US Surgeon General, Regina Benjamin, told NBC that buying iodide is a worthy “precaution.” She does not consider it an overreaction, and said you are right to be prepared. Meanwhile, workers at the nuclear power plants in Japan have abandoned the reactors, as reported in breaking news on the Associated Press.
We have no idea at this point how much radiation has been released, and how much more may come. We also do not know if we should take the iodide that we procure. If we need to take it, we’re not sure what dose. Fortunately, we now have a hotline in California with the Dept. of Public Health. Keep it handy: (916) 341-3947. I spoke to a live person when I called today (they say: we are not recommending iodide), and they told me their scripts are getting updated daily. I’d prefer hourly, but we’re still in a budget crisis; I’ll take whatever help we can get.
As expected, shelves are emptying of potassium iodide, one of the preventive therapies that I wrote about over five days ago.
I’m finding that recommendations for lesser exposures to be very limited and, not surprisingly, lack quality evidence.
Are you currently getting any iodine from your diet or from supplements? Most folks in the US are iodine-deficient, and my quick discussion with other experts suggest that the more iodine deficient, the more likely one may be to uptake radioactive iodine from nuclear fallout.
I take a multivitamin that contains 400 MCG of iodine (1000 MCG or microgram = 1 MG or milligram). The Japanese, from their traditional diet, consume on a daily basis approximately 13 mg per day. Fortunately this protects them significantly from radioactive iodine damage. We in the US, consume about 100-fold less iodine from our diet. The RDA in the US is 125 MCG/day.
Today I read research from Dr. Brownstein’s site (referenced previously) about Dr. Guy Abraham. Here’s a direct quote, which I have not been able yet to substantiate (most of the data don’t appear to be published in peer-reviewed journals, but if you wait for me to substantiate it fully, it may be irrelevant):
His research indicated that milligram doses (note: this is 1,000 times a microgram dose) are necessary to prevent radioactive iodine from damaging the thyroid gland. How much? Around 13mg/day prevents approximately 96% of radioactive iodine from binding to the thyroid gland. That is the approximate dosage of iodine ingested daily by the Japanese.
Keep in mind that in some people, with allergies to iodine or other thyroid conditions, iodine may cause more harm than good. Many conventionally-trained physicians are taught that more than 2 mg of iodine is dangerous.
As I write this on 3/15/11 at 8:15pm PST, I would love some clear answers and to provide clear recommendations. I am getting many, many questions which I cannot possibly answer individually. I highly recommend that you speak to your primary care provider about this issue, and if you have kids, your pediatrician. Pregnant women must be very careful with iodine because the fetus can absorb it and it can affect the fetal thyroid. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE YOU TAKE IODINE. Keep current with the Center for Disease Control, as well as your local public health. I’m trying to share information that I find difficult to find, for the purpose of education and being proactive. I’m glad the Surgeon General agrees that prevention is never premature.