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:
- fibrocystic breasts, breast cysts, and pain
- ovulation pain
- prevention of ovarian cysts
- irregular periods including some types of PCOS
- prevention of fibroids
- heavy periods
- premenstrual mood symptoms including PMS and PMDD.
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.
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).
- 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.