It can be strange where a particular “data dive” might lead you. I was looking for some information on disinfectants, wandered down Iodine Lane, and ran into Bromine as a subtle metabolic poison. (It is nearly ubiquitous in brominated biphenyls and related fire retardants, also in your food…)
Then there were the folks showing that too little Iodine and too much Bromine was causing cancer, adding a lot of Iodine to diets and leaching out the Bromine, sometime cured it (and always reduced rates).
Many of the sites were of the “flakey holistic” mumbo jumbo sort; yet had references listed with folks having M.D. after their names. OK, it’s a fad in some quarters and will be hard to sort out reality from enthusiasm…
But then there was that consistent statistic. Japanese have dramatically lower levels of breast cancer and significantly lower levels of prostate cancer; while having 25 times the dietary intake of Iodine (thanks to a lot of fish with much of it wrapped in high Iodine seaweed).
It is hard to think “flaky story” when confronted with “existence proof”.
Furthermore, Japanese who adopt a western diet, get western rates of breast cancer, so it isn’t genetic. Further furthermore, in the USA, the rates of cancers (several kinds) go up in the “goiter belt” where soil Iodine is low. Then there were the stories of folks cured with elevated Iodine intake.
That was about 10 hours ago…
The “short form” is that it looks just like other cases of two elements in the periodic table, one above the other, with competition between the elements having one be toxic and the other essential. Except where the metals tended to having the heavier one be the toxic one, for halogens, it looks like the heaviest of the set it essential and the one lighter is the toxic. (Though there is another set repeat just above them, with Chlorine being essential and Fluorine being toxic.) Essentially, the metabolic process isn’t quite right with the lighter halogen, but the metabolic machinery isn’t able to 100% keep it out of the works; depending on low levels of intake to keep things right.
Then we come along and load up several foods with bromine, make thousands of tons of it that are added to clothes and bedding, and more in plastics all over the place; while taking iodine out of things. Then marvel that things are not working quite right. Sigh.
The “bottom line” (up here near the top…) is that we need about 25 times our present iodine intake here in the USA to have low cancer rates (as the Japanese comparison shows) but instead are getting higher than normal loads of bromine, that competes with our already low iodine levels and causes functional deficit, even when clinically acceptable (if minimal) levels exist. We need to get the Bromine out, and increase our Iodine status.
Some Links & Quotes
We’ve all heard about polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and Bis-Phenol-A (BPA) as evil. Well, at least if paying any attention to the news in the last decade or two. The PCBs being oily things used in capacitors and the BPA being an endocrine disruptor in plastics (and baby bottles…) found to promote breast cancer. Pretty much banned now.
Due to PCBs’ environmental toxicity and classification as a persistent organic pollutant, PCB production was banned by the United States Congress in 1979
Concerns about the toxicity of PCBs are largely based on compounds within this group that share a structural similarity and toxic mode of action with dioxin. Toxic effects such as endocrine disruption and neurotoxicity are also associated with other compounds within the group. The maximum allowable contaminant level in drinking water in the United States is set at zero, but due to water treatment technologies, a level of 0.5 parts per billion is the de facto level.
Well some numb-nuts in the Government decided that if you had a different halogen on it, things must be just dandy, and promoted the bromine form of it as a fire retardant. (Yes, they decided to mandate fire retardants in all sorts of things, from pajamas to mattresses and on up. Soaking us in bromine compounds.) Polybrominated diphenylether. Almost exactly the same shape (has an added oxygen between the two carbon rings) and has similar problems. But with the added feature of bromine screwing up your iodine pathways. Oh Joy. /sarc;
Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are organobromide compounds that have an inhibitory effect on the ignition of combustible organic materials. Of the commercialized chemical flame retardants, the brominated variety are most widely used. They are very effective in plastics and textile applications, e.g. electronics, clothes and furniture. BFRs are commonly used in electronic products as a means of reducing the flammability of the product.
Classes of PBDEs
The family of PBDEs consists of 209 possible substances, which are called congeners (PBDE = C12H(10−x)BrxO (x = 1, 2, …, 10 = m + n)). The number of isomers for mono-, di-, tri-, tetra-, penta-, hexa-, hepta-, octa-, nona-, and decabromodiphenyl ethers are 3, 12, 24, 42, 46, 42, 24, 12, 3 and 1, respectively. In the United States, PBDEs are marketed with trade names: DE-60F, DE-61, DE-62, and DE-71 applied to pentaBDE mixtures; DE-79 applied to octaBDE mixtures; DE 83R and Saytex 102E applied to decaBDE mixtures. The available commercial PBDE products are not single compounds or even single congeners but rather a mixture of congeners.
Health and environmental concerns
Since the 1990s, environmental concerns were raised because of the high lipophilicity of PBDEs and their high resistance to degradation processes. While biodegradation is not considered the main pathway for PBDEs, the photolysis and pyrolysis can be of interest in studies of transformation of PBDEs. People are exposed to low levels of PBDEs through ingestion of food and by inhalation. PBDEs bioaccumulate in blood, breast milk, and fat tissues. Personnel associated with the manufacture of PBDE-containing products are exposed to highest levels of PBDEs. Bioaccumulation is of particular concern in such instances, especially for personnel in recycling and repair plants of PBDE-containing products. People are also exposed to these chemicals in their domestic environment because of their prevalence in common household items. Studies in Canada have found significant concentrations of PBDEs in common foods such as salmon, ground beef, butter, and cheese. PBDEs have also been found at high levels in indoor dust, sewage sludge, and effluents from wastewater treatment plants. Increasing PBDE levels have been detected in the blood of marine mammals such as harbor seals.
There is also growing concern that PBDEs share the environmental long life and bioaccumulation properties of polychlorinated dibenzodioxins.
A non-peer-reviewed study of 20 mother-child pairs in the United States conducted by the Environmental Working Group found that the median blood levels of PBDEs in children (62 parts per billion) were 3.2 times higher than in their mothers. PBDEs have also been shown to have hormone-disrupting effects, in particular, on estrogen and thyroid hormones. A 2009 animal study conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) demonstrates that deiodination, active transport, sulfation, and glucuronidation may be involved in disruption of thyroid homeostasis after perinatal exposure to PBDEs during critical developmental time points in utero and shortly after birth. The adverse effects on hepatic mechanism of thyroid hormone disruption during development have been shown to persist into adulthood. The EPA noted that PBDEs are particularly toxic to the developing brains of animals. Peer-reviewed studies have shown that even a single dose administered to mice during development of the brain can cause permanent changes in behavior, including hyperactivity.
Swedish scientists first reported substances related to PentaBDE were accumulating in human breast milk. Studies by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation found for the first time very high levels of higher brominated PBDEs (BDE-209) in eggs of Peregrine falcons. Two forms of PBDEs, Penta and Octa, are no longer manufactured in the United States because of health and safety concerns. Based on a comprehensive risk assessment under the Existing Substances Regulation 793/93/EEC, the EU has completely banned the use of Penta and Octa BDE since 2004. However, both chemicals are still found in furniture and foam items made before the phase-out was completed. The most-common PBDEs that are used in electronics are in a form known as Deca. Deca is banned in Europe for this use and in some U.S. states. For PBDE, EPA has set reference dose of 7 micrograms per kilogram of body weight, which is “believed to be without appreciable effects”. However, Linda Birnbaum, PhD, a senior toxicologist formerly with the EPA (now NIEHS) notes concern: “What I see is another piece of evidence that supports the fact that levels of these chemicals in children appear to be higher than the levels in their parents; I think this study raises a red flag.” Previous study by EWG in 2003 published test results showing that the average level of fire-retardants in breast milk from 20 American mothers was 75 times higher than the average levels measured in Europe.
Gee… and what have we got in schools? A spike in ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and loading up the kids with more chemical crap in the form of drugs.
A 2010 study found that children with higher concentrations of PBDE congeners 47, 99 and 100 in their umbilical cord blood at birth scored lower on tests of mental and physical development between the ages of one and six. Developmental effects were particularly evident at four years of age, when verbal and full IQ scores were reduced 5.5 to 8.0 points for those with the highest prenatal exposures.
From something mandated to be put in children’s clothes and bedding.
But the good news is after filling our environment with it, the EPA has now banned the two most common forms. (The other forms, well, who knows…)
From that brominated fire retardants link:
Types of compounds
Many different BFRs are produced synthetically with widely varying chemical properties. There are several groups:[
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs): DecaBDE, OctaBDE (not manufactured anymore), PentaBDE (not manufactured anymore, the first BFR, commercialized in the 1950s)
Polybrominated biphenyl (PBB), not manufactured anymore
Other brominated flame retardants with different properties and mechanisms
Decabromodiphenyl ether (Deca-BDE or DeBDE) – In August 2012, the UK authorities proposed decabromodiphenyl ether (Deca-BDE or DeBDE) as a candidate for Authorisation under the EU‘s regulatory regime on chemicals, REACH. On 5 July 2013 ECHA withdrew Deca-BDE from its list of priority substances for Authorisation under REACH, therefore closing the public consultation. On 1 August 2014, ECHA submitted a restriction proposal for Deca-BDE. The agency is proposing a restriction on the manufacture, use and placing on the market of the substance and of mixtures and articles containing it. On 17 September 2014, ECHA submitted the restriction report which initiates a six months public consultation. A decision could be adopted by mid-2016.
Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD or HBCDD) is a ring consisting of twelve carbon atoms with six bromine atoms tied to the ring. The commercially used HBCD is in fact a mixture of different isomers. HBCD is toxic to water-living organisms. The UNEP Stockholm Convention has listed HBCD for elimination, but allowing a temporary exemption for the use in polystyrene insulation foams in buildings.
Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA or TBBP-A) is regarded as toxic to water environment. This flame retardant is mainly used in printed circuit boards, as a reactive. Since TBBPA is chemically bound to the resin of the printed circuit board, it is less easily released than the loosely applied mixtures in foams such that an EU risk assessment concluded in 2005 that TBBPA poses no risk to human health in that application. TBBPA is also used as an additive in acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS).
Hope you don’t have any ABS pipes used for water…
Now that text is followed by a chart showing how much of a given polymer is made of this stuff. It’s surprising.
Polymer Content [%] Substances Polystyrene foam 0.8–4 HBCD High impact polystyrene 11–15 DecaBDE, brominated polystyrene Epoxy resin 0-0.1 TBBPA Polyamides 13–16 DecaBDE, brominated polystyrene Polyolefins 5–8 DecaBDE, propylene dibromo styrene Polyurethanes n/a No brominated FR available Polyterephthalate 8–11 Brominated polystyrene Unsaturated polyesters 13–28 TBBPA Polycarbonate 4–6 Brominated polystyrene Styrene copolymers 12–15 Brominated polystyrene
We’re not talking trace amounts here. We’re talking 4%, 8% and even 13% to 28%. Then that plastic degrades and breaks down and this crap gets into the water, then starts to bioaccumulate. Then we eat it.
390,000 tons of brominated flame retardants were sold in 2011. This represents 19.7% of the flame retardants market.
And it is persistent. And it bioaccumulates. Did we learn nothing from persistent poly chlorinated compounds bioaccumulating?
Environmental and safety issues
Many brominated chemicals are under increasing criticism in their use in household furnishings and where children would come into contact with them. Some believe PBDEs could have harmful effects on humans and animals. Increasing concern has prompted some European countries to ban some of them, following the precautionary principle more common in Europe. Some PBDEs are lipophilic and bioaccumulative. PBDEs have been found in people all over the world.
Some brominated flame retardants were identified as persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic to both humans and the environment and were suspected of causing neurobehavioral effects and endocrine disruption. One particular target group is Firefighters who are exposed to brominated fire retardants during firefighting operations and is resulting in cancer rates that far exceed the general public. As an example, in Europe, brominated flame retardants have gone through REACH and when risks were identified appropriate risk management options were put in place; such was the case for commercial Penta-BDE and commercial Octa-BDE. Given the current state of waste disposal in the world, there is a potential for BFRs to be released into the environment.
I guess not…
But, believe it or not, this was just a preamble to the main point. To show how many places have a load of Bromine scattered around. It’s everywhere in anything that might burn.
But it is also in your food. Deliberately added, despite there being zero use for it biologically and despite it being a known toxin. (This is just the element I’m talking about now, not the hydrocarbon compounds). It is used in bromated flour in commercial bread (makes a smoother texture) and as bromated oil in sodas (especially lemon lime / Mountain Dew types) to carry flavors. So that sandwich and soft drink at the fast food place is loading you up with Bromine.
What does the CDC say about Bromine?
Where bromine is found and how it is used
Bromine is found naturally in the earth’s crust and in seawater in various chemical forms. Bromine can also be found as an alternative to chlorine in swimming pools.
Products containing bromine are used in agriculture and sanitation and as fire retardants (chemicals that help prevent things from catching fire).
Some bromine-containing compounds were historically used as sedatives (drugs that can make people calm or sleepy). However, these drugs are for the most part no longer found on the market in the United States.
Well, at least they got it out of “medicines”, mostly… but looks like the bromine bleach used in hot tubs lets you soak in it…
Environmental effects of bromine
Organic bromines are often applied as disinfecting and protecting agents, due to their damaging effects on microorganisms. When they are applied in greenhouses and on farmland they can easily rinse off to surface water, which has very negative health effects on daphnia, fishes, lobsters and algae.
Organic bromines are also damaging to mammals, especially when they accumulate in the bodies of their preys. The most important effects on animals are nerve damage and next to that DNA damage, which can also enhance the chances of development of cancer.
The uptake of organic bromine takes place through food, through breathing and through the skin.
Organic bromines are not very biodegradable; when they are decomposed inorganic bromines will consist. These can damage the nerve system when high doses are absorbed.
It has occurred in the past that organic bromines ended up in the food of cattle. Thousands of cows and pigs had to be killed in order to prevent contagion of humans. The cattle suffered from symptoms such as liver damage, loss of sight and depletion of growth, decrease of immunity, decreasing milk production and sterility and malformed children.
Now we start drifting into the “health fad” sites. But they have links and citations that seem to back this up. This article lists 10 health effects, but I’m only going to quote a couple.
1. Disrupts Thyroid Function
Exposure to bromine severely impacts the thyroid gland and causes hormonal issues. Bromine competes with iodine, an essential nutrient that supports the health of the thyroid. Bromine and iodine are absorbed in similar fashion and animal research has found that bromine exposure limits availability of iodine to the thyroid and interferes with hormone production.      The flame retardant PCBE, for example, has specifically been fingered as a thyroid and endocrine disruptor.  This is a HUGE problem — an impaired thyroid can lead to hypothyroidism, goiter, and hormonal imbalance.
[…skipping premature births and birth defects]
3. Slows Neural and Cognitive Development
Children exposed to high levels of brominated compounds (PBDEs) in flame retardants are known to suffer development issues. In one study, researchers tracked children born with high levels of PBDEs for six years. At all stages, their mental and physical development lagged behind children with lower, “acceptable” levels of PBDEs.  Based on this fact alone, it’s shocking that any bromine exposure could be considered acceptable.
[…skipping someone tanking up too much bromated sodas and having cognitive failure\
5. Contributes to Mental Illness?
Psychosis, schizophrenia, and other mental health consequences, as a result of bromine exposure, has been known for decades.  Nearly 30 years ago, researchers speculated that some mental illnesses, like schizophrenia, may be misdiagnosed. Why? Because in some cases, reducing bromine levels decreased or eliminated schizophrenia symptoms. Thus, many experts believe some mental conditions may simply be a symptom of an underlying nutritional problem.
[…skipping bromine caused skin lesions, acne, and such]
7. DNA Damage
Recent research has determined that potassium bromate, a common baking ingredient, causes oxidative damage to DNA.  To date, the research has involved animals; however, the human population consumes the most of this compound on a daily basis and many people are extremely concerned of its negative health implications! 
8. Carcinogenic Potential
The International Agency for the Research on Cancer has identified potassium bromate (the ingredient used in bread and baking) as a known carcinogen. Although tests have only been performed on animals, the Agency states it may also behave as a carcinogen in humans.
[…skipping hearing loss and kidney toxicity]
So just bromine, without the cyclical hydrocarbons, messes things up. Especially the Iodine metabolism. But that’s just the thyroid, right? Well, no. Biology is very creative and likes to ‘reuse’ metabolic bits of kit for other things. (Part of why I’m less than keen on GMOs. We make no allowance for how bits get reused, cross used, and cause changes in what we thought were unrelated systems). So it isn’t too much of a surprise that Iodine is important in other places too. They turn out to be reproduction related. Specifically the breast and prostate are involved.
But folks in the UK and EU can rest a little easier than us in the USA.
Even drinking water can be a source of bromide. When drinking water containing bromide is exposed to ozone, bromate ions are formed, which are powerful oxidizing agents. Such was the case in 2004 when Coca Cola Company had to recall Dasani bottled water.
Sodium bromate can also be found in personal care products such as permanent waves, hair dyes, and textile dyes. Benzalkonium is used as a preservative in some cosmetics.
Finally, bromine and chlorine were the most common toxic elements reportedly found in automobiles, according to the blog of David Brownstein, MD (March 2007). They showed up in the seats, armrests, door trim, shift knobs and other areas of the car.
Think about how much time you spend enclosed in your outgassing Chevy… windows up with no air circulation.
The United States is quite behind in putting an end to the egregious practice of allowing bromine chemicals in your foods. In 1990, the United Kingdom banned bromate in bread. In 1994, Canada did the same. Brazil recently outlawed bromide in flour products.
What’s taking us so long? Another case of our government protecting big industry — instead of protecting you.
Iodine Levels and Cancer Risk
Iodine levels have significantly dropped due to bromine exposure; declining consumption of iodized salt, eggs, fish, and sea vegetables; and soil depletion. In the U.S. population, there was a 50 percent reduction in urinary iodine excretion between 1970 and 1990.
What’s this doing to our country’s health?
The Japanese consume 89 times more iodine than Americans due to their daily consumption of sea vegetables, and they have reduced rates of many chronic diseases, including the lowest rates of cancer in the world. The RDA for iodine in the U.S. is a meager 150 mcg/day, which pales in comparison with the average daily intake of 13800 mcg/day for the Japanese.
How Bromine Causes Low Iodine Leading To Higher Cancer Rates
Strong colors, pushing their book, working to get emotional level up. But does a decent synopsis. Just be advised of where they are coming from. I’ve not checked their references, but they at least have them listed.
A bromide dominance condition may develop when bromine, acquired through environmental, occupational, iatrogenic or dietary exposure, causes bromide levels in the body to rise high enough to inhibit iodine enzyme metabolism.
Iodine supplementation alters the competitive bromine-iodine relationship causing bromide excretion. Thus, bromide dominance is diminished and proper iodine enzyme metabolism may be restored.
Effects of Bromide on the Organs
Iodine depletion weakens the thyroid and other organs. (2)(3)(4)(5)(6) In individuals where the bromide-iodine ratio is less, bromide may not be problematic.
Elevated bromide levels have been implicated in every thyroid disease, from simple hypothyroidism to auto-immune diseases to thyroid cancer. Malenchenko found bromide levels 50 times higher in thyroid cancer than normal thyroid tissue. (7)
Rats fed even the minimal amount of bromine expected to be encountered in the environment underwent goiter-like changes (8), an arguable case of bromide dominance. In the FIRE project, exposing rats to the brominated flame retardant compound, bromocyclodecane, showed consistent effects on the thyroid hormone axis, including decreased T4. Thyroid gland cells have increased size and larger nuclei, indicating increased synthetic activity. (9)
With enhanced intake of bromide, fully one-third of the iodine content in the thyroids of rats was replaced by bromide. (10)
Skin biopsied from a woman who had been on bromide-containing sedatives for nearly four years found increased bromide in normal skin and three times that in an affected skin lesion. (11)
An infant administered a syrup containing sodium bromide developed vegetative lesions on the face and scalp. (12)
Technicians exposed to brominated compounds for prolonged periods developed multiple cherry angiomas on the trunk and extremities. (12)
The psychiatry literature abounds with cases of elevated bromide levels being implicated in mental conditions from depression to schizophrenia. (14)(15)(16) As Guy Abraham, MD, asks, “How many people with misdiagnosed bromism are currently treated with psychiatric drugs?”(17) Bromide was used to suppress women’s sex drive in the 1950s.
Potassium bromate, a bread additive, is known to cause renal damage and permanent deafness in animals and man. (18) In the FIRE project, the most relevant effect on exposing rats to 28 days to the brominated flame retardant compound, tetrabromobisphenol-A, was hearing. Specifically, the lower frequency range was affected . (19)
The ability of bromate to cause cancer, especially kidney cancer, is a significant health concern. (20) The gene expression in kidneys in rats given a high dose 100-week potassium bromate in their drinking water showed marked gene expression difference from the lower non-cancer dose. The high dose kidney gene expression resembled an adenoma-like expression pattern. (21)
So having seen that excess bromine compete with iodine and can displace it, what happens if your iodine levels are too low (or ‘normal’ but being blocked by bromine competition)? Lets ask the NIH.
Skipping over goiter, since having bromine around likely doesn’t back up the enzyme production but just buggers the product some…
Other consequences of not having enough iodine (iodine deficiency) are also serious. Iodine deficiency and the resulting low levels of thyroid hormone can cause women to stop ovulating, leading to infertility. Iodine deficiency can also lead to an autoimmune disease of the thyroid and may increase the risk of getting thyroid cancer. Some researchers think that iodine deficiency might also increase the risk of other cancers such as prostate, breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer.
Iodine deficiency during pregnancy is serious for both the mother and the baby. It can lead to high blood pressure during pregnancy for the mother, and mental retardation for the baby. Iodine plays an important role in development of the central nervous system. In extreme cases, iodine deficiency can lead to cretinism, a disorder that involves severely stunted physical and mental growth.
Iodine deficiency is a common world health problem. The most recognized form of deficiency is goiter. Additionally, across the globe iodine deficiency is thought to be the most common preventable cause of mental retardation. Early in the twentieth century, iodine deficiency was common in the US and Canada, but the addition of iodine to salt has improved public health. The addition of iodine to salt is required in Canada. In the US, iodized salt is not required, but it is widely available. Researchers estimate that iodized salt is used regularly by about half the US population.
Iodine is used to prevent iodine deficiency and its consequences, including goiter. It is also used for treating a skin disease caused by a fungus (cutaneous sporotrichosis); treating fibrocystic breast disease; preventing breast cancer, eye disease, diabetes, and heart disease and stroke; and as an expectorant.
While we are having an ‘epidemic’ of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer… Hmm….
As I’ve had occasional recurrent fungus (foot a couple of times) that bit about fungus caught my eye too. But it is that persistent connection with cancer that is really interesting.
Continuing on with NIH:
How effective is it?
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for IODINE are as follows:
Likely effective for…
Iodine deficiency. Taking iodine supplements, including iodized salt, is effective for preventing and treating iodine deficiencies.
Radiation exposure. Taking iodine by mouth is effective for protecting against exposure to radioactive iodides in a radiation emergency.
Thyroid conditions. Taking iodine by mouth can improve thyroid storm and hyperthyroidism. Also, taking iodized salt in addition to thyroxine after surgery for thyroid disease appears to reduce the size of the thyroid.
Leg ulcers. Research suggests that applying cadexomer iodine to venous leg ulcers along with compression for 4-6 weeks increases the healing rate. Also, applying povidone-iodine in addition to compression seems help heal leg ulcers and reduce the chance of a future infection.
Possibly effective for…
Catheter-related infection. Some evidence suggests that applying povidone-iodine reduces the risk of blood stream infections for people with hemodialysis catheters. However, other research suggests that applying povidone-iodine where a catheter is inserted does not reduce the risk of infection associated with using other types of catheters.
Conjunctivitis (pinkeye). Research suggests that povidone-iodine solutions are more effective than silver nitrate for decreasing the risk of pinkeye in newborns. However, it is not more effective than the medications erythromycin or chloramphenicol.
Foot ulcers in diabetes. Applying iodine to foot ulcers might be beneficial for people with foot ulcers related to diabetes.
Inflammation of the uterus (endometritis). Applying povidone-iodine solution to the vaginal area before a Cesarean delivery reduces the risk of the inflammation of the uterus.
Painful fibrous breast tissue (fibrocystic breast disease). Research shows that taking iodine, especially molecular iodine, reduces painful fibrous breast tissue.
Breast pain (mastalgia). Taking iodine tablets daily for 5 months reduces pain and tenderness in women with breast pain related to their menstrual cycle.
Soreness and swelling inside the mouth. Applying iodine to the skin seems to prevent soreness and swelling inside the mouth caused by chemotherapy.
Gum infection (periodontitis). Research suggests that rinsing with povidone-iodine during non-surgical treatments for gum infections (periodontitis) can help reduce the depth of infected gum pockets.
Surgery. Some research suggests that applying povidone-iodine during surgery reduces the risk of infections. However, povidone-iodine seems to be less effective than chlorhexidine at preventing infections at the surgical site.
Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for…
Bleeding.Early research suggests that washing the tooth socket with povidone-iodine stops bleeding in more patients after having a tooth pulled compared to saline.
Chyle in the urine (chyluria). Early research suggests that using povidine-iodine in people with chyle in the urine undergoing a pelvic instillation sclerotherapy may be as effective as standard care.
Eye infection (corneal ulceration). Early evidence suggests that administering povidone-iodine in addition to standard antibiotic therapy does not improve vision in people with corneal ulcers.
Fungal skin condition (Cutaneous sporotrichosis). Potassium iodide is commonly used for cutaneous sporotrichosis. There are reports that taking potassium iodide by mouth alone or with another antifungal treatment is effective for most people with cutaneous sporotrichosis.
Pneumonia. Early research suggests that rinsing the throat with povidone-iodine decreases the risk of pneumonia in people with severe head trauma who are using a ventilator.
Wound healing. There is some interest in using iodine agents to promote wound healing. While there is some evidence that applying iodine to wounds is more effective than non-antiseptic dressings in reducing wound size, iodine seems to be less effective than antibiotics.
The page goes on to warn about what drugs interact with iodine and when to avoid it. Potassium is a common issue as KI is the common delivery system.
Then this Doctor claims to be showing 3 patient histories with scan images showing remission with iodine.
Spontaneous Regression of Breast Cancer After Iodine
In his Iodine book, David Brownstein MD reports three cases of spontaneous regression of breast cancer after iodine supplementation.(1)
The first patient, Joan a 63 year old English teacher, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989, declined conventional treatment, and took 50 mg per day of Iodoral, (Iodine). Six weeks later, a PET scan (left image) showed, “all of the existing tumors were disintegrating”.
While these folks are more academic.
Again with the strong colors and pushing a book…
Iodine and the Breast
by Lynne Farrow © 2007-2014 by the author. All rights reserved.
What if there was one nutrient which…?
1. Desensitized estrogen receptors in the breast.
2. Reduced estrogen production in overactive ovaries.
3. Reduced fibrocystic breast disease which often precedesbreast cancer.
4. Caused cancer cell death, slowed down cell division and reduced blood vessel growth to tumors.
5. Caused more cell death than the chemo drug, Fluorouracil .
6. Prevented rats from getting cancer when they were fed the breast cancer causing toxin DMBA.
Research suggests that some breast cancers may be an
iodine deficiency disease.
Iodine Deficiency Growing Worse
Iodine consumption by Americans has dropped 50% since the 1970s as breast cancer rates have risen (1). In the US Goiter Belt, where iodine in the soil is lower, breast cancer is higher (2).
By contrast, the incidence and severity of breast cancer are less in Japan than in Europe and the US, attributable to the diet (3). Japanese women consume 25 times more dietary iodine than North American women and have lower breast cancer rates (4).
Meanwhile, since the 1970s, in the US and several other countries, iodine-blocking bromides have been added to flour, some sodas, and medications, exacerbating the iodine deficiency.
Fluoridated drinking water also depletes iodine absorption. Thus, as women consume less iodine and excrete more due to toxic elements, our risk for breast cancer grows(5).
Iodine and Benign Breast Disease
Blocking iodine in rats’ food supply led to progressive human-like fibrocystic disease (atypia, sclerosing, calcifications, dysplastic changes) as the rats aged (6). Supplementing patients with fibrocystic disease with iodine helped to resolve fibrosis and reduced breast size (7).
For women with painful breasts accompanying fibrocystic disease, iodine improved symptoms in more than 50% of the women who took 6.0 mg. of iodine for 6 months (8), and brown sea alga improved pain and nodularity in 94% of the
women (9). From the editors’ observations of the Iodine Investigation Project participants, depending on the kind of iodine agent used, painful breast symptoms have resolved in from 24 hours to two months.
Since benign breast disease increases the risk of breast cancer (10), and iodine improves fibrocystic disease, we at Breast Cancer Choices propose studies to see if iodine supplementation decreases the risk of getting breast cancer and the risk of recurrence.
Iodine and Breast Cancer
For breast patients, iodine’s therapeutic mechanisms of action may be at least three-pronged: Hormonal (11), Biochemical (12-18), Genetic (19).
That is, iodine desensitizes the estrogen receptors, alters the chemical pathways as well effects on the genes, resulting in less cell growth, and causing anti-tumor effect by causing apoptosis (programmed cell death) of malignant cells.
Iodine-rich seaweed exhibits an anti-cancer effect in rats and in the lab on human breast cancer cells.
Adding seaweed to rats’ food delays the onset and number of rat mammary tumors (20,21). And in the lab, mekabu seaweed plant induced cell death in three kinds of human breast cancer cells. Mekabu had a stronger effect on the cells than the chemo drug, 5-fluorouracil (22).
Adding iodine to chemically-induced (DMBA) rat breast tumors stops the growth of the tumors. Adding iodine plus medroxyprogesterone gave the highest level of response: the growth-suppressed tumors showed 100% times the iodine content than the full blown (nonsuppressed) tumors. The researchers suggest that the uptake of iodine was enhanced by medroxyprogesterone. (23). As David Brownstein, MD, phrased it, “You cannot give breast cancer to rats that have sufficient iodine.”
In small, preliminary patient studies, using the screening iodine-loading test, breast cancer patients excreted less urinary iodine than healthy people, implying iodine-deficiency (24,25).
So kills human cancer cells in a dish. Kills rate cancer cells in the live animal. Seaweed is a decent source, and beats chemo.
They have an annotated reference page here:
It looks fairly clean. I’m going to just pick a couple of bits out of it. I’ve put some comments in […brackets with ellipsis where things are skipped] and bolding is mine.
PART 1: WHAT IS THE BACKGROUND OF IODINE AND BREAST DISEASE RISK?
Geographical Areas of Iodine Deficiency Lead to Increased Risk of Breast Cancer
Editor’s Note: The author below found that from 1990-1993, the US had 22.3 deaths per 100,000 women of breast cancer, placing them in 45th place in the world, while in Japan, where they have high dietary iodine, there were 6.6 deaths per 100,000, placing them in 13th place (Cancer Statistics, 1997). These findings tally with the study below finding that the low intake of dietary iodine, found due to geographical differences, leads to a risk of breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer.
Lancet. 1976 Apr 24;1(7965):890-1.
Dietary Iodine and Risk of Breast, Endometrial, and Ovarian Cancer
by Stadel BV
[…skipping several of interest…]
Benefits of Supplementing Iodine in Women with Fibrocystic Disease: Breast Reduction + Reduced Symptoms
Editor’s Note: As cited above, for iodine-deficient rats, iodine was more beneficial than iodide for the mammary gland. Similarly, for humans with fibrocystics breasts, the patients incurred more benefits from supplementing with iodine rather than iodide. The benefits included a reduction in breast size and remission of disease symptoms.
Can J Surg.1993 Oct;36(5):453-60.
Iodine replacement in fibrocystic disease of the breast.
by Ghent WR, Eskin BA, Low DA, Hill LP.
Department of Surgery, Queen’s University, Hotel Dieu Hospital, Kingston, Ont.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the response of patients with fibrocystic breast disease to iodine replacement therapy. DESIGN: Review of three clinical studies beginning in 1975: an uncontrolled study with sodium iodide and protein-bound iodide; a prospective, control, crossover study from iodide to molecular iodine; and a prospective, control, double-blind study with molecular iodine. SETTING: [… but you get the idea of the kind of detail]
Breast Pain Associated with Fibrocystic Disease: Seaweed Helped 94% of Women Reduce Symptoms
Editor’s Note: The authors below found 94% of patients taking tablets of brown sea alga containing iodine, chlorophyll and Omega-3 fats for three months experienced pain relief and breast cyst regression.
Vopr Onkol. 2005;51(2):236-41.
Investigation of the drug “Mamoclam” for the treatment of patients with
fibroadenomatosis of the breast
by Bezpalov VG, Barash NIu, Ivanova OA, Semenov II, Aleksandrov VA,
[… so eat your sushi / nori…]
PART 2: WHAT ARE IODINE’S MECHANISMS OF ACTION? OBSERVATIONS AND THEORIES
Iodine Treatment Found to Have an Effect on the Expression of Breast Cancer Genes
Editor’s Note: Based upon studies finding that iodine deficiency increases breast cancer and supplementing with iodine reverses the dysplastic changes, the objective of the 2006 microarray genes’ analysis of iodine on breast cancer cells was to determine the specific molecular pathways through which iodine exerts its protection of breast tissue. Of 19,000 genes tested, 1600 appeared to have some significance. All genes that were up- and down-regulated were examined for common pathways, but none were found. However, 65% were involved in cellular components and 58% in physiologic processes. This study supports the hypothesis that iodine does effect gene expression in breast cancer cells, and the lack of a common pathway may involve other uncharacterized genes.
Microarray Characterization of Iodine Metabolic Pathways in Breast Cancer
by Eskin, Bernard; Stoddard H, Frederick; Brooks, Ari
Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, United States
Background: The metabolic iodine pathway critical to the thyroid is simulated in a wide range of non-thyroidal tissues, including the female breast. Iodine deficiency has been shown to increase the incidence of breast carcinoma and iodine replacement reverses the dysplastic changes that occur; iodine protects breast tissue from malignant change. Since the specific molecular pathways through which iodine affects breast tissue is yet unknown, we are using RNA profiling experiments to examine the effect of iodine treatment on gene expression in breast cancer cells (MCF-7).
Experiment: Human breast cancer MCF-7 cells were grown in medium containing either 0 (control), 0.1, or 1.0 uM of iodine for 24 hours. RNA was isolated and subjected to microarray analysis using arrays containing approximately 19,000 genes. Comparisons were made between the control and the two test conditions (either 0.1 or 1uM iodine). Ratio of the Medians (Rm) was used to compare signal intensities between groups.
Iodine’s Three Ways of Action
Editor’s Note: The authors below found three principal iodine actions: 1. As an antioxidant by exerting a competition with free radicals for membrane lipids, protein, and DNA to help stabilize the cells. 2. As inducers of antiproliferative and apoptotic mechanisms through the formation of iodolactones. 3. As a part of thyroid hormones.
J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2005 Apr;10(2):189-96. Related Articles, Links
Is iodine a gatekeeper of the integrity of the mammary gland?
by Aceves C, Anguiano B, Delgado G.
Instituto de Neurobiologia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Juriquilla
This paper reviews evidence showing iodine as an antioxidant and antiproliferative agent contributing to the integrity of normal mammary gland.
[… and the third section}
References: What is the effect of iodine on breast cancer?
Editor’s Note: Using the screening iodine-loading test, a small preliminary breast cancer-iodine study found that there is a significant decrease in excretion of urinary iodine in role in breast cell differentiation.
Identification of Breast Cancer by Differences in Urinary Iodine
(Abstract Number: 2150)96th Annual Meeting AACR, April 16-20, 2005, Anaheim/Orange
County, CA By Bernard A. Eskin, Waqas Anjum, Guy E. Abraham, Frederick Stoddard,
Ann Prestrud, Ari D. Brooks, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA,
Optimox Corporation, Torrance, CA.
A 2006 Breast Cancer Patient-Iodine Study Finds Patients Low in Iodine, High in the Toxins Bromine and Fluoride
Brownstein, D., Iodine. Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, 2nd Edition,
Medical Alternatives’ Press 2006.
Editor’s Note: Dr. David Brownstein, using the iodine-loading test, conducted a very small study in his practice to determine the iodine, bromine, and fluoride levels in eight breast cancer patients and ten non-breast cancer patients. Results: The iodine levels were low in all of the patients. Just as the levels of the toxin, bromide, trended higher in the breast cancer patients in the Eskin study cited above, in this study, the bromide levels similarly were significantly elevated in the breast cancer patients as opposed to the non-breast cancer patients. Also, the levels of the toxin, fluoride, were higher in the breast cancer patients. Supplementing with iodine will rectify the iodine deficiency and importantly help the body detox these toxins.
Continuous Administration of Iodine to Rats Results in Strong and Persistent Reduction of Incidence of Breast Tumors
Editor’s Note: In this 2005 study, the continuous treatment of rats with iodine exhibited a potent protective effect (70%) on breast tumors induced by the carcinogen, MNU. This effect is exerted by iodine, but not by iodide or T4. Any interruption of the iodine treatment resulted in an increased incidence of tumors.The suppression by iodine treatment is accompanied by the development of latent tumors that do not progress to overt cancers, suggesting that the mechanism of action is at the promotional level, and the protective mechanisms may involve regulating the oxidative environment.
Iodine + Selenium: Selenium is Needed For Proper Functioning of Iodine
Editor’s Note: Deiodinase enzymes which convert T4 (thyroxine, the prohormone that has four atoms of iodine ) into T3 (triiodothyronine, the cellularly active hormone that has three atoms of iodine), and then convert T3 into T2 are selenium-dependent. In addition to being incorporated into thyroid hormones, iodine is organified into anti-proliferative iodilipids in the thyroid; such compounds may play a role in the proliferative control of other tissues, such as the breast. Selenium acts synergistically with iodine. Thus, selenium may affect hormone homeostasis and iodine availability.
Cancer Causes Control. 2000 Feb;11(2):121-7.
Hypothesis: iodine, selenium and the development of breast cancer.
Cann SA, van Netten JP, van Netten C.
Special Development Laboratory, Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria, BC, Canada.
BACKGROUND: In this paper we examine some of the evidence linking iodine and selenium to breast cancer development. Seaweed is a popular dietary component in Japan and a rich source of both of these essential elements. We hypothesize that this dietary preference may be associated with the low incidence of benign and malignant breast disease in Japanese women. In animal and human studies, iodine administration has been shown to cause regression of both iodine-deficient goiter and benign pathological breast tissue. Iodine, in addition to its incorporation into thyroid hormones, is organified into anti-proliferative iodolipids in the thyroid; such compounds may also play a role in the proliferative control of extrathyroidal tissues. Selenium acts synergistically with iodine. All three mono-deiodinase enzymes are selenium-dependent and are involved in thyroid hormone regulation. In this way selenium status may affect both thyroid hormone homeostasis and iodine availability. CONCLUSION: Although there is suggestive evidence for a preventive role for iodine and selenium in breast cancer, rigorous retrospective and prospective studies are needed to confirm this
And just so the guys don’t feel left out… Along with the Japanese correlation of lower breast and prostate cancer rates, these folks speculate a bit about prostate cancer based on the presence of iodine hormone sites:
The prostate also contains large numbers of receptors for thyroid hormone. We know that a woman’s breasts also contain large numbers of these same thyroid hormone receptors. The woman’s breasts and the man’s prostate are the two largest accessory sexual organs of their bodies. It is not unreasonable to suspect that thyroid hormone plays some role in their function.
We know that iodine deficiency is linked with fibrocystic breast disease and breast cancer. When a woman with fibrocystic breasts is treated with iodine, the fibrocystic breasts soften and turn into normal breasts. It would not be unreasonable to conclude that the same thing could happen when men with enlarged prostates are treated with iodine. Nature tends to be fairly conservative, and does not invent new processes when the old ones are perfectly adequate to the task. Iodine deficiency is associated with increased risk of three different cancers, including breast, thyroid and stomach, all of which have thyroid hormone receptors.2
The prostate also contains thyroid hormone receptors.3 Thyroid hormone requires iodine for its synthesis. Therefore the prostate must also require iodine, since it has the receptors for thyroid hormone, and nature really does not create useless redundancies. This could explain why therapy with iodine or iodide could help to shrink the size of the prostate. It is known that iodine deficiency in adolescents results in enlargement of the testes, just as it results in enlargement of the thyroid gland without concomitant production of androgenic hormones and virilization.
There’s a lot more pages on this out there, but at this point I think it’s pretty well shown that iodine status is about a whole lot more than your thyroid gland. It is also pretty clear to me that the forced widespread exposure to toxic bromine compounds is a Very Bad Thing in several ways.
There’s also some modestly flaky bits out there too. One site claiming some doctor (in Italy IIRC) had ‘proven’ skin cancer was caused by candida albicans (yeast) and could be cured with 7% iodine solution (daily for a couple of weeks). While I won’t rule it out entirely, it sure seems like a stretch to me (just because I’d expect folks to have been painting povidone iodine on lesions since forever and someone would have noticed…) but you can decide for yourselves on those kinds of pages. (if you read this link, note where they suggest wearing their special pendant while being treated… uh, right…)
What they are talking about is here at the Doctors site:
His treatment is about right for skin fungus. Just seems to me someone would have noticed befor now that skin cancer always had associated fungus…
But there seems to be enough real MDs with real treatments on the breast cancer side, and fair metabolic reasons to think it ought to do something for prostate issues; to be worth a look.
Unfortunately, like so many things “medicinal”, there’s a lot of junk out there, and some it from folks who are M.D.s doing the accepted research… Bromine is clearly a bad actor, and the cyclical hydrocarbons with bromine are worse. The idea of an element ‘one off’ from the normal one screwing up enzyme systems is well founded. That Iodine is critical to a lot of systems is also clear, and that it is involved in much more than thyroid hormone also demonstrated. Finally, that Japanese / seaweed connection is convincing for me.
So I’ll be making sure my salt is iodized, and add potassium bromate to the list of things that need to NOT be on a bread wrapper list of ingredients. Walmart still sells tincture of iodine, and Walgreens has povidone iodine that has a much higher iodine content, so putting some of that in the medicine cabinet for cuts and scrapes (and maybe having some side benefits longer term) seems reasonable. Heck, I might even see if I’ve got some old “preparedness” potassium iodide tablets and “rotate the stock”…
And absolutely for certain the spouse and I are going out for Sushi at one of our favorite places… with an extra nori wrapped roll or two. Hey, medicine can be tasty too ;-)