Joined: Feb 2012
The "bromine detox" myth
I have been watching as peddlers of iodine supplements have routinely tried to convince people that the side effects from excess iodine ingestion are due to other things, especially “bromine detox”.
For example, in response to a question about what was causing the bloating after starting iodine the response was “if your pee wasnt brown and stinky then bromide was probably hung up in the kidneys.”
When people start experiencing kidney pain after starting iodine it is blamed on bromine.
One person claimed that cherry angiomas, which are primarily genetic, are caused by the pushing of bromine out of the body by iodine.
Claims have been made that bromine is stored in the skin that is pushed out by iodine causing acne. Actually it has been proven that the acne by iodine in some sensitive individuals has nothing to do with bromine. Excess iodine irritates the follicles leading to inflammation and acne.
In fact, elemental iodine is corrosive and cause severe tissue irritation. See:
Other reported adverse effects of excess iodine ingestion by some individuals have included fatigue, severe weight loss, diarrhea, swollen and painful throat, irritability, tremors, “jittery feeling, dizziness, gastrointestinal problems, increased heart rate and heart palpitations, fatigue, menstrual irregularities, mental fogginess, insomnia and trouble breathing. These are normally just passed off by sellers of iodine supplements as “bromine detox” or a Herxheimer reaction instead of blaming the real culprit, which is the iodine itself. For example, bromine is considered a strong sedative, which is why it is used in some sleep medications. If bromine was being pushed out of the tissues in to the bloodstream as the iodine sellers are claiming then why would people be experiencing symptoms such as irritability, tremors. “jittery feeling, insomnia and increased heart rate? Sedative compounds such as bromide would have the exact opposite effects.
Excess iodine itself though can cause increased energy, increased heart rate and palpitations, diarrhea, goiters leading to a swollen throat, irritability, tremors, a jittery feeling, excess weight loss, fatigue, menstrual irregularities, mental fogginess, trouble breathing, insomnia, dizziness and other side effects by throwing the body in to a temporary state of hyperthyroidism. This has nothing to do with bromine or a Herxheimer reaction as the iodine peddlers try to blame these side effects on. These are well known symptoms of hyperthyroidism, but not brominism.
Symptoms are generally transient as the excess iodine stimulates a temporary state of hyperthyroidism. In response to the toxic overload of iodine the uptake of iodine is decreased to protect the body. See my responses in “open letter to Mercola” for more details.
The bromine issue has been extremely over hyped particularly by the iodine peddlers who keep trying to make it sound like brominism is rampant in order to increase their iodine sales. Unfortunately, others have also jumped on the brominism bandwagon I addressed this in part in this response to Mercola’s article on brominism:
There is a lot of sensationalism in this article. And Mercola is leaving out a lot of important facts such as brominated pesticides were phased out a while back, brominated flour has been outlawed around the world except the US where some states have outlawed its use such as California, and just because bromine is present in some things such as plastics and fire retardants this does not mean it is free to be absorbed by the body. Rubies contain chromium but this does not mean we absorb the chromium by holding the ruby.
Another factor that has been overlooked is that people are exposed to considerably more fluoride and chlorine in our water alone. Both fluorine and chlorine are more reactive than bromine and readily displace bromine. Therefore, how can bromine build up in the tissues as claimed by the iodine peddlers when we are exposed to considerable levels of other halogens that are more reactive and thus readily displace bromine?
Furthermore, why don’t people develop what the iodine peddlers are referring to as a “bromide detox” when exposed to these other, more reactive halogens? According to the iodine peddlers the so-called “bromine detox” only occurs when people start taking excessive levels of iodine, which is less reactive than bromine.
Why don’t people develop a “bromine detox” when using fluoridated toothpaste or fluoridated mouthwashes?
Why don’t the Japanese who eat a traditional diet develop a “bromine detox”. After all the traditional Japanese diet is very high in both bromine and iodine primarily from the large amount of seaweed they ingest.
Why don’t people develop a “bromine detox” when drinking green or black tea, which is loaded with fluoride?
Why don’t people develop a “bromide detox” when consuming commercial juices or processed foods manufactured with fluoridated water?
And considering how much salt (sodium chloride) that is present in our food supply and people add to their food on top of that, why don’t people develop a “bromide detox” from all the sodium and chloride displacement of bromine?
Ironically the iodine peddlers recommend salt flushes to push out what they claim is the bromine being displaced by the excess iodine ingestion. But the chloride would also push out the excess iodine, which is less reactive than bromine and thus is easier to displace than bromine. In fact, this is how the salt flushes are actually treating the adverse effects of excess iodine ingestion. The chloride from the salt is pushing out the less reactive iodine from the body reducing the toxic effects of the excess iodine.
Bottom line is that yes bromine exists, and yes we are exposed to it where it ends up in our tissues occasionally. But the more reactive halogens that we are exposed to in much greater concentrations will prevent an excess accumulation of bromine unless the person is somehow being exposed to extreme amounts of bromine such as spending a lot of time in a brominated spa. Therefore, the so-called “bromine detox” is primarily a scare tactic to push iodine sales.
(This post was last modified: 10-12-2012 08:10 PM by James.)