White iodine, also known as colorless iodine, has a wide variety of unexpected applications and boasts remarkable benefits. But there are risks associated with the use of white iodine that should be fully understood before using it for certain purposes.
Before using white iodine as a nutritional supplement, it should be noted that iodine is found naturally in many foods (including soybeans, garlic, asparagus, mushrooms, sea salt). However, some foods tend to block iodine absorption if consumed in large quantities (cabbage, peaches, pears, spinach). Other iodine inhibitors are the fluoride and chlorine found in tap water.
Like the traditional orange-brown iodine, white iodine can be used as an antiseptic applied topically. Unlike traditional iodine, it will not stain skin or clothes. Put two to three drops of white iodine on a cotton ball and apply to cuts and burns to ward off infection.
White iodine has been used to improve weak, brittle fingernails. It is applied on the tip of the nail (not the nail bed) and the underside of the nail tip. Improvement typically appears after one to two weeks.
White iodine has also been used topically as a treatment for alopecia areata, a condition associated with hair loss. Apply white iodine once a day to the affected area. Results typically appear within two to six weeks.
Iodine is essential to human biology and can be provided only through diet. Food grade white iodine is used as a dietary supplement to regulate metabolism and treat thyroid deficiencies by stimulating the production of T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine) hormones. It is also used in the treatment of ovarian cysts and fibrocystic breast disease. Dr. Jorge Flechas, an expert in iodine deficiency, claims success in treating insulin-resistant diabetes with iodine as well. Symptoms of iodine deficiency are weight gain, sensitivity to temperature changes and sluggishness.
Allergies to iodine are common. When white iodine is used as a dietary supplement, there is risk of overdose as a safe dosage is very small (two to three drops) and can vary among individuals -- somewhere between 5 and 13 mg (0.00018 to 0.00046 oz) daily. Iodine overdose is associated with thyroid disease and thyroid cancer. Signs of overdose include a metallic taste or sores in the mouth, vomiting, diarrhea and swollen salivary glands. Do not ingest white iodine unless it is food grade. If taking white iodine as a nutritional supplement, consider taking a seaweed-based supplement that contains both iodine and iodide instead.