Fibrocystic Breast Disease – How Iodine Supplementation Saved Me From Unnecessary Surgery (Plus A Book Review: Iodine Why You Need It and Why You Can’t Live Without It by David Brownstein, MD)

This is another one of those posts that I have wanted to write for many months.  Hopefully you find it interesting and maybe helpful to you or someone you know.  My purpose is two-fold: discuss my experience with fibrocystic breast disease and iodine supplementation and review Iodine Why You Need It and Why You Can’t Live Without It.

In 2005 (age 28) I found a small mass in my left breast.  At the time I was completely wrapped up in the conventional wisdom mindset.  Low fat and so-called “heart healthy” whole grains were in my regular rotation, I was clocking serious chronic cardio at the gym, and Western medicine seemed to have all the answers.  Panicking, I called my physician and went in for a breast exam.  She agreed that the mass was abnormal and immediately sent me for a mammogram.  I was a stressed mess leading up to that test and during the mammogram I almost passed out.  I think it was a combination of the pain (OMG) and anxiety.  Sure enough, they saw something on the films!  I was instructed to see a surgeon to discuss my options.  He informed me that I had fibrocystic breast disease and that the mass I found was a fibroadenoma.  Not cancerous, but something that should be removed because if left alone, they can grow to the size of softballs (more panicking).  So I agreed to have it removed on an outpatient basis.  I was awake during surgery and he showed me the lump as he removed it.  It was barely the size of a small marble.  Off it went to be tested and a few days later I got the all clear call.  Whew!

So, why did this happen?  What do I do about it?  Will I continue to undergo surgery after surgery as these show up in the future?  Answers were in this order: We don’t know, nothing – just watch it with regular mammograms, and yes you cannot ignore breast masses.  Fabulous.  So, like a good girl, I continued to have regular breast exams and routine mammograms (2, plus numerous ultrasounds).  During this time there were no suspicious masses or lumps.  After the second mammogram, I started to refuse.  My Western medicine doctor agreed to let me stop them until I turned 40 as long as I did regular breast exams.  OK.  Deal.

Meanwhile, I had developed chronic low back pain.  In 2009, I started to seek alternative treatment for my pain, as conventional medicine had failed to relieve my symptoms (for more details see About).  I had fantastic success with a Holistic physician and asked him for a referral to a Holistic family practice doctor.  I was now a full blown believer in Alternative/Holistic/Naturopathic medicine.  In April 2011, I transferred all of my records to her office and saw her for a physical to establish myself as a patient.  We discussed my fibrocystic breast disease history.  She did an exam and noted no abnormalities, but stated we would watch from year to year (still encouraging me to do regular breast exams).  One month later I found a nickel sized mass in my right breast.  Oh no – here we go again…  I made an appointment to see my new doctor and during the one week leading up to the appointment, the mass had increased in size (now approximately quarter sized).  Recalling all that was said to me in the past, I blabbered on to her about not wanting surgery or a mammogram!  She listened and then quickly calmed my fears.  Absolutely no mammograms and a very good chance that I could avoid surgery.

Step one was testing with breast thermology.  Totally non-invasive, painless, and radiation free.  The procedure is not covered by insurance (of course), but I was willing to shell out the $100 for peace of mind and some answers to my current condition.  Click here to read up on this amazing procedure and find out more about the clinic that I used.  So as expected, my scan came back negative for cancer, but positive for another fibroadenoma.

Step two was to start supplementing with high doses of Iodine (50 mg Iodoral) and 100 mcg Selenium.  I don’t know why, but this really freaked me out.  The US RDA for Iodine is 150 mcg.  Was it safe to take so much?  What are the side effects?  Would there be long term consequences?  My doctor assured me that there was no need to worry.  Although I trusted her, I was still unsure.  I hurried home and started to research Iodoral supplementation and fibrocystic breast disease.  I found next to nothing.  What I did find online was quite discouraging.  Women reporting that they had tried Iodoral without improvements in their symptoms.  At the same time all of this was occurring, Alex had a friend at work who was being treated for breast cancer by Dr. David Brownstein’s Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, MI.  She purchased his book, Iodine Why You Need It and Why You Can’t Live Without It, for me and I dug into it as soon as I got my hands on it.  I won’t get into the science here, I won’t do it justice.  What I will say is that the breasts and the thyroid are two of the body’s main storage sites for Iodine.  In a deficient or depleted state, these tissues become primed for illness including fibrocystic breast disease and breast cancer.  Dr. Brownstein’s book contains an entire chapter devoted to this topic.

So I decided to give the supplementation a try.  My instructions were to take 50 mg Iodoral and 100 mcg Selenium one time a day for 6 weeks and then cut the Iodoral in half to 25 mg (continue to take the Selenium) for another 6 weeks.  After that, my physician said I could again cut the Iodoral dose in half (12.5 mg) and continue to take the Selenium.  This would be my maintenance dose.

I did it.  And guess what?  IT WORKED!!!  Within a couple of weeks the mass was smaller, less dense, and not as tender.  Within a month it was half the size it was before supplementation.  Within two months, it was GONE.  Gone – without pain, without stress, without an invasive procedure.

So why did it work?  From Dr. Brownstein’s book:

Animal studies have shown conclusively that an iodine deficient state can alter the structure and function of the breasts.  After my own research and study, I concur with several investigators that iodine deficiency is a causative factor in breast cancer and fibrocystic breast disease.  I believe it is essential that women have their iodine levels tested, and if it is shown there is an iodine deficiency, iodine supplementation should be initiated.

The breasts are one of the body’s main storage sites for iodine in the body.  In an iodine-deficient state, the thyroid gland and the breasts will compete for what little iodine is available.  Therefore, this will leave the thyroid gland and the breasts iodine depleted and can set the stage for illnesses such as goiter, hypothyroidism, autoimmune thyroid disease, breast illnesses including cancer, and cystic breast disease.  In addition, other glandular tissues such as the ovaries which contain the second highest concentration of iodine in the body, will also be depleted in an iodine deficient state.

The breasts and thyroid aren’t the only utilizers of iodine.  It is needed by the prostate gland, the gastrointestinal tract, salivary glands, bones, and connective tissues.  If you have any of these parts and you want to keep them healthy, you should probably make sure you have adequate iodine in your diet.

So that’s my story and I felt it was important to share.  My fibrocystic breast disease was present way before I started a Paleo/Primal/Ancestral lifestyle, but I think it’s valuable to note that this eating style is generally low in Iodine.  Most of us opt for Celtic sea salt over iodized table salt when cooking after we make the switch.  Cutting out packaged, processed foods also cuts out iodized salt intake.  Our soil, especially in the Mid-Western states, is deficient in Iodine, meaning our produce and pastured animal products are not a good source.  Fish is a decent source, and sea vegetables are fabulous sources, but these are not foods that are typically eaten everyday by our population.  I strongly encourage you to find a Holistic or Naturopathic physician that can assist you in testing and determining your need for Iodine supplementation.  I wouldn’t recommend undertaking this on your own, as your doctor will likely want to monitor your thyroid function while supplementing.

There is one other note that I wanted to make.  I work in the medical field and am nose deep in conventional Western medicine everyday.  I truly believe that there are Western medicine practices and amazing medical advancements that have improved our lives greatly.  However, our current medical field does have it’s shortcomings and my story is an example.  We should not be treating the symptoms, we should be investigating and treating the cause.  Otherwise are we truly ever healed or are we just chasing our tails?

For further information, Donald Miller, M.D. has also written some great articles on this topic.  This one is a great overview:

This blog post was shared at Food Renegade.

Good reads on breast health:

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  1. Just wanted to add that after supplementing with iodine (mostly in the form of kelp tablets) I noticed much improved sleep quality and clearer thinking.

  2. I have a question- you said 12.5mg of Iodoral would be your maintenance dose. Does this mean you’re going to be taking this for the rest of your life or for 1 yr or what?

    • Brownstein’s book indicates that this would be my maintenance dose for the foreseeable future. I will discuss the dosing with my physician at my next follow up. I am having no adverse effects at that dose, so will likely stick with it unless I am advised not to.

      • Ok thanks so much for the feedback and for sharing your experience. I have FBD and recently found a lump in my right breast. This is the third time I’ve had a lump. I first got one when I was 16 and I’m 24 now. I got the last 2 surgically removed and am reminded by the scars everyday. Everyone just kept telling me to avoid caffeine but I rarely have caffeine. I feel like there has to be an answer. I just ordered some Iodoral and I really hope this works. The info I’ve read so far looks promising.

        • I would highly recommend picking up Brownstein’s book as well for more specific dosing recommendations. There are several other supplements that need to be taken with the Iodoral (selenium and vitamin C for example). Best of luck and keep me updated!

      • Great article Marjorie. And there are many “mainstream” docs who will advise you not to take a maintenance dose of anything more then the RDI. More than one of my clients that I’ve counseled for orthoiodotherapy have had their MD tell them that there is no such thing as iodine deficiency anymore! But I made sure my clients were prepared for this, so it didn’t phase them or worry them. Besides the “availability” side of the equation, we must also consider the “need” side, and in today’s world, our iodine requirement is more than it was a long. long, time ago. If you’d like to read my iodine article, it’s at

  3. Ok so I’ve been taking 50mg of Iodine for about 2 weeks now (along with 1000mg Vit C and 200mcg selenium). I can barely feel the lump in my breast now! I’m so happy and relieved that this is working! I researched Dr. B’s book online but haven’t actually bought it yet. That’s on my Amazon wish list 😉

  4. * Correction: Iodoral

  5. Hi. I’m so so glad you blogged on this topic. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m gonna try to make this short and get to the point but I must give a disclaimer that I haven’t done a lot of research (hence how I stumbled onto your blog post as step 1) but I had to share. I’m an esthetician and through the time I’ve been doing my work I’ve met many massage therapist , acupuncturist etc etc. They have opened my eyes to the world of natural medicine over the last 10 years. I’m in the same boat as you and will give props to western medicine but I love to heal and prevent naturally if possible. Anyways, 2 years back, out of the blue, my left breast was in so much pain, and I discovered two lumps at the same time *faint*, went through all the emotions and all the steps. Had it biopsied, got a diagnosis of FBD. Been taking evening primose, staying away from caffeine (whatever, I think they tell you that so they have something to say instead of “I don’t know”). Pain lessened but tenderness in BOTH breasts were always present, period or not, and the cysts remained (mine were not removed ?????).Been living in fear ever since of finding new lumps, dealing with the pain, and experiencing the nightmare of having a needle going into one of the most delicate parts of my body…. again! A few months ago I looked into eat right for your blood type (I’m O-) and it totally clicked. It all made sense for me. One note was that a lot of O’s tend to have iodine deficiency and tend to have sluggish thyroid (you feel tired, keep weight on…yes and yes). I eat a healthy amount of salt (not too much but don’t totally cut it out) but figured hey, maybe I should try this. I went to my local hippy store, ;p, and got some kelp supplements. I checked all the dosages and saw it may be a little higher than recommended daily allowance but thought it couldn’t hurt to try.Now to my point: When I started doing this, about 3 weeks ago, I had no knowledge about this iodine/FBD connection. Yesterday, randomly, I did a self exam and held my breath in fear as always. I noticed that the lumps had shrunk SIGNIFICANTLY, and the tenderness was all but gone (boobs are always gonna be a tiny bit tender, they aren’t knee caps right?!).I even mentioned to my husband that they have shrank A LOT. Tonight I started to question if I was taking too much iodine (I started to imagine a goiter on my neck. Seriously I don’t have one but i was getting paranoid). I started to look up side effects of too much iodine. One article led to another and I stumbled upon you!!!! this can’t be a mistake. I am gonna do some more research and talk to my local naturopath and start monitoring exactly what I’m taking but I think, pretty sure, that they have to be connected. Sorry for the rant but I just wanted to share, just like you did. Hope this gives some hope! I’ll keep you posted! Thanks again! P.S. I am NOT promoting for people to go out and start taking supplements without a doctors consent. I had consulted some naturos and herbalist who I know and felt comfortable with my dosage so please seek medical advice, western or otherwise 😉

    • That’s awesome Stephanie! Please keep me updated!

      • Just got an email that someone else posted on this topic and I came back to check it out. It dawned on me that I never updated. Went to the gyno in November for my pap and she wanted to do a breast exam as usually. I warned her before that I had two lumps in my right breast and that they were not cancerous. She went to do the exam and said “all I feel is breast tissue….. I don’t feel any lumps”. THOSE SUCKERS DISAPPEARED!!!!!!!! =D HALLELUJAH!!!!!!

      • Dear Stephanie and Marjorie, I had a not big lump in my right breast near the end of January at a very busy time in my office. I was stressed and went through all the emotions you can imagine. after about two weeks I went to the doctor, he confirmed the lump and the ultrasound shown a cyst with fibrocystic condition around it. Of course we did a biopsy of the area around to find this FBC and the sample of the fluid in the cyst was infected. The infection wastreated with antibiotics but I was given nothing more. A few weeks later I returned as advised by thedoctor for evaluation and to confirm if I should be operated on. The area affected had reduced substantially so the doctor said I dont need an operation. after three months, I went to another for an ultrasound, he said I had a fibroadenoma, not a cyst but advised to leave it and not consider operation because it is small and benign atleast for now. I have been reading alot on the net about FBC and cancer and worry so much about my condition turning cancerous. Then in my google readings I landed on Dr. Brownstein’s webpage, books and all. Amazing stuff, that doctor is a blessing. Reading the link between iodine deficiency and FBD i went to the pharmacy and picked up Kelp supplements from power health The one a day dose provides between 300 and 495mcg of iodine. Been on it for about two weeks and already feel much better, less itching and funny movements inthe breast. i’ll discuss the iodine dosage with my gyn the next time I see him but Im so convinced the iodine is working. I just needto work on the dosage. with a doctor’s advice. My problem is Im in Africa and often times doctors here are not up to speed with research developments. before I started my iodine supplementation I checked my blood for iodine and thethree tests seemed to show that it was within normal ranges, so one week after starting the supplements, I stopped in fear of having excess iodine. When I stopped i felt more discomfort in my breast so I started my kelp supplements again and I feel alot better, though I fear the dose may be excessive. Please write to me, keep me posted on all developments.
        I’ve written to Dr. Brownstein on facebook and tried to ask for a number on which I can call and speak to him in person. Asked my same questions but I have not yet heard rom him. I also need to buy all his books, the recaps on his pages /web are so informative.I worry about getting cancer often. I need all the help.

        • Thanks for the comment Ludy. It sounds to me like you are doing all the right things! Read up and become informed and then discuss with/teach your physicians too! I feel a good one will be open to suggestions, especially after hearing that you felt better taking the supplement. Dr. Brownstein’s book is excellent. Start there. His practice is EXTREMELY busy. I called for an appointment and had to wait 6 months just to get on a waiting list! I did not end up seeing him, but I think it goes to show that he knows what he is talking about. Best of luck and keep in touch!

        • What sorta doctor can help u with io dorsal dosage…scared to try on my own. I suffer with fibrocyctic breast disease and calcifications….breast pain gets worse every year!

          • Hi Karen,
            I’m sorry to hear you are having trouble with this! I would recommend seeking out a functional medicine doctor to help you with testing and monitoring. These are usually MDs or DOs with extra training in treating the whole person from a more holistic approach. Sometimes they are naturopaths, which would be another great avenue for you to explore. Like I mentioned in the article, I highly recommend finding a doctor that knows what they are doing when it comes to Iodoral supplementation. Best of luck to you and please check back in to let me know how things work out!

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  7. I just wanted to say I’m so glad I stumbled upon this finally. I’ve seen something similar before – thought not as specific – and where I live there aren’t any holistic or naturaopathic doctors around unfortunately, and the Western doctors here don’t go for the theory of adding Iodine to your diet. To be honest, they have that look of horror in their eyes if you even mention it. So many seem to be very closed minded. At the same time, they realize surgery is drastic but just don’t have any answer.

    I am taking plenty of Evening Primrose, Vitamin D & E along with Black Currant Seed Oil and Magnesium and while I think it has helped minorly, it isn’t enough. Last summer I took Danazol at the lowest level – 50 mg (?) although he said I could go as high as 100 mg per day, and it did help quite a bit but you have to be careful. Many people have a lot of side effects from that. My biggest one was that I was losing lots of hair in the shower every day! Luckily the good Lord blessed me with plenty of it. In December 2012 I went off that and that’s when I started the Eve Primrose etc., but the FBD condition slowly came back on and it has decided that’s all there is to it. I also use ice packs every night and OrthoGel or BioFreeze just to help kill the pain. I don’t even know how I could ever pick up on an out of place ‘lump’ because my breasts are so completely filled with FB’s!

    I’m 44 now but when I first started having mammograms I always had to come back in for another, then repeat in 6 months. Then for almost 2 years I didn’t have one because the pain was so bad there was no way I could stand being squished! Of course, the doctor’s couldn’t understand this (even female ones) but I agreed to try the Danazol and if it worked,then have a mammogram. The poor gal that did my mammogram looked at my history and felt so bad for me so she took extra views to hopefully keep me coming back from a repeat. No go. I had to go back and a different gal felt it necessary to show me where the spots where. I was ulready upset so I’m not sure how they felt that would help my mindset any. After that, they still decided I needed an ultrasound. Talk about being a mess. I was just sure this time they would find something. I about freaked when the ultrasound technician did the ultrasound and then brought the radiologist in the room! But he said he felt certain it was all FBD but (as I’ve read before) the problem with FBD is it’s harder to see any cancerous spots. On top of that if you even look at sites like Mayo or other articles online written by doctors and specialists, they now say it’s not a ‘disease’ but a ‘condition’ and the way the talk you know they can’t relate to it because they make it sound so very, very minor. When you can’t even stand the touch of a bra or shirt on your chest, trust me, it’s not minor!

    My 6 month repeat mammo is due in April or May. I’m going to order this book right away (thankfull have a B&N giftcard!) and see if I can try this method. It doesn’t sound like I can lose! My mom had a thyroid disorder and I have been tested before because I’m always so tired etc. I know my results were kind of in the ‘low’ end but of course not enough that the doctor would put me on supplements. I hope you keep this thread going because I think it’s so important for other women to post their stories on it. I was actually searching for surgery options today when I found this!

  8. Hi. In your research, have you found any connection between FBD and uterine fibroids? I have both and I wonder whether they are connected, common sense tells me that are but I can’t find much online. I also have a thyroid nodule and extreme heat/cold intolerance.

    • Sorry for the delayed response, but I was out of town and wanted to check my references before answering you. Definitely get Dr. Brownstein’s book. In the chapter on breast cancer and fibrocystic breast disease, he discusses the importance of iodine in regulating estrogen. He also notes that the ovaries have the second highest concentration of iodine after the thyroid. I would highly suggest starting with his book and then finding yourself a qualified holistic practitioner that can assist you with proper supplementation. Best of luck and please keep me updated.

      • I’ve ordered the book today. I’m also searching a good holistic doc. (Colorado Springs CO area). I work in med. field as well (RN) and I have the same experience you do! Going to try to do the iodine painting test tonight and see what I get.
        Thanks for your time to respond and all this info that you put out.

  9. My mom and I both have FBD symptoms that get worse with caffeine consumption. I wonder if caffeine inhibits iodine absorption ?

    • A quick Google search brought up a few studies and similar self reports. I am a from believer that diet plays a major role in proper function of the body. If caffeine makes it worse – quit! Taper over time if you have to wean yourself, but please listen to our body!

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  11. Cristina Berger

    Hi. I am very confused about my breasts state because I feel many many little lumps inside and I had a ultrasound done and they couldn’t find anything bad. The doctor just said that my breasts are very lumpy due to hormonal issues. My OB just checked them again last month and said that she feels all the lumps but it’s nothing. So when you say that you felt a “mass” in your breast, I don’t understand what it is, what does it feel like. I can’t even do self-exams on myself because I just feel so many lumps that I don’t know what to do with this. Can someone tell me if this could also be fibrous breasts or not? How can I find out for sure that my breasts are normal?

    • Hi Christina,
      I also had a lot of little lumps and bumps prior to the Iodoral supplementation. The 2 times I noticed a mass, they were quite a bit larger then anything else and very firm. Both were somewhat painful to touch and the second one was slightly achy all the time. This is not medical advice on my part, just what I would do – find a holistic or functional medicine doctor that you trust (unless you trust your current physicians) and find out about getting your hormones in balance (you mentioned hormonal issues). Consult without that health care practitioner about supplementation as well. With my doctor’s protocol, I have noticed far fewer little lumps and bumps. Best of luck and please keep us updated on your progress!

  12. Just read this in Lynne Farrow’s book, The Iodine Crisis: What You Don’t Know. I’d ordered a bottle of Lugol’s (the liquid version of Iodoral) in April, but because of a bad experience with kelp supplements, was very hesitant to take it internally…for the nearly two months since I’ve had it. I did apply it topically a number of times, but finally got to the place where I’m just so tired of being exhausted all the time that I started doing a lot more research.

    I still didn’t want to take it in water though, but then realized I could put it in empty gel caps. Because I was afraid – thanks to the kelp experience – I’ve been bouncing back and forth between 1 to 2 drops a day (6.25 – 12.5 grams) for a week now. The companion supplements arrived today, and tomorrow I’m planning to bump it up to 3-4 drops and see how that goes. Hopefully the racing heart/nausea won’t be a problem with this.

    After reading this book though, I’m anxious to get to 50 mg a day as quickly as possible. While I’m taking it for hypothyroidism issues, I love what I’ve been reading about breast and ovary health, and love that you blogged about it so I can share the link on Facebook. 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment Kristy! And thanks for sharing this post on Facebook. I would love for as many people as possible to see this post and read Farrow’s and Brownstein’s books. This is such important information! Please come back and let us know how you do on the supplementation. Best wishes and good luck!

  13. I am so glad I discovered this post! I recently went to a holistic NP who suggested Ioderol 50mg daily for a month and then 25mg daily for my fibrocystic breasts. I thought no way am I taking this. Isn’t this going to mess up my thyroid?! After I read this, I am now considering taking it. I even ordered Dr. Brownstein’s book. I wish I found this a while ago. I recently had surgery to remove two lumps and am just three months post op and not liking the recovery!! I thought I never want sugery again! I was wondering if you had any thyroid panels or iodine tests before starting your supplementation. My NP had not ordered any which also had me concerned. Maybe I will find out more about this once I read the book I ordered.

    • So glad you liked the post and found it helpful! I did have a thyroid panel done prior to the supplementation (about a month). It was done during a routine physical. I had not had any blood work done for many years and as I was a new patient to this practice, my doctor wanted some baselines. Thyroid checked out fine, but she said I was showing some signs of sub-clincial hypo-thryoid. I must admit, I’ve been bad about following up and need to get in soon for a re-check. If you are concerned, I would just ask your NP what his/her thoughts are on testing and request it be done if it gives you peace of mind. Best wishes and thanks for reading!

  14. Hi, my take is on the iodine consumption. My Mum fell into a gutter accidentally and got bruised on her hands and breast. As time goes on, the breast began to swell and cause her so much pain. She has carried out Breast Cancer test, Chest Xray, Sugar level, GPC. I’m really concerned of what next to do.

  15. Hi Marjorie, I’m so glad I found your blog. I’m going to do exactly what you did. I had a a breast fibroadenoma removed when I was 35. But now it’s back in the same place!:( I just turned 36. I did ultra sound again, it’s noncancerous. But of course I want it gone! I want to try same as you did. “50 mg Iodoral and 100 mcg Selenium one time a day for 6 weeks and then cut the Iodoral in half to 25 mg (continue to take the Selenium) for another 6 weeks. After that, my physician said I could again cut the Iodoral dose in half (12.5 mg) and continue to take the selenium. This would be my maintenance dose.” What Selenium brand did you use? I’m trying to stay away from any brands that use Soy. Thank you!

    • I use Country Life brand. Gluten, cron, dairy, soy, yeast-free. It comes in 100mcg tablets. Make sure to find a good doc to monitor your progress and check blood work! Best of luck and check back to let me know how it goes!!

      • Hi Marjorie, Thank you for getting back to me so quickly! Happy New Year! I have another question… I can’t find Iodoral 25 mg anywhere online, I only see Iodoral 50 mg and 12.5mg being sold… Where did you find Iodoral 25 mg? Thanks a lot!:)

  16. I have had lumpy breast tissue for roughly 10 years, and found a lump in my right breast in 2004. I had two mammograms (both were negative), then later in 2007 a thermogram which showed no cancer but “congestion”.

    I have spent years doing all types of alternative protocols including detoxes of every kind you can imagine, chiropractic, homeopathy, liver and gallbladder cleanses, naturopathy, essential oils, clay baths, colon cleanses, and have had no results. I took Iodoral for 2 years about 4 years ago, and no results there either. I am surprised I had no change since I was also taking a lot of supplements back then and would have had all the necessary co-factors for iodine including selenium and magnesium. I have also been consuming a Weston A. Price based diet since 2006, which provides many of the nutrients necessary for assimilating minerals including iodine.

    I am really worried to supplement since I’ve heard from some holistic sources that it can alter thyroid function for the negative, as well as cause intense detox. I have the Dr. Brownstein book, but I’m still fearful of this protocol, as well as I have no idea who to consult about my problem. Did you have any detox symptoms? Are you still cyst or lump-free since you wrote this post? Have you continued to take iodine – and what dose are you taking?

    I’ve spent a lot of time detoxing and have rarely had symptoms from any of those activities, so I hope my body is in the right condition for this should I choose to do it. I’m also wanting to find a practitioner that is well-versed in iodine therapy before embarking. Did your ND have you do the iodine loading test to determine your dosage?

    • Thanks for you comment and questions! It’s so frustrating when you do everything right and still have health issues to deal with! I know how you feel.

      I am still lump free and have been taking the Iodoral regularly. I recently switched to a functional medicine doctor to address some lingering health issues. She put me on a very comprehensive multi-vitamin and suggested that I drop my Iodoral dose to 6.25mg since there is some Iodine in the supplement. Prior to this I was taking 12.5mg without taking a multi-vitamin.

      My old doctor did not do the Iodine loading test prior to my supplementation. I did not have any detox symptoms. I think eating cleaning and having very few chemicals in the house helped with this.

      I recently had a very broad spectrum of blood work done, including a thorough evaluation of my thyroid. Everything was with the “normal” range, but my doctor felt that my numbers indicated the thyroid was a little sluggish. She did not seem concerned about the Iordoral supplementation.

      Hope this helps! Best of luck and let me know how things go!!

  17. Thanks for your response to all my questions, Marjorie! I really appreciate it.

    I have definitely been eating clean since 2006, and started traditional foods in 2009 (Weston A. Price). I had thought that might give me more results with the cyst, although I have had many, many of my other symptoms that lingered for years either disappear or greatly improve. So, I believe I’ve been doing something right.

    I am encouraged to hear that results can be achieved without the loading test as I am hesitant to spend extra money on tests and procedures that might not be terribly useful or necessary. I am certain my thyroid is not working optimally, although I did have some great results from doing the GAPS diet for nearly 2 years and had many of my thyroid symptoms disappear such as racing heart and terrible insomnia.

    I will keep you posted! Again, thank you for writing this post!

  18. I have had multiple fibroadenomas since the age of 19. I am now 28, and I get so scared when I feel a new lump. It is definitely stressful and scary. I have noticed that high intake of caffeine make my lumps painful. I have started eating a clean diet and have stopped caffeine all together. I want to try the Iodoral to see if my lumps will go down in size and had a few questions. Is it better to take the Iodoral with food and a certain time of day? Are you able to take the Iodoral while pregnant?

    • Good questions, Natalie. I always take it in the morning with breakfast. I don’t know that it has to be taken with food, I just do. I do not know about pregnancy. I would discuss it with your physician. I do not recall if it is discussed in Dr. Brownstien’s book.

    • If I might weigh in here; it is not wise to simply take an iodine supplement while pregnant. While sufficient iodine is necessary for a healthy baby, and specifically for that baby to be as smart as he/she is capable of being, if the taking of iodine causes bromine detox, this is not something you want happening while pregnant as systemic bromine can be harmful to the fetus. This is why it is vitally important for women who intend to get pregnant to assess their iodine level and normalize it before conceiving, so any bromine detox is dealt with before becoming pregnant. This is not to say that a pregnant women can’t take iodine, but she is not likely to be able to take as much as she would if not pregnant, and should certainly do so under the guidance of an iodine literate health practitioner. Also, simply trying Iodoral to see what effect it has is a haphazard approach. As with most things there’s a bad, fair, good, better, and best way to deal with iodine, and since it has the potential to help resolve many conditions of ill-health (both known and as of yet unknown), and since is has the potential to be done wrong to where things get worse instead of better, this underscores the importance of not treating this like you would B12, meaning not as a DIY approach. I speak at length about this in my article on iodine (you can Google “Don Bennett iodine” to view it). And Iodoral doesn’t have to be taken with food, and most people find it better to take it in the morning so it doesn’t interfere with falling asleep.

  19. did you do thyroid and iodine level checked before starting the iodoral protocol and were you monitored during the first 6 weeks when you were on iodoral?

    • My thyroid levels were checked before and then several months later. I did not have my Iodine levels checked. I would suggest running the tests by your physician or naturopath to get his or her thoughts on monitoring during supplementation. Thanks for reading!!

  20. Hi and thanks for the article. I have a Fibroadenoma (cyst in my breast), I have one in my uterus and a knot/lump in my thyroid. I am 99% sure that I have an iodine deficiency. The size of my thyroid is only 4.6 ml and my endo told me that apparently I had Hashimoto’s before but right now my thyroid looks normal, just very small. I am taking a thyroid med (Nature Throid – 3/4 grain per day) and would like to know if I still can try the iodine protocol? I definitely want to get rid of those cysts!

    Do I have to take the iodine (I ordered Lugols iodine 2%) together with Selenium or should I avoid taking it at the same time? I also ordered the book of Dr. Brownstein but did not receive it yet.

    Any comments would be highly appreciated. Thanks so much!

    • Hi Michelle,

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Sorry you are dealing with all of these issues! Unfortunately, I am not a doctor, so I cannot advise you on what would be safe to take. Dr. Brownstein’s book will give you a lot of insight into your issues. I would recommend finding a functional medicine doctor who can guide you through this process or discussing it with your current physicians. FYI – I always take Selenium with the iodine. This will make more sense after reading the book. Best of luck to you and please check back in to let me know your progress!

  21. Thank you for sharing this information! I too have fibrocystic breast disease. I just received my portion of a bill from Beaumont Hospital Breast imaging center- My portion is $1900.00- after insurance. This is for a mammogram and breast biopsy where they left a clip/marker. I went through this procedure 5 years ago where they placed 4 clips in my right breast. At that time I had to pay out $700.00 out of pocket. It is frustrating that this procedure is what the medical community recommends. I will certainly try the iodine and discuss this with my doctor as well as further educate myself with this holistic approach. Thank you for sharing your discoveries.

    • Elizabeth, I’m so sorry that you are going through this! I really hope that you can find some relief with supplementation. I highly recommend reading the book and please share with your doctor! Best of luck to you and keep me updated with your progress. Thanks for checking out the article, too!

  22. Hi Marjorie,
    Thank you for sharing your experience.
    I underwent surgery to remove a 1″ fibrocystic lump July 2015 (second one in 12 years) and I thought I should really do something about it. Came across your article and started the iodine+selenium right after my op and my post-menstrual pain/tenderness is gone. Yeah!
    I have a tiny lump less than 1cm detected then but is unchanged as seen from my latest ultrasound on Feb 2016.
    My question is: Are you still taking the iodine and selenium supplements for maintenance?
    Look forward to your reply and much thanks!

    • Hi Mary!
      I’m so excited to hear your story!! Good for you. I still take the low dose of iodine and selenium intermittently. I will go a few months on and then take a break before adding it back in. Not something my doctor told me to do, but it feels right for me. I have added more seaweed to my diet as well, so I am getting a real food source of iodine too. I stuck with the supplementation regularly for a couple of years and even now with the intermittent supplementation, I have not had a recurrence. I hope this helps! Best wishes!!

      • Thanks for your reply, Marjorie.
        I have the same thoughts on taking an on/off break from the supplements, that’s what I’m doing now.
        It’s amazing what our body does with the food we eat, and also lucky that we can ‘top-up’ what we lack through widely available and safe supplements as well (with plenty of research).
        Once again, I cannot say how grateful I am for your sharing your story, it really helps to know that there is a fellow fighter facing the same situation out there and went through an alternative that works/heal.
        Best wishes to you too!

  23. Does anyone know if you can take the iodoral during pregnancy?

    • Hi Valerie,
      Thanks for your question! I would discuss this with your physician. If he/she is not familiar with the protocols, I would seek out a functional medicine or naturopathic physician for a consultation. Best wishes!

  24. Hi,

    Came across your blog while searching for FBD. I am 28 year old and suffering from FBD and thyroid imbalance from past 2 years, i have a small lump in my right breast and have been taking many medicines but no use. I get pain just before my periods and after periods also pain will be there. I am planning to take Iodine and Selenium supplements, as i don’t want to undergo surgery.
    Thank you for your article.

  25. Hi There,

    I was wondering what your thoughts were about applying topical iodine to the breasts directly. I have several cysts and after biopsy of one that had thickening determined it showed atypical lobular hyperplasia so there are pre cancerous changes going on. My iodine urine loading test came back “normal” excreting 97%, which is oddly high so there is a question if perhaps iodine is having a diffult time penetrating my cells OR my body is sufficient in iodine, which doesn’t make sense if I have cysts in my breasts. I thought maybe applying it topically right to my breasts might work best. Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Nancy,
      I’m so sorry you are going through this. I’m really not familiar at all with using iodine topically. Perhaps contacting Dr. Brownstein (the author of the book in the article) or another functional medicine doctor who is well versed in iodine therapy will give you a better answer. Best of luck to you in your healing journey and please report back with your results! Others may benefit from the knowledge you gain.

  26. Hi marjorie. May i know where can i buy the iodoral and the selenium? Im from philippines and as far as i know this is not available in my place. Did you buy it online? Also can i ask what brand of vit c are u takin and how many mg? I have thesame problem with breast issues. I worried too much about this. Hope this will help me. Thanks. Looking forward for your reply. Godbless.

    • Hi!

      I’m sorry to hear that you are dealing with this condition. Below are the Amazon links to the products that I use. I don’t know if they will ship to the Philippines, but you can give the links a try! I’m not sure if you have access to a functional medicine or holistic practitioner, but I would highly recommend working with one to help you monitor your progress and overall health.

      Vitamin C: (I take three capsules a day)

      I hope this helps and I wish you the best!! Please keep in touch with your progress.


      • Hello Marjorie, I am struggling with multiple uterine fibroids. After going through this site i bought online the capsules nature’s way Kelp 600 mg (iodine 300mcg), Selenium 200 mcg and Vit C1000 mg. could you please direct me on how many capsules do i take daily. waiting for your reply, you are an angel. thanks a ton

        • Hello Priti,
          I’m so sorry to hear your are struggling with this issue. As I am not a physician, I cannot recommend dosing to you. I would suggest that you look into purchasing Dr. Brownstein’s book ( or consult with a functional medicine doctor in your area. I’m sorry I cannot be of more help, but am hoping that one of these resources will be able to guide you in your healing journey!
          Best wishes!!

  27. WOW wow wow! I have never heard of this! I feel terrible on iodine supps – have tried them to work through thyroid issues but I have found I more need selenium with Hashis – I have heard such amazing benefits from supping iodine though!

    • Thanks for reading, Renee. I’ve heard mixed results with Iodine and Hashi’s. It’s so important to listen to you body and find a knowledgeable practitioner!

  28. Hi Marjorie,
    I have been taking iodine and selenium for my fibroadenoma for about 2 months now. I wanted to know while you were taking the supplements did you get any discomfort in your Breast where the fibroadenoma was located? Also did you follow up with an ultrasound too see if the fibroadenoma was gone or just felt it had gone?
    Thank you for your help

    • Hi Rimsy,
      I did not have much pain to begin with and I did not notice an increase in pain while supplementing. My doctor did not run another ultrasound following the supplementation, just a physical exam. I would suggest following up again with your physician if you are having more pain. Best wishes to you and I hope you find relief soon!!

  29. Thank you for your reply! I will be following up with an ultrasound in a couple of months. My fibroadenoma was not felt on a physical examination to begin with, only seen on an ultrasound. Also did you do the salt loading while supplementing with iodine as described in the book?

  30. Hi Marjorie,

    Did you experience any symptoms while supplementing with Iodine?

  31. hello Marjorie,
    May I know how big was lump before shrinking?

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