Nascent Iodine vs. Iodoral
Is one better than the others?
Numerous questions have been raised about the differences between Iodoral and Nascent Iodine. In early 2010, the question was posed to me about which is better. Based on my clinical experience, I will attempt to define the pros and cons of these two iodine products. Personally I like both products for different reasons.
No Studies for direct comparison -
I have found no formal, or significant informal, studies comparing these two products. The choice of which iodine product to use can be very personal. My hope is that the subtle differences discussed here will help you to make a decision.
High dose vs. Low dose -
All high dose studies have been done using Iodoral or comparative formulations.
1) Proponents of Nascent Iodine usually focus on low dose therapy and the claim of enhanced bioavailability. Usually the only studies referenced to are those used to establish the RDA recommendations.
2) Proponents of Lugol's solution or Iodoral usually focus on the benefits of high dose therapy and the few open label studies and some impressive clinical experience documented by Dr. David Brownstein & Dr. George Flechas to back the position. These benefits include the detoxification of halides and heavy metals.
Studies on Iodoral are clear. On average nearly 99% of the dose is absorbed. The absorption rate between the two products could be easily studied with existing technology, but no such studies have yet been conducted. In theory tough, they both should have near equal oral absorption rates as iodine in all its natural forms is very well absorbed orally.
Bioavailability is about how much of a nutrient is available for use after absorption compared to how much is not. I believe that the claim of increased bioavailability of Nascent Iodine does have merit, and does make sense from the scientific perspective of the molecular state of Nascent iodine. In high doses of iodine, Nascent Iodine and Iodoral both perform well. Clinically, I have seen faster symptomatic responses to Nascent Iodine, and more often than not with a lower dose. Upon occasion, Nascent will end up dosed similarly to the 50mg per day evidenced by the research done by Iodoral proponents.
Proper Dosage -
The rational for dosage of iodine therapy differs based on one's goal and Ideology.
1) The minimum needed to sustain life and prevent goiter (ex. RDA of 1-2mg per day).
2) What is necessary for healthy maintenance (12-12.5mg/day). This number is derived from demographic research concerning iodine related disease incidence from cultures where iodine content is high in the diet compared to cultures with low dietary iodine. I don't think this level makes sense for everyone.
3) Overcoming competitive inhibition. The real issues lie in pollutants that compete for iodine's place in the body, known as competitive displacement or inhibition. Chemicals & elements such as fluoride, bromide, other halides, mercury, lead, and aluminum can displace iodine from it's place in the body. The reverse is also true. Iodine can displace these substances if sufficient quantities are present to get ahead of the curve. To date, 50mg is to most common target dose that elicits this shift in balance and begins the dumping of these toxic elements, restoring symptomatic patients to better health.
Tolerance & Personal Experience -
Both products are well tolerated in most cases. Even patients with iodine allergy will on average tolerate either product well. Cases that react poorly to oral administration often benefit from transdermal supplementation without reaction. I prefer Nascent Iodine over simple iodine tincture for transdermal applications. I also prefer Nascent iodine if there is a history of iodine sensitivity, as it seems to produce less allergic reactions orally in my experience. Iodoral has become a very popular product that often appears to be well studied, and I still use it with a number of my clients. Its ease of administration is often a significant plus and is considered the gold standard in high dose iodine therapy camp.
Which one should you choose -
Both products have their own individual merits and selecting a product should be based on your own unique situation and preferences. You should consult with an iodine literate professional when making the decision to begin iodine therapy of any kind.
Iodoral provides a simple tablet for high dose oral administration. Its benefits and potential complications are well documented and iodine literate physicians have the most experience dealing with Iodoral. While Nascent is excellent in sensitive cases where transdermal or very tight dosage control is needed. After years of using Iodoral in my practice, Nascent Iodine has become my preferred choice. It does seem to improve symptoms faster, detoxify more gently and produce fewer side effects over all.
Transdermal Iodine -
Transdermal application of iodine is the most inefficient method of delivery with only 1-4% of the total dose absorbed into circulation. Iodine is a volatile element subject to evaporation at typical room and body temperatures. 75-85% of transdermally applied iodine is lost to evaporation. So if you go with transdermal application, do so as a last choice. The application of a heavy cream or Vaseline over the iodine patch may slow down the evaporation and possibly increase absorption.