A very small amount of people have some type of reaction when their body is exposed to iodine. It’s easy to assume our body is reacting to iodine itself, but biochemistry is complex and a lot of things can happen when our system finally has access to important building blocks.
To potentially help understand what’s happening here, if we are heating our home with a fireplace and the fire runs low on firewood, most of us know not to fill the fireplace to the brim with tons of wood or it will soon become very hot in the room. If we add a little bit of wood and pay attention to how long it takes to heat up the room, we can gain a better idea of how many pieces of wood we need to add over time.
A bed of extremely hot coals can quickly react with fuel, especially if the wood is in small pieces. The biochemical factory that keeps our body running all day can function in similar ways. The fire is just a simple example of a reaction, and our trillions of cells just carry out a bunch of reactions. Sometimes our biochemistry is primed just right and once it gets that last nutrient, chemical reactions have the potential to flare up very rapidly.
There is always more to the story but looking at things in a simple way can help find a path to investigate.
Check out Dr. Ruff’s write-up Stop Saying Your Patient Is Allergic to Iodine
What happens when people have this reaction?
To better understand what happens here, we have to understand how biochemistry works at a simple level. Iodine is required for life. Low levels of iodine are connected to illness, dumbness, and deadness. Being allergic to iodine would be like being allergic to water, it’s not possible.
When cells finally get access to iodine and all the substances other cells can use iodine to generate, there is a huge potential for some type of conflict.
The simple example I like to use for this is spraying a ton of window cleaner on a very dirty window but not having the time, energy, or clean rags in order to clean up the mess being created. Most of us only have a small amount of energy and ‘rags’ in order to clean up our cell’s mess, so we might not want to knock stuff loose at a faster rate than we’re able to handle. This situation is similar for almost everyone, but some of us have a very very small amount of rags and energy available as we find iodine.
We may assume we still have plenty of energy, but sometimes very specific cells are stuck waiting for iodine. This is most likely how some people seem to become ill out of nowhere.
What can be done about it?
If we are not able to come in contact with such an important nutrient without having a negative reaction, we may want to figure out what type of reaction it is and what our body is trying to tell us. Ignoring this reaction and blaming iodine is similar to ignoring a sound our vehicle is making and turning the radio volume louder.
Two very common reactions when starting iodine are bromine detox and histamine release. Both of these have a huge list of symptoms associated with them. We have to keep in mind that an allergic reaction is usually a very rapid reaction, which may help point to various situations and rule out others.
I mention histamines because one of their main purposes is to provide a rapid response, but when we are overloaded on them due to not being able to clear them out quickly enough, they can cause negative reactions when something triggers their release.
Our cells are most likely loaded with a brominated version of thyroid hormones. And as we begin generating more iodine based thyroid hormones, we end up kicking bromine out into the system at a potentially high rate of speed.
Histamine reactions tend to be more acute and severe where bromine reactions tend to be a little slower to set in. Both can cause extremely confusing symptoms and reactions.
Salt loading for bromine
Several iodine books and some of the groups recommend using a method called salt loading a lot before starting iodine. I personally think most of them are advocating way too much salt water, but this method does have the potential to be very helpful.
Going from not consuming salt at all to rapidly consuming a lot of salt mixed with water all day is probably not a great idea. Our body really really likes sodium and its not happy when we don’t have enough of it. But it’s also not happy when we go from not having enough to having so much its not able to process it properly and keep up with everything happening.
Once we understand this, we might be able to use a few rounds of salt loading to help us prep for and potentially reduce our response to iodine.
Histamines are very complex because they are a very integral part of how our cells function. I will attempt to explain this situation in some kind of simplified way some day, but it is just next level confusing and difficult to put into perspective.
Here is a rather long and boring video with tons of info about iodine and histamines https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seymLq1ofXA
I use a DAO probiotic to help support my ability to process histamines. I think this probiotic is best to start with which should help us knock back histamines a bit so we can support them in more ways.
I did not realize I had an issue with histamines till making some progress with a few specific supplements. So many things changed for the better within a few months. My eyes don’t itch all the time, I have less overall sinus pressure, my digestion changed a bit and feels more comfortable, I can go on with so many little things that just feel less aggravated even though I didn’t realize they were an issue.
Another confusing aspect to histamines is that as we make progress and remove various toxins from our system, we seem to drop a bunch of histamines which then need to be processed. This can make it seem like histamines are randomly an issue but its just something we need to keep on top of as we successfully move forward.
Histamine blocker which I use 15 minutes before eating high histamine foods
There is a bit more to this situation, but I have a strong feeling what I have mentioned above is a huge part of what causes some people to have a really rough time starting iodine. I have helped a lot of people work their way through rough detox and it’s very common for people to have an excess of bromine and histamine.
Iodine is confusing mainly because it is part of so many aspects of health. It can easily become overwhelming as we attempt to wrap our head around this situation. I have attempted making this website an easy way to pick at these various pieces.
But if you are ready to dive further into natural health check out my other site sickoftired.com