Elemental iodine is a poison and it can be lethal when given in large amounts. 2 – 3 grams of iodine is enough to kill an adult. Even when applied externally on the skin, elemental iodine is still toxic. It can cause extensive tissue damage if the exposure is prolonged.
Because iodine is an oxidizing agent, it can damage the skin when it comes in contact. If the contact is short, it may merely irritate and inflame the skin but extended contact can cause skin lesions.
Gaseous iodine is also an irritant. When exposed to iodine vapor, all mucosal surfaces including those of the eyes and respiratory tract will be irritated.
Besides elemental iodine, iodide ion is also toxic.
When the level of iodide rises above the normal range, it causes symptoms resembling those of iodine deficiency. For example, goiter (which is formed when the thyroid gland is inflamed) can be caused by excess iodide as well as iodine deficiency.
The toxicities of iodine and iodide ion are the reasons why the body keeps only a trace amount of this element.
However, even this very small amount can cause sensitivity reactions in some people. Although iodine sensitivity is rare, it can still cause hives, rash and anaphylactic shock in affected individuals.
Iodine is supplied in foods and supplements as the iodide ions and it gets into the blood in this form.
The thyroid gland takes up iodide ions from the blood and uses them to manufacture thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) which are then released back into the body.
In a simple, well-structured system of control, the syntheses of T3 and T4 are controlled by another hormone (TSH or thyroid-stimulating hormone) released from the pituitary gland which itself is under the control of a fourth hormone (TRH or thyrotropin-releasing hormone) released from the hypothalamus.
T3 is the more active of the two thyroid hormones and, in most cases, T4 serves only as a precursor to T3. However, 90% of the hormones released from the thyroid gland is T4.
The conversion of T4 to T3 depends on a group of enzymes that needs selenium. Therefore, selenium supplementation may be added to iodine to improve thyroid function.
However, these selenium-dependent enzymes are also responsible for the conversion of T4 to reverse T3 and the conversion of T3 to T2 (diiodothyronine). While most experts once believed that both T2 and reverse T3 are inactive, new evidence suggests that reverse T3 is actually an anti-thyroid hormone that blocks T3.
The thyroid hormones (but mostly T3) act at the genetic level to regulate the basal metabolic rate.
When the production of these hormones slow down considerably, the resting metabolic rate of the body can reduce by as much as 50%. However, when these hormones are released in excess, the rate of metabolism can double.
Herpes Simplex — This virus causes genital herpes, which are painful blisters in the genital area, or cold sores. Severe conditions are more common in the advanced stage of AIDS.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) — This condition is considered the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States. It can cause warts on the anus, cervix, esophagus, penis, urethra, vagina and vulva. Studies have shown that certain types of HPV can contribute to the development of cervical and anal cancer. Individuals with HIV and AIDS are at increased risk for developing precancerous and cancerous lesions.
Liver Disease — Liver disease is one of the leading causes of death among AIDS patients, especially liver disease caused by the hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus. Many drugs used in the treatment of HIV and AIDS can cause liver disease or hepatitis. It is important that patients infected with hepatitis receive treatment and follow-up care.
Coccidiomycosis — This infection is caused by inhaling an infective fungus called Coccidioides immitis, found mainly in contaminated soil in the southwestern United States, Mexico, Central America and parts of South America. The lungs are most commonly affected by this infection. In severe cases, it can involve the kidneys, lymph system, brain and spleen. Symptoms include cough, weight loss and fatigue. Meningitis is a common complication when left untreated.
Histoplasmosis — This infection almost always involves the lungs, although other organs may be affected. The fungus that causes this condition is found in southern parts of the United States and South America. It is usually found in soil contaminated with bird droppings and must be inhaled to cause infection.
Signs and symptoms include high fever; weight loss; respiratory complaints; an enlarged liver, spleen, or lymph nodes; depressed production of white cells, red blood cells and platelets from the bone marrow; and life-threatening, unstable, low blood pressure.
Pneumocystis Carinii — This condition occurs when a fungus infects the lungs. Symptoms may include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, weight loss, night sweats and fatigue.
It is most likely to occur when the CD4+ T cell count falls below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood. Preventative treatment may be administered when the CD4+ T cell count falls below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood. Treatment is usually trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, also called Septra or Bactrim, dapsone or atovoquone.
Recurrent Pneumonia — People with AIDS are at risk for recurrent bacterial pneumonia. Bacteria can infect the lungs, which may lead to problems ranging from a mild cough to severe pneumonia. Recurrent pneumonia is most likely to occur when the CD4+ T cell count falls below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood.
Tuberculosis (TB) — This is a serious, and often deadly, bacterial infection that primarily infects the lungs. TB is transmitted when a person with active TB coughs or sneezes, releasing microscopic particles into the air. If inhaled, these particles may transmit the condition.
Once infected by TB, most people remain healthy and develop only latent infection. People with latent infection are neither sick nor infectious. However, they do have the potential to become sick and infectious with active TB. It can occur at any CD4+ T cell level but especially when the CD4+ T cell count falls below 350 cells per cubic millimeter of blood.
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma — Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a disease in which tumors develop from white blood cells in the lymphatic system. It is another common disease associated with AIDS. See AIDS-related lymphoma.
Candidiasis — This is the most common HIV-related fungus infection. It can affect the entire body, but most commonly occurs in the mouth (thrush) or vagina. An overgrowth of yeast causes white patches on gums, tongue or lining of the mouth, pain, difficulty in swallowing and loss of appetite. Candida in the esophagus, trachea, bronchi or lungs is AIDS defining.
Herpes Simplex — This virus causes cold sores or genital herpes, which are painful blisters in the genital area. Chronic herpes simplex virus (HSV) lesions and severe mucocutaneous HSV disease are common in the advanced stages of AIDS.
I am looking for comments from people who have successfully quit and the noticeable positive differences they have experienced. Like, they no longer have anxiety, depression, brain fog and etc., All I can find are the horrible withdrawal symptoms that I praying not to experience. I am wondering if those things go away or if the damage is done? I started drinking diet drinks when I was about 25 and never had any anxiety issues. At 26 or 27, I developed issues with anxiety and I am thinking this could be why and I am hoping the end result will be no more anxiety. Are their success stories anywhere?
Yes…I quit diet coke almost 3 months ago. I feel better but it took awhile. The headaches and nausea were terrible for a few days and gradually everything got better. I’m less tired most notably. It seems like my memory is better. I absolutely am saving a ton of money. Hang in there. It gets better.
Yes, I quit back in September and after going through the withdrawal headaches, my issue with chronic migraines and headaches is GONE. I think the aspartame in the Crystal Light I was drinking daily was a huge factor. I also have to say that just prior to letting go of aspartame, I also went gluten-free. So that probably contributed, as well. But I think I remember that my headaches went away after giving up the aspartame.
I have struggled with some of those other things you are mentioning – brain fog, depression, anxiety, etc. I don’t know how much the aspartame contributed to these issues, though I am convinced it didn’t help. But I also have an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and the more I learn about it, the more I am understanding that food sensitivities of all sorts can (and usually do) contribute to these types of symptoms. So one suggestion if you don’t feel top-notch after going through your aspartame detox is to clean up some other areas of your diet from common triggers such as gluten, soy and refined sugars. The Paleo diet is actually a great place to start. You also might consider getting your thyroid levels checked. The thyroid plays a HUGE role in the body and literally affects the function of every single cell, so if it’s not producing enough hormone, you are going to feel it and what you are describing are very common symptoms. If you decide to get it checked, INSIST that your doctor check TSH, Free T3, Free T4 and thyroid antibodies. Many (most) docs will only rely on the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) but that is not a true picture. The Free T3 and Free T4 show how much active thyroid hormone is truly in your system. And the presence of antibodies would mean that you have Hashimoto’s, which is the autoimmune disease that attacks your thyroid. Very treatable with the right medication, diet and lifestyle. If any of this rings true for you, or you are at least curious, then do some online research.
Thanks to both of you. Today, is a week without any diet drinks or aspartame and I feel very blessed because I feel fine. I think it was the second day, I had a headache all day long, but I was also having sinus issues, so it’s hard to say which was causing it. My 17 year old son quit drinking them also (by default because I haven’t bought them) and he is having headaches, dizziness and some blurred vision.
People have suggested that I get my thyroid checked because my hair has been thinning, also. However, I read that aspartame can cause thinning hair, mostly in the temple area which is where mine is and in six weeks, if aspartame is the cause their will be a noticeable difference. But, their is a family history of thyroid issues. My moms is underactive and my grandfather on my dads side was overactive. So, maybe mine will balance out 🙂 However, my mother drinks her share of diet drinks also, so I encouraged her to quit and she did a couple of days after me because she has other symptoms.
Thank you for your response and all the info!
I never had problems with anxiety until I started drinking diet soda in 2001, it has only been 4 days off for me but so far I am feeling a lot less anxious and my blood pressure has come down. My appointment with my doctor two weeks ago my blood pressure was 134/84, today it was 117/74.
I have been on a diet coke binge for years. Being type 2 diabetic was one reason to drink them. I have been drinking 2 – 2 liters a day for about 5 years. I admit I’ve been hooked. I have a horrible memory and deal with depression. A couple a days ago I made my mind up to quit. I started having flu like symptoms, headaches, and body aches. I knew then it was the aspartame. My mind has been foggy, cloudy. Yesterday I started to feel worse so my husband and I came across your article looking for answers. He finally went and got me a 2 liter and about and I glass later I began to feel better. I’m really trying to kick this horrible addiction! Advice? Should I just stop cold turkey or began to quit them slowly? I now know how a crack addict feels! It’s horrible! Please tell me how to get off these diet cokes! Sincerely, Val Virden
I had the same symptoms about 3 months ago now. It took me 3 full weeks of flu like symptoms….might even say worse. They will subside. Find what tastes good and go with that. For me it was orange juice watered down a bit. I think it mimicked the acid of the carbonated soda. I don’t think there’s any way around it. Just go through it and it will be worth it in the end. The withdrawal was worse than any symptoms I ever had from drinking the soda. It can be done…you can do it. Patty
Pure Stevia only is natural and perfectly healthy. The problem the big companies have is that they want to patent everything and so they combine it with other things that are not healthy to control the market under their brand name. Like the person above said Truvia is not Stevia. Just check the label and be sure of what you’re buying and you’ll be fine.
Thanks for the post. I am working on an article on this subject. I hate to see people going from Aspartame Poison to Truvia Poison. The Omica Stevia on this page is the only way I would go. It is such a great product made by a great company. Trusting companies like Cargill and Coca-Cola (or PepsiCo for that matter) seems foolish given the research available.
I have been an gum chewer for years, Trident bubble gum. Some days I would chew 3 value packs, and some days chew more. I knew it had aspartame in it, but did not realize until I checked it on the internet. I threw out all my gum, and this is the first day that I have not chewed gum in years. I do have a headache. Noticed not as hungry. I am hoping my body will recover from all of this poison I have been ingesting all these years. The FDA is not doing its job. You have to trust your own body, and do what is right.
I am on my 14th day of no aspartame. I have so many of the same symptom’s of aches and pains. I noticed headaches and fatigue since stopping. Not only drinking diet soft drinks but the chewing gum I have bought for years also contains aspartame. I was shopping for a new gum yesterday and I could not find one that did not list aspartame as part of their ingredients. Has anyone found a gum that is safe to chew?
Beginning in early 2015, the H5N2 subtype was found in poultry and wild birds in the Midwest and Southeast. The role of wild birds in the introduction and movement of the H5N2 subtype in to these new regions is unclear as the timing of these findings is poorly associated with known wild bird movements at that time, given that the first cases in domestic turkeys in Minnesota occurred at the end of winter, proceeding the arrival of migratory birds from the southern U.S. As of October 6, 2015, 48 million poultry have died or been euthanized as a result of HPAI outbreaks, and the last detection occurred on June 17, 2015. A total of 85 cases of HPAI have been reported in wild birds. The last detection was on July 31, 2015.
Up-to-date listings of HPAI cases can be found at the following locations:
Wild Birds (pdf, USDA-APHIS site)
The novel H5N1 HPAIV that was found in a green-winged teal in Washington is not the same as the Asian H5N1 strain that can infect people and has been the news for several years. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the strains of Eurasian/North American HPAI currently in the US are of low risk to human health.
Aquatic birds, especially ducks, shore birds and gulls are considered natural reservoirs for avian influenza viruses. The novel HPAI strains so far are not killing wild waterfowl. However, domestic poultry exposed to these novel virus strains become very ill and most quickly die. In some poultry the only sign of the disease is sudden death. In most infected domestic flocks. The numbers of sick and dying birds increases rapidly over several days. HPAI is devastating to the US poultry industry through production and bird losses, and through the loss of export markets. USDA, State Agriculture and Departments of Natural Resources, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and other agencies are working together to find infected poultry and stop the spread of disease and to educate producers and hunters
How does it spread?
The virus is spread through contact with fecal droppings, saliva and nasal discharges of infected birds. One gram of infected feces contains enough virus to infect one million additional birds. Unlike LPAI, HPAI causes a systemic infection in the bird, spreading the virus to meat and eggs. The virus can survive in dead birds, especially if they are kept cool, for a few days. HPAI also survives in cold, moist environments and tolerates freezing - virus frozen in contaminated ponds can infect birds when the ice melts.
The novel HPAI viruses currently in the US are of little risk to people, and are killed in food by using proper cooking methods and temperatures. Cook game bird meat thoroughly; poultry should reach an internal temperature of 165°F to kill disease organisms and parasites.
What should hunters do to prevent spreading the disease?
Because HPAI can spread from bird carcasses, hunters should take extra precautions so they don't bring the virus home to their own or their neighbors' poultry. In the Pacific flyway, captive falcons became ill and many died after being fed infected wild ducks. Hunters should:
- Dress your game birds in the field whenever possible.
- If you must dress birds at home, clean them in an area your poultry and pet birds cannot access. Ideally, there would be a solid barrier between your game cleaning area and where your birds are housed.
- Keep a separate pair of shoes to wear only in your game cleaning area. If this is not possible, wear rubber footwear and clean/disinfect your shoes before entering or leaving the area.
- Use dedicated tools for cleaning game, whether in the field or at home. Do not use those tools around your poultry or pet birds.
- Always wear rubber gloves when cleaning game.
- Double bag the offal and feathers. Tie the inner bag, and be sure to take off your rubber gloves and leave them in the outer bag before tying it closed.
- Place the bag in a trash can that poultry and pet birds cannot access. This trash can should also be secure against access by children, pets, or other animals.
- Wash hands with soap and water immediately after handling game. If soap and water are not available, use alcohol wipes.
- Wash all tools and work surfaces with soap and water. Then, disinfect them following the disinfectant's labeling. Make sure the disinfectant you use is labeled as effective against flu viruses.
- Bird Flu - Guidance for Hunters (USDA, pdf, 100kb)
Hunter Wallet Card (USDA, pdf, 75kb)
What's being done to prevent its spread?
Federal and state wildlife agencies are conducting continent-wide wild bird and habitat surveillance for HPAI. Surveillance for wild birds is focused on wetland species such as waterfowl, gulls, and shorebirds and includes testing live-trapped birds, hunter-harvested waterfowl, and mortality events.
If you’re having trouble with lousy breath on the keto diet, check out my article on keto and bad breath.
I hope this helps. I know it helped me get over the worst of the dreaded keto flu.
We have been asked a lot about the swine influenza and whether or not people need to get a swine flu vaccine. Here is the latest info on the subject.
Swine influenza is actually a broad term used to refer to a number of types of influenza viruses that are contracted by pigs. Some types of swine flu can also be contracted by humans. Humans can get swine flu from pigs, but this is pretty rare. Humans can also pass swine flu on to other humans.
The current (2009) outbreak of swine flu (H1N1) is not actually a virus that people can get from pigs. It is very similar to a virus that pigs get, but it is not the same. The name is deceiving.
People spread this swine flu virus to other people the same way the regular flu is spread. It's a virus and when people with swine flu cough or sneeze, tiny droplets of the virus are sprayed into the air. If you breathe in these droplets, you can catch swine flu. Also, if a person with swine flu coughs or sneezes on something like a phone or doorknob and you touch that object and then touch your mouth or nose, you can catch the flu.
While most cases of swine influenza are fairly mild, it can be a very serious illness and people do die from it. People die from the regular flu, as well, but the swine flu is more likely to be deadly. It is wise to take steps to prevent getting sick.
A swine flu vaccine has recently been approved, and is expected to be available around mid-October of 2009. The swine flu vaccine will probably require two different shots, given a week or two apart. The vaccine will take a couple weeks to "kick in," so you would not actually be immune until some time in November. Contact your doctor in October if you are interested in getting a swine flu vaccine. The regular flu vaccine will not protect you against swine flu.
Treatment for swine influenza is pretty much the same as treatment for other types of flu. In most cases, the virus will clear up on its own even without any treatment. However, treatment may speed the recovery process, and there is treatment available to help with the symptoms as well.
Antiviral medications may be prescribed to speed to the recovery process. They work by preventing the virus from replicating itself. Antiviral medications are not usually necessary, but can be helpful. You will need to see your doctor and get a prescription if you want to try them.
There are a number of over-the-counter remedies that can help relieve flu symptoms. Try Tylenol for fever, an antihistamine for runny nose and sneezing, and a cough suppressant for cough. You can have problems if you take too many over-the-counter drugs at one time, though, so you might do best to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about which medications would be best to take.
Although over-the-counter flu remedies will provide some relief, we have found two products that may be significantly more effective:
- A highly recommended natural flu remedy is Sambucol. It is a homeopathic remedy that relieves flu symptoms, including fever, headache, body aches, chills, sore throat, coughing, and sneezing. It also helps speed the recovery process.
See your doctor in mid-fall if you want to get a swine flu vaccine. If you do catch the flu, you do not normally need to see a doctor, as the symptoms will generally go away on their own without treatment. However, if your symptoms are particularly severe, if you have a high fever, if your symptoms last longer than a week, or if you have trouble breathing, you should see a doctor. While most cases of the flu, including swine flu, are fairly mild, the flu can be serious, even deadly, so contact your doctor if you have concerns.
Animal influenza viruses are distinct from human seasonal influenza viruses and do not easily transmit between humans. However, zoonotic influenza viruses - animal influenza viruses that may occasionally infect humans through direct or indirect contact - can cause disease in humans ranging from a mild illness to death.
Birds are the natural hosts for avian influenza viruses. After an outbreak of A(H5N1) virus in 1997 in poultry in Hong Kong SAR, China, since 2003, this avian and other influenza viruses have spread from Asia to Europe and Africa. In 2013, human infections with the influenza A(H7N9) virus were reported in China.
Most swine influenza viruses do not cause disease in humans, but some countries have reported cases of human infection from certain swine influenza viruses. Close proximity to infected pigs or visiting locations where pigs are exhibited has been reported for most human cases, but some limited human-to-human transmission has occurred.
Just like birds and pigs, other animals such as horses and dogs, can be infected with their own influenza viruses (canine influenza viruses, equine influenza viruses, etc.).