Dorian A., Contributor
A Graves’ Thyroid Disease sufferer and her iodine patch test trials and tribulations.
First off, let me begin by saying that in all my research on the subject of whether or not iodine should be supplemented in someone with this particular autoimmune disorder, I can only say that there is no definitive answer. I was left with only one conclusion – that whatever works for you, is what is best for you. Let me explain….
In my never ending quest for everything possible to fight back against this disease, I finally decided to take a closer look at why my doctor had advised me to avoid all sources of iodine. Without getting into the physiology and chemistry of it all, the bottom line is that iodine has an effect on the thyroid. That’s why radioactive material is attached to iodine to target the thyroid. That’s all well and good if your problem is your thyroid….but what if it’s an autoimmune disorder, and not your thyroid? Remember, my philosophy is that my ills are solely related to my immune system and not my thyroid.
I decided I needed to find out once and for all if I needed iodine supplementation. However, at this point I had decided I was going to be treating myself and I did not want to go to the doctor for testing. I needed to find a way to self test, and low and behold there actually was a way! Now….several sites on the internet will tell you that self testing for iodine is not the most accurate method, but I’m here to tell you that it works just fine. In my opinion. Actually, I was amazed at the results. Here’s what happened…
Since my initial diagnosis I had switched from regular iodized table salt to sea salt. I also avoided all foods high in iodine. This means that for the past year my iodine intake had dropped substantially. I thought I was doing the right thing by following these guidelines, but for some reason after a year of these dietary restrictions, and now despite being off medications and taking many supplements, I was feeling very sluggish. I hadn’t felt this way until now, and it crept up on me over the course of two or three weeks. So, of course, I had to find out why. Something I had not tried yet was iodine.
I read everything I could find on the subject. It was quite frustrating. So I decided if I could not find a definite yes or no, I was just going to have to find out for myself. I went online and ordered Lugol’s solution, but was hesitant about just arbitrarily taking something so biologically potent, especially since my research could not give me an absolutely correct dose. And why would I want to wait until I experienced side effects to know it’s time to stop? That doesn’t sound like fun to me. So while I waited for the Lugol’s to arrive in the mail, I decided I would try the iodine patch test. Again, it was difficult to find information that was absolute – not only about how to self administer the test, but also how to read the results. I just said to myself that I was going to trust what my body tells me, and it was worth a shot.
Before I tell you what happened, let me say that I firmly believe that whatever you apply to your skin will eventually seep its way down into your bloodstream. Yes, I know, there are different sizes of molecules and yada yada, but skin is a porous organ. Things come out of it, and things can get into it, and underneath it is the rest of us. Scientists have known this for a long time because they invented medication patches. If something that was applied to your skin could not get down into your bloodstream, then why bother? Right?
I’m talking about pain patches, psychiatric medicine patches, nicotine patches, and all the rest. So…of course I believed that a skin patch test for iodine would work. Why not?
I happened to have a bottle of typical drug store iodine in my medicine cabinet. My daughter, who is homeschooled, needed it for a biology lab last year. Otherwise, you never would have found any such thing in my bathroom. So, lucky for me and my impatient self, there it was when I wanted it.
In anticipation of the test lasting 24 hours, I got up early one morning to take a shower before I applied the iodine, since I figured I would not be showering until the next morning. Just getting up seemed arduous at the time because I had been extremely tired lately – the reason I was bothering with all of this in the first place. I took my shower, dried off completely, and decided I would apply the iodine to my abdomen where I could see it clearly throughout the day. I wanted to be absolutely sure of any results, so I painted on a big three by three inch patch and filled it in. I knew the tincture contained alcohol, and I didn’t want any evaporation of the alcohol to affect the color intensity of the iodine, so I filled in the square twice – just to be sure I had enough on there. I did not cover the patch with anything, and just pulled on a very loose t-shirt. I was prepared to take notes for the next 24 hours.
I went about my usual morning routine, and before I knew it almost two hours had passed, but I did not want to peek at the patch yet. I had my mind set on the first check being at four hours – since all the guidelines I had read regarding the test mentioned that a serious level of iodine deficiency would be evident at eight hours. I planned on doing a half way point check before then. By the third hour I was really moving, but not in an over-excited or nervous kind of way – just in a normal, oh I feel pretty good, kind of way. I thought to myself that it must be psychosomatic. I mean really….come on. Oh the heck with it….I’m looking. I lifted up my shirt and that huge patch was gone! I mean…GONE! Not a trace. I felt I needed to rule out whether or not this was for real. So I did it again the next day. The next day it faded at about five hours. I did it again the following day. It faded at about eight hours. I continued this way until I went an entire 24 hours without the patch fading. And let me tell you….I felt pretty darn good. So now, when I am feeling a little “off”, I just paint on a small one by one inch patch of iodine in the morning and I’m good to go. My body regulates the dosing and I just sit back and watch and feel good. And every day I look at the unopened bottle of Lugol’s next to all of my vitamins and herbs, and I’m relieved that I tried the patch first.
I have posted a link to a video on how to do the iodine patch test. Use it solely as a guide, but follow your instincts. I hope it works for you as well as it did for me. Remember, we’re fighting an autoimmune disorder, not a thyroid disorder. We should all know where we stand as far as what our bodies may or may not need. This is a simple, inexpensive, and independent way to find out. (There are other ways, as well)
About the Author
Dorian A. is a licensed Registered Nurse who was diagnosed with Graves disease. Before graduating from nursing school, she studied herbology and alternative healing while working as a medical transcriptionist. She enjoys blogging and writing articles about her experiences battling this disease, as well as her discoveries using healthy supplements and lifestyle changes to stay symptom free. Check out her website, here and follow her on Google+.
This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.
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