Breast Cancer Prevention
and Iodine Supplementation by Jeffrey Dach MD
Iodine Prevents Breast Cancer
A good friend of ours just went through an ordeal with breast cancer. The incidence of breast cancer has increased to 1 in 8 women, with 4,000 new cases weekly. You might ask, could there be a preventive measure which is safe, cheap and widely available that has been overlooked? The answer is YES , and it’s the essential mineral, Iodine , which was added to table salt in 1924 as part of a national program to prevent Goiter. It turns out that this same Iodine in table salt is the key to breast cancer prevention as proposed by the following list of prestigious doctors: Guy Abraham, MD (1), Robert Derry MD PHD (2) (3), David Brownstein MD (4)(5), George Flechas MD (6)(20), Donald Miller, M.D. (7)(8)
Above Left Image:
Mammogram showing , arrow points to spiculated breast cancer.
Our Diet is Iodine Deficient
Many of us have been told by our doctors to avoid salt, manily becasue they say it causes high blood pressure. Because of this advice, dietary intake of iodized salt has decreased to low levels, and we have a generalized iodine deficiency in the population. Of course, salt intake from processed foods is quite high in the American diet, yet none of this added salt contains iodine.
Currently 15% of the US adult female population is classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as iodine deficient. (9) We consume a large queatity of salt in processed food, however, the salt in processed foods is not iodized salt. Unfortunately iodized table salt is not a reliable way to supplement with Iodine, It makes sense to use an Iodine supplement.
Image upper left Courtesy Hain Salt: Iodized Sea Salt available at grocery store.
The RDA for Iodine
is too Low for Optimal Health
According to Guy Abraham MD, our dietary intake of Iodine is too low, set at 150 mcg by the government RDA. Dr. Guy Abraham tells us that a healthier level of Iodine intake would be 100 times greater at 12.5 mg, which is the average Iodine intake for Japan, and this higher Iodine intake could explain why the Japanese have the lowest rates for cancer of the breast, prostate and thyroid.
Image Left: Courtesy Morton Iodized Salt
How Safe is Iodine Supplementation?
Very Safe. Iodine is the only trace element that can be ingested safely in amounts up to 100,000 times the RDA. For example, potassium iodide has been prescribed safely to large numbers pulmonary (COPD) patients in amounts of up to 6 grams per day for several years. This potassium iodide is a well known treatment for COPD which helps mobilize lung secretions. (18)
Left Image: Elemental Iodine Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
The FDA has officially stated that Iodine supplementation is safe and actually recommends 165 mg of Iodine for adults in case of Radiation Emergency to protect the population from thyroid cancer. (17) “Iodine allergy” is a misnomer since this name applies to allergy to iodinated radiographic contrast agents, and not to elemental iodine which is quite different. (10) Elemental Iodine is an essential mineral and required for health. Deficiency of Iodine in the developing embryo causes cretinism, and deficiency in the developing child causes goiter.
Causes Fibrocystic Breast Disease,
Breast Cancer, and Thyroid Cancer Iodine, a well known topical antiseptic and antimicrobial agent, also directly kills cancer cells and serves as the key player in our body’s surveillance system for removing abnormal pre-cancer cells. There is considerable medical research to support this statement.
Upper Left Image: Povidone Iodine, a topical antiseptic, available at the grocery or drugstore.
Dr. B.A. Eskin published 80 papers over 30 years researching iodine and breast cancer, and he reports that iodine deficiency causes breast cancer and thyroid cancer in humans and animals.(11)(12) Iodine deficiency is also known to cause a pre-cancerous condition called fibrocystic breast disease. (13) Ghent published a paper in 1993 which showed iodine supplementation works quite well to reverse and resolve fibrocystic changes of the breast, and this is again the subject of a current clinical study.(14)(15)
Despite its obvious potential, not much has been done with Iodine treatment over the past 40 years in the United States. Since iodine isn't patentable and is therefore unlikely to be profitable to market, there is no money to fund studies for “FDA approval". However, FDA approval is not required since Iodine is already an additive to table salt at the supermarket.
Iodine Deficiency Diseases
As an interventional radiologist working in the hospital for 25 years, a large part of my job was evaluating thyroid abnormalities, nodules, and cysts with ultrasound, radionuclide scans, and needle biopsy. Although it was obvious these common thyroid abnormalities were due to iodine deficiency, I often wondered why none of the patients ever received iodine supplementation. The obvious answer is they should have been and that this is a blind spot in mainstream medicine.
Part of my day was also spent reading mammograms and breast ultrasound studies. Fibrocystic breast disease was quite common, and these women would return for needle aspiration procedure of the many breast cysts, and needle biopsy of the benign solid nodules. Many of these ladies returned multiple times for the procedures because the medical system had no useful treatment to offer them. Well, as we have just discussed, we now know there is a very useful medical treatment, namely, Iodine supplementation which not only resolves breast cysts and fibrocystic breast disease, it also resolves ovarian cysts and thyroid cysts. Actually Iodine supplementation has always been available, but again this is a blind spot in mainstream medicine, and hospital based physicians are unaware of it.
Goiter is Caused by Iodine Deficiency
Iodine deficiency is the direct cause of Goiter (thyroid enlargement). In advanced cases, thyroid enlargement can be massive. (see image at left) Image courtesy of wikimedia commons, shows large goiter in the neck caused by Iodine Deficiency.
Iodine deficiency also causes the formation of thyroid nodules and cysts. Currently, 60-70 per cent of the population has thyroid nodules detected with thyroid ultrasound. This thyroid nodule epidemic is directly caused by Iodine Deficiency.
Iodine deficiency is also associated with increased risk for anaplastic thryoid cancer, the most aggressive form.
Which Iodine Supplement to Use?
There are many Iodine supplements. Lugol's Solution has been used for many years. A new one is the 12.5 mg Iodoral tablet from Optimox (16) and is the iodine supplement tablet made by Dr. Guy Abraham, a former professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UCLA who started "The Iodine Project" in 1997, and engaged two family practice physicians, Jorge Flechas and David Brownstein to carry out clinical studies of the hypothesis that the body needs 12.5 mg of iodine a day.
Image upper left Courtesy of Optimox: Iodoral, Iodine tablets
More than 4,000 patients in this project consumed Iodine supplements from 12 to 50 mg per day, and in those with diabetes, up to 100 mg a day. They reported their findings that Iodine does indeed reverse fibrocystic disease; diabetic patients require less insulin; hypothyroid patients require less thyroid medication; symptoms of fibromyalgia resolve, and patients with migraine headaches stop having them.
The Nobel laureate Dr. Albert Szent Györgi (1893–1986), the physician who discovered vitamin C, used Iodine freely in his medical practice. The standard dose of potassium iodide given in those days was 1 gram, which contains 770 mg of iodine.
Dr. Albert Szent Györgi writes: "When I was a medical student, iodine in the form of KI (Potassium Iodide) was the universal medicine. Nobody knew what it did, but it did something and did something good. We students used to sum up the situation in this little rhyme: "
"If ye don’t know where, what, and why,
Prescribe ye then K and I" .
In view of all the above, I take one Iodoral tablet (12.5 mg Iodine) daily as do all of my family members. Iodoral is available without a prescription as a nutritional supplement from VRP (Vitamin Research Products).(21) A bottle of 90 tablets is about 25 dollars plus shipping.(21) Visit the hypothyroidism page on my web site for more thyroid related information.(22) Iodoral is an important part of our breast cancer prevention program. See the article: The Safety Of Bio-Identical Hormones
David Brownstein MD
See David Brownstein's Book on Iodine(4) (above image),
and The Iodine Group for more information.(19)
Above Image Courtesy of David Brownstein MD
David Derry MD PhD
David Derry MD PhD on Iodine and Breast Cancer Prevention is another useful book. Here is my book review on Amazon.
(Book cover courtesy of David Derry MD)
The book, Breast Cancer and Iodine by David Derry MD PhD, is a unique 100 page volume which presents the academic case for iodine as prevention and treatment of breast cancer. The book should be handed out freely during October Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Although written for the lay reader, it should be required reading for all medical students, breast surgeons, mammographers, breast cancer oncologists and any doctor who orders mammograms.
With ten pages of medical references including the work of B A Eskin and W R Ghent, Dr. Derry discloses the remarkable connection between iodine deficiency, fibrocystic breast disease and breast cancer. Iodine's anti-cancer activity lies in its control of apoptosis, or programmed cell death.
Derry presents case studies complete with surgical pathology confirmation showing regression of both fibrocystic breast disease and carcinoma-in-situ breast cancer with iodine treatment. He also presents a case report case of infiltrating breast cancer involving the skin which regressed after prolonged application of topical Lugol's iodine solution.
I can report from the experience of my own family members that iodine supplementation causes regression of fibrocystic breast disease.
Derry's ideas in the book could be easily revised into an NIH grant proposal to research and confirm the role of iodine. To do so would advance the nation's health and be a great public service. Iodine is safe, inexpensive and readily available without a prescription. A US policy of iodine supplementation matching the Japanese dietary intake of iodine could very well be our best preventive measure against breast cancer.
Articles with Related Interest:
Iodine in Breast Cancer Prevention and Treatment
The Thyroid Nodule Epidemic - Iodine Deficiency
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
The Safety Of Bio-Identical Hormones
Jeffrey Dach, M.D.
4700 Sheridan Suite T
Hollywood Florida 33021
Visit the web site
Publications by Guy Abraham MD on Iodine references at Optimox.com
The book, Breast Cancer and Iodine : How to Prevent and How to Survive Breast Cancer by Dr. David Derry M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. David Derry Answers Reader Questions Brought to you by Mary Shomon, Your Thyroid Guide. Discussion of Iodine as Breast Cancer Prevention
Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It (2nd Edition) by David Brownstein MD, Book.
Clinical Experience with Inorganic Non-radioactive Iodine/Iodide by David Brownstein, M.D.
Orthoiodosupplementation in a Primary Care Practice by Jorge D. Flechas, M.D.
Iodine for Health by Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD on Lew Rockwell Blog
Iodine in Health and Civil Defense Presented at the 24th Annual Meeting of Doctors of Disaster Preparedness at Portland State University, August 6, 2006 by Donald W. Miller, Jr., M.D.
Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 1996;66(4):350-62. Total diet study: estimated dietary intakes of nutritional elements, 1982-1991.Pennington JA, Schoen SA. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Washington, DC 20204, USA.
Optimum Levels of Iodine for Greatest Mental and Physical Health by Guy E. Abraham, MD, Jorge D. Flechas, MD, and John C. Hakala, RPh THE ORIGINAL INTERNIST September 2002 page 5. Effect of daily ingestion of a tablet containing 5 mg iodine and 7.5 mg iodide as the potassium salt, for a period of 3 months, on the results of thyroid function tests and thyroid volume by ultrasonometry in ten euthyroid Caucasian women See Table 7.
Bernard A. Eskin et al. Rat mammary gland atypia produced by iodine blockade with perchlorate. Cancer Res. 1975 Sep;35(9):2332-9
Dietary Iodine Deficiency as a Tumor Promoter and Carcinogen in Male F344/NCr Rats Masato Ohshima and Jerrold M. Ward. Cancer Research 46, 877-883, February 1, 1986
Benign Breast Disease and the Risk of Breast Cancer. Hartmann, Lynn C. N Engl J Med Volume 353;3:229-237 July 21, 2005
Ghent,W.R., Eskin,B.A., Low,D.A., Hill, L.P.. Iodine replacement in fibrocystic disease of the breast. Can J Surg 1993; 36:453-460.
Clinical Trial for Iodine treatment of Fibrocystic Breast Disease
Study for Treatment of Moderate or Severe, Periodic, "Cyclic", Breast Pain. This study is ongoing, but not recruiting participants. Sponsored by: Symbollon Pharmaceuticals ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00237523
Iodoral from Optimox
Guidance on Potassium Iodide as a Thyroid Blocking Agent in Radiation Emergencies, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), December 2001
Bernecker C. Acta Allergol. 1969 Sep;24(3):216-25. Intermittent therapy with potassium iodide in chronic obstructive disease of the airways. A review of 10 years' experience.
The Iodine Group
George Flechas MD Web Site
VRP Vitamin Research Products Offers Iodoral Online, no prescription needed.
Hypothyroidism Jeffrey Dach MD web site
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