The Iodine Crisis – What You Don’t Know About Iodine Can Wreck Your Life

Investigative Reporter Greg Ciola Interviews Book Author and Iodine Researcher Lynne FarrowLynne_Farrow

Lynne I’d like you to begin by sharing with our readers a little bit about your background and your credentials. You were a professor at a university before being directed into the iodine movement. You also begin your book by discussing your health problems and how iodine changed your life.  Tell us what your health issues were and how iodine supplementation saved your life.

Fatigue, daily headaches, and brain fog plagued me for many years. I medicated myself with caffeine and prescription painkillers along with migraine medicine. My thyroid had always been off, but thyroid meds never worked so I gave up. I had fibrocystic breast pain but was told it was normal, so I tried to ignore it.

I spent thousands of dollars on integrative doctors and even headache clinics but the conclusion was, I should just manage my problems because nothing else worked. Doctors gave up on me.

Then the fibrocystic breast disease turned into full-blown breast cancer. That got my attention fast, but my first thought was not, I could die from this. My concern was, how would I get the energy for the appointments?  How could I concentrate enough to do the research? I eventually struggled to get as much information as I could, armed with my painkillers and caffeine.

During my research, I ran into Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, the renowned vaccine educator, at a medical conference. She asked me if I’d ever heard about iodine for the breasts. At the time, I was insulted that she would suggest something so simple-minded for breast cancer. I’d researched every integrative therapy, and no one had ever mentioned iodine. I was wrong. Seriously. Off the charts wrong.

When I returned from the conference, I set aside two weeks to get all the peer-reviewed medical research on iodine. That research expanded to two months, then several years. Meantime, I took 50 mg of Iodine first thing in the morning as part of taking the 24 hour Iodine Loading test to measure my iodine levels. Within ninety minutes my brain fog mind cleared. This wasn’t a stimulant feel, it was a sense of wellbeing and focused energy. In the weeks that followed, the headaches gradually went away, my lifelong coldness and dry skin disappeared. Eventually all food sensitivities and seasonal allergies vanished. I even lost 15 pounds. My life as I’d known it for years changed!

I tell more of my personal story in the book, about losing my driver’s license for brain fog driving, to getting confused in the middle of New York City and having strangers help me. I know there are other lost souls out there, and I’m determined to tell them about iodine.

There is only a handful of medical doctors out there who are educated about Iodine and recommending it to their patients. Why is that?

Most of the current doctors went to medical school after a flawed research paper written in 1948 that said iodine can shut down the thyroid. They are taught that iodine is a poison, and we only need a small amount for the thyroid. Even though this paper contradicted how successfully iodine had been used for 200 years, the myth caught on. I’ve even had a doctor tell me, “You must mean you’re taking 50 mcg., not 50 mg because 1 mg is lethal.”

Slowly, doctors are learning about iodine, mostly because their patients bring them the evidence in terms of documented health benefits. The power of the Internet has shown how patient-generated benefits have the ability to influence how doctors practice.

Is that why iodine was considered a poison? Is that why it was removed from our foods?

The 1948 article certainly seems to have paved the way to iodine being removed from flour and bread in the 1970s. Bread was an excellent source of iodine until the flour companies replaced iodine with an anti-iodine element, a form of bromine (potassium bromate). Bromate can cancel out much of the iodine people would get from the rest of their diet. It’s amazing how a research error can change public health and contribute to a decline in health.

Even the government NHANES study shows that we consume 50% less iodine than we did 40 years ago.

Can someone know they are iodine deficient without getting their blood checked?

The only reliable iodine test is the 24 hour Iodine Loading test which shows how much iodine is saturated in your tissues. (I cover that more in my book)

Dr. David Brownstein says that 96% of the patients he has tested in his practice are Iodine deficient. Are you finding statistics that high in your research and do you think the percentage is that high among the general population?

I believe that 96% figure comes from results of people’s first test. Some people have minimal working iodine absorbing tissues (Sodium iodide symporters).  They may show a false negative (iodine sufficient) if the initial iodine test of 50 mg passes through the body unabsorbed. It’s like running iodine over a dry sponge; the iodine would run over it unabsorbed and end up in the urine. My experience is the 96% is the minimum of those iodine deficient. If you repeat the test in somebody who has tested iodine sufficient six months after starting iodine when the symporters are working, you likely get a number bordering on 100% deficient.

Why is Iodized salt a scam?

Because iodized salt is presented as a cure-all for iodine deficiency. Clearly, it helped prevent goiter in 1924 when it was introduced. But the goiter standard is a very low bar to meet. That standard neglects every other iodine-dependent organ and cell in the body. Also, we have to factor the bombardment of bromides introduced since the 1970s.

  1. Iodine sublimates out into the air once opened so if you opened that carton of iodized salt more than two weeks ago, only trace amounts of iodine remain.
  2. The iodide in salt is only 10% bioavailable unlike the form of iodine (iodate) that was used in bread.
  3. The chloride in salt is in the same elemental family, the halogens, so it competes with the iodide.
  4. The iodide in salt is different than iodine, a form that the breasts, ovaries, and uterus prefer.

I searched for Iodine in GNC and Vitamin Shoppe and couldn’t find anything except a few different Kelp products.  Why is a nutrient that is so vital to our health not sold in every single vitamin store and health food store in America and promoted as a key protocol for battling all these Iodine related health challenges? 

I’m not sure why bricks and mortar retail outlets don’t sell the Lugol’s formulation and most internet providers do. A few years ago the DEA did put certain restrictions in place because a few methamphetamine manufacturers were using iodine in the manufacturing process. I wish I could answer that.

You mentioned to me that Iodine is not a mineral even though most people consider it a mineral.  Tell us more about that.

The minerals fall into their own category on the periodic table and iodine falls into a whole other category called halides. There is something called “competitive inhibition” among the halides that include iodine, bromine, chlorine, fluorine, and astatine. They will compete for the same receptors.

Since halides don’t compete with minerals, they can’t create a mineral imbalance.

Iodine Crisis

What role does bromine play in the Iodine crisis?

If bromines hadn’t replaced iodine in baked goods at the same time in the 1970s that brominated fire retardants, and beverages were introduced, the iodine crisis probably wouldn’t have become an actual crisis. One of the reviewers of my book said, “Crisis is an understatement.”

Why is bromine added to bread and how much of the common foods and beverages a majority of the population eat today contain bromine?

Bromine is added to bread as “a dough conditioner” even though you can make wonderful bread without it, and some companies have started omitting it. Several beverages such as Mountain Dew and some energy drinks reportedly use “BVO,” brominated vegetable oil to make the citrus part clear.

What other factors besides our foods and beverages expose us to bromine and are we being contaminated more from these sources than the others?

Bromine fire retardants provide the biggest exposure. First, because you can’t control bromide dust that breaks down and gets inhaled. Sleeping on a fire retardant mattress creates more health problems than it could prevent via fire. The movie, Toxic Hot Seat, presented a dramatic expose on how the public has been misled about fire retardants.

Even if your bed and carpet and drapes don’t contain these fire retardants as soon as you get into your car, a plane or public place with carpet or upholstery, you are exposed.

Why do you give more attention to bromine as a disrupter of Iodine when we are also exposed to excessive amounts of the halogens fluoride and chlorine which also are involved in causing Iodine deficiency?

I pay more attention to bromine because of the sheer quantity of bromide we are exposed to, compared to chlorine and fluoride. Understand, fluoride and chlorine add to the weight of iodine disruption, just in a significantly lesser proportion.

What type of health problems seem to be caused primarily from Iodine deficiency that respond most favorably? 

There are medical books going back almost two hundred years documenting conditions iodine has benefited. A brief list would include: allergies, brain fog, cysts and nodules, fatigue, cognitive function, depression, menstrual irregularities, feeling cold, fertility problems, heart arrhythmia, infections, genital herpes, scars, fibromyalgia, prostate disease, GERD, eye problems, lung issues and more.

Have you witnessed first-hand a lot of success stories from people who have followed your advice and can you highlight a few of the most dramatic cases?

I’ve collected about 300 new case reports since publishing the book. I thought the book covered the main areas iodine helped and including the first person reports people sent me. But new reports came in from people who tried iodine after reading the book. These people had been to many doctors and most tried it because iodine is cheap and they had nothing to lose.

One health professional had fibromyalgia and fatigue so bad her husband often had to cut her meat. Now she rides a mountain bike over rough terrain.

A sixty-year-old woman had suffered from atrial fibrillation, taking several heart medications.

After iodine, she was able to wean off all of them under her cardiologist’s direction.

A forty-year-old rock musician addicted to alcohol was able to eliminate his alcohol cravings.

A woman with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis who had cried every day since she could remember, took her first dose of iodine on Thanksgiving and hasn’t cried since.

A woman who had cysts on her wrist and ankles watched them disappear in seven months.

Many women report their fibroid tumors have slowly resolved.

A man who had been taking 100 mg of iodine for two years raised it to 250 mgs and his lifelong asthma resolved.

Parents of children with autism have reported their children are more articulate and have improved focus.

There aren’t that many books on the market discussing iodine and how important it is for our health. The most recognizable doctor that has done an excellent job waking the world up to iodine has been Dr. David Brownstein. What do you cover in your book that he doesn’t cover in his book?

Dr. Brownstein wrote the foreward to The Iodine Crisis and I’m profoundly grateful for his book and medical expertise. I wanted to write a book from a patient’s perspective that would walk readers through why they haven’t heard about iodine and how it can change their lives. Since iodine is much more complex than people think, I knew as a journalist I had to make the information accessible and compelling with many case reports.

When I researched iodine back in history, I realized iodine was not the “hot” new thing in healing but in fact the world’s oldest traditional medicine. In my search for health, nothing new or expensive ever helped me. But the long lost iodine changed my life. I felt I needed to share my transforming iodine journey and answer the mystery of why we haven’t heard about it. I wanted to let people know “Who stole iodine?” so they could reclaim this nutrient for themselves.

Where does the Federal government stand on Iodine supplementation?  Is this something they frown upon and do you see the FDA perhaps blocking and prohibiting supplement companies from selling Iodine in the future?

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for iodine is 150 mcg. It’s slightly higher when pregnant and 290 mcg when nursing. If this amount were sufficient we wouldn’t have so many people who take multivitamins with this amount transform their lives when they supplement iodine. I’m nervous that iodine sales may be restricted in the future. But be assured people in the Iodine Movement will rise up in protest and call for Congressional hearings. Hell hath no fury like patients whose cure has been taken away from them!

Are there any medical studies or medical research that support Iodine supplementation and its safety and is there anything a person can show to their doctor that might get them on board to recommend supplementing with Iodine?

Iodine was one of the most used remedies in the Merck Manual and many others for 100 years. There are many medical studies on our research website But as far as a particular study that demonstrates the efficacy of The Iodine Protocol, there is only the consensus of the online community and the Iodine Literate Practitioners who serve their patients. Of course, we would like to set up some formal studies in the future. But the FDA still believes the high doses we consume will shut down the thyroid because of (the disproved) Wolff Chaikoff Effect.  Even though we’ve shown that’s not true, official studies at this point are a non-starter.

What dosage of iodine do people need on a daily basis and do you think everyone should be supplementing with iodine?

Dosage is a hard question to answer because everybody is different. I explain in my book how the most successful patients start low and use the full iodine protocol to avoid detoxification that sometimes accompanies iodine supplementation.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t take Iodine or may be contraindicated to it?

Anyone with an autonomous thyroid nodule should not supplement iodine.  

What role does Iodine play in detoxing heavy metals from the body?  Is there any scientific or clinical research that shows that Iodine chelates metals out of the body?  If so, is this just from the digestive system or is there any evidence that removal of metals occurs at a cellular level?

The research of Iodine pioneer Dr. Guy Abraham studied urinary excretion of lead, cadmium, arsenic, aluminum and mercury after taking the first doses of iodine.

Is there any research to support fat burning and weight loss with the introduction of Iodine? I have noticed fat burning around my gut using 25-50 mgs per day of Lugol’s Iodine and cannot attribute this to anything else.

I gradually lost 15 pounds probably due to iodine adjusting a slow metabolism that thyroid medicine never touched.

Tell us about the different websites you run and also about the nonprofit you set up to help women with breast cancer education and iodine. 

After I developed breast cancer I created a nonprofit called Breast Cancer Choices to help people understand the questions they should ask and the evidence they should demand before any breast cancer procedure or treatment. When I was diagnosed, I was given incomplete information and misleading statistics so I’m committed to urging patients to demand full disclosure. We’ve developed a number of guidelines to achieve this level of patient activism. Please visit us on the web at We also have an evidence-based healing strategy where iodine is the first line nutrient because of some persuasive studies.

Breast Cancer Choices also developed a sister website,, to archive all the iodine studies we found in the course of our research.

Tell our audience more about your book, what you cover in it, and why it is a valuable resource to have on hand when it comes to Iodine? 

I wrote The Iodine Crisis because after researching this powerful nutrient for seven years and I knew the information I gathered could be broken down in a way to help people. I wanted to give people a “read the manual first” book so they would know what iodine did in the body and the step by step method of The Iodine Protocol.  Tens of thousands of people have used this protocol, and their success is documented all over the internet. In an odd confirmation of the power of iodine, I was recently getting a routine medical scan and when the technician saw I had a history of breast cancer. “You must get The Iodine Crisis book,” she said. I yelped in surprise. So the message is getting out there!