I always wonder what brings people to this little, humble corner of the internet where I write up some of the alternative treatments, diets, and supplements I read about (and even try). Who are you? What are you doing here? Do you find my articles helpful? Understandable? Do you cross-reference them to make sure I’m honest? Well, it’s neither here nor there and just a stream-of-consciousness thought. Today I’m finally writing up my studies on iodine and the prostate. A friend of my husband has prostate cancer and needs to have surgery. He wanted me to get some articles regarding iodine and the prostate to give to his friend, so I did. I thought I’d continue on in my iodine write-up here for this blog.
If you search for iodine and prostate on the internet, you’ll come across some pretty dramatic, anecdotal claims–got some coffee up my nose a time or two (or even three) while reading. What’s real? Can iodine make a man shoot across the room? Well, there’s not enough iodine and prostate information out there to know much, but the scant research teases us with at least iodine’s efficacy in preventing prostate cancer and reducing benign prostatic hypertrophy.
Real Life Evidence That Iodine May Impact Prostate Cancer
You’ll read this everywhere on the internet about iodine: Japanese men have one of the lowest prostate cancer rates in the world and some of the highest iodine intakes. They consume large amounts of salt-water fish and seaweed, both iodine-rich food sources. The Japanese age adjusted prostate cancer incidence rate is 12.6 men per 100,000 men; in the United States it is 124.8 men per 100,000 men. That’s a significant difference, eh, by any statistical, analytical contortion. When Japanese men move to the United States and adapt a non-traditional diet, maybe some Totino’s pizza, microwave popcorn, or honey mustard dressing in a plastic bottle, their incidence of prostate cancer rises. Now, this is all interesting and observational. Is it the iodine? The omega-3 in the fish? The micronutrients in the kelp? The air in McDonald’s? (1)
Well, wouldn’t it be nice to know? It would. In 1997, The British Journal of Cancer published a dietary study trying to label fat intake as a prostate nemesis, and they also looked at other nutrients as a side show. Fat intake was actually not found to correlate (so throw up the yellow flag on fat fears), but when looking at other nutrients, they found that the higher the iodine intake, the lower the risk of prostate cancer. Statistical contortion methods almost significantly indicated that high iodine intake was associated with less prostate cancer—but no cookie. (Please don’t eat cookies. Well, not many anyhow.) High iodine intake was defined as greater than 156 micrograms per day, which is higher than the recommended intake in the United States and well below the intake in the average Japanese man. I wonder if anything significant would have turned up had they stratified out even higher intakes of iodine among the study population. That’s all I can do is wonder. And cook fish for my hubby. (2)
It’s Not All About The Thyroid
So, maybe iodine might, possibly, could help prevent prostate cancer. How? What could it do? Well, we used to think that iodine was only needed by the thyroid gland– but oh, how we are learning that, ahem, we were wrong. (Why isn’t anyone blushing? Stammering?) In fact, the prostate and many other organs and tissues will actively pull in and accumulate iodine as long as there is enough iodine present in the body. However, the thyroid gets preferential uptake of iodine. The doses of iodine recommended in the United States barely make the cutoff for thyroid needs, forget the breasts, brain, salivary glands, ovaries, testicles, prostate, and stomach! (3)
Iodine In The Prostate
Iodine, fascinatingly, is being found to have anti-proliferative, antioxidant, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory effects. Increased levels of iodine regulate mitosis, reduce free-radical induced DNA damage, and markedly reduce tissue fibrosis. All these functions add up to protection. Iodine seems pretty protective. Studies on mice and in test tube cells have shown that iodine can cause prostate cancer cells to self-destruct (known medically as apoptosis) and to differentiate (a good thing). Cancerous cells begin to lose all resemblance to the tissue type they are supposed to belong to, and iodine helps prostate cancer cells go back to resembling normal prostate cells (known medically as differentiation). This sounds promising, but it just isn’t concrete enough evidence to say that iodine benefits prostate cancer. (1,3)
Although we use the general term iodine, the body actually uses iodine (I2), iodate (I-), and 6-iodolactone. Using human cell lines in mice, research has elucidated that both normal prostate cells and cancerous prostate cells are affected by all three forms of iodine. Iodine inhibited cell proliferation and promoted apoptosis (programmed cell death). Interestingly, the 6-iodolactone iodine form is a powerful form that is only formed in the body when there is enough iodine (and it seems to be more if it’s the I2 form) present at certain levels and certain lengths of time. So, if you’re barely scraping by to feed the thyroid, you may not be getting the amount, concentration, and duration necessary to make 6 iodolactone! 6-iodolactone cannot be detected in human tissue when iodine deficiency is present. (4)
What About Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH)?
My searches for information about benign prostatic hypertrophy and iodine brought up even less than what I found for prostate cancer and iodine. What little I found seemed very seductive, but when I tried to track down the primary sources myself, it proved a little sticky. The paper titled “The Extrathyronine Actions of Iodine as Antioxidant, Apoptotic, and Differentiation Factor in Various Tissues” ran in the journal Prostate in 2013. The following is an excerpt from this article:
“Similarly, I2 treatment (3–6 mg/day) of patients with benign breast disease is accompanied by a significant bilateral reduction in breast size and remission of disease symptoms, effects not observed when I− or protein-bound I− is administered. Moreover, similar benefits have been found in benign prostatic hyperplasia, in animal models with 0.05% I2 supplementation, and in human patients with early benign prostatic hyperplasia (stages I and II) where an 8-month Lugol (5 mg/day) supplement was accompanied by diminished symptoms and prostate-specific antigen values, and an increased urine flow rate.”
This excerpt just sounds wonderful, but I was not able to access the sources. One is a textbook where you can read just a garbled bit on Google and the other was presented at a scientific convention.
On a personal note, we do use a little bit of iodine supplementation in our family because we don’t have reliable iodine sources in our diet. We try to eat seafood abundantly and incorporate seaweed, but the main cook in our family (me) sometimes gets a little tied up in little arms (kids) and doesn’t quite cook the way she means to. Upon questioning, it was reported to me that nocturnal urination symptoms in the laborer of our family diminished with iodine. Anecdotal? Yes. Absolutely.
Yes. Iodine does seem to play an important role in the prostate, and 150 micrograms does not seem like enough to get the protective effects. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a conventional medical doctor who will encourage you to take more iodine. In medical school and residency, we were taught that iodine can trigger hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Yes, it can rarely do that, especially if other nutrients are missing as iodine is added in. But I really can’t help but think that we need some more iodine than we’re getting (or perhaps we simply need to get less of what interferes with iodine’s function in our bodies—which is exceptionally difficult to do in our modern world). IF iodine would help a subset of population avoid prostatectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation, boy, it seems like a simple thing to observe for hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism compared to impotence.
My homeschooled iodine education must concur with the minority of healthcare professionals out there pushing for higher doses of iodine. BUT due to the high incidence of subclinical selenium; zinc; B vitamin deficiencies; and the fact that some forms of iodine are better than others, it must be done cautiously and under the scrutiny of a trained eye. Rarely, a patient may convert to florid hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
This blog site and this post are not to be used for medical advice or treatment. That would be silly. Have a great day and a wonderful life. I’ll leave you with a quote from one of the sources:
“We propose that the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficient Disorders recommend that iodine intake be increased to at least 3 mg/day of I2 in specific pathologies to obtain the potential extrathyroidal benefits described in the present review.” (3)
- Cann SA, Qiu Z, and van Netten C. A Prospective Study of Iodine Status, Thyroid Function, and Prostate Cancer Risk: Follow-up of the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Nutrition and Cancer. 2007. 58(1): 28-34. Full text if it is still up.
- TJA Key, PB Silcocks, GK Davey, PN Appleby and DT Bishop. A case-control study of diet and prostate cancer. British Journal of Cancer. 1997. 76(5): 678-687. Full text.
- Aceves C, Anguiano B, Delgado G. The Extrathyronine Actions of Iodine as Antioxidant, Apoptotic, and Differentiation Factor in Various Tissues. Thyroid. 2013 Aug. 23(8): 938-946. Full text.
- Aranda N, Sosa S, Delgado G, Aceves C, Anguiano B. Uptake and antitumoral effects of iodine and 6-iodolactone in differentiated and undifferentiated human prostate cancer cell lines. Prostate. 2013;73:31–41. (I got this from ReadCube.) Abstract.
I was researching iodine a couple years ago, trying to decide if I needed to supplement. Then it dawned on me…every single animal (right?) needs iodine. Surely big animals must need massive amounts.
Turns out that dairy cows need 10-12mg of iodine daily (http://archive.lib.msu.edu/DMC/Ag.%20Ext.%202007-Chelsie/PDF/e1335.pdf). A wild buffalo, if I remember correctly, needs 20mg!
Where do these animals find that much in the wild, and where did ancient man get his iodine?
The best I can figure is that iodine is found in plants, dirt, and water so if eating a purely natural diet, you’ll get ample iodine. Iodine is even in the air we breathe.
Squirrels, mice, cats, bats, they don’t have issues with iodine and eat significantly different foods, and none eat oysters as far as I know.
I have a feeling that iodine deficiency increases the further we get away from eating natural, organic foods and well water.
I also recall reading that many thyroid hormones, which are iodine dependent, are created in the gut by gut bacteria, so this leads me to believe that our gut flora also play an important role in iodine metabolism. Not much written about this, though. Here’s an older paper: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3049061
Loved reading the cow article. I remember the salt blocks my dad would put in the woods for the cattle. I’ll bet they had iodine in them too.
Surely, Tim, you don’t think 50 mg is too much for the general population? (Joke. 50 mg is too much for the general population.)
You know I’m not a huge advocate of any prolonged supplementation if it can be avoided (sometimes it can’t), but for those with prostate issues and other select issues (fibrocystic breasts, breast cancer, thyroid nodules), they may want to take a look at iodine and associated nutrients as targeted supplementation for a time (with monitoring until conventional medicine knows more). That’s my take. And my take is also that too many “things” out there interfere with iodine and thyroid metabolism. Which leads to your comments regarding natural/organic/water. Oh, and my last take is iodine will be a drop in the bucket if the person doesn’t change the way they eat, sleep, handle stress, etc. 🙂
Hope you’re reaping from your garden!
Excellent post, Terri. I read up on the matter of thyroid and iodine after listening to the Thyroid Summit last year. What stayed with me was that buying iodised salt, didn’t help. It starts evaporating as soon as the manufacturer adds it to the salt. We don’t know how long the salt remains in storage (one month, one year, etc) and how long it takes us to use up the salt (I can have a small canistor for over a year before it is empty). So we shouldn’t think we can get our iodine from iodised table salt.
Amen on the iodized salt. Not to mention there are different forms, and iodized salt is only one form of iodine. It is the ionized form (I-). My studies indicate that the I2 (non-ionized) form does not seem to cause the hypo/hyperthyroid issues as much as the I- (at all?). And in cancer cells, the I2 form somehow gets across the cell regardless of the iodine transporters we know about. All very interesting. I didn’t have time to listen to the summit last year. There are so many good “internet conferences” going around. I can read so much faster than I can listen, and I just never get to watch much of it. But iodine deficiency/relative deficiency is huge and I hope it starts getting more and more known in mainstream doctoring. ~~Terri
Try this: http://www.iodineresearch.com/prostate.html
There were some interesting testimonials in this book: http://www.amazon.com/The-Iodine-Crisis-About-Wreck/dp/098603200X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1363781462&sr=8-1&keywords=the+iodine+crisis
Dr. David Brownstein’s books on Iodine are good, too.
We’ve used Iodine (in various forms from Lugol’s liquid to Iodoral to New Iodine) for about 10-12 years now.
I found your blog by researching Resistant Starch. I’m a veteran home school mom and perpetual student – mainly of life, food, health, etc. =)
Wow! Great article! I have wondered about my iodine intake since we rarely use salt for anything (except watermelon). I looked up the top 22 foods highest in iodine (http://bembu.com/iodine-rich-foods) and realize that I only eat a few of these foods.
Thanks for the link. I’d mention a couple of caveats to the list linked to. Milk products have very variable iodine content based on whether iodine was used as a teat cleanser, if the feed was supplemented with iodine, and/or if the cow is munching grass from iodine rich soil. Same with the eggs. If the hens aren’t supplemented with iodine-enriched food or pecking around in an iodine rich environment (which the Great Lakes Region is not). Most breads in the USA don’t use iodine anymore. Iodine in the salt shaker has “evaporated” off by the time we get to using the bottom half. Okay. Little arms hugging so I’d better go. But some GAPS/SCD/Paleo diets are very iodine neglected.
Thanks again! It sounds like I am in a losing battle with iodine at the moment.
re: A friend of my husband has prostate cancer and needs to have surgery.
PLOS|ONE (2015-06): Non-Toxic Metabolic Management of Metastatic Cancer in VM Mice: Novel Combination of Ketogenic Diet, Ketone Supplementation, and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Although many people declining rad and chemo are using keto, I’m not sure that it’s thought to be truly effective for prostate cancer in particular. Some research on that would be needed. If the surgery is already committed, then this avenue may just be rhetorical in any case.
What isn’t rhetorical is whether diet can substantially reduce cancer risk in the first place. My bet is that it can, specifically grain-free low-carb high(specific)-fat low-inflammatory, with focused attention on thyroid (which then circles around to your excellent article by way of iodine).
Terry, I am an iodine frick myself. Read some books about it and wrote some articles for the internet (in Hebrew.)
As you do we tried it for ouselves and i want to tell you what happened. The one i live with has Hypotyroidism for 7 years or so. She put Lugol’s on the skin for 2 month and her blood test now show big reduction in the TSh (from 4.96 to 0.3). So she has reduced her hormone to a third than before. She has to do BT again to see it is steady. The other thing that happened that i gave my daughter (Crohn’s) one drop of Lugol 2% and then she added one more drop for another month.
I did that since the iodine smear on the skin dissapeared in an hour or so. Now she got blood test with her TSH going up to 4.8 , her T4 normal. I know i wasn’t cautious enough and did not insist with her taking the other nutrients and I should. I am really really anxious now about her and hope that with the needed nutrients she will be O.K. You really have to be cautious with Iodine. I think I did not tell you I am a naturopath.
I have a lot of more thougths about Iodine that I want to share with you but I don’t have the time now.
Dear Aviva, That is good information to know about how two people responded to iodine, for me and any readers contemplating going iodine on their own. I totally agree that we must move cautiously with iodine. Without a doctor to monitor symptoms and labs, it just makes me nervous. Many out there are going it alone, though, since they can’t find the medical help and guidance they need.—-Hebrew? I have some dear friends who are from Israel and speak Hebrew (and Spanish, quite the combination)—-No. You did not share you were a naturopath. I don’t speak to naturopaths. (Joke. LOL. Only because I don’t know any. 🙂 ) Good to meet you and have a great week!—-Take care. ~~Terri
Very interested in iodine update info. THX
Actually, we need a LOT more iodine than you’d think due to all the environmental toxins we eat, drink, and breathe everyday….the chlorinated water, fluoridated water, bromides in flame retardants we are exposed to….bromides in conventional baked products….we used to get iodine in our bread 30 or so years ago….now we get bromides that cause a deficiency in iodine….if the average Japanese woman gets 12-13 mgs per day in her diet, we in America (80% or so of us who are deficient) need even more…to flush out those toxins and replace them with the iodine our bodies so desperately need for every single biological function…..yes, I’ve read a bit about it over the past dozen years or so!
Hi, Debbie! Yes. But I’m not convinced that blasting off at 50-100 mg is safe for the general population. Especially without awareness of the nutrients needed to go along with it. And should the “toxins” be flushed out rapidly? Is that good? Could low, gentle iodine supplementation arrive at the same place as hot and heavy supplementation with less stress on the body? What’s up with bromides? (I’ve read and I know what is said.) The Japanese get plenty of bromides too. How much chlorine/chlorine components do we absorb from our water? (I haven’t had time to research this. The body is pretty darn good at regulating chloride. How does chlorine metabolism differ from chloride metabolism?) However, I definitely agree that iodine supplementation is probably important for most of us living a “normal” lifestyle. I probably show my ignorance in my reply, but I will learn and eventually get a post up on my thoughts on supplementation. In prostate and breast issues, I’d find a practitioner comfortable with helping me navigate iodine for sure! I hope that is clear as my take-away point.—Let’s keep readin’, learnin’, and sharin’. (Forget that “Live, laugh, love” quote! Go for “Learn, Laugh, Love!” Ha!)
None of the knowledgeable doctors promoting iodine supplementation would tell anyone to start off at such high levels…it takes a slow and steady increase to fully saturate the cells and displace the toxins safely. There are detox issues that most people will experience that indicate you should cut back. Other nutrients are needed in the process as well. There is a test for iodine levels and it’s only $100 or so. Don’t forget fluoride as one of the toxic halides that displace iodine. It really is a fascinating study. There is lots of info at http://www.breastcancerchoices.org as well. Yes, Learn , Laugh, Love! sounds good to me!
Dear Debbie, So sorry about my delay in response due to some family stuff (not bad) going on! I guess, if I stop and think, as my book is not in-house currently, you’re right. They don’t recommend starting with such high doses. But if people who are investigating explore the forums, they’ll see lots of people who do ramp up their doses really fast or even all at once who have success. I just worry about those people who would have a bad effect with that and rush in. On the other hand, after much exploration, I certainly do think that some people may need to take it up to these high doses (with the goal of coming back down again to a more “normal” intake). It just sure would be nice if we general physicians had familiarity with this and would help people out.—–Fluoride. Ugh.—–I am reading Lynn Farrow’s new iodine book as I write. She mentions the link you shared (breastcancerchoices.org). I need to investigate this site and see what’s on there!—-Bottom line is still that so many of us are either truly iodine deficient or functioning in relative iodine deficiency due to environmental chemicals and conventional medicine is dropping the ball.
Thanks for your comments and sharing. I’ll eventually get more written up on iodine. Many voices make a choir.
Again, apologies for a late response!
re: It’s Not All About The Thyroid
But that’s where everyone needs to start. Your colleague Dr. Davis is convinced that hypothyroid is pandemic:
Compounding the problems identified in your excellent series on iodine, we have the further problem that consensus medicine is utterly inept on this issue. They mis-test (the nearly useless TSH only), mis-diagnose (tell you ‘normal’ when it’s hypo), and mis-treat (nothing or T4 only). Getting real thyroid testing and effective treatment is usually a battle.
And to circle around to the article at hand, prostate testing is in a similar sorry state. The usual PSA is as useless as TSH. False negatives and false positives abound. Anyone suspecting trouble needs to ask for a kallikrein test, now available, and that’s probably another battle.
It is a battle. It is. I send my friends with the specific labs to ask their doctor for all written down for them. They come back with a TSH and maybe a T4. Forget anything else. Forget it. Just simply, plain forget it. However, insurance will not pay for TSH unless there is a specific symptoms that are well-documented. And many doctors don’t know/take time to figure out what those are and so tell their patients, “Those tests won’t be covered.” If you know how to code, it’s covered. I was so irritated that a youngish friend with morbid obesity asked for these complete thyroid labs, and her code was “fatigue” as the indication for them being ordered. No. Metabolic syndrome. Hypercholesterolemia. Not fatigue. Dang it. Then I have another friend with a goiter, and she gets a watch and wait recommendation.—On a very interesting, personal note, my TSH did come down nicely after starting iodine supplementation. It is very strange. I was always considered normal, but it went from, I don’t know, about 2 something to just above 0.5.—I need to look up kallikrein test. Thanks.—Off to read Davis’s post, although I think I may have hit this one already. Good night.
Note on IODINE. I decided to run a test on myself. for quite a while I have had trouble if I drink tap beer. swelling bloating in the stomach and groin and fatigue. but other wise I was OK. two 12oz glasses of an IPA would do it. been this way few a few years. Sat 6.5mg IODORAL SUNDAY 6.5mg Monday 6.5mg Monday after noon fishing and 3 cans of beer felt good all day.
Tuesday 6.5 mg. at work I’m walking fast talking fast about fishing and notice my reflexes are quick. very quick. tues 2 tap beers. morning 6.5mg spring out of bed feel great. wed nite 3 tap beers, have another 6.f mg up til midnight. Thursday morning spring out of bed again. take another 6.5mg give one to my dog as well. cook up some salmon I caught and head to work cracking jokes getting work done and having a blast. I’m going to be 70, today I noticed I had to cinch my belt up to the shortest hole to keep my pants up. took another 6.5….I think I will cut a 12.5 into quarters and take two threes from now on. Have noticed that I crash around noon on the 6.5. if I take another I’m back at it. But I’m so energized I might have a heart attack. wish I knew sooner. My theory is that beer is made from tap water and has fluoride, and also yeast and other bugs that settle in the prostate and grow. If I get the iodine there first they don’t. They should put Iodine in beer
Glad you’re feeling good! Make sure and be safe. I make sure and take the co-supplements that the body needs to use iodine so I’m not using up those vitamins and minerals as the body does its thing with the iodine. And then, when I take iodine, I make sure I get a TSH and/or a panel from my doctor so I know I’m not hypothyroid or hyperthyroid. Interesting about the beer effect you noticed. Maybe when I get another iodine post written up, I’ll stumble on some more related to why that’d happen. Be safe. Be observant. Hook up with a provider you trust to monitor your TSH and enjoy 70 when it comes!
Well I can’t speak for anyone else but I typed in iodine and the prostate in a search engine and this website was one of the results that came up. And being pretty much thoroughly disgusted with the corruption , dishonesty and general incompetence of the medical industry, pharmaceutical industry and also the agricultural industry with the backing of the government has led me to seek answers from other places or professions that aren’t part of this corrupted system we have in America. It looks like its all about the money not about doing what’s right . I could go on but your post on iodine and the prostate is what brought me here in my research . What started out as searching about thyroid issues(hypothyroidism) which I believe my wife suffers from led me to iodine then the prostate but also to the heart as the thyroid is quite the important gland for many functions of the human body as I have found out . For instance low thyroid output can lead to arrhythmia in the heart , palpitations and skipping beats besides slow metabolism, cold feet and hands , draining fatigue and a host of other physical problems. And it just so happens during my research I found out that iodine is a vital nutrient for proper functioning of the thyroid . I guess the thyroid is often referred to as the master gland because of its influence in the human body and sufficient amounts of iodine are necessary for the thyroid to carry out its multifunctional role which has led me to supplement Xtra iodine along with the nutritional supplements we were already taking and they include Xtra amounts that are recommended for those taking Xtra iodine . The results are very encouraging, large energy boost , clearer thinking , skin improvements and also I believe my prostate is starting to function better overall, less trips to the bathroom at night , better flow and able to hold it better and this has happened after only three weeks of iodine supplementation, granted I have a long way to go still but its looking very encouraging. I am taking nascent iodine and started off at 2 milligrams and am working up to higher amounts, I’m in the ten milligram range now and plan on going higher . I have listened to Dr. Brownstein and a Dr. Fletchas ? On you tube so I’m not worried about getting to much iodine at this level and I don’t know that I will ever get to the 50 milligram levels that they are using but that depends on the progress I am making with my prostrate issues and I read somewhere it seems that with nascent iodine one might not have to have as high a supplement as other types of iodine as it’s absorbability by the body is much better and quicker and I definitely can attest to the quicker part as the first 4 or 5 days of supplementation the energy boost was in effect within a few seconds. Well time to sign off , thanks for the info on iodine and those nasty vegetable seed oils that aren’t meant I believe for human consumption nor animals for that matter , hope your folks get away from that “healthy” organic canola oil though .
🙂 Thanks, James. I avoid Canola too. (But as that’s the freshest oil my dad has access to and a local farmer he likes grows it, and it’s non-GMO, and cold-pressed, I give Dad the green light. Otherwise I know he’ll just go buy vegetable oil from the store!)
That’s interesting to hear about your iodine effects. I read something the other day about how much “iodine” is a drug called amiodarone. I didn’t realize before just how high it was! And it can cause either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, depending on the patient. So, medical doctors are routinely giving patients amiodarone and therefore iodine! We just don’t even think about. Sorry. That was just a little “facto” I found interesting, reminding me that actually medical doctors do have a pool of patients on high dose iodine inadvertently!
I still think that people should find a practitioner they trust and periodically have their thyroid levels checked, because it can go high or low on iodine. And I don’t want anyone to miss that! Hope you keep feeling well!
re: I am taking nascent iodine and started off at 2 milligrams and am working up to higher amounts, I’m in the ten milligram range now and plan on going higher.
Although there is some cultural support for those levels (e.g. Japan), I personally wouldn’t go above 1mg (1000μg, which is still 6.7× RDA) without first solidly establishing thyroid status with fT3, fT4, rT3, TA, TSH, serum iodine and having a clear list of symptoms to be on watch for. As Terri cautions, excess iodine can provoke certain latent or pre-existing pathologies.
Iodine RDA is almost certainly too low, and deficiency is pandemic, but mega-dosing requires a careful plan. People used to get a lot from iodized salt back before low salt mania kicked in. Government nutrition dogma is a double-edged sword.
Thanks, Bob. That was much more thorough than my answer.
Isn’t the serum iodine still really hard to order? Does Dr. Davis order this, do you know? (So sorry to ask that, but I don’t know any alternative health guru MDs.) Seems like most places use the 24 hour urine.
And in case anyone wonders what TA is, I believe that is referring to thyroid antibodies: thyroglobulin antibodies (TGab), thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies anti microsomal antibodies, TSH receptor antibody (TRAb, TBII)—–which I feel are exceptionally under checked.
re: That was much more thorough than my answer.
People in general need to be much more aware of the scandal that passes for thyroid treatment under the Standard of Care, and what specifically to demand instead. There’s a reason why sites exist with names like StopTheThyroidMadness.
re: Isn’t the serum iodine still really hard to order?
That I don’t know. The urine kit, of course, you can order from Amazon (ZRT), unless you’ve made a grievous geographical error, and live in a nanny state like NY or MD. I don’t know that spilled iodine is a reliable proxy for titer, however.
re: Does Dr. Davis order this, do you know?
It’s not an element of the test bundle he presently recommends, and specific test availability could be a factor. One of the long-term users on his Cureality forum strongly recommends it before making radical changes in iodine intake. Dr. Davis, of course, doesn’t advocate high iodine intake (over 1000μg), so a serum test might be less necessary.
re: And in case anyone wonders what TA is, I believe that is referring to thyroid antibodies…
Correct, with, as I understand it, an ideal result of zero for any of the common tests. Anything else suggests possible conditions for which excess iodine might aggravate matters.
On the TA, not to mention that when those antibodies are high, those patients are at risk (I’m not saying that they’re causative, just a reltionship) for other cancers, like breast cancer and thyroid cancers. Maybe others, those are just the ones I read about. So it is A SHAME when doctors don’t order thyroid antibody tests on their thyroid patients. Every thyroid patient should know their antibody status.
Hello, looking for info. in relationship to iodine, prostrate and ED…. THX
Dear Ken, This is all I have for now, this post and the comments. Maybe someone else will cruise by or back in and see your comment. I hope that is merely interest or BPH and that you are cancer-free. God go with you whatever the issue.—Terri
A few quick points , according to Lynn Farrow in her book back in the 1960’s iodine was put in bread and the average ONE slice of bread contained 150 micrograms of iodine growing up then we used to eat toast for breakfast sandwiches for lunch and often times had a slice of bread or two with our supper thus probably getting 1 milligram of iodine daily just from bread alone not counting what one might get from iodized table salt which granted was/is not much . The Japanese consume about 13 to 14 milligrams of iodine on a daily bases yet they have much less cancer than Americans do and I believe they also have a longer lifespan than the average American, how can that be if iodine supplementation is so dangerous ? That doesn’t make any sense. And the Japanese I’m sure are not the only ones who consume “dangerous” amounts of iodine on a daily basis, it would be reasonable to say that many other Asian countries especially those that border the seas and oceans are consuming very large amounts of iodine yet do not suffer from the myriad of epidemic diseases that Americans do. And Americans not only do not consume very much iodine but also ingest some toxic iodine inhibitors like bromine and flourine and chlorine , is it any wonder that we suffer from so many epidemic diseases , cancers to organs that surprise surprise need sufficient amounts of iodine , that Americans are not getting, to not only perform their various functions in the body but ALSO to protect and eradicate those toxic halides that most certainly playing a part in these particular cancers of the thyroid , prostrate and breast cancer . It’s a deadly double whammy combination of imo of not enough iodine for these glands to function properly nor protect these glands from the toxic invasion of ingesting bromine flourine and chlorine into the body . Just my two cents .
Ps I have some other very good notable and surprising things that have happened to my body with the iodine supplementation one of which I would call a chronic condition that I have had for over thirty years but more on that later out of time right now
I think the problem with iodine supplementation is that it’s unpredictable for a percentage. And we don’t know how to predict who it’s going to cause more harm than good. We don’t know for sure if fixing some other things as well at the same time would promote good.
I don’t think that means we shouldn’t supplement where potentially indicated—or ensure iodine sufficiency for all, including Westernized countries which seem to be trending towards insufficiency again, but it does mean we must do so with awareness. I’ve read the iodine stuff out there. It’s very bold. I don’t think the flip side has been respected enough. I am very, very happy that you are having success with iodine. But I ask all iodine supplementors to be well-educated and have some labs checked by their doctor. A good doctor will respect that you’ve done your research, that you want to try something, and that you’re having good results. But they’ll also make sure they monitor your body appropriately for you.
After my research, I felt like iodine WAS a deficiency area for me and my family. So we do supplement a little low dose. Out of curiosity because I like to try what I write about, I did try high dose. I had good effects, as well. But, I did worry about suppressing or stimulating my thyroid so my MD occasionally checked that.
Just my take. But I DO like ot hear of people having good success. So thank you for sharing! But I’m still going to encourage people to get some labs and an exam to make sure all is cool!
Thank you for the replies THSD,
I’m really not someone who does things without thinking them through and I don’t believe you are either based on the various topics and information you post on your blog .
And that’s a good thing, too many people rush into to many things without thinking them through that’s in part why we homeschool also. The common core standards have to be met if schools want their federal funding so they imo are rushing kids through the various subjects so they can tell the government yes we covered that subject give us our money , it doesn’t matter whether any of the kids really grasped what they were taught , some are quicker learners than others but I think most if not all are really not learning as much as they could if the schools would take the necessary time to make sure their students are getting it .
Which really brings us back to this iodine thing, we subject ourselves to KNOWN highly dangerous treatments, surgeries , medications , radiation at the suggestion of our doctors who we rightly or wrongly trust at least trust to much and these treatments they offer not only have disastrous side effects they also are near total failures. But yet its accepted often without question, why ?
Can anyone show me any cases that someone has or had disastrous consequences from taking 2 milligrams of iodine or ten or 13.5 ? But we can see all around us the disastrous consequences of the various treatments the medical profession has and are using on people. Wouldn’t it seem sensible with such a high failure rate that the medical establishment at some point would say you know this is not working very well we NEED to try something different and quit demonizing alternatives Like iodine supplementation that DO have according to what I have been reading a much higher success rate without all those disastrous “side effects” .
thanks for allowing me to post I hope I’m not too contrarian 😊 and I will get back to those successes with iodine supplementation soon I hope . Have a great day
Nah. Not too contrarian at all. 🙂 (You just sound like my Grandma. HA! I’m jabbing. Joke.)
Seriously, it is hard for me to think about my profession and education now. I think once you step outside a box, it’s hard to continue watching the failures brought on by arrogance, tradition, and turf protecting.
Have a good week!
Lol that was funny ! Don’t know if I’ve ever been compared to gramma before but it sounds like she has some discernment so ill take that as a positive, even an ogre has feelings!
Yes and its hard to step outside the box I’m glad you did for you and your families sake if I may speak boldly and I’d encourage you to continue to do so , it can be a lonely place at times but there are others out there who have also had to step outside the box which I find a great encouragement !
We need more farmers to step outside the box and wake up to the destructive ways they are farming and make a change.
Well back to the controversial iodine! My positive successes.
1.I’ve had hay fever for about 34 years every midspring for a few weeks then again in late August middle of September equal ragweed time , usually just take over the counter meds which I don’t even like to do , as I think I posted we are taking a complete multivitamin mineral supplents with added selenium and zinc which we’ve been doing for about 3 to 4 months now and that alone has had brought some pretty amazing results but that’s another story.
I started reading about the thyroid and of course ended up reading about iodine and came to the conclusion that Xtra iodine would be a good thing as bobs last paragraph there addresses some reasons why , I would add radiation from places like Fukushima and others as another reason to supplement with iodine and at a much higher rate than the rda. And I would also point out that from what I have read so far is that for iodine to eradicate or take the place of those toxic halogens in our bodies there needs to be a sufficient intake of iodine to accomplish this, what is the sufficient amount. ? Tough question, probably different for everyone but all things considered I would err on a higher level of supplementation and be observant of what my bodies reactions are but there are some naturopathic doctors who have stepped out of the box and have provided a wealth of imo sound advice in this matter also with which we can consult because much of it is on the internet or can be obtained in book form .
Getting back to success number , we raise and breed the best horse breed in the world imo so we also have to deal with hay which normally and has ALWAYS been a thorn in my side a major irritant to allergies irregardless of whether I take any medicine or not . So I get Xtra inflamed , not a pretty site, if I have to handle hay during one of those spring or late summer allergy timeframes .
Well guess what , I went through the usual spring season didn’t have to handle any hay within that time frame so my symptoms didn’t get to the extreme level and we hadn’t started on any Xtra iodine supplementation yet . Fast forward we actually were able to get a third cutting of hay this year and guess what bingo it landed right in the middle of ragweed season ! Normally this is really really bad news , really really , however we had started taking the Xtra iodine I think about two weeks or so prior to this and there was no connection there I was just concerned about hypothyroidism and possibly my heart likes to skip a beat , so the thought that taking this iodine would help my allergies had not even entered my brain pan 😁.
So with that said and this we started out taking almost 2 milligrams a day and I not my wife started increasing the dose slowly in my view anyways and it just so happened that the first day of having to handle this third cutting of hay I decided first thing to up my dosage for no other reason other than I felt my body was ready for it but to my astonishment I went through the whole day with virtually NO allergic reactions period ! Yay !!!!
After supper I said to my wife look at me I can breath through my nose and my brainpan is not unbearably inflamed which it should have been handling that hay in the middle of ragweed season ! And the ONLY thing that was done differently was the iodine supplementation I bumped it up to about thirteen milligrams that day , hey I figured if the Japanese can do it I should be able to too . Just kidding ,
Ok we did hay three days in a row with virtually NO allergic reactions and I did do about 18 to 20 milligrams the second day but lowered it back down to 13 the last day .
So I have concluded it was the iodine as nothing else changed and I have had this problem for 33 years !
I have another success that I also believe is iodine related but I took so long on this one ill have to wait for another day !
Have a great weekend 😊. , love your kids and your husband unconditionally and with passion especially your husband and don’t give up on homeschooling and thanks again for allowing me an ogre 😊 to post here , gotta go
Interesting. Next time I’m back reading heartily on iodine again, I’ll have to see what’s been written on that!
Going against the grain is scary, especially when you keep thinking, “What am I missing? Why aren’t my friends/fellow physicians seeing this (nutrition, folate, iodine, fats, etc)?” Heck, they’re all smarter than I am. But I guess they didn’t have my Grandma.
And I do wish farmers would see things too. My dad farms, and he loves his land dearly–was no-tilling when no-tilling wasn’t fashionable. But, I don’t think he questioned his practices till I started to question him.
I have been blessed to have a great family devoted to one another. My husband is my strength, my love, my anchor, my laughter, my cheerleader. I hope you and your family are as blessed.
And also, although all those labs mentioned would be ideal, I think someone could get by with TSH monitoring if they don’t have anything really pointing at thyroid disease. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think at bare minimum, that ought to keep someone safe.
re: …someone could get by with TSH monitoring if they don’t have anything really pointing at thyroid disease.
For anyone taking that approach, they need to be very tuned to physiological symptoms, and they need to be rigorous about TSH (which is in my view a pituitary test, and not even really a thyroid test – if the HPA is screwed up, TSH is uninformative).
Any TSH outside the range 0.5 to 1.5 µIU/mL is grounds for getting actual thyroid testing.
Back on the iodine megadosing, when relying on the experience of specific cultures, one needs to wonder if they have a genetic adaptation to their diet. In the case of the Japanese, it wouldn’t surprise me either way.
That said, in a saner future, we may end up at higher doses. In addition to iodine RDA being too low, and food sources being depleted, we have the further problem of exposure to non-native halogen compounds (bromines, chlorines, fluorines) which can out-compete iodine at the thyroid. This stuff is pervasive in processed food-like substances, non-organic crops, and treated water. Chloramine in municipal drinking water might be particularly pernicious.
Thanks for a fun blog post. I realize this post is old, but I was doing some iodine research as well and had the same trouble you had finding those abstracts… I did eventually chase one down, so I figured I’d give you the link– since, surprisingly, it’s an actual double-blind controlled human trial on iodine 5mg for BPH, and the results were impressive. Here you go:
In case the link doesn’t work, here’s the meat of it:
In this study, we analyzed the iodine effects on patients with BPH. This protocol was approved by the Ethics Committees of the Hospital General de Queretaro, SSA, and UNAM. In a controlled, double-blind study, 14 men were randomized to receive iodine (5 mg/day) treatment or placebo for 8 months. The international prostate symptom score (IPSS) and the quality of life index (QOL) were evaluated at the beginning and at the end of the study. Maximal urinary flow rate, serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA), and thyroid status (TSH, T4, T3) were measured every 2 months. Our result showed that iodine supplementation significantly improved (30 %) the symptoms (IPSS and QOL) of the patients, increased the urinary flow rate by 100%, and reduced PSA levels by 30% at the end of treatment. Iodine treatment had no significant effect on thyroid status or on general health. Comparison with current pharmacological treatments such as antiandrogen or alpha-1 adrenergic antagonists led us to propose iodine supplement as a preferential treatment, because it exhibits similar benefits without the harmful side effects characteristic of the other treatments
Dear Josh Trutt, MD: Hello! I really do appreciate your taking the time to send that to me. The link did work. The results help me to continue to clarify iodine in my mind. One thing that I struggle with a little bit, and it’s no fault of the researchers, is the idea that I keep seeing the same names over and over on iodine information, which makes me cautious. Why is this not being picked up and pursued by others? It’s simple, cheap, seemingly effective. Monitor some TSHs every now and then for prudence. Of course, I am curious about if you’re practicing. How you practice. If you use this “alternative” stuff like iodine. Your thoughts. I suppose I could follow you on Twitter, eh? 🙂 Well, thanks for the link continuing to support my iodine beliefs. Do take care and have a great life!—-Terri Fites, MD
First thank you for the post. Next I am a fanatic researcher and cross reference everything multiple ways. Next after the death of my Father from prostate cancer I specialized in prostate cancer independent research and was honored to be called the most knowledgeable layman in the USA by the founder of the Prostate Cancer Research Center in Los Angeles. Dr. Steven Strum. My degrees are in History and Law so keep that in mind. That said, you are right on the mark except for a few additions i would like to make and one correction. The prostate cancer “industry” is a diverse and far from standardized group of medical and scientific and “natural” individuals often at odds with each other. The fundamental causes treatments and studies are far from consistent because the physiology of each person varies greatly and the statistical studies are often “associative” not directly “proximate” cause information. So the Japanese study you quoted is the weakest form of information but interesting non the less. 1. Correction on the fat issue. Obese men do have a higher probability of aggressive prostate cancer here is the best citation. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160112125531.htm to get back to the iodine issue the proper amount of iodine will stimulate the thyroid which will increase metabolic rate especially for men with fatty liver and others with a chronic obesity problem. in addition iodine is a natural anti biotic, anti fungal, and anti viral. So I am in favor of supplementation. This discussion only scratches the surface of the other causes of prostate problems and cancer which generally are a hormonal issue caused by the changing hormonal balance in older men. I am not selling anything and do research for free for family and friends. I myself use “Iodoral” an iodine supplement available on Amazon and elsewhere. (Note: Great for women’s breast issues.)
Dear Larry: Thanks for the link. That was great to read! I appreciate that. Also appreciate your taking time to read my article and confirm/correct with what you’ve researched. That’s important to me because so many people are searching on the internet for reliable information.
I’m sorry about your father. May life impart you with peace and joy and contentment in helping your friends and family with your gleaned knowledge.
PS: I did remove your last name. If you’d like it inserted back in, let me know!
No problem keep up the good work!! I study every day and there are always new treatments and discoveries. Many Doctor friends of mine roll their eyes when they see me because I always have something new for them to read. Nothing worse than a Doctor who does not keep up to date.
There ARE always new treatments and discoveries, and they don’t trickle into our continuing education for quite some time!
Teri watch your spelling You are posting prostrate in one location when there is no R in the word next start small with iodine supplementation. 5m or less and start by seeing if that is creating any nervousness or sleep problems. The one prostate related article I found found no direct link to any prostate benefits. I supplement at 5 mg daily for energy and better skin health. I use it topically as well. The best new supplement information points to Boron as quite amazing for the prostate.
Hi, Larry! I scoured the article, but I didn’t see where I typed prostate with an R. Was it in my text or in a comment I wrote or maybe in a comment that someone else wrote? I don’t like it when I make typos!
I’ll eventually have to read on boron. Thanks for pointing that out.
Teri I found an article on Iodine that is interesting
Dear Larry, I see Dr. Sircus has at least a couple of iodine articles! Interesting. I wish he had a few more citations for some of his statements in the article you link to, particularly regarding pH. But, in general, I think what I really wish is that iodine would be studied more intensely by the mainstream. I think it is such a fascintating, helpful substance. But when? Who? How much? Which cofactors really necessary?
On a different topic: I edit out people’s last names on comments unless I know they want their name to be specifically circulated on the internet (maybe they hit topics hard across the internet and need the value of their last name or identity; they’ve written a book; they have a blog site; etc). Do you want me to keep editing your last name out or would you prefer I leave it in its entirety?
Have a good day!
Yes you can keep editing out my last name. No problems so far. On the iodine front I only suggest that people go slowly and remember that you can stain your skin with excessive amounts and create some tremors from over stimulation of the thyroid. It is useful in small amounts.
And I suggest an occasional TSH if you start iodine. (At about 4-6 months after starting initially—unless symptoms direct otherwise— and every year after that to make sure okay. If stable at stable dose, just then periodically as determined by your doc.) That’s my cautious take.
I took a class at the Life Extension headquarters in Boca Raton by a noted Doctor on the proper levels of T4 and T3 what I learned was that this is no “Normal Range” you and your Doctor have to work with how you feel and use the guidelines as only a starting point. Some older folks cannot convert T4 into usable T3 for example. Medicine is as much Art as Science and god bless the Doctor who actually listens to his patient.
I think I can say I agree with that.
Don’t forget to take vit C, magnesium, and selenium with iodine:
That’s right. And B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin), from my reading. I personally try to get the vitamins and minerals via my diet, but one should definitely track their intake if that’s what they want to do.
Selenium I get from Brazil nuts for sure rather than pill form.
Also, I really, really encourage a TSH lab value to be tracked periodically (baseline and post starting) and symptom monitoring for people starting iodine. Yes, I know that to truly monitor the thyroid well, more labs are desirable. But I also know from being inside the circle as a medical doctor, that conventional doctors don’t like to order more than a TSH, so you have to fight for more than that. But if you have any complaint of fatigue, weight gain, constipation, nearly every conventional doctor will readily order a TSH. And I just think there’s enough literature out there suggestion hyper/hypothyroid symptoms after iodine that it deserves checked.
I found today that we should not mix vit C with Lugol. I was wondering why is Lugol not having the same effect as in the first days. The answer is that, that in the first days I took Lugol only with selenium. After that, I started to take vit C too, but after tomorrow I will take Lugol in the morning, with all the other supplements, except vit C. I will take vit C at night. More infos here:
Have you considered also keeping track of the vitamins and minerals suggested to be taken with iodine that you actually eat, making sure you’re getting “the real deal” too?
For example, 1-2 Brazil nuts each day can provide for selenium allotment and an assortment of six to ten cups of broccoli, oranges, kale, red peppers, kale, and so on will ensure over 1000 mg of vitamin C each day.
No matter what! Good wishes and health, inside and out, to you!
I found this:
“Don’t take iodine at the same time as Vitamin C – which will negate disinfectant effect of iodine; Take vitamin C at least 2 hours before or after taking Lugol’solution.”
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Terri, I have very significantly reduced my BPH problems with iodine. As the last posts are 5 years old I want to see if this is still live before I waste time typing on a dead page.
Hi, Wayne. Yes, I do still write when I can carve out time. And I still do have an active interest in iodine. Share your take if you have a moment.
A little less than 2 years ago I was completely unable to urinate, had a catheter installed, put on 2 tablets Tamsulosin per day, went through 2 failed attempts at catheter removal, each ending with late night trips to emergency room for catheter replacement. After 1 1/2 months of that, finally got instruction on self-catheterization. Went through about a week of needing to use the catheter once a day, then only needed to use it sporatically, sometimes with one or two months between uses, once 6 months between, once two days in a row. Pretty random, but seemed to be getting slightly worse with time. The doctor had told me I would probably need more drastic treatment within 2-5 years.
My experience with Iodine and the prostate was a fortunate side effect of getting Covid. I had studied up on non-mainstream pharma treatments well before contracting it, and had a just in case prescriptions filled, for both HCQ and Ivermectin. I had also read about nebulized hydrogen peroxide and Iodine, which is the only treatment used by Dr. Brownstein, and a favored treatment of Dr. Mercola. I neglected to obtain a nebulizer ahead of time, thinking all the supplements I was taking, plus the backup HCQ or Ivermectin would be plenty.
This seems to have been a mistake. It seemed that the Ivermectin knocked out the Covid virus very effectively (big reduction in symptom within 8 hours, symptoms gone in 32 hours) but then a day later I starting getting somewhat different symptoms, much lighter on the sore throat and cough, but lots of congestion in my sinuses. I had read about this also as some doctors treating Covid with HCQ and/or Ivermectin also recommended the antibiotic “Z-Pack” (Azithromycin), to deal with opportunistic bacterial infections that often occur along with viral infections. I had also neglected to get a course of the antibiotic ahead of time.
I ordered the Z-Pack antibiotic from an online doctor, and a nebulizer and Lugol’s Iodine solution from Amazon. Got the Hydrogen peroxide from a local pharmacy. the Nebulizer came in 4 days, one day before the Z-Pack. The recipe for the nebulizer solution was a 0.9% saline solution with 0.1% H2O2 (per Dr Mercola) or 0.04% H2O2 (per Dr Brownstein). I went with 0.1%. Plus 1 drop of 5% Lugol’s Iodine in the nebulizer reservoir. (I actually started out using only 22% of the recommended Iodine dose, corrected that 9 days later after more carefully reviewing the recommendations).
I got impressive relief from my congestion from the first 10 minute nebulizer session, and did about 4 sessions per day. The nebulizer was so effective that I never used the Z-Pack. It took 5 days for pretty much complete elimination of the congestion and any other symptoms. I then changed to just 2 sessions per day. I probably could have stopped entirely, but after thinking I was cured once, only to get hit again I didn’t want to take any chances this time.
2-12-2022 After about 20 days on the nebulizer it seemed much easier to urinate. I wondered if the Ivermectin had done it, but found no info. Literature search pointed at Iodine. I cut back to one capsule Tamsulosin per day.
2-17-2022 No problem with reduced Tansulosin.
2-18-2022 Switched from nebulizer to oral iodine 2 drops 2% Lugol’s in water 3 times a day (15 mg iodine per day)
2-19-2022 Changed to one drop 5% iodine in water (18.75 mg)
2-22-2022 Changed to one Tamsulosin every other day.
2-24-2022 Upped iodine to 4 drops/25mg per day.
2-27-2022 Had to use catheter.
3-2-2022 Upped iodine to 5 drops/32.5 mg per day.
3-7-2022 Had to use catheter, continued on one Tamsulosin every other day
3-23-2022 No problems. Change to one Tamsulosin every 3 days.
4-8-2022 No problems. Change to one Tamsulosin every 5 days (1/10 of original prescription)
4-25-2022 Still no problems. Will continue for a week or two, then try going off Tamsulosin completely.
FDA recommended Iodine intake is 150ug (0.15mg) per day.
Average iodine intake for Japanese men is something like 12.5mg per day (almost 100X the FDA recommendation).
Japanese men have 1/10 the rate of prostate cancer as men in the USA.
I had been taking a vitamin D supplement that also included 1000ug (1mg) of Iodine for over a year. That level of 7X the FDA recommendation for a year had not had any noticeable effect on my prostate.
When I switched to 10 – 15 mg per day (70 to 100X the FDA value), noticed improvement in 2-3 weeks.
Thank you, Wayne, for taking time to type up your life experience for anyone interested to read.