Iodine and breast cancer

by Lynne Farrow © 2007-2013 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 precedes
breast 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.

As iodine consumption has gone down, breast cancer rates have gone up. But
the research goes far deeper, exploring the effects of iodine supplementation on
breast disease and breast cancer. This important breakthrough has been in the
research pipeline for years but only recently found momentum.  After sifting
through 50 years of iodine research and corresponding with researchers around
the world, the editors report that abnormal iodine metabolism, due either to
bromide dominance in the environment or a dietary deficiency of iodine, must be
addressed as part of a preventive and or a therapeutic strategy.  

                                    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
highestlevel 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).

          What to do about iodine deficiency?

The editors at Breast Cancer Choices recommend patients read as much as they
can from the Iodine Related Links on the top left side of this page.

Secondly,  we recommend taking the Iodine Loading Test  which will provide a
guideline to your current iodine sufficiency status. Then join the Iodine
Investigation Project and participate in our confidential database so we can
follow your progress. Next, consider finding an iodine-literate practioner (ILP)  
from our directory or one willing to consider this non-toxic therapy.

Iodine Protocol. Depending upon the results of your screening iodine-loading
test,  most doctors we are familiar with currently recommend 50 mg or more of
iodine daily in the form of Iodoral tablets (a combined iodine-iodide formula), but
others recommend an iodine-only formulation or Lugol’s iodine solution.

Where to Get Iodoral:  Iodoral tablets may be available from your health
practitioner. The Breast Cancer Choices charity fund-raises for the Iodine
investigation Project through sales of Iodoral. If we have provided information to
you, please consider buying from a charity rather than a for-profit company.

Iodine Companion Nutrients. Many Iodine Literate Doctors suggest selenium(26),  
vitamin C (27), and magnesium(28) enhance the therapeutic value of iodine.
Niacin was also recommended at the February 07 Iodine Conference. Thyroid
function should be closely monitored and may require an adjustment of thyroid

For those experiencing uncommon detox side effects such as constipation, acne
or rash,the Yahoo Iodine Group has used 1/2 teaspoon Celtic salt dissolved in a
large glass of water, taken twice a day. Drinking additional water and taking extra
vitamin C may help even more.  

                              What to Expect

The Breast Cancer Choices Iodine Investigation Project is currently following
patients taking iodine to prevent recurrence. Most patients report no side
effects.  Some report a range of non-breast improvements such as change in
thyroid status, need for less thyroid medication, weight loss, ovarian cysts
resolving, fibroids shrinking, improved energy, mood and mental clarity.

But be aware  some iodine takers report what we believe to be iodine detoxing
bromide into the bloodstream causing symptoms of bromism.

According to a Department of Defense commissioned report, , bromism symptoms
can manifest as lethargy, depression, “dark” thoughts, “brain fog,” constipation,
leg and hip pain, acne, rashes and other symptoms. These side effects are
usually reversible in 24-48 hours by discontinuing the iodine and allowing a short
period of washout before restarting at a lower dose. Again, as stated above,
Celtic salt in water has relieved detox symptoms quickly by speeding up bromide
detox through the kidneys. See full iodine protocol.

Since bromide excretion seems to be higher in breast cancer patients than
undiagnosed persons (29), it is important that each patient develop a strategy
with her physician to clear the bromide. Ways of eliminating bromide detox
symptoms by taking 1/2 teaspoon of Celtic salt in water are currently being used.

1. NHANES.  National Health and Nutrition Survey showed iodine levels have declined 50% in the
US. CDC National Center for Health Statistics.  CDC. gov 2000.
2. Eskin BA., Iodine and Mammary Cancer, Tans NY, Academy of Sciences 1970.
3. Kurihara M., “Cancer Statistics in the World,” Nagoya Univ. Press, Nagoya, pp. 80-81 1984.
4. Aceves C., et al., Is Iodine a Gatekeeper of the Integrity of the Mammary Gland?, Journal of
Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia, 2005.  
5. 30. Vega-Riveroll L, Mondragón P, Rojas-Aguirre J rt al.,The antineoplasic effect of molecular iodine on human
mammary cancer involves the activation of apoptotic pathways and the inhibition of angiogenesis. 2008
6. Krouse TB et al., Age-Related Changes Resembling Fibrocystic Disease in Iodine-Blocked Rat
Breasts, Arch Pathol Lab Med, 1979
7. Ghent WR et al., Iodine Replacement in Fibrocystic Disease of the Breast, Can J Surg 1993.
8.  Kessler J, The Effect of Supraphysiologic Levels of Iodine in Patients with Cyclic Mastalgia, The
Breast Journal 2004.
9. Bezpalov VG et al., Investigation of the Drug “Mamoclam” for the Treatment of Patients with
Fibroadenomatosis of the Breast, Vopr Onkol, 2005.
10. Hartmann LC et al., Benign Breast Disease and the Risk of Breast Cancer, N Engl J Med 2005.
11. Shah NM et al., Iodoprotein Formation by Rat Mammary Glands During Pregnancy and Early
Postpartum Period, Proc Soc Exp 1986
12.Venturi S., Is There a Role for Iodine in Breast Disease?, The Breast  2001.
13.Cann SA., et al., Hypothesis:  Iodine, Selenium, and the Development of Breast Cancer, Cancer
Causes control 2000.
14.Smyth PP., Role of Iodine in Antioxidant Defence in Thyroid and Breast Disease, Biofactors 2003.
15.Coochi M. et al., A New Hypothesis of Bio-Chemical Cooperation?, Prog Nutr 2000.
16.Thrall KD., Differences in the Distribution of Iodine and Iodide in the Sprague-Dawley Rats, J
Toxicol Environ Health 1992.
17. Eskin BA.,et al., Different Tissue Responses for Iodine and Iodide in Rat Thyroid and Mammary
Glands, Biol Trace Elem Res 1995.
18.Ghent WR. et al., IBID.
19. Eskin BA. et al., Microarray Characterization of Iodine Metabolic Pathways in Breast Cancer, p.
379 2006.
20. Teas J. et al., Dietary Seaweed (Laminaria) and Mammary Carcinogens in Rats, Cancer Res
21. Funahashi H. et al., Wakame Seaweed Suppresses the Proliferation of 7,12-Dimethybenz(a)-
Anthracene-Induced Mammary Tumors in Rats, Jpn J Cancer Res 1999.
22. Funahashi H. et al., Seaweed Preventing Breast Cancer?, Jpn J Cancer Res 2001.
23. Funahashi H. et al., Suppressive Effect of Iodine on DMBA-Induced Breast Tumor Growth in the
Rat, J Surg Oncol 1996.
24. Eskin BA. et al., Identification of Breast Cancer by Differences in Urinary Iodine, Abstract Number
2150, Presentation AACR Conference 2005.
25. 30. Vega-Riveroll L, Mondragón P, Rojas-Aguirre J rt al.,The antineoplasic effect of molecular iodine on human
mammary cancer involves the activation of apoptotic pathways and the inhibition of angiogenesis. 2008
26. Cann SA., et al., Hypothesis:  Iodine, Selenium, and the Development of Breast Cancer, Cancer
Causes control 2000.
27. Abraham GE., et al., Evidence that the Administration of Vitamin C Improves a Defective
Cellular Transport Mechanism for Iodine:  A Case Report, The Original Internist 2005.
28. Abraham GE., The Safe and Effective Implementation of Orthoiodosupplementation in Medical
Practice, The Orginal Internist 2004.
29. 30. Vega-Riveroll L, Mondragón P, Rojas-Aguirre J rt al.,The antineoplasic effect of molecular iodine on human
mammary cancer involves the activation of apoptotic pathways and the inhibition of angiogenesis. 2008
30. Vega-Riveroll L, Mondragón P, Rojas-Aguirre J rt al.,The antineoplasic effect of molecular iodine on human
mammary cancer involves the activation of apoptotic pathways and the inhibition of angiogenesis. 2008

2 responses to “Iodine and breast cancer

  1. This is a very thorough and important post. If only mainstream doctors did not wear blinkers. tHE OLD LADY IN THE NEXT BED WHEN i HAD THE LUMPECTOMY ALSO HAD A THYROID PROBLEM. Substances suchas maca which are rich in iodine turn you into a youthful energetic person overnight.

  2. Pingback: Iodine and breast cancer | Furious Curious Cancer Survivor·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s