Why KI?

Part IV – Elemental Iodine Amounts & Summary

iodide is an essential nutrient that is absorbed by all cell lines

In Part III we considered the evidence for which form of iodine the stomach and prostate prefer. In this section we will look at the elemental iodine amounts in the different forms, discuss some common responses to supplementing with potassium iodide (KI), and provide a summary for the article.

Elemental Iodine Amounts

Two Correct Answers

We have only provided some of the reasons for potassium iodide (KI) being the superior form for iodine supplementation. Potassium iodide is a safe and effective form for ingesting iodine. Lugol’s can also be effective though high amounts of molecular iodine (I2) should not be ingested and certainly not on an ongoing basis. The body also has the ability to absorb molecular iodine from the air and from topical application.

Lugol’s Iodine Can Also Be Effective

Lugol’s iodine contains potassium iodide (KI) and so it almost has the same benefits. Remember that Lugol’s is 60% potassium iodide and 40% molecular iodine. Molecular iodine is converted to the body’s usable form of iodide in the stomach36,37,38.  However, there is a greater chance of having negative side effects, especially as you increase the dosage. The body still gets a good dose of iodine from Lugol’s but not as much because some molecular iodine may not be converted to iodide and is not absorbed in the gut. Molecular iodine can interact with good and bad stomach bacteria. For some people the net effect is positive and for others the net effect is negative. In Part II we looked at a Canadian study using Lugol’s to treat abnormal breast tissue where some negative side effects were observed. Some users of Lugol’s tablets have complained of digestive issues. When they switched to an potassium iodide supplement there were no such issues. On the other hand some users prefer to have some molecular iodine because they believe it helps maintain a good balance of stomach bacteria. Some users believe molecular iodine is more effective for displacing the higher amounts of halides we have been accumulating in modern times. These claims are difficult to prove and the mechanisms for these are not clear. However, we can say for certain that there are small amounts of molecular iodine present in seaweed. In brown seaweeds, such as kelp, the molecular iodine amounts are about 11% of the total iodide amount. The molecular iodine amounts in green seaweeds are about 25% of the total iodide amount. The ratio of molecular iodine to iodide is much lower in these seaweeds when compared to 67% in the Lugol’s formulas. More information about iodine forms in seaweeds is available in Iodine and Iodides in Seaweeds and Supplements.

Zen Haus Iodine Supplement Delivers More Iodine

There is less elemental iodine available in a 12.5 mg Lugol’s tablet which contain 7.5 mg of potassium iodide and 5 mg of molecular iodine. This is because potassium iodide is 75% iodine. The ratio of molecular iodine iodide is 24% which is inline with what we find in seaweeds.

Each Zen Haus Iodine Supplement (ZHIS) pill contains 12.5 mg of elemental iodine by way of 12.7 mg of potassium iodide and 3 mg of molecular iodine. 75% of 12.7 mg plus 3 mg of molecular iodine is slightly more than 12.5 mg of elemental iodine. The amount of iodine provided by potassium iodide in a Lugol’s tablet is 5.6 mg or (75% of 7.5 mg). Molecular iodine is 100% elemental iodine so the whole 5 mg can be added. Adding 5.6 mg and 5 mg gets us to 10.6 mg of elemental iodine in the Lugol’s tablet.

elemental iodine in zen haus iodine supplements and lugol's tablet

How the Body Uses Molecular Iodine (I2)

We established that 12.5 mg of iodine is the estimated maintenance amount. The Zen Haus Iodine Supplement provides this in the form of iodide and molecular iodine. It is generally accepted as safe and the body will pass any excess iodide primarily through the urine.

Being closer to the sea means you naturally absorb more iodine. The body naturally takes up molecular iodine from the air through the skin and the lungs. If you swim in the ocean your skin will absorb iodine from the seawater. In the same way, you can absorb some iodine by painting an iodine solution onto the skin. This can provide some iodine to the local area. Though solutions with more molecular iodine maybe more effective for this because molecular iodine can pass through tissues by diffusion

Though the Zen Haus Iodine Supplement and Lugol’s tablets share some common properties, the ZHIS delivers more elemental iodine per 12.5 mg pill using the safe and effective formulations. While high amounts of molecular iodine is not be recommended for ingestion, the body can absorb it from the air and seawater, and also when applied topically.

Some Responses to the Potassium Iodide Position

Some who prefer to use Lugol’s form hold strong views that it is the only way to properly supplement with iodine. There is simply not enough research available to justify this positions. Here are some responses you may come across.

Potassium Iodide (KI) is Useless

Some will suggest that if you own potassium iodide you should throw it away because it is useless. This is obviously illogical given the far-reaching positive effects of potassium iodide in the body. Also, potassium iodide is the main ingredient in Lugol’s tablets. We have provided science-based evidence showing that potassium iodide is useful.

Potassium Iodide (KI) is Dangerous

Sometimes potassium iodide is confused with Super Saturated KI (SSKI ). SSKI, as you may have guessed, includes potassium iodide. Some SSKI solutions contain other ingredients to help it hold more potassium iodide to make the solution more concentrated. These additional ingredients may be dangerous to take internally on an ongoing basis. The Zen Haus Iodine Supplement is not SSKI and does not contain these other ingredients. The Zen Haus Iodine Supplement been designed to be a safe and effective iodine supplement for regular use. We have provided science-based evidence showing that potassium iodide is safe to use. It is more safe to supplement with than Lugol’s.

Use Lugol’s Iodine Because It Works

Yes it does. What about an alternative that is safe and more effective? Potassium iodide works as well. Not only does potassium iodide ‘work’, but we also understand how the body uses it by taking the iodine up through the Sodium-Iodide Symporters (NIS) at local sites. There is a good amount of scientific research available that explain these processes. If you take Lugol’s to also help with stomach bacteria then considering using our Dual Form iodine supplement. The formula based on the balance of iodine and iodides which is found in edible seaweeds.


In Part I we considered that potassium iodide benefits almost every part of the body. Cells and tissues known to concentrate iodide  include the thyroid, white blood cells, salivary glands, eye glands and muscles, kidney cells, the pancreas, lungs, liver, nasal passage, cerebral brain fluid, blood vessels in the brain, skin, adrenals, testicles, thymus gland, ovaries, placenta and uterus.

In Part II we looked at human clinical studies and observed that potassium iodide was more effective for breast tissue while also being safer to use. The Lugol’s form iodine dosage had to be about three times higher to get an improvement rate that was almost as good as the potassium iodide study. Even a much lower dosage of the potassium iodide form proved to be more effective. There were no negative side effects in the potassium iodide study. The Lugol’s form study had 7% of patients exhibiting negative side effects which included adverse thyroid function.

In Part III we questioned the argument that the stomach prefers molecular iodine and highlighted that the reasoning was also based on rat studies. We showed that the stomach uses potassium iodide and there is an additional antioxidant benefits when it is absorbed in the intestinal tract. There was no argument provided for the prostate having preference for molecular iodine however we can relate the lower rate of prostate cancer in Japanese men to their consumption of foods with high amounts iodide.

In this section we looked at the amounts of elemental iodine available in different forms of iodine. We considered how the body absorbs and uses trace amounts of molecular iodine, and discussed some responses given when making the case for potassium iodide.

In the breasts, the stomach and the prostate, potassium iodide has been shown to be utilized and used effectively for treating disorders. We know there are specific mechanisms in place throughout the body that take up iodide and make organified iodine available for local tissues. For these reasons we recommend using the Dual Form Iodine supplement to correct iodine deficiencies and maintain healthy levels of iodine in the body. Lugol’s form, having a similar make-up, is still an effective form for iodine supplementation because it contains mostly potassium iodide and molecular iodine is converted to iodide in the stomach. However, it can disrupt the balance of of healthy bacteria in the gut and has been known to cause stomach problems. Moleuclar iodine is naturally taken up by the body through the air, via the lungs and skin. Molecular iodine solutions can be absorbed through the skin. Dr. Jorge D. Flechas, a prominent iodine doctor and researcher, wrote “iodide is an essential nutrient that is absorbed by all cell lines.”39 This is very much in line with what we have presented in this article.

iodide is an essential nutrient that is absorbed by all cell lines

36) Miot, F., Dupuy, C., Dumont, J., Rousset, B. (2015). Thyroid Hormone Synthesis and Secretion. In L.J. De Groot (Ed.), Thyroid Disease Manager. Retrieved from http://www.thyroidmanager.org/chapter/chapter-2-thyroid-hormone-synthesis-and-secretion/

37) Risher, J.F., Samuel Keith, L. (2009). Iodine and Inorganic Iodides: Human Health Aspects. (Concise International Chemical Assessment Document 72). Retrieved from World Health Organization website: apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/43579

38) Cohn, B. (1932). Absorption of compound solution of iodine from the gastro-intestinal tract. Archives of Internal Medicine, 49(6), 950-956. doi:10.1001/archinte

39) Flechas, J.D. (2005). Orthoiodosupplementation in a primary care practice. The Original Internist, 12(2), 89-96.


Iodine Supplement Complex with Selenium (lugol's iodine, iodine pills, potassium iodide)