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[pct-l] Iodine and health


>    2) However, the effects of iodine are somewhat cumulative, and no
>doctor recommends anyone take iodine for more than a couple days, because
>(among other things), iodine stimulates the thyroid gland - which is a
>big deal, since it controls metabolism. Individuals vary widely in how
>sensitive they are to this (how "poisoned" they'll be), and you'll hear
>from lots of backpackers that say they've used iodine for months with no
>adverse effects. Actually, what they are saying is that they didn't get
>desperately ill; iodine taken over that period of time will definitely
>have an effect on anybody.

I don't want to get in a medical pissing contest with you, but the
information that you are promoting is incorrect. In fact, no informed
doctors, including endocrinologists,( who specialize in thyroid disease),
recommend AGAINST using properly iodinated water, for ANY length of time.
These studies HAVE been done, both on hordes of "normal"
non-thyroid-diseased persons, as well as on large cohorts of persons with
thyroid disease (under treatment, of course.)

>In people with thyroid disease, or borderline
>(a _lot_ of people), the extra iodine will "push them over the line", so
>to speak, and bring on serious illness, which is unpleasant and
>life-threatening (I have Grave's disease).

This is not true, of the iodide ingested with treated water. You are
falling into a common trap, of generalizing your experience, and your
health problems, to other people. We may not know what precipitated your
thyroid disease, but you can't extrapolate  from your experiences, to other
persons. This is pseudo-science.

>There is a great deal of
>iodine in our food/water already in the coastal states (you couldn't
>avoid it no matter how hard you tried), so we really don't  want any
>excess; just because we actually need small amounts of a substance for
>health doesn't mean consuming larger amounts is desirable or even safe..

Please give EVEN ONE example from public health data, American or
otherwise, where environmental iodine excess has occurred, and lead to
health problems (I can get you a Nobel Proze, or at least, a Pulitzer....)

>(You can think of many examples of this, right?)
>  Interestingly, other things that stimulate the thyroid (symptoms: rapid
>heart rate, shakiness leading to exhaustion/weakness in large muscles,
>"hot flashes", hunger with weight loss, etc) are altitude, exertion, and
>cold - somebody with a sensitive thyroid who goes on a tough hike in
>chilly weather above, say, 6-8,000', _and_  ingests extra iodine - well,
>you can use your imagination. (I was diagnosed with Grave's after a
>rigorous all-day/night peak climb in snow to rescue some hypothermic
>hikers; turns out I nearly collapsed, & was lucky not to suffer a heart
>attack as well.)

There is somuch medical misinformation contained in these few sentences,
that I won't even begin to answer them, point-by-point.

>   BTW,  thyroid overactivity just sucks calcium out of your bones, so
>any folks (especially fine-boned ladies) who are worried about
>osteoporosis down the line  might reconsider using iodine to purify

What complete folly. The osteoporosis of aging caucasian females is
multifactorial. If it is (rarely) due to thyroid disease, then you need
thyroid therapy, NOT iodine, to change the osteoclysis. The simple-minded
thought that you can drive the thyroid with iodine in a normal-thyroid
person to stop bone loss is naive, wishful, unphysiologic hooey.

>myself find iodine to be awfully _in_convenient. With a filter,
>I can just stop at a water source and drink, instead of waiting (&
>hoping) for the proper "dose" to do its job, especially on cold water,
>which is pretty much all you find in the backcountry, or on (for example)
>water in cattle-grazing allotments like Kern River country.  I'm not nuts
>about having to find deep-enough-to-dip,  grit-free, slime/ bug-free,
>"clear" water to treat, either (I'd rather just filter out the cow dung,
>thank you), or the iodine taste (even with the "taste neutralizers) - the
>extra weight is one of those annoyances I'm willing to exchange for the
>certainty of safe drinking water and continuing health. "Certainty" is
>the operative word here: nowadays, it's a gamble to drink water anyplace
>(altho some people seem to feel they can beat the odds - I don't have
>that much faith in my good luck), and stuff like chlorine (bleach)
>doesn't cut it, as you know.

Well, actually, when used in proper proportions, chlorine (like any other
halide) DOES "cut it". The hassles of using chlorine just outweigh the
benefits, for most of us.

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Ben Schifrin MD FACEP
Prehospital Liaison
Memorial Medical Center
1700 Coffee Road
Modesto CA 95353
209 526-4500 ext 6911

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