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What is Potassium Iodide and Why is Everyone Taking it?

What is Potassium Iodide and Why is Everyone Taking it?

Potassium iodide is a stable form of iodine that can help protect the thyroid gland from the effects of radiation from radioactive iodine. Nuclear related disasters can release large amounts of radioiodine into the atmosphere. Ingesting this harmful toxin, through inhaling or swallowing contaminated food, can be detrimental to thyroid health. Long-term or acute exposure has been linked to thyroid cancer. This was seen when the nuclear power plant explosion in Chernobyl in 1986 released an enormous amount of radioactive iodine, leading to a significant increase in thyroid cancer, amongst other awful ailments.

You may have heard radioiodine being mentioned a lot in the news lately in relation to Russia’s war on Ukraine. This is because the threat of the use of nuclear weapons from Russia and potential attacks on Ukraine’s nuclear power stations could release a devastating amount of radioactive iodine into the atmosphere. Thanks to its ability to help protect against radioactive iodine, the demand for potassium iodide has skyrocketed since the Ukraine war began, with pharmacies running out of tablets across Europe and the US.

How does Potassium Iodide protect against radiation?

Iodine is required for the body to produce thyroid hormones, which play a key role in maintaining metabolism and regulating many other bodily functions. When iodine is ingested through the diet or as a supplement, the thyroid gland, a small butterfly shaped organ at the front of your neck, extracts it from the blood to produce these important hormones.

The problem is the thyroid gland can’t distinguish between stable and radioactive iodine, so it absorbs both types. By taking potassium iodide supplements, you are flooding the thyroid with stable iodine which it absorbs until it is full, blocking radioactive iodine from being absorbed, for up to 24 hours. However, you can’t guarantee it will prevent all radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid, but minimizing the amount of exposure is key to avoiding the negative side effects it may have on your thyroid.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of potassium iodide to protect the thyroid gland from the effects of radiation. It does not require a prescription, and can come in liquid or tablet form. However they urge caution, as there are health risks associated with taking more than the recommended dosage.

Whilst potassium iodide does offer protection, it cannot reverse the effects once radioactive iodine is absorbed by the thyroid. Therefore, it is recommended to take potassium iodide as soon as possible following a nuclear emergency, ideally in advance of contamination, as this gives the thyroid longer to fill up with stable iodine. The longer it is left after exposure, the less effective it is. Hence the panic buying, as everyone waits with bated breath in fear of Russia’s next devastating move.

Where to buy potassium iodide?

Here at Mobu, we stock iodine supplements made from a potassium iodide blend. And guess what? They’re in stock! Take these tablets daily to help protect your thyroid from harmful radiation. We sincerely do hope there will be no nuclear disasters anytime soon though. 

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