An extremely common question when starting iodine is “can I take iodine with x” where x is one of various nutrients, foods, drinks or medications.
An unfortunate aspect to iodine is it’s lack of studies. There is a lot of historical information related to its benefits to our health, which is what has allowed doctors to get this info out to us. But we’re not mixing it with various nutrients and seeing how it reactions inside and outside of the body. But luckily, for the most part, iodine can be mixed with just about anything.
I check iodine’s interaction with various substances by mixing them and allowing them to sit in a ‘quiet’ location for a day or so. I then check for settlement or discoloration which indicates something reacted with each other and settled to the bottom. This isn’t always easy because some substances will settle even without iodine, and some substances are hard to tell if anything settled. After doing this experiment several times, I realized this situation is most likely not worth worrying about.
One very common nutrient that iodine has an issue with is Vitamin C(ascorbic acid). When ascorbic acid reacts with iodine, the ascorbic acid is oxidized (loses electrons) and the iodine is reduced (gains electrons). 1 This reaction between vit c and lugols iodine is most likely completely harmless in the small amounts normally supplemented, but part of the lugols is reduced into iodide, which works against the purpose of using lugols. The vit c is oxidized into dehydroascorbic acid which occurs as our body uses vit c, but vit c can only handle this conversion a handful of times and this reaction uses up one of those. I explained all of this to show how the reaction isn’t necessarily a bad thing for us, but a waste of these precious nutrients.
Iodine is sometimes used to measure the amount of starch in a substance. The shape of the starch molecule causes the iodine molecule to be suspended differently, which causes it to turn the starch blue/black. This is another example of a reaction between iodine and a common food that is not necessarily harmful. 2
There is a common idea that various nutrients ‘lock out’ other nutrients. Although there are various nutrients that may share the same transport systems in our body, I do not feel this situation is an issue. But, I also think we shouldn’t be taking very large doses of various nutrients, nor do I think we should be taking them every single day just because we think they are something our body wants or needs. Imagine if you just learned your car requires gasoline and your fuel gauge also did not function. Would you stop and get the same amount of fuel every single day, or maybe attempt figuring out how to judge how often you needed to refuel? The fuel pump will let us know when the tank is full, but our body does not have this feature.
Most juice contains vitamin C, which will reduce part of Lugols like I mention above. Most juice is highly processed and high in sugar. Cranberry juice is about the only juice that might contain more benefits than negatives.
There is a back and forth debate over whether adding iodine to hot coffee is an issue. Iodine evaporates quicker at higher temperatures than water, so the idea is that when we add it to hot coffee, it will evaporate very quickly and provide us with much less iodine.
There are several papers that have looked into iodine loss in food or iodized salt during cooking. 3 With one saying about 6% is lost in roasting, 20% while steaming and 36% while boiling. 4 Keep in mind that roasting takes about an hour, and most things are steamed or boiled for at least 10-20 minutes. Coffee is brewed just below boiling temperatures and the temperature continues to fall even if we use a hotplate. Although these papers don’t look at coffee specifically that contain higher amounts of iodine from Lugols, I think it’s pretty safe to assume we’re not losing much.. unless we’re drinking coffee that is still boiling. At which point we might have some other issues to worry about.
I personally feel that there are two bigger issues with coffee. As I attempted cleaning up my diet, I realized that most coffee has a lot of toxins. This is most likely due to the fertilizers used while its being grown as well as mold while its being stored. Some people use low quality dairy creamer which will contain hormones and other toxins, or use flavored creamers with who knows what chemicals. I use this Mayorga Organics Dark Roast because it tastes much cleaner than any other brand I’ve tried. After consuming this one for a while, if I go back to another brand I thought was clean, I can taste yucky stuff. Dark roasts tend to have less caffeine.
Most of us are drinking coffee to stimulate our system in an attempt to feel more energy. This is most likely taxing our system and reducing our ability to heal. Caffeine is known to stimulate cortisol release, which can tax adrenals which can inhibit natural thyroid function5 But, I think it’s important to continue providing ourselves with things we enjoy while we venture down this lifestyle change called healing or detox. If coffee is a big part of our day, it might not be worth the stress we might inflict on ourselves by removing it. We should make an attempt to remove other substances that might inhibit our healing, reduce our coffee intake and look for a better brand.
Medications are complex substances that mainly force our body to do something it wouldn’t do on its own. Although there are several instances that medication can be handy to help restore functions, Imo, they mainly work against our body’s ability to heal itself. If our vehicle is out of fuel, is there any purpose of buying expensive work arounds and procedures in order to get it functioning again? So why attempt doing this with our body? That being said, always check with your practitioner before making any changes to your nutritional regiment while medicating.
It is rather common for people learning about iodine to already be taking thyroid hormone supplementation. What I am about to share(as well as anything anyone but your doctor says) should not be taken as medical advice. You should always check with your doctor before changing anything. But an unfortunate aspect to this is that most doctors do not understand iodine, so you may need to locate an iodine proficient doctor.
The thyroid hormone supplements are helping support our body’s inability to create these hormones on it’s own. These hormones are created with iodine. The number in the common hormones, T4 and T3 are the number of iodine molecules in those hormones. Without iodine, these hormones are not capable of existing. So although there are plenty of people taking iodine while supplementing these hormones, once our body starts making these hormones in its own, we can potentially be supplementing too much of the hormones. This is worth keeping in mind as we progress with the iodine protocol and we’ll want to work with a professional to adjust our hormone supplementation if we notice the symptoms of overdoing the hormone supplements.
These thyroid hormones are a part of our metabolism. If our metabolism is not able to function well for other reasons, our body may purposely be avoiding the creation of these hormones, and it may not call for the iodine to be turned into these hormones. This is most likely the reason some people do not notice changes in the condition of their thyroid when taking iodine.
- Effect of different cooking methods on iodine losses – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3791240/
- Estimation of losses of iodine during different cooking procedures – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24394330/
- Caffeine Stimulation of Cortisol Secretion Across the Waking Hours in Relation to Caffeine Intake Levels – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2257922/