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Lugols Iodine

Immune, thyroid | April 24, 2019 | Author: Naturopath

Immune, cancer, thyroid health

Lugols Iodine

You may be unaware of the many uses of Lugols Iodine. Lugols iodine is a formula of potassium iodide and iodine in an aqueous (water based) solution. It ihas many applications. These include rectifying iodine deficiencies, as a treatment for thyrotoxicosis, the detection of cancer cells, wound sterilization, as a germicide before medical proceedures, protecting the thyroid after a radation accidents as well as many science-based uses. Small amounts can even be used to disinfect water before drinking.

Lugols was first developed in 1829 by a French doctor called Jean Lugols initially as a cure for tuberculosis. It is a formula of -

  • Iodine 5% w/v and
  • Potassium Iodine 10% w/v (Potassium iodide is an inorganic salt; potassium (K) and iodine (I) are combined in a one-to-one ratio to form potassium iodide. Its chemical formula is KI
  • Water


IodineIodine (stable/non-radioactive iodine) is an essential nutrient needed in micro amounts for the normal function of the thyroid gland.

The thyroid gland gathers iodine to produce thyroid hormones.

These hormones are absolutely necessary for the growing baby's brain in pregnancy and up to 3 years of life and essential for metabolic functioning of the body of all people.

Reason to use Lugols iodine solution

  • Iodine deficiency
  • Antibacterial (topically)
  • Water purifier
  • Radiation emergency
  • Thyrotoxicosis (medical use)
  • Cancer detection (medical use)
  • Parasite infection detection (medical use)
  • Germicide (medical use)
  • Various science applications

Iodine deficiency

Iodine is available through many foods, but much of the foods available in Australia and New Zealand surprisingly are low in iodine, resulting in iodine deficiency in many people. Determining how much iodine is actually in food is hard, considering where a food is grown and how it is made has a bearing on content. Oysters, sushi (from seaweed), canned salmon, snapper, eggs, milk and fortified bread have been shown to contain the highest amount. Not all everyday foods consumed by the average person. Iodine has been mandatorily added to commercial bread to help deficiency in people since 2009.

General requirements

Iodine is a trace mineral only needed in small amounts for average people. Generally, adults require 150 micrograms a day (a millionth of a gram).

Uses for Lugols Iodine Solution

As an Antiseptic

As an AntisepticLugols can be used as a topical antiseptic with germicidal and fungicidal action. Use it directly on wounds and fungal infections.

Conditions affecting the Thyroid

Lugols may be prescribed by the doctor for many conditions of the thyroid, such as iodine deficiency, hypothyroidism from iodine deficiency, hyperthyroidism, as an emergency treatment in a thyroid storm or to prepare the thyroid when it needs to be removed by surgery.

Iodine is able to decrease the size of the thyroid making it easier for removal and reduces the amount of thyroid hormone being produced.  Although it is generally is not used for routine treatment of hyperthyroidism, due to the risk of iodine over-load.

A thyroid storm is a life-threatening condition resulting from untreated or ineffectually treated severe hyperthyroidism 


Hyperthyroidism (thyrotoxicosis) has many causes. It is a condition where the metabolism is in an increased state of activity with elevated serum levels of free thyroid hormones. It is characterised by an abnormal increase in basal metabolic state with symptoms such as tachycardia, fatigue, nervousness, tremor and weight loss.

Hyperthyroid may be the result of excess synthesis and secretion of thyroid hormones, or from excess secretion without synthesis. Other causes include:


During a nuclear accident, a cloud or plume of radioactive iodine can be released into the atmosphere where it will contaminate all surfaces. These surfaces can be cleaned with water and soap but the danger is from inhaled or consumed radio-iodine from the atmosphere or contaminated food and water supplies. The thyroid gland is the most sensitive part of the body to radio-active iodine and is unable to distinguish between radio-active iodine and stable iodine (needed for normal thyroid function). 

RadiationThe radioactive iodine enters the body and accumulates in the thyroid gland which can result in cancer.

Potassium Iodide (KI) is used to block the absorption of radioactive iodine and can protect the thyroid from irradiation. KI saturates the thyroid gland with stable (non-radio-active) iodine preventing the uptake of radio-active iodine.

Water Purification

Iodine can be used to purify water of protozoa, bacteria and viuses for travellers or in an emergency. It was found to be more effective in killing giardia cysts than chlorine. Giardia is a parasite which can cause infection of the digestive system.  Iodine should not be used for long-term water purification due to the risk of iodine over-dose and not in pregnancy.
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Correct dosage

It is important to take iodine in the correct dosage provided by your health care provider. The World Health Organisation offers dosage guidelines in instances of radioactive disasters.

In general, Lugols solution offers a cost-effective formula close to the body’s own physiological needs, but is only needed in small amounts, this usually means drop doses. Correct dosage is of upmost importance to avoid any iodine over-dosing. Patients with who receive too much iodine can go into renal failure, metabolic acidosis, hypotension, the collapse of blood circulation and death. Dosage will depend on issue being treated and should be discussed with the doctor to ensure the correct dose is given.

Administration through the skin

Skin application of iodine is an effective way for supplementation of iodine with an anticipated bioavailability of 6-12% of the total iodine applied to the skin.

Cautions and contraindications

You should not take Lugols Iodine solution without Doctors advice if you have the following conditions -

  • Pregnancy
  • Goitre
  • Thyroid diseas
  • Kidney disease
  • Potossium levels high in the blood
  • Tuburculosis 
  • Chronic inflammatory skin disease with blisters
  • Urtricaria vasculitis
  • Allergies to potassium or iodine

In summary

Lugols iodine solution can be used to protect the thyroid after unwanted exposure in a radiation emergency, to rectify iodine deficiency, to disinfect wounds and treat fungal and bacterial infections as well as a handy product to sterize water from pathogens.
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Use of Lugol's iodine in oral cancer diagnosis: an overview.

Lugol's solution-induced painless thyroiditis.

Rescue pre-operative treatment with Lugol's solution in uncontrolled Graves' disease.

Rapid preoperative blockage of thyroid hormone production / secretion in patients with Graves' disease.

Iodine in food and iodine requirements

Iodine fortification

Iodine or Lugol's Solution for Water Disinfection

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