Potassium iodide supplements are a form of salt iodine that the body needs to maintain a healthy hormone balance in the thyroid gland. The body cannot generate its own iodine so people must ingest it from foods or iodized salt. Most people are able to get enough iodine through diet, but those who are unable to may need to take a supplement. Potassium iodide supplements are also used if a nuclear or radiological emergency occurs to protect the thyroid from absorbing radioactive iodine.
How Potassium Iodide Protects the Thyroid
The thyroid absorbs iodine through the body from the foods we eat, however the thyroid cannot distinguish between stable (non-radioactive) iodine and radioactive iodine. When radiation is present in food, water or the air, the thyroid can absorb radioactive iodine, which may lead to thyroid cancer or hypothyroidism. Taking potassium iodide supplements during radiation exposure will fill the thyroid with stable iodine and prevent the radioactive iodine from entering the thyroid.
Are Potassium Iodide Supplements Safe?
Potassium iodide supplements are generally taken only when prescribed by a doctor or during a radiation emergency. While generally safe for most adults, some people do have serious allergic reactions to iodine. People with the skin conditions hypocomplementemic vasculitis, dermatitis or herpetiformis should not take potassium iodide. People suffering from Graves’ disease, multinodular goiter or autoimmune thyoiditis shouldn’t take potassium iodide supplements unless under the care of a physician. Side-effects from taking potassium iodide include burning of the mouth and throat, sore gums and teeth, stomach upset, diarrhea, metallic taste, swelling of the salivary glands and skin rashes.
These are just a few side effects that have been mentioned as there are a lot more fatal ones in such hues and form that an entire article would not suffice to do justice to it. Excessive iodine can lead to high blood pressure and cholesterol with mood swing, vertigo and nausea in toe to make things worse and greens powder will virtually have no effect.
The body cannot store large quantities of iodine and therefore it is not necessary to take the recommended dose of potassium iodide long before an emergency occurs. Potassium iodide supplements should only be taken after a radiation emergency has occurred and the recommended dose should not be taken more than once every 24 hours.
Sometimes potassium iodide supplements are advertised as safe to take daily for a healthy thyroid and to avoid thyroid diseases but these claims are not true. Do not take potassium iodide supplements unless prescribed by a doctor.
Who Can Take Potassium Iodide?
During a radiation emergency, infants, children and adults can all take the designated dose of potassium iodide for their size and weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as newborn babies should not take more than one dose and should be evacuated from the emergency area immediately. Newborn babies as well as those still in the womb who receive more than one dose of potassium iodide could develop hypothyroidism which may cause brain damage.
The level of radiation determines who should take potassium iodide supplements. Pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as infants and children should take potassium iodide at even the lowest levels of radiation because they are at the highest risk of being affected. Adults ages 18 to 40 should be treated at a higher level because they are the second group at risk. Adults over age 40 are at the lowest risk of developing complications and need only be dosed if the radiation levels are high and could induce hypothyroidism.
Potassium iodide supplements are available both over-the-counter and by prescription. People should not take these supplements unless directed by a doctor or if a radiation emergency occurs. If you are unsure whether you should or shouldn’t take potassium iodide supplements, talk to your doctor first.