Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Iodum purum

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Lugol's solution: antiseptic introduced into medicine in 1829 by the French physician Jean Lugol.


An effective bactericide and fungicide, Lugol's solution is a transparent brown liquid prepared by dissolving, first, 10 parts of potassium iodide, then 5 parts of iodine, in 85 parts of water. It is less irritating than iodine tincture (a solution in alcohol) when applied to open wounds. Iodine deficency: condition in which an organism does not take in enough iodine, an element that directly affects thyroid gland secretions, which themselves to a great extent control heart action, nerve response to stimuli, rate of body growth, and metabolism. Simple goitre (enlargement of the thyroid gland) is the most common form of iodine deficiency illness and is found particularly in mountainous regions and areas far from salt water.


Lowest incidence of this disease occurs along seacoasts. When the supply of iodine is only moderately deficient, the thyroid gland works harder to synthesize hormones in normal quantities, but the affected individual may continue in general good health despite the possible presence of goitre. In cases of severe and prolonged deficiency, however, there may be a deficit of thyroid hormones, resulting in myxedema, a condition characterized by dry skin, loss of hair, puffy face, flabbiness and weakness of muscles, weight increase, diminished vigour, and mental sluggishness.


Prevention of iodine deficiency is most simply accomplished by eating seafood regularly or by use of iodized table salt. To overcome natural iodine deficits, government health officials in Canada and other nations have made dietary iodine additives mandatory. Sporadic goitre remains a mystery because it occurs in areas where iodine intake is more than adequate. Foods such as cabbage and turnips contain a potentially dangerous progoitrin substance believed to inhibit normal intake of iodine by body tissues. During the heat of cooking, however, the offending enzyme usually is destroyed. A lack of iodine during infancy may cause a condition known as cretinism, in which mental and physical development is severely impaired. This condition can be prevented if the mother maintains a diet of foods high in iodine during pregnancy.



Chronic iodine toxicity results when iodide intake is 20 times greater than the daily requirement, ie, 2 mg/day. In some areas, particularly Japan, inhabitants consume as much as 50 to 80 mg/day, resulting in high plasma levels. Some of these persons develop goiters, but most remain euthyroid. Some develop myxedema, and some paradoxically develop hyperthyroidism (Jod-Basedow phenomenon). Increased uptake of iodine by the thyroid may lead to inhibition of thyroid hormone synthesis (Wolff-Chaikoff effect) and eventually causes iodide goiter or myxedema. At very high doses of iodide, a brassy taste, increased salivation, gastric irritation, and acneiform skin lesions may occur. studies Treatment with elemental iodine for four months has reportedly produced significant relief from symptoms of fibrocystic breast disease in one study. Upon discontinuing iodine, women in this study suffered a recurrence of pain and soreness.


Some subsequent studies have also reported significant benefit from supplementation with other iodine-containing compounds used to treat this condition. Sodium iodide exhibited marked efficacy but was accompanied by a high rate of side effects. In one analysis of three clinical studies, molecular iodine was found to be the most beneficial in the treatment of fibrocystic breast disease. There is one case report in which 300 milligrams of potassium iodide three times daily was of significant benefit in subjects with sarcoidosis. Pain and swelling in the arthritic ankle largely disappeared within 48 hours after initiation of treatment, and there was rapid regression of erythema nodosum on the leg.


Some others have reported benefit from 200 milligrams of potassium iodide three times daily in subjects with erythema nodosum. Best response has been seen when given soon after onset in patients with positive C-reactive protein reactions. There is also very preliminary evidence that the same doses of potassium iodide may be helpful in some with erythema multiforme and nodular vasculitis. More research is needed to confirm these findings.


Recently, some researchers have concluded that vegetarians, especially "strict" vegetarians who exclude all animal products from their diets, may be at increased risk of iodine deficiency. Both strict vegan diets and lactovegetarian diets that exclude seaweed and iodized salt provide very low iodine, according to the findings of one recent study.


Non-vegetarian diets that exclude iodized salt and naturally rich sources of iodine, especially fish and seafood, also deliver very little iodine. Urinary excretion studies have suggested that there has been a decline in iodide intake in several populations tested, e.g., school children in Switzerland and blood donors in New Zealand. Some have attributed this to the growing popularity of salt-restriction in diet generally. Some European populations have also recently been reported to exhibit overt and borderline iodine deficiencies.