White iodine risks

Updated April 17, 2017

White iodine is a de-colorized form of iodine that is used to treat many different conditions, such as alopecia related to thyroid problems. It also is used as a general nutrition supplement. Our bodies need proper iodine levels to keep the thyroid properly functioning, which is a gland that regulates growth, metabolism, and other internal functions. While white iodine can treat or improve a variety of conditions, every patient should be aware of the risks associated with its use..

Iodine Allergies

Iodine allergies are rare, but the potential risks could be life-threatening. General symptoms of an iodine allergy include nausea, vomiting, and skin rashes. More severe cases can result in anaphylactic shock, including swelling of the throat and an increased heartbeat, which requires immediate attention. Iodine allergies can typically be treated with over-the-counter antihistamines. Or, with more severe cases, doctors may prescribe an epinephrine injection in instances of emergency allergy attacks.

Possibility of Overdose

Iodine overdose is rare, but children can be especially sensitive to it. Symptoms include a metallic taste in the mouth, vomiting, diarrhoea, and in more severe cases, shock or seizures. Iodine intake should be closely monitored, and only as directed by a doctor.

Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

In some cases, introducing too much iodine into the body can trigger autoimmune disease, caused by the thyroid lowering or stopping hormones from being produced. This in turn can leave the immune system vulnerable to an autoimmune attack.


Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid is underactive, so hormones are not produced as rapid enough rates. Hypothyroidism leaves people feeling sluggish and can result is weight problems and slower body functions. High levels of iodine have been linked to this condition, as the body begins to reject iodine when it is presented with too much. Without enough iodine being processed within the thyroid, it slows down, which can result in hypothyroidism as a condition.

Associations with Thyroid Cancer

Studies have shown that iodine can be a factor in increasing a person's chance of thyroid cancer, but typically only if that person has a family history of thyroid cancer or an increased risk before taking iodine supplements.

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About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Mo Macy has been a screenwriter since 2007 and runs an LA-based pop culture blog. With a background in travel writing, her work has appeared in "Travel New England" and online at "The Boston Globe." She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in writing from Emerson College.