Iodine and Breast Health
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Iodine and Breast Health

by Don Michael, MD
January 27, 2009

Iodine deficiency in the typical American diet has lead to a host of serious health problems. The average American consumes about 240 micrograms of iodine a day. The average Japanese person consumes about 50 times more. Americans also consume a range of substances that make that small amount of iodine available for the body’s health. Chlorine and fluorides in the drinking water antagonize iodine use, as does the use of bromine in baked goods. The trace amount of iodine in some table salt is made more difficult to utilize because of the chloride in the salt. Add to this the decreased use of table salt for “health” reasons, and the problem becomes worse.

Donald Miller, Jr, MD1 explains that this increased iodine consumption in Japan appears to play a major role in health. The US has the highest incidence of Breast Cancer in the world; while Japan, until recently has enjoyed the lowest rate of breast cancer. Life expectancy in Japan is one of the highest of the Industrialized Countries. About 1 in 7 American women will develop breast cancer. Thirty years ago, when the iodine consumption was twice what it is now (480 mcg / day) breast cancer incidence was about 1 in 20.

While one might argue that many other factors have changed in those thirty years, research repeatedly strengthens this connection between iodine and breast health. Both breast cancer and fibrocystic breast disease appear to have an “iodine connection.”

Animal studies have shown that iodine is somewhat protective against breast cancer that is induced with chemical carcinogens. Animals raised on iodine deficient diets develop fibrocystic breast disease that is reversible with iodine intake. Women have repeatedly been cured of fibrocystic breast disease with adequate iodine replacement.

Women with goiters (swollen thyroid glands) who are deficient in iodine are 3 times more likely to get breast cancer2. A high intake of iodine is associated with a lowered incidence of breast cancer. Women who develop fibrocystic breast disease find relief and usually cure with therapeutic doses of iodine, an inexpensive, safe, effective therapy that is too often ignored by Mainstream Medicine. This makes for much unnecessary expense and suffering.

Dr. David Derry, MD, PhD3, feels that iodine plays a major role in apoptosis (self destruction of abnormal or cancerous cells) and helps prevent the development of breast cancer, while adequate thyroid hormones maintain the integrity of connective tissue to prevent metastasis of cancerous cells. Cells that avidly take up iodine include: the thyroid gland, which uses it for the manufacture of thyroid hormones; the gut, to allow iodine to enter the circulation; breast tissue, to prevent cysts and abnormalities; skin; the brain; bones; and joints.

Properly administered, iodine is a safe, essential and protective supplement. It plays an essential role in healthy thyroid function, in overall health, and especially in breast health. Lugol’s Iodine Solution is an excellent source of iodine and iodide. I place most of my patients on the equivalent of 2-8 drops, diluted in liquid, daily. It can relieve fibrocystic breast disease, help prevent cancers, help detoxify fluoride, chlorine, and heavy metals, and it is essential for health4.

It is truly unfortunate that Mainstream Medicine ignores the value of adequate iodine supplementation, but even more unfortunate is its opposition to adequate iodine intake. In the mid 1900s there was a much greater use of iodine. Today, most physicians labor under the mistaken notion that only the thyroid gland uses iodine. Iodine is critically important for breast health, immune system readiness, cancer fighting, and protection from some microbial infections. Iodine has been shown helpful in the treatment of migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, thyroid disorders, diabetes, as well fibrocystic breast disease. When iodine is used in therapeutic amounts, it is essential to maintain good nutrition with special attention to adequate intake of selenium, magnesium and Omega 3 essential fatty acids.


  1. Iodine for Health. Donald W Miller, Jr, MD,
  2. Miller op cit
  3. Breast Cancer and Iodine: How to Prevent and How to Survive Breast Cancer. David Derry, MD, PhD Trafford Publishing 2002
  4. Iodine: Why You Need It-Why You Can’t Live Without It. David Brownstein, MD. West Bloomfield, Michigan. Medical Alternatives Press 2004

For more information visit the website
Donald Michael, MD
Board Certified in Psychiatry and Board Eligible in Neurology
with special interest in Thyroid, Adrenal, Chronic Fatigue,
and Natural Hormone replacement for men and women.



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