What Does Potassium Iodide Do
Potassium iodide protects the thyroid by blocking the absorption of radioactive iodine. This is known as iodine thyroid blocking.
When you take potassium iodide, your thyroid becomes saturated with nonradioactive iodine. This causes your thyroid to fill up.
As a result, your thyroid will not be able to absorb any type of iodine for the next 24 hours. Excess iodine, either nonradioactive or radioactive, will leave your body via your urine. This can help reduce the risk of thyroid cancer due to radioactive iodine.
Its important to note that potassium iodide protects only your thyroid. It does not protect the rest of your body because its not a general radioprotective agent, according to the . As such, it doesnt prevent radioactive iodine from entering your body it only stops your thyroid from absorbing the iodine.
Additionally, potassium iodide does not protect against external radiation exposure or other radioactive compounds.
Potassium iodide is used during nuclear emergencies. You should take it only when public health officials specifically say to do so.
To protect your thyroid, you must take potassium iodide within a certain time frame. According to the
, the recommended doses for different groups are as follows:
You should never take potassium iodide more often than instructed. This will not provide extra protection. Taking too much potassium iodide can lead to severe illness or death.
Iodine Treatments For Radiation Exposure
After testing over 500 patients, I found that 94.7 percentof my patients are deficient in inorganic iodine. Dr. David Brownstein
Clearly we are just at the beginning of this disaster and very far from its end, and already it is unprecedented in scope. If this accident stops right now it will already be one of the three worst accidents we have ever had at a nuclear power plant in the history of nuclear power, said Joseph Cirincione, an expert on nuclear materials and president of the U.S.-based Ploughshares Fund, a firm involved in security and peace funding.
There is absolutely zero chance that this disaster in progress is going to stop now or any time soon, so precautions need to be taken right away by every citizen in the northern hemisphere that is downwind and on the track of the jet stream that will quickly carry radioactive materials first to North America then to Europe and beyond to Russia. This is all going to be much worse than people want to believe, so rush to get your iodine right now! Get your hands on whatever you can for in a few days there will be no iodine to have of any type.
Think again, think seven times again before you leap and start construction of new nuclear power plants. Mikhail Gorbachev June 2006
Iodine is needed in microgram amounts for the thyroid,milligram amounts for breast and other tissues, and canbe used therapeutically in gram amounts. Dr. David Miller
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But Don’t Take Iodine As A Precaution
There is no point in taking iodine as a precautionary measure to prevent against radiation exposure after a leak or attack on a nuclear power plant.
The thyroid only stores iodine for a limited amount of time.
And taking too much iodine even the good stuff can be dangerous.
Many people in Germany, for instance, suffer from an . And health experts advise against taking any iodine supplements unless there is an acute medical reason to do so.
Witnesses Of The Past
One week before the 32nd anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster on April 26, Ukranian photographer Alina Rudya visited the village of Opachichi. She found one old woman who still lives there, but most of the other self-settlers have died. Empty houses have been left open with old pictures, letters, Ukrainian embroidered towels and furniture silently serving witness.
Chernobyl: The people who’ve stayed
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Iodine And Your Thyroid
What we know about our thyroid is that it is a really strong concentrator of iodine in our bodies1.
Every speck of iodine that gets into your bloodstream, is then eventually pulled into your thyroid. This means that any time you have iodine in your body, it is going to be interacting with your thyroid.
When it does happen, it can also be more than 100 fold of the levels that were initially in your blood. Due to this, the dangers of radioactive iodine were even more pronounced when the events in Japan happened.
Key Insight: Because of your thyroids role in your body, if you ever get a lot of iodine into your system your body knows to shut off your iodine uptake. This is the Wolff-Chaikoff effect.
Paradoxically, a whole bunch of iodine at once actually shuts off all the things that iodine provides. Ultimately, this is the rationale that explains why we might try to protect our bodies from radioactive iodine.
Bottom Line: If your body receives a large influx of iodine, you can shut down all iodine uptake. This would then protect yourself from exposure to radioactive iodine. Keeping it out of your thyroid, and keeping your risk for thyroid cancer at bay.
Potassium Iodide: An Antidote For Radiation Exposure
Manouchehr Saljoughian, PharmD, PhDDepartment of Pharmacy, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Berkeley, California
US Pharm. 2011 36:HS-25-HS-28.
Potassium iodide is an inorganic compound that is available from three manufacturers under different brand names as an antidote to radiation exposure. From a chemistry point of view, it is made from potassium hydroxide and iodine, and it is the most produced iodide compound in the world. It is preferred over sodium iodide salt because it is less hygroscopic and easier to handle it is an odorless and stable white crystalline powder. Among its other applications, it is used in the photography industry to form silver iodide and in chemical laboratories as a source of iodide in organic synthesis. KI is also used in biomedical research as a fluorescence quencher through its iodide ion. Upon extended exposure to air, KI becomes yellow as a result of the liberation of iodine, and small quantities of iodate may be formed due to oxidation.1
Although KI has several medical and nutritional applications, its most important application is as an antidote to radiation. Recently, KI has been in high demand in the United States due to the warning about remote radiation exposure from the recent Japanese nuclear plant radioactive releases.2 For medical purposes, a saturated solution of KI is used to treat lung congestion and sporotrichosis and as an antiseptic in sore throats.
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How Can You Protect Yourself From Radiation Exposure
In general, alpha, beta, gamma and x-ray radiation can be stopped by:
Does Radioactive Iodine Have Any Benefit
Some thyroid conditions require an immediate slowing of the hormone production. In situations like this, a minuscule amount of Iodine-131 can be used to slow thyroid hormone production. While this may seem counterintuitive, the amount of iodine used is very, very small. It is used only in emergency situations, and it’s only administered in medical settings. You’re not going to get it from the corner drugstore and administer it yourself.
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Iodine Tablets Are Risky For Individuals With Thyroid Diseases
Taking high-dose iodine tablets is also associated with risks to health. In Germany, a considerable proportion of adults suffer from latent hyperthyroidism that is, overactivity of the thyroid without signs of disease. This latent hyperthyroidism can evolve into symptomatic hyperthyroidism due to the intake of high doses of potassium iodide. Symptoms can include everything up to acute cardiovascular failure.
Other known side effects include sensitivity to iodine.
Individuals who are known to suffer from thyroid disease should only take iodine tablets after consulting the doctor providing treatment.
Should Any Precautions Be Considered If Ki Is Recommended For Public Use
- Because of possible side effects, individuals with known iodide sensitivity or who have conditions associated with increased risk of iodine hypersensitivity should avoid taking KI
- Individuals should consult their physicians to determine if they have iodine sensitivity or conditions that may increase their risk of developing iodine hypersensitivity. Such information should be obtained prior to an emergency, since, to be effective, KI needs to be taken within a narrow time window from exposure.
- Because some newborns may develop transient hypothyroidism, newborns given KI should be monitored for hypothyroidism symptoms, and treated if such symptoms are observed. FDA recommends that neonates , pregnant and lactating women, and those with known iodine sensitivity, should be given priority with regard to other protective measures.
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Will The Iodine Pills Protect Me From Contaminated Food
If radioactive iodine is released during a major emergency, eventually that airborne material will settle out onto the ground. If the radioactive iodine settles onto pasture which is then consumed by animals, the animals can ingest the radioactive iodine into their bodies. People who then consume the animal or products from that animal could take in radioactive iodine and be further at risk.
Protection of people during the later stages of the response to such a nuclear emergency, including the response to contaminated land, would be extensive and food control measures would be implemented.
For more information, please see the interview with our Scientist, Tara Hargreaves, that aired on Global News in January 2020.
Blog Post Authors: Maria Costa and Tara Hargreaves, RSIC
Managing Overactive Thyroid Gland
Your doctor may recommend a special type of iodine called radioactive iodine to treat an overactive thyroid gland. Also called radioiodine, this medication is taken by mouth. Its used to destroy extra thyroid cells to help reduce excessive amounts of thyroid hormone.
The risk with radioactive iodine is that it can destroy too many thyroid cells. This can decrease the amount of hormone production, leading to hypothyroidism. For this reason, radioactive iodine is usually only recommended after anti-thyroid drugs have failed.
Radioactive iodine is not the same thing as iodine supplements. You should never take iodine supplements for hyperthyroidism.
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What Are Sources Of Ionizing Radiation
Radioactive elements present in the soil, water, and air are natural sources of radiation.
As such, the human body is exposed to ionizing radiation by inhaling or ingesting radionuclides from air, food, and water.
Another natural source of radiation is cosmic rays.
Human-made radiation sources include nuclear power plants and medical devices.
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Iodine is often used to protect the thyroid from the effects of radiation as we were clearly reminded during the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in 2011. While iodine protects against radiation poisoning of the thyroid, its radioactive state has also proven a useful emergency medical tool. It is also worth noting that we believe that nascent iodine is the most effective form of iodine for supplementation because of its high bioavailability, making it easier for the body to break down and utilize.
Iodine and Radiation
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Where Can I Buy Iodine How Do I Take Iodine
While Iodine is still a very useful mineral no matter what you take it for, different dosages of Iodine are needed depending on your age and it could have a toxic effect on anyone who is over 40 years old or has thyroid or heart disease, so you need the go-ahead first. Iodine can also interact with various medications, especially those used to treat hyperthyroidism and high blood pressure. Adults usually need 140 micrograms of Iodine a day, and most people can get all the Iodine they need from a varied and balanced diet. If youre a vegan and dont eat fish, you might need to take Iodine supplements for this reason alone, although some plant milks are fortified with Iodine.
If you take too much Iodine, you can experience symptoms such as a goiter . With very large doses of Iodine , you could experience burning of the mouth, throat and stomach fever stomach pain nausea vomiting diarrhea weak pulse and even potentially thyroid cancer or a coma.
In theory, Iodine tablets only need to be taken the day of the threat to be effective, so you dont need to start taking Iodine as a pre-emptive measure.
Giulia, Superintendant Pharmacist at digital pharmacy medino, says:
What Is Iodine Used For How Does Iodine Work
Iodine can be effective against preventing your body from absorbing radiation. It was used for this reason after Chernobyls accidental nuclear explosion, where authorities within Ukraine and surrounding cities/countries gave them to their citizens in order to help them stay as healthy as possible against the radioactive threat.
If a nuclear explosion occurs, radioactive Iodine would possibly be released into the air and can then enter your body through your airways or through contaminated food. Your thyroid gland stores Iodine until it is saturated by it, so you could encounter radioactive poisoning .
Taking stable, non-radioactive Iodine at the right time, when instructed to by the government, will make sure that your thyroid gland is already saturated with Iodine so that you cant take any more in. That helps to prevent the absorption of radioactive Iodine.
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Regional Recommendations On Taking Iodine Tablets
Whether people are asked to take iodine tablets after a nuclear accident depends on the distribution of the radioactive iodine cloud. This in turn depends on:
- how much radioactive iodine is released
- the distance from the site of the accident
- the wind and weather conditions
For example, iodine tablets are distributed in the vicinity of nuclear power plants in the event of a nuclear accident. The size of this area depends on the severity of the accident. In the event of an accident involving a significant release of radioactive iodine, the use of iodine tablets may be recommended for adults within 100 kilometres and for children throughout Germany.
Almost No Treatment For Radiation Exposure
There is hardly any treatment for radiation exposure. What’s decisive is whether a person has been “contaminated” or whether the radiation has been “incorporated” into the body.
In the case of a contamination, radioactive waste settles on the surface of the body.
It may sound ridiculous, but the first thing people should do in those cases is wash off the radioactive waste with normal soap and water.
A “radioactive incorporation” is far more dangerous. Once radioactive waste has made its way into the body, it’s almost impossible to flush it out again.
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Can People Have Reactions To Ki
In general, most people who have taken KI have not had any reactions . If people did have a reaction, it did not last very long. In a few cases, babies had a reaction in their thyroids. Adults who had reactions had stomach problems or a rash. The federal government thinks the benefits of taking KI are much greater than the risks.
Why Should I Take Iodine Tablets
In the event of a nuclear accident, radioactive iodine can be dispersed in the air and absorbed by the thyroid gland when inhaling contaminated air and/or ingesting contaminated food and drinks. Iodine tablets will block the absorption of radioactive iodine by the thyroid gland and reduce the risk of you contracting cancer of the thyroid gland.
Iodine tablets only provide protection against radioactive iodine and not against other radioactive substances.
The advise to take the tablets will often be accompanied by an advice to stay indoors for up to two days. It is therefore important that you store tablets at home.
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How Iodine May Help Protect You From Radiation Damage
While Scientists debate the dangers of the increased radiation airline travelers are being exposed to, and government officials dismiss concerns, there is little question that it is babies, children and those with compromised immune systems who are at risk.
Those at greatest risk also include cancer patients, anyone over the age of 65, pregnant women and HIV-positive patients.
According to a study from Los Alamos National Laboratory, terahertz wave radiation emitted by the new scanners creates effects that may interfere with DNA replication. And a study in the journal Radiation Research concluded that THz radiation causes DNA instability.
The adult human body makes a billion new cells an hour. Ideally each one of these cells is a perfect replication of a perfect parent cell. DNA damage means that the code to manufacture the new generation of cells is altered.
So, there can be no liability in everyone guarding against extra radiation exposure. Radiation does cause cancer. How much radiation a person can handle without developing cancer is very individual.
The best sources of iodine may be protein bound. Look for kelp or seaweed supplements. It’s best to start iodine supplementation slowly and build up to a higher dose.
Iodine is concentrated in the skin, and in the thyroid gland. The thyroid must have iodine to make thyroxin, the main thyroid hormone. Iodine has been shown to be protective against breast and prostate cancer. Iodine in the breast tissue may buffer estrogen.