“Iodine is essential for removing toxicity from the body, it’s a very important part of it. Our detox system can not function without iodine,” Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride said at the Weston A. Price Annual Conference in an interview (November 15, 2018, Baltimore, Maryland).

Between her speaking sessions, when asked about impaired thyroid function from cabbage juice, Dr. Natasha answered, “Iodine.

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She went on to say, “Part of the GAPS Protocol is to paint it on the skin because that gives you an indication weather you need it or not. The body will either drink it up or not. If a person has painted and a few hours later it’s gone, if it goes quicker than three hours, four hours, even I would say eight hours, it’s a good idea to start taking Iodoral,” she said.

She says when you paint, if you absorb it quickly, you’re deficient. She continued saying to take iodine internally, “You start slowly and keep increasing. The people who are more severe, we need to keep increasing, find your individual dose.” It supports the thyroid but more, “Iodine is involved in soooooo many functions, it’s not just thyroid.””

Special emphasis is placed on slowly when working with internal iodine, especially for GAPS folks.

She says, “For many people it’s enough to just paint, particularly children.”

If the person does show a deficiency by absorbing the iodine quickly, there are usually other signs of iodine deficiency. The most common signs are, but are not limited to, cold hands and feet, colder body temperature in general, hair falling out, brain fog, depression, exhaustion, difficulty in losing weight, goiter, thinning of the outer edge of the eyebrows and others. 

This information is not new, in fact, Dr. Natasha has been talking about iodine use internally for many years. 

In 2016 she discussed internal iodine usage saying, “We live in a world full of halogens, so many people need more iodine, and this situation seems to be escalating. It does look like all the problems we are dealing with are getting worse. It was enough to just paint iodine on the skin and supplement seaweed before to help people. Today it is not enough for many, and when we start having large amounts of seaweed we have to be concerned about arsenic, mercury and other toxic metals present in seafood. The amounts of bromide in our environment are growing, and other halogens, too.”[i]

When working with iodine on the GAPS Protocol, it is best to work with a knowledgeable iodine practitioner. Worms, viruses, bacteria and cancers die in the presence of iodine.[ii] [iii] GAPSters have many resident worms, resident viruses and resident bacterium that keep the balance of the declined microbiome.[iv] On iodine, the death and evacuation of these can cause extreme die off, which should be handled slowly and appropriately.

Liquid Lugol’s Iodine is the perfect balance of potassium iodide and potassium iodine, in the balance needed by the body. Different cells uptake their own needed form. Dr. Natasha recommends both the liquid form of Lugol’s and the tablet form, Iodoral, according to the need.[v] Iodoral is Lugol’s iodine in the tablet form, for those who have a difficult time with the taste or experience upset with liquid iodine. Iodine can be taken with or without food. 

Painting iodine is done by painting Lugol’s 2% or 5% on the soft parts of the skin 2% if the 5% burns the skin. This includes the insides of the arms, the insides of the legs and the stomach area. As more is needed, more is used. Dr. Natasha says, “Try to test yourself by painting Lugol solution, 15% on large parts of your body. If it absorbs in about 12 hours, you are still deficient.”[vi] When there is still a deficiency, we begin supplementing iodine internally.

Painted iodine oxidizes and is not always a reliable test.[vii] [viii] It is used as a guide, not a hard and fast rule. The collective symptoms are the guide.

If you look at the periodic table of elements, column number 17 is the halides. In the halide family we find fluoride, chloride, bromide and astatine. If the food is deficient in iodine, and the person is subsequently deficient. The cells still need iodine, so they uptake what looks most like iodine – the other halides. Currently, the biggest halide that shows issue in people is bromide, which looks very similar to iodine. Bromide is used in brominated flours and is widely used as a fire retardant. That means, by law, it’s in mattresses, couches, carpets, curtains, and many other household and daily use products. When we begin taking iodine, a bromide dump is common.[ix] This is where a knowledgeable practitioner comes into the picture.

When taking iodine internally, it is important to precede internal iodine for two weeks with salt loading (1/4 a teaspoon twice daily, or ½ a teaspoon once daily if loose stools are not encountered) and 200 mcg selenium. (which is a selenium approved by Dr. Natasha {Campbell-McBride, Natasha. “Re: Questions.” Message to Becky Plotner. 5 February, 2019. E-mail.}). This one can also be used. After the two weeks, these are continued while taking internal iodine. Taking mineral salt is not to be confused with taking processes salt, a foodish item which is not GAPS compliant. Celtic Grey Salt is most fitting to support the thyroid.[x], [xi]

If selenium is not included in the protocol of increasing internal iodine, you can give yourself Hashimoto’s, a thyroid disease.[xii]

If mineral salt is not included in the protocol, you can give yourself Bromism.[xiii] Bromism generally presents with the person feeling awful, sometimes angry, exhausted, ghost white in color and often freezing cold and sometimes they can’t get out of bed. Bromism simply means you need more salt, as described by Dr. David Brownstein in his book Iodine, Why You Need it, Why You Can’t Liver Without It and in Lynn Farrow’s book The Iodine Crisis.

Iodine is versatile and a great cleansing aid. In cases of high toxicity, it can be used to help clean the bowel. This includes situations such as persistent seizures or highly toxic cases. Dr. Natasha says, “Add salt into enemas and a few drops of iodine Lugol solution; start from 1 drop per enema and see how high they can go (up to 5 drops).”[xiv] Iodine is abrasive to gentle mucous membranes and can burn. For this reason, be sure the iodine is fully incorporated into the enema bag of water at no higher than a 2% solution. If any discomfort or pain occurs, stop immediately, then consider no more than half of the previous solution.

Most people will simply paint, then begin internally. As the iodine is increased, it is important to pay attention to the lungs. As the liver is overloaded, it backs up into the lungs. If the person wakes up in the morning clearing their throat, going slower is recommended, backing up a drop and waiting five days or more before increasing again. This dance continues as the numbers are increased. Where to stop is bio individual and is best navigated with a knowledgeable practitioner. 

When asked at what age would you start iodine internally Dr. Natasha said, “I haven’t tried it with babies internally. I would say closer to adulthood, 12. But that might change as this wave of more and more severe children coming in, that might change. At the moment just painting works in children, working very well. I also find that what works for many children is when they are watching TV, or playing video games, when they’re sitting still for a while, just put their feet into a tub with hot water and put some iodine in there. Lugol’s solution. The soles of the feet is a powerful absorptive surface. It absorbs there. I also find that painting it on the soles of the feet and on the hands works better than actually painting them on other parts of the body. Because our palms of the hands and soles of the feet are powerful absorptive surfaces, we are supposed to absorb things through them.”

Dr. Natasha’s concern is the liquid Lugol’s doesn’t taste very nice, so many prefer the tablet form of Lugol’s – Iodoral. She says, “A lot of people gag.” She says she is a fan of the liquid Lugol’s or Iodoral, the tablet form, just using whichever one you can tolerate. 

To learn how to make your own Lugol’s iodine, for pennies on the dollar, click here. 

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, CGP, D.PSc. who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. She is a Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor, through The American Naturopathic Medical Association and works as a Certified GAPS Practitioner who sees clients in her office, Skype and phone. She has been published in Wise Traditions, spoken at two Weston A. Price Conferences, Certified GAPS Practitioner Trainings, has been on many radio shows, television shows and writes for Nourishing Plot. She serves on the GAPS Board of Directors and has recently been named “The GAPS Expert” by Dr. Natasha and will serve teaching other Certified GAPS Practitioners proper use of the GAPS protocol. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia, through food, she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. She is a Chapter Leader for The Weston A. Price Foundation. [email protected]

“GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. The right of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Patent and Designs Act 1988.

[i] Campbell-McBride, Natasha. “Re: Thank you” Message to Becky Plotner 2 June 2016. E-mail.

[ii] Brownstein, David. Iodine, Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It. Michigan: Medical Alternatives Press, 2008. Print.

[iii] Farrow, Lynne. The Iodine Crisis, What You Don’t Know About Iodine Can Wreck Your Life. USA: Devon Press, 2013. Print.

[iv] Campbell-McBride, Natasha. Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Cambridge: Medinform Publishing, 2012.

[v] Campbell-McBride, Natasha. “Re: Thank you” Message to Becky Plotner 2 June 2016. E-mail.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] Brownstein, David. Iodine, Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It. Michigan: Medical Alternatives Press, 2008. Print.

[viii] Farrow, Lynne. The Iodine Crisis, What You Don’t Know About Iodine Can Wreck Your Life. USA: Devon Press, 2013. Print.

[ix] Brownstein, David. Iodine, Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It. Michigan: Medical Alternatives Press, 2008. Print.

[x] Ibid.

[xi] Farrow, Lynne. The Iodine Crisis, What You Don’t Know About Iodine Can Wreck Your Life. USA: Devon Press, 2013. Print.

[xii] Brownstein, David. Iodine, Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It. Michigan: Medical Alternatives Press, 2008. Print.

[xiii] Ibid.

[xiv] Campbell-McBride, Natasha. “Re: Book Questions, Case Study.” Message to Becky Plotner 4 July 2018. E-mail.




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