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Iodine Is a Strong Weapon Against Viral Infections

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

iodine antiviral antibacterial

Story at-a-glance -

  • Iodine is an effective antiviral and antibacterial agent with a long history as a wound cleaner and a broad-spectrum disinfectant
  • Some have found povidone iodine may speed the healing of chronic wounds and reduce the need for antibiotics
  • Iodine is a key component for thyroid function and heart health. Too much or too little may introduce problems
  • Symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, dry skin, muscle aches, joint pain and thinning hair
  • Consider using products with povidone iodine to clean door handles and wash your hands during cold and flu season; iodine throat gargle solution may reduce bacterial and viral infections

Iodine is a key component to health; since your body can’t produce it, you must get it from your diet. Deficiency affects your thyroid gland. Your thyroid hormones support proper bone and brain development in utero and during infancy. This means that getting enough iodine is critically important for babies as well as women who are pregnant or nursing.

If you have a severe iodine deficiency, your thyroid gland may become enlarged; this is a condition you may have heard about, called a goiter. There are two molecules that sound similar — iodine and iodide — but they are different. Iodine is naturally occurring, while iodide is an iodine molecule bonded with another element. At the drugstore what you're usually buying is an iodide solution for topical applications or use as a supplement.


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