Is There a Diabetes Iodine Link?

Is there a diabetes iodine link? There is some evidence that iodine has a very beneficial effect on blood sugar control. The following note talks about this.

It is from a paper written by a physician name Jorge Flechas, I believe his practice is in North Carolina. Dr Flechas is discussing the use of Iodoral, an iodine supplement to treat fibrocystic breast disease (FBD); while treating a woman for FBD, he discovered a diabetes iodine connection.

Dr. Flechas writes:

“It was while treating a large 320-pound woman with insulin-dependent diabetes that we learned a valuable lesson regarding the role of iodine in hormone receptor function. This woman had come in via the emergency room with a very high random blood sugar of 1,380 mg/dl. She was then started on insulin during her hospitalization and was instructed on the use of a home glucometer. She was to use her glucometer two times per day.


Two weeks later on her return office visit for a checkup of her insulin-dependent diabetes she was informed that during her hospital physical examination she was noted to have Fibrocystic Breast Disease.


She was recommended to start on 50 mg of iodine(4 tablets) at that time. One week later she called us requesting to lower the level of insulin due to having problems with hypoglycemia. She was told to continue to drop her insulin levels as long as she was experiencing hypoglycemia and to monitor her blood sugars carefully with her glucometer.


Four weeks later during an office visit her glucometer was downloaded to my office computer, which showed her to have an average random blood sugar of 98. I praised the patient for her diligent efforts to control her diet and her good work at keeping her sugars under control with the insulin.


She then informed me that she had come off her insulin three weeks earlier and had not been taking any medications to lower her blood sugar. When asked what she felt the big change was, she felt that her diabetes was under better control due to the use of iodine.


Two years later and 70 pounds lighter this patient continues to have excellent glucose control on iodine 50 mg per day.”

In an interview with Jimmy Moore, Dr. Flechas explained the diabetes iodine interaction: “The iodine attaches itself to hormone receptors within the body and increases the sensitivity of the receptor to its associated hormone. In this patient’s case, the iodine increased her sensitivity to the hormone insulin to the point of normalizing her blood sugars.”

Formal Studies

Dr. Flechas has done some formal studies on the connection between diabetes and iodine:

We since have done a study of twelve diabetics and in six cases we were able to wean all of these patients off of medications for their diabetes and were able to maintain a hemoglobin A1C of less than 5.8 with the average random blood sugar of less than 100. To this date these patients continue to have excellent control of their Type II diabetes.


The range of daily iodine intake was from 50 mg to 100 mg per day. All diabetic patients were able to lower the total amount of medications necessary to control their diabetes. Two of the twelve patients were controlled with the use of iodine plus one medication. Two patients have control of diabetes with iodine plus two medications. One patient had control of her diabetes with three medications plus iodine 50 mg. The one insulin dependent diabetic was able to reduce the intake of Lantus insulin from 98 units to 44 units per day within a period of a few weeks.


In the Type 1 diabetics that we have been following we have noted that if C-peptide is measurable, this would suggest that the individual is making their own insulin. I have been able to help this group of patients to get off insulin or to greatly reduce the amount they need for good glucose control with Iodoral at 4 tablets/day (50 mg). If C-peptide is absent then we feel there is no insulin being produced and we have not been able to help this particular group of patients to get off their insulin. We have been able to help these patients lower the total amount of insulin needed to control their glucose.”

I wonder if part of the health effects of whole food, lower carb diet’s effect on promoting good health has to do with eating more of the foods (like eggs, whole milk dairy, and seafood) which have iodine in them.

I hope further studies on the diabetes iodine connection are done in the near future.

Further Reading on the Diabetes Iodine Link

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