Still More Iodine?


Last week I left off with mention of a breakthrough in my health. I was at the ten-month point following my adrenal crash, still not much better and in some ways worse. It had already been a long, hard go. But it hadn’t been wasted. I wasn’t sorry that this affliction had come upon me: sometimes we can’t recognize how badly things need to change until it gets so bad that we cannot go on. 
The things that had to change in me were as follows: I had to learn to stop pushing myself beyond my limits. I had to get serious about feeding myself consistently, before my blood-sugar had a chance to go in the tank. I had to keep trying to get to bed by ten o’clock. I had to learn that I do not breathe normally when I’m focussed on the things I enjoy. A case in point: the thing that totally put me over the edge with my adrenals last spring was writing these health articles. Yep. Total irony. I’d work intensely, not realizing that I wasn’t breathing. I would suffer debilitating anxiety (because my low oxygen was telling my adrenals that we had a crisis at hand), yet never understanding why. So I would just keep going, even though I knew it was taking a terrible toll on my body.
Rewind to August of 2010. I’ve been on iodine for nine months, beginning at 25 mg and increasing over time to 50 mg. From the six-week point and onward, I’ve been feeling no anxiety. Fantastic emotional resilience. Bear in mind that these doses are, respectively, 160 and 320 times the RDA. Now my hormone doctor was suggesting that I cut back to 12.5 mg.
This dose, 12.5 mg, is generally considered to be a good maintenance dose, once you’ve replenished your body. So I found this plan copasetic. But in retrospect, I believe that from that point on, my iodine stores began to gradually diminish until, about six months later, I’m starting to struggle with anxiety again. Three months further, I’m crashed. Flat. 
Fast forward again to early March of this year: I’ve changed some habits, but I’m still not doing well. I decide to go for an iodine-load test. This is a lab test (it costs $100) to discover if you are deficient in iodine. Here’s how it works: You take a dose of 50 mg of iodine first thing in the morning. You collect all your urine for the next 24 hours and send a measured sample away to a lab in the US. If you have sufficient iodine, they expect at least 90% of that dose to show up in the urine, indicating that the body doesn’t need much.
(Interestingly, the way this somewhat arbitrary 90% was settled upon was that they found each of the patients who expelled this percentage had, in the course of their iodine supplementation, come to the place of feeling great, both physically and emotionally. The others, whose bodies retained more than 10%, were still not feeling optimum.)
Another month went by as I waited for the results. Very early in the morning of April 11 (1:30 a.m. to be exact) I was awoken to a family crisis. When everything was finally resolved and I got back to bed, it was 4:00 a.m. But I couldn’t sleep. I lay there vibrating with misplaced adrenaline, feeling like I was levitating six inches off the bed. Eventually I slept fitfully for two hours but was unable to rest any more. By late afternoon, I was so strung out that I phoned my husband in tears. ‘‘I think I need to take some medication,’’ I said. He knew what a big deal this was. Twenty-seven months it had been since I’d used these pills, and it had been a terrific personal victory. He gently told me to do what I needed to do and not worry about it. So I did.
The very next day, my hormone doctor called with the results of my lab test. “Bottom line,” she said, “you are not getting enough iodine.” I had expelled only 58% of the iodine. Who would have guessed that I was still deficient! And it turns out, the adrenals are one of the many glands and organs for which iodine is crucial.
Immediately I increased my dosage. I continued to take my anti-anxiety medication because I was in such bad shape, but over the next three weeks I tapered down from 2 doses daily to none as the extra iodine kicked in. Two months later I’m still improving.
I invite your questions and comments on my blog ( Please note: I am not a medical professional and it is not my intent to diagnose or advise anyone. Always consult with your doctor before trying a new protocol.
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