range, then that is essentially “negative” for thyroid antibodies. With my patients in that situation, I use higher dose iodine.

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      • Hi! Very curious about this topic. Why do you use higher dose iodine in patients with small level of anti-TPO antibodies (ex. 5-15)? Thanks! Loved your article!

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        • Because iodine can worsen or flare up autoimmune thyroid disease. So, I like to make sure there is no underlying autoimmune thyroid disease before giving the 3 mg of iodine that can treat fibrocystic breast disease.

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  28. I’ve read your book and many of your hormonal blog posts, but came across this post when I started experiencing extreme breast tenderness, which is a newer symptom for me. Hormone testing shows that my estrogen is 400 pg/mL around this time, and I am not regularly ovulating. I am in my late 30s (mom completed menopause at 40), so my GYN thinks I am in early perimenopause and has me on 200mg of Prometrium.

    Anyways, my blood tests do show slightly elevated TPO antibodies (have ranged from 6-10 IU/mL. The lab range is >34 = positive). Does the mere presence of antibodies mean one needs to be careful with the dose, or am I ok since I am technically considered below range?

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  29. I wonder if iodine/selenium supplementation is safe for those without thyroid. Mine was surgically removed due to thyroid carcinoma.

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  30. I wish I had heard of this 40 years ago. I have been to NDs, MDs, including the top Endo in PHoenix and told it was all in m head. The only people who helped were Chinese doctors but you can’t get treated twice a week forever. Eat organic, etc. I have spent my whole life alone and think I will die that way and soon. Then I think, so I get cured, who cares. I have no family or money. i thought once. Maybe if I could get cured and write a book, at least my life made a difference. I found this page today because a co-worker said her grandaughter is in the hospital and I should check our PMDD. Then I thought about iodine. I took Iodoral for years and thru kinesology was told to take a huge amount about 100 mg. My goiter went away and was almost able to stop hormones with help from an acupuncturist. He admits he doesn’t know what he did. Maybe it was the iodine. I stopped for a few years and now am far worse than before. I had to resort going to Mexico to get the hormones and theu stopped making my BC pills and had to change to worse or higher dose. I never got depressed like this until a few months ago. Now I think I will never get well or be normal ever again. I can’t shake the anxiety which is new now. Any ideas.

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  31. Hello,

    It appears that Violet 2 is not available to purchase. I’m not sure why and what might be happening. Could you recommend any other supplement that would be comparable? I live in the US.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  32. IODINE IS WHAT THE THYROID NEEDS. I DONT KNOW THAT ITS NOT SAFE FOR THYROID ISSUES. ALL MY SUPPLEMENTS FOR THYROID IMBALANCES HAVE SOME FORM OF IODINE IN THEM. THAT DOES NOT SEEM RIGHT.

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  33. Thanks Lara.
    Please can you advise which iodine you recommend in Australia for heavy painful breasts?
    Many thanks.

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  34. Hi Lara
    I am in menopause state and have no thyroid issues. But I do have fibrocystic breast and just bought Lugols 2%. I want to know what is the safe dose to start with and do I mix it with water before I drink it? Thank you for all your helpful info.

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  35. Hi Lara. Is it only “kelp” that is a problem when it comes to bromine? If you have a study link(s) for this I’d be forever grateful! I know there are lots of different types of seaweed. Thank you!

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  36. Hi, I am not sure if I should take iodine or not. If so, I’d love to know which brand(s) and dosage you recommend.

    (I am 25, have a history of multiple cysts (hemorrhagic and non, small to larger (5-7cm)) on both ovaries because of high gonadotropins, while my estrogen was very very low, and androgens low as well. The closest diagnosis I’ve received is aquired hypergonadotropic hypogonadism with normal ovarian reserve, thought to be autoimmune. Thyroid has been tested via blood tests which included reverse and antibodies and came back well within normal range (the real normal range, not the one listed on the test). I did try supplementing with iodine for around 9 months while working with a naturopath but saw no improvement during or after. I’ve tried as many natural therapies as I’ve been able to, but have been unable to stop hormone replacement without recurrence of the issue. It’s been 5 years.)

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  37. Thank you for the wonderful post! I have an under active thyroid which I treat with natural desiccated thyroid. I am suffering from heavy periods, awful PMS and often have extremely sore breasts ramping up in tenderness sometimes already two weeks before my period. I’m pescatarian eating fish occasionally, but mainly I enjoy a vegetarian diet. Is it safe for me to try iodine? What format should I try? All advice would be greatly appreciated.

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  38. I have an peritoneal inclusion cyst as a result of my two previous pelvic operation. I had cystectomy on both of my ovaries and last Dec 2017 I had my left ovary surgically removed because I had a huge mas w/c is diagnosed to be stage 1 ovarian cancer. Can Iodine treatment helps with my current inclusion cyst on my right ovary? How many mg should I take? 🙁 Thanks

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  39. Dr. Lara, I definitely think I could benefit from iodine as I experience breast soreness and fullness frequently. I’d love to start taking a supplement of iodine. I don’t have thyroid issues but still wondering if the Violet dosage is too high? Breast cancer runs in my family so looking for something I can do that is healthy and preventative. I find your information so very valuable.

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  40. Hi Lara,
    I had a complete thyroidecomy several years ago due to it becoming severely overactive. I have asked several doctors about supplementing iodine into my diet and they have advised against it. However I am suffering from excruciating breast pain before my period is due and very recently j have been experiencing pain in the area where my right ovary is located, my periods are also extremely heavy for the first few days.Could you please advise whether I should start taking an iodine supplement.
    Kind regards
    Sarah

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  41. Hi Lara, I found your first book hugely helpful. However I want to tell my experience of iodine supplements. I am 47 and was suffering from heavy periods, chronic migraines and spotting. The nutritionist I was seeing about 16 months ago recommended Nascent Iodine a few drops in water three times a day. The spotting stopped within weeks, which I was thrilled about. If I stopped taking the iodine the spotting came back. So I kept taking it. Until 6 weeks when I got quite poorly, heart palpitations, stomach pain and upsets. I went to the Drs for a range of blood tests. My thyroid readings were all over the place. I am now suffering from hyperthyroidism, I immediately stopped taking the iodine in a week and the thyroid dropped by 5 points. Two weeks later and it hadn’t dropped anymore. So sadly I am now on thyroid medication. I am also going through numerous tests and investigations. I also feel really quite ill. Whether there was an underlying thyroid issue I was unaware off and the iodine tipped it over the edge. Or whether the iodine was the sole cause. I don’t know.But I seriously regret taking it. I guess what I am saying is that testing is essential my nutritionist never suggested it and as I thought the iodine was helping me I kept taking it. I would really appreciate your thoughts Lara
    Thank you

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    • Hi Michelle, Thanks for sharing your story. Yes, iodine can be a big problem for thyroid. As I explain in the post, the most important test to have before starting iodine is a blood test for thyroid antibodies which is autoimmune thyroid disease. It is positive in one out of four women, so very common! When thyroid antibodies are present, I never go above 500 mcg per day. With negative thyroid antibodies, a safe upper limit can be as high as 3000 mcg (but not in every situation and definitely not during pregnancy). Anything greater than 3000 can (in the long term) cause over or underactive thyroid.

      Reply
  42. I have issues with cysts in both my ovaries and my breasts. My mom has always sworn by iodine in dealing with her Fibrocystic breasts and she has recommended it to me. After reading your article, I am just a little hesitant on how iodine mixes with IUDs. My hormonal IUD is meant to stop ovulation but this says that iodine promotes it. What are your thoughts?

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  43. hello good day i just wanna ask how much of iodine need to take with breast cysts with no other health issues?thanks looking forwars for the kind response

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  44. HI, I have a question regarding thyroid antibodies – you mention three types; should I do all three, or doing any of them is enough before supplementing with iodine?

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  45. Do you have another recommendation besides Violet? I don’t like all of the additives in the product (mannitol, sorbitol, croscarmellose sodium, and magnesium stearate). Thanks!

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    • I recently came across “Detoxadine Certified Organic Premium Nascent Iodine Supplement by Global Healing Center – Deep-Earth Sourced Nano-Colloidal | Supports & Detoxifies Thyroid | 1,950 mcg (1 Ounce)” that can be found on Amazon.com. It’s recommended by a health expert named Anthony William who is known as the Medical Medium. He recommends nascent iodine and this brand in particular for thyroid issues and chooses only the most pure products to alert his readers to. I’ve just ordered some and hope to see good results once I begin taking it. For more information, you could do a search for “Medical Medium Iodine” and some of his blog posts will show up, and perhaps also transcribed scripts of his radio show on Hay House Radio (free to subscribe and listen to his current and past pod casts). Best of luck to you!

      Reply
  46. First let me say I just got your newest book, and it has been very helpful. However I have one question…I have been taking the violet brand iodine for 58 days and I have not noticed much change in my breast tenderness. I was so hoping this was my answer to this long term problem that I have had. I don’t know if I should continue to take violet brand, since it is a higher dose iodine or back off to 2-3 times a week as a maintenance? Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!

    Reply
    • Sara, the Violet iodine FAQ “For mild to moderate symptoms, take one pill on an empty stomach every morning. For more severe symptoms, take 1 additional pill every evening”

      I obviously dont know your condition, but hopefully you have a doctor who can advise you.

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    • If the iodine hasn’t helped after 2 full months, then you may want to think about other reasons for breast tenderness including histamine intolerance, high prolactin, thyroid, and progesterone deficiency.

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      • Thank you so much for your response! I have been reading more on the histamine intolerance. I have had my thyroid checked and I am currently taking prometrium following ovulation, so I don’t believe it’s my thyroid or a progesterone deficiency. I have been following a lot of your suggestions in your book but the breast tenderness has been my hardest to resolve. I never would have thought to look at histamine, so thank you for pointing me in that direction!

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  47. I remember having several health issues while growing up. First my mum said I did not walk early (14months) and had to be given calcium supplements. My mum was in college and I wasn’t adequately breast fed and was in the care of my grandma. They couldn’t tell if I had fallen or anything.

    I also remember having severe constipation while growing up, I had to be given anusol suppository or milk of magnesia to help me.

    When I started seeing my period, I also knew something was wrong, it took 3 months after the first to see my period again and the breast tenderness was off the chain. My periods were also erratic, Sometimes with a 54days gap. I didn’t give it much thought. Funny enough I didn’t let that bother me until I became pregnant with my first child and all hell let loose. The hirsutism, hair loss after child birth, lethargy and the breast tenderness that got worse (from end of cycle to another cycle and in times I didn’t bleed i still had continuous pain till my period). After 3 years of complaints to my GP, referral to OB/GYN and tests I was diagnosed with PCOS.

    I also have cramps in my hands and legs, they resolve when I am taking magnesium supplements and start when I stop (I don’t want to leave on supplements). I recently started taking Naturelo wholefood supplements and it has iodine from Kelp, I noticed a difference in my energy level I. Less than 2 weeks. I ordered organic Seaweed and hope that it can help me.

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  48. Dear Lara, i have potassium iodine, its in the liquid form, 150 mcg in 3 drops…recomended dose on the bottle. How much shall i start on, and when to take it, morning with food? as per selenium, i take 4-5 Brazil nuts a day. Thank you

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  49. Hi Lara. I live in Denmark and here its not possible to get natural progesterone creme + its illegal til import it.
    I would very much like to buy molecular iodine instead. Can you recommend a brand that can be bought in Europe?
    Kind regards an d thank you so much for at great blog 🙂

    Reply
    • That’s interesting to hear that you cannot access progesterone in Denmark. Are you sure? Is it possible to obtain a prescription for Prometrium from a doctor?
      I like the iodine brand Violet but I’m not sure if it’s available in Europe yet.

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      • Doctors and gynaecologists usually don’t prescribe progesterone at all, but oestrogen. And if they do it is not the natural form. People have a hard time getting progesterone creme. They buy it on the net form other countries and some get caught in the customs which means fines or maybe you get charges for trying to import illegal hormones if they bye DHEA ex. (it’s on the doping list here in Denmark). The same goes for NDT. Hardly any doctor prescribe it. They are not allowed before all other synthetic products have been tried.

        Reply
  50. The Violet brand indicates that a single tablet/pill is 3000mcg, and suggest taking 1-2 daily. This far exceeds your suggested dosing. Should these be cut down to a 500mcg to start and is taking 3000mcg safe?

    Reply
    • If a patient is negative for thyroid antibodies, then I might suggest 1 per day (3000 mcg) to start and then eventually drop back to a maintenance dose of 2 or 3 per week.

      Reply
  51. Hi Lara, thanks so much for this post. I have had breast tenderness for the 2 weeks between ovulation and my period, every month for the past 5 years. I have also been battling unexplained infertility for 4 years. I spot for 2-5 days before my period too. I wonder if iodine could be the answer?

    I can’t seem to find violet in the uk where I live. I may try lugol’s solution instead. Could you recommend the strength of the solution and the dose? Also should it be taken orally or on the skin?

    Reply
  52. I have been diagnosed w Hashimotos (as a result of my PCOS) and excessive estrogen. Is there an iodine you recommend for a woman w my conditions since all the ones you’ve recommended so far above are more than 250 mcg a dose, and that is the dose you recommend beginning at for women w Hashimotos? Thank you.

    Reply
  53. Hi Lara,
    My thyroid test said normal TSH-1.75 . Am I ok to take 500 mcg daily? I have biceuticals. Where can I get selenium from please? I have read your book and read through all comments searching for answers.
    Thanks

    Reply
  54. Hello! I know this article states iodine can help prevent ovarian cysts, but have there any studies that show it helps shrink them as well? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Dr. Jonathan Wright claims it does help shrink them:

      https://tahomaclinic.com/2011/01/iodide/

      “In “medium” to “minor” cases, 6 to 8 drops of SSKI taken in a few ounces of water daily will frequently reduce fibrocystic breast disease to insignificance within three to six months. Please do not do this without monitoring your thyroid function…see “Keeping SSKI Safe” on page whatever.

      One of our daughters and at least thirty other women I’ve worked with in nearly 30 years have helped ovarian cysts disappear within two to three months with the same quantity of SSKI. Again, make sure to monitor your thyroid function!

      It’s very likely that SSKI helps eliminate fibrocystic breast disease and ovarian cysts at least partly through it’s interaction with estrogens….which brings us to another important use for SSKI (and other forms of iodine such as “Lugol’s solution” and “di-atomic iodine”). All of these forms of iodine help your body to metabolize estrone (a slightly carcinogenic human estrogen) and 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone (a much more dangerous metabolite of human estrogen) into estriol, an “anti-carcinogenic” or at worst “neutral” form of human estrogen. I’ve reviewed literally hundreds of hormone tests in over 26 years which have proven this point. This testing and treatment usually requires the help of a physician skilled and knowledgeable in nutritional and natural medicine, who can also help with monitoring thyroid function.”

      Reply
  55. Fascinating article, thank you. I have suffered (and I MEAN suffered!) with an extreme form of fibrocystic breast disease for over 20 years. I tried everything in my 20s from Evening Primrose Oil to vitamin E, magnesium, B6, Agnus Castus (German research), chasteberry, black cohosh – you name it I’ve probably popped it! I went on an extreme low fat diet, cut out all caffeine and alcohol. The only thing that had a mild impact was the EPO and that took 6 months to work and lasted 18 months. I then went on Danazol 100mg for a few years. Horrible side effects but did help significantly. The birth control pill always made them worse. I had a respite after each of my 3 children were born of about a year. Then it came back with a vengeance.
    I was one of the first adopters of the Violet daily pill. By that point I was keeping a spreadsheet of my breast pain and swelling (which lasted approx half of each month and I swelled up 2 cup sizes). Violet Daily was wonderful – for about 8 months. Then it’s effectiveness wore off. By this point I’d had enough. In my early 40s with my childbirth years behind me, I went for a radical breast reduction. My wonderful breast team literally had to decide between putting me on tamoxifen or surgery. Surgery was considered the lesser of the two evils in my particular case. It took almost 2 years to get approved on insurance, but I was lucky enough to have a tiny frame (5’4″ and 104lbs) and large breasts for my size (swelling up to an E cup) and I easily met the criteria on the Schnur scale for a reduction.
    One year on the problem is still here, but it is SO much more manageable with my B cup (swelling to C cup) breasts. I’m now going to try an iodine supplement again because I am developing other symptoms such as thinning hair, brittle nails, aches and pains even though my thyroid tests are all normal.
    I want to thank you for drawing attention to this most important issue which is often overlooked. I had been suffering for so long and it caused so much depression. I had to plan nights out around where I was in my cycle! It was a miserable way to live.

    Reply
  56. Would it be OK to get iodine via a Kelp supplement (NOW brand in the USA)? Also my functional doctor would like me to take a max of 75 mcg of iodine per day via supplementation, as I have hashiomoto’s. Is this enough to help with painful periods and breast pain/tenderness? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Unfortunately, I doubt that kelp or 75 mcg iodine would be enough to be of much benefit on the breasts. But it’s better than nothing. Will your doctor permit you to use iodized salt?

      Reply
      • Dr Lara, would a higher dosage of organic kelp (from clean waters, naturally sourced) be of benefit to the breasts? I’m conflicted over why kelp would not be a good way to get iodine if it’s responsibly and naturally sourced with no additives at all.

        Reply
        • The problem is that even the “cleanest” kelp has bromine and also the possibility of heavy metals. Because the ocean has heavy metals.

          Reply
  57. Thank you Ms Lara!!!!! I was in so much pain I thought that I was having a heart attack. So I started doing yoga to open up my chest that’s when I realized that it was my breast. I didn’t mean to rhyme lol. Nonetheless, I went and purchased violat today from the vitamin shoppe and about an hour later I began to feel real relief. There is still some discomfort but not the pain that I have been experiencing for the past week. Thank you so much may God-bless your business-and what you do!

    Reply
  58. Dear dr bernard
    I am a pediatrician from Isfahan univerdity in Iran
    and I have studied your article about fibrocystic Change and the effect of molecular iodin on it .I want to perscribe it for my wief
    (she is proffesor of physical chemistry in isfahan university of technology)
    but We know diatomic iodin is not solable in water how can we use it?
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Sincerely yours
    Dr Majid magizian
    Sent from Yahoo Mail on yahoo

    Reply
  59. Sorry Lara, last question I promise! How do you decide on the appropriate dosage of iodine supplementation after you have reviewed thyroid antibodies and iodine status?

    Reply
  60. Hi Lara,
    Thanks so much for such useful information. Which iodine supplement is available to prescribe in Australia?

    Reply
    • We don’t have a lot to choose from in Australia. I usually give the Pure Innovation capsule which is 225 mcg from potassium iodide

      Reply
      • Thanks Lara, I’ve been looking at the Bioceuticals Iodine Forte spray which is on par I think. Do you have any issues dosing higher with this form? E.g up to 5000mcg?
        Thanks again!

        Reply
        • 5000 mcg would be a lot of sprays of the Bioceuticals iodine! In theory, that could be okay as long as negative for thyroid antibodies. But might just be easier to obtain Lugol’s iodine solution from local chemist.

          Reply
  61. Lara, thank you for all this information; I am very, very interested to learn about Violet Daily from you, as I have been putting off taking Iodoral (I2) for the reasons you state are concerns.

    My situation is that I was diagnosed with 4 ovarian cysts in late 2014. Various follow-ups (wait-and-see exams) revealed that one suspect one is definitely not cancerous, thankfully. However, they seem to be interfering with my cycle (I’m in my 40s but my mom did not stop ovulating till her 50s.), as well as bladder function and intimacy comfort level (There is no pain, per se, but there is a crowding you might say.)

    Three questions: First, do you know whether taking iodine related supplementation helps shrink/remove *dermoid* ovarian cysts? Second, if I were to start a Violet Daily regimen (I live in the States so have access.), do you have any recommendations for when I should do I follow-up transvaginal ultrasound to check the dimensions of my 4 (noncancerous) ovarian cysts? Third, I am having difficulty finding someone who will oversee my supplementation (i.e., direct me to have various check-ups at certain intervals); are you able to do this from a distance–and if so, would I simply send you a private message to determine your rate?

    Thank you for your time and insight!

    Reply
  62. Can I take iodine while on natural dessicated thyroid replacement? I currently take armour thyroid for hypothyroidism and wanted to know if iodine is safe while on medication? Thanks!

    Reply
  63. My integrative doctor recently had me start 12.5 mg iodine (I-Throid brand) twice a week because of a small nodule found on my thyroid. After a few weeks, my TPO antibody count went up from 450 to 533 and now I’m questioning the iodine. My TSH also went up from 2.15 to 4.3. I’ve been eating a few Brazil nuts daily to get selenium with the iodine, but do you think the iodine is to blame for the antibody jump? Where can I find lower doses of iodine? The violet brand starts out at 3000 mcg and Lugols one drop is 2.5mg, both of which are still too high of a daily dose unless I took less frequently. What would you recommend? Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Since you have positive thyroid antibodies, you need to be very careful with iodine and stay below 500 mcg (0.5 mg) or even below 250 mcg. With my own patients, I use Australian brands or this one, which is 450 mcg (0.4 mg) per drop.
      I often prescribe 1 drop every second day to keep the dose low. But please speak to your own doctor about what is best for you.

      Reply
  64. Hi Lara – I am confused by the following:

    “Conditions that benefit from iodine…

    You need some iodine for these conditions, even if you have thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s), or even over-active thyroid (hyperthyroidism). I don’t agree that thyroid disease means you must avoid all iodine. You just must be careful. Stay at a low dose such as 500 mcg (0.5 mg) to begin. Talk to your doctor.”

    Do you mean that the listed conditions are contraindications for iodine? Thanks 🙂

    Reply
    • Sorry, I had worded that awkwardly. I’ve updated it to hopefully be a bit more clear.

      Those conditions need iodine, even for someone who has Hashimoto’s. Because generally, iodine is contraindicated with Hashimoto’s disease, but I argue that a small dose is safe and appropriate.

      Reply
  65. Dr. Briden,

    I just read your book “The Period Repair Manual” and this blog post. Thank you so much for all the information! I was left with some questions after reading your writing that I’d like to ask.

    I suspect that Thyroid Disease, Progesterone Deficiency, PCOS, anovulatory cycles, Functional Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, and Estrogen Excess apply to me. I haven’t been formally diagnosed with Thyroid Disease, PCOS or Functional Hypothalamic Amenorrhea by my doctor though.

    I am fairly convinced that a thyroid condition is the ring leader behind all my ailments I mentioned above. However, I am not sure if it is due to an autoimmune condition (Hashimotos) or an iodine deficiency (I don’t consume iodized salt or much seafood). I do not believe anyone in my family has been diagnosed with Hashimoto. As for me, I’ve experienced breast pain before and ovarian cysts—even some mild skin dryness. On a rather recent blood test I have had high triglycerides/cholesterol despite everything else being rather normal. I did also lose an unexplained 3 pounds recently. Is a full thyroid panel/lab necessary to diagnose myself? It seems quite obvious to me that I have an iodine deficiency alongside numerous other deficiencies.

    I am in the process of moving currently and am looking for a new doctor. My current doctor is dismissive and insists on the birth control pill. Until, I can find a new doctor what do you suggest I do about treatment? Your book and blog posts suggest a lot of treatments that I find completely doable! However, I am unsure of where to even begin. Where do I start? Do I start with what you recommend when it comes to “General Maintenance” first and wait to see if my periods return? If not, do I follow up with additional targeted treatments? Do I implement BOTH the General Maintenance practices/treatments and targeted treatment simultaneously? If yes, Which targeted treatments do I start with? Digestive health? Thyroid Disease? Functional Hypothalamic Amenorrhea? PCOS? Progesterone Deficiency? My nutrient deficiencies? I would greatly appreciate your guidance with putting together a treatment plan. What do I do in the short-term and what about the long term? How do I buy herbal medicine and supplements? How do I take them? All at once in the morning? How much supplementation is safe?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  66. Hi Dr. Briden,
    You say to use 100mcg selenium. It is hard to find a soy free brand that is 100mcg. Do you have a brand you can suggest in this dose? thank you!

    Reply
  67. Hello! My mom has an overactive thyroid so it’s a common practice for me to get my thyroid levels checked if I need to have other blood work done. Is that enough to tell if your thyroid is functioning properly? All of those results have always come back normal.
    Thanks!

    Reply
  68. I have started using an iodine supplement, and noticed results fairly quickly. I had been dealing with a lot of PMS and period pain and it was having too much of an impact on my life.

    Reply
  69. If low dose of iodine could be helpful in combination with other PCOS treatments.. Do you need selenium as well? And how low is a “low dose”

    Reply
  70. I’ve been taking the Rainbow Light prenatal vitamin for the last six months- which claims to have a daily dose of Iodine. However, my PMS breast pain these last few cycles has been so noticeable, and it didn’t use to be. Will I overdue it if I add in seaweed? Thanks for any insight!

    Reply
  71. I am thinking… If iodine promotes ovulation… And If ovulation is the goal for getting all your homones in balance…. Is it good thing to add Iodine if you have PCOS ?

    Reply
  72. Hello Lara, thank you for your articles, which form of zinc would you suggest for women to drink as a supplement? Thank you very much.

    Reply
  73. Hi Lara,
    Could you please advise a dose for Bioceuticals liquid drops? It says 3 drops is 376mcg of potassium iodine, equiv iodine 288mcg, equiv potassium 89mcg. I have gone home early from work due to heavy menstrual bleeding and the fatigue along with it , I’m so sick of it so I just went and bought the iodine but want to know where can I find guidence on taking it for this . Is there a proper guide in your book discussing detox etc ? I also have pretty bad pms and Brest soreness pre period and tried vitex – made things worse , evening primrose oil- made me worse too.
    Thanks 🙂

    Reply
    • I don’t discuss iodine in detail in my book.
      As I say in the post, I generally prescribe in the 500 – 5000 mcg range. Depends if there are thyroid antibodies or not (I usually test thyroid antibodies as a “safety check” before giving iodine)

      Reply
  74. at last a knowledgeable, website. Thanks for fine tuned details on iodine. i am age 51. was diagnosed with pcos in late 20’s. high testosterone gave me bundles of energy and a creative libido. last couple of years though has seen a big drop in drive, sex drive and energy – who am I? sense of identity is a bit confused 🙂 i tested and saw low T (22ng) and very high Oest and very low Prog. Also thyroid low end. i started kelp 150mcg about 3 weeks ago and i def had an ovulatory cycle. once a day but following your thoughts i will feel better about 2 a day. I also take cod liver oil with vit D total 400mg. Also Magnesium. Any further thoughts on low T before I reluctantlysupplement with small amounts of the gel would be appreciated. Warm wishes.

    Reply
  75. When my progesterone and estradiol is low (2,9 and 0,12) do you recommend any of these supplements then? The Blood test was taken a few day before my period.

    Reply
    • It would be more useful to have a test a week before your period, so you could assess progesterone–and know if you ovulated or not. When it comes to period health, it’s all about ovulation. Please see my book Period Repair Manual.

      Reply
  76. Hi Lara, thanks for another great article! I have some bottles of Lugols here, but I cannot take the stuff, because even 1 drop per day causes my periods to become irregular. I have even tried applying it only to the skin (in some lotion), and still get the same result! I do have breast tenderness during the week before my period, and some mild to moderate PMS, but otherwise my cycles are still regular (I’m 43), as long as I stay away from the Lugols! Should I try one drop per week in water, or on my skin in lotion?

    Reply
    • Yes, I’m excited about Violet because it is molecular iodine. I have not yet been able to prescribe it because it is not yet available in Australia.

      Reply
      • Lara, I was able to get violet in Australia, would you recommend it’s use over other molecular iodine supplements

        Reply
        • Thanks Kim. Yes, I like the Violet supplement. It’s the only good molecular iodine supplement that I am aware of. Also, I’m keen to know how you managed to get it shipped to Australia. Please send me a private message.

          Reply
          • I’m about to set up a ShopMate account so I can get this Violet iodine which is costly and cumbersome. Are you able to email me the website Kim bought it from?

            I tried getting it from ebay but the expiry date of the iodine had already passed.

      • Hi Lara, I have been taking Life-flo liquid iodine and in the supplement facts panel it says “Iodine (as Iodine, Potassium Iodide) 150 mcg.” Can I assume the “Iodine” portion is molecular Iodine? Or must I read “Potassium Iodate”?

        Reply
          • Hi Lara,
            in the reply to the comment above, regarding Molecular Iodine, & potassium iodineI also have similar liquid drops,from AllVia 150mc per 3 drops ( serving size)
            how many drops is safe to take?
            I have been taking 10 drops
            how much is it in mc?
            thank you

        • Violet brand iodine contains selenium in the form of selenite. Paul Jaminet, in his book, The Perfect Health Diet, sites studies that show this inorganic form of selenium can harm a developing fetus. I also take issue with the inactive ingredients in Violet, such as stearate and sugar alcohols which can cause digestive distress in many people. At $35-40 for 60 tabs, I also think it’s overpriced for iodine. That said, I began taking Violet 3mg a week ago for breast swelling and tenderness, and plan to take it for a two month duration. In the meantime I am hoping to find a better alternative for supplementation. I’ll report back on how my results, in case they can help anyone else.

          Reply
          • Hi all! Here’s an update on my experience with iodine. I bought 60 tabs of Violet and incidentally began taking it on day 1 of my cycle. I took it almost, but not quite daily, and finished the last 10 or so tabs during the first half of the third cycle. I’ve dealt with premenstrual breast tenderness and swelling on and off for as long as I can remember, but for the past year or so those symptoms had seemed to be getting progressively worse and persistent. I already felt some relief during the first cycle, and during the second and third, I had absolutely NO tenderness or swelling. Wow, it really worked! That said, I’m not keen on being hooked to a $20/month marketed-to-girls gimmicky looks-like-birth-control packaged supplement with cheap filler ingredients for a mineral that shouldn’t cost much. I found Iosol Formula II, which is a liquid with no questionable fillers. As I understand it, this is a combination of iodine and iodide, and one drop provides 1830mcg- about 2/3 the dose of Violet. I will continue taking selenium as a separate supplement. Hopefully this will work just as well. Good luck ladies!

          • Lindsey, can you tell me where you got this iodine from? Is it molecular iodine? How often do you take it? How much selenium do you take with it? Thanks!

          • Hi Suzanne,
            This is the company that makes Iosol:

            You can buy it from them or from sites like PureFormulas or iHerb.
            As I understand it, Iosol is primarily molecular iodine, with a small amount of ionized iodine in the form of ammonia iodide. I still find this subject confusing because there is so much contradictory information and a large portion of it seems to be provided by someone trying to sell a product. I’ve taken as much as a drop a day, most days, for several months with complete elimination of breast swelling and tenderness. I was taking 200mcg selenium which seems to be the most common recommendation, but a couple months ago decided to stop taking it until I had my blood levels of selenium tested, based on information I learned from Chris Masterjohn, PHD (great podcast on nutrition) and my personal set of symptoms. I greatly reduced/almost stopped the iodine in the meantime as well for fear of harming my thyroid without the protection of selenium, and my breast symptoms have worsened again since.

          • Thank you Lindsay! I’m fascinated by this subject! I want iodine to work for me given I’m definitely a candidate. I do not have thyroid issues ( at least blood work never indicated a problem) but will have bloodwork done at my doc appointment in a few weeks. I started organic Kelp after researching the company. They test for heavy metals/ toxins in their product and source the kelp from the waters off the coast of Nova Scotia. I’m not sure if this will help as I’ve only just started, nor do I know if it’s the best route to take. Violet is expensive and the dosage seems high but I’ll try it if it’s what I should do to stop the tenderness/ soreness/ swelling and protect the breasts in general. I also think I have progesterone deficiency too and am using the suggestions from Dr Lara. It’s really challenging trying to figure it all out! Thanks again for sharing your info.

    • Short answer is yes BUT it all depends on whether you have thyroid antibodies or not. Anyone with positive thyroid antibodies (blood test) needs to be careful and stay with a low dose.

      Reply
  77. I can second that…warning about overdosing on iodine when you have underlying thyroid issues. After trying iodine supplementation (lugols and then Nascent) for a few months to replace my thyroxine meds (which were not working) I developed hashimotos and CFS. AFter months of supplementing with selenium and magnesium and Vit D, I got my antibodies under control but ended up with my adrenals and thyroid trashed. However, at one stage during the supplementation, my thryoid related symptoms were gone and i felt amazing but then continuing with the iodine tilted things the other direction and hashimotos was the result. So definitely be very careful but i can vouch also that it can really help with hormone production. Btw I was advised that Nascent iodine is meant to be for thyroid only and the Lugols for ovaries and breasts as advised by a guy who makes Nascent.

    Reply
  78. Your article on iodine for breast ID contradictory. In the very first statement you say that you recommend iodine as the most important vitamin for women and further down in your article you say iodine is damaging to the thyroid. These are two conflicting statements. PleSe confirm what you really mean . thank you.

    Reply
  79. Hi Lara

    Would you consider TPO antibodies of 40 enough to consider caution when using iodine for breast tenderness? I know the reference range is different at different labs

    Reply
  80. Hi Lara,
    I have an issue that when I consume kelp (high quality, pure from NZ) within a week before menstruation, I will always get the most intense pain in my left ovaries area. The pain is the same as labor pains and even intensifies with waves of pain just like I’m in labor. It’s excruciating and terrifying. It will always happen on the 3rd day of bleeding. It will only happen if I consume kelp and/or my vitamin b complex within a week prior to menstruation. So I really have to keep track of when I’m due. (I am assuming that it is a burst ovarian cyst, but I have no idea. The hospital emergency did not do an ultrasound when I visited them in pain, and my doctor has no answer) I have not tried iodine, but I’m very scared that it will have the same effect. My question is, If I was to start supplementing with iodine, is there any point if I stop taking 1 week before menstruation starts?

    Reply
    • Funny, I had the same pain in left ovary about a couple of weeks following kelp supplement. It was ovulation…a little early in my cycle but at 51 I recognise that pain anywhere. It was not overwhelmingly painful however I did have a similar experience to yours back in my 40’s and i was bent over double. Turns out it was an enlarged follicle. (Stressful time). Went down by itself. Warm wishes.

      Reply
  81. Great article Lara. how about someone with hashimotos, who is iodine deficient from a spot iodine test and wants to conceive? What daily levels of iodine would you recommend building up in this situation? Also would you suggest against the 24hour iodine urine challenge test in this situation since you need to take 50mg of iodine to do it even if there are no nodules? Have you seen a autoimmune storm or flare in your practice from higher doses of iodine or are you going off studies? I’m just wondering if practioners are just being cautious from a few studies or they are actually seeing it in clinical practice. Lastly how fast can iodine levels come up if you are taking smaller doses of iodine at say 225mcg per day? Also how does high iodine supplementation cause an autoimmune flare? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Hi Emmi,

      Yes, I have seen iodine aggravate/cause thyroid problems. Not a thyroid storm. But a few cases of suppressed thyroid activity. And also flared-up antibodies leading to mildly over-active and then swing to under-active. As for why iodine causes an autoimmune flare, my understanding is that it’s because iodine stimulates both TPO activity and immune function. That aggravation is far less likely to happen in the presence of selenium. Please read: Iodine and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Part 2

      Reply
  82. Hi Lara, thank you for this information. It was very helpful. I have been taking 39 milligrams of potassium iodate, I know that is a lot, but it re-started my period, after I was diagnosed with entering menopause, and I’m only 39 years old. I now am only taking 1 pill, which is 13.6 mg. Is this safe? Which brand do you recommend? Also, do you practice in US? I would like to make an appointment with you. Thank you

    Reply
  83. Hi, Lara!

    Terrific post! I have Lugol’s, but haven’t used it yet because of the conflicting information I’ve read about oral (diluted with water) vs. skin delivery. How do you instruct patients who want to use low-doses of iodine?
    I prefer iodine over Kelp, since Kelp is a high histamine food.
    Under the care of a functional medicine practitioner, my low T3 & adrenal fatigue issues (too many to list here!) of years have slowly faded away. Thankfully, no thyroid antibodies show up over the years of regular testing.
    I’m 43, and am in good health.

    Thank you for your blog- I am grateful to have run into it last year!

    Reply
    • 1 drop of 5% Lugol’s solution contains 6250 mcg (6.25 mg) which is high-dose. I prefer to use lower dose formulas.

      When I have used Lugol’s in the past, I often started at a dose of 3 drops per week, which works out to 2678 mcg (2.67 mg) per day. It will be easier for you because you don’t have anti-TPO antibodies.

      Please ask your practitioner to prescribe the dose that’s right for you.

      Reply
    • Hi Martine, Great question. I can’t figure out what nascent iodine actually is. The word nascent is derived from some pseudoscience by a psychic, and it is supposedly “energised atomidine” or I3 (but not sure what energised refers to…).

      All that said, I do prescribe some of the nascent iodine products for the simple reason that they are 400 mcg per drop, which is a manageable low dose. Also, it does seem to work better than potassium iodide for breast pain.

      Reply
    • Depends on whether you have thyroid antibodies. With no antibodies, I would usually start patients at 800 or 1000 mcg and then work up.

      Reply
  84. I began taking iodine (the supplement label says “iodine, potassium iodide”) about 6 months ago, starting at 150mcg, and slowly increasing the dose each month until I reached about 750mcg, when I realized it was causing quite the acne breakout on my forehead (normally the only clear part of my face!). I’ve read that this is normal and probably a sign of detoxification, but I’ve cut down my dose to around 200mcg again. The controversy certainly is boggling! I have no idea how high I ought to eventually titrate up to. I have PCOS which is not insulin resistant or pill-induced, and I am now convinced is of the inflammatory/toxic nature. I have never had out of range auto-antibodies, but I do have low thyroid hormone levels and plenty of symptoms to go along with them. Iodine seems so important, but it’s confusing! Thank you for your article, Lara.

    Reply
    • Iodine can cause acne, and if it does, I always ask my patients to stop for a while and then reintroduce slowly. If your ovulation or thyroid had not improved after 6 months on iodine (albeit, you were on a low dose), then there may be another underlying issue that needs fixing.

      Maybe zinc deficiency? Dairy sensitivity? Gluten? Vitamin D? Prolactin? Have you looked at those things?

      Reply
      • Thank you for your suggestions, Lara!
        My prolactin was 7.4 ng/mL the only time I had it measured- about 4months ago. My vitamin D goes up and down significantly, but I test it 2-3 times a year and adjust my supplements to try to keep it up. Based on symptoms I’ve been suspicious of a zinc deficiency for years, but I don’t know an accurate way to determine one. On an “Elemental Marker (red blood cell)” test by Genova Diagnostics my zinc was in range at 10.6 mcg/g. I stopped eating gluten about 5 months ago, and I’ve trailed dairy-free a couple of times but didn’t notice a difference. Maybe two months was not a long enough trial.
        P.S.- I visited Sydney (from Chicago) a year and a half ago and was dying to try to make an appointment with you, but there was no time. Thank you so much for your blog and book.

        Reply
        • You would need to stop dairy for at least 3-4 months to see a difference. I would go so far as to say that dairy is a factor in every case of acne.

          Reply
          • Hi Lara, really enjoying your articles. I’m four months off the pill (after over a decade on it), and thus still very much in period repair mode. Struggling with hormonal/jaw line acne. Have now switched to A2 milk and yoghurt. Would you expect this to benefit, given that I’m now essentially avoiding the inflammatory A1 protein? Still keen for my milk nutrients/calcium. Thanks for your thoughts x

          • Yes, I find that A2 milk is generally better for skin, but it’s also important to avoid sugar (desserts, fruit juice etc)

          • Thank you for your comment Lara. Great to hear. And yep, maintaining a major cut down on sugar too. Fingers and toes crossed. x

    • Hi Jamie, You can still take some iodine with autoimmune thyroid disease (remember, you need it for your breasts and ovaries!), but you must start at a low dose like 250 mcg (0.25 mg) and work up slowly. I’ve just amended the post because I should have been more clear about that.

      Reply
      • Lara, this is an extremely informative article and glad I ran across it. I have hashimotos but also tested low for iodine in urine and blood. I’ve tried Lugols 2% at 1 drop and it made my throat feel enlarged. I’ve tried 1/2 a iodorak 12.5mg and felt sleepy. My selenium level is great and my dr would love for me to try iodine , however, I keep reacting badly to it. I’ve ran across Violet and it seems to be a lower dose iodine supplementation than others. Would you think think this is a better alternative? In addition to my thyroid, I would also like to keep my breasts and ovaries in good shape (since I am also prone to ovarian cysts). I know to start low and go up and everyone is different, but my mind is baffled with all various forms of iodine. Thank you!

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        • I’m a big fan of Violet, but it’s 3000 mcg (3 mg) per tablet, and that can be too much for Hashimoto’s.
          As I state in the article, I think Hashimoto’s sufferers should stay below 500 mcg (0.5 mg), at least to start.

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  85. Great summary on iodine Lara. And you are right about dosing being a controversial subject! Low and slow is my starting point.

    p.s. thank you for a recent referral. Much appreciated!

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  86. Was diagnosed with low thyroid as part of my perimenopause issues (including excess estrogen) and prescribed iodine. I’ve been taking a kelp supplement to provide the iodine. My menstrual flow has decreased to a manageable level and I have less pain from my fibroids.

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    • Great question, but unfortunately I don’t know the answer. I have never prescribed it that way, and I’m not aware of any research in humans.

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    • I was going to ask something similar. I have heard that a good test for seeing if you have enough iodine is painting some iodine on your skin and seeing how quickly it is absorbed. Does that work? Any familiarity?

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