This is part one of a two-part interview.
Lynne Farrow is the author of the important new book, The Iodine Crisis: What You Don't Know About Iodine Can Wreck Your Life.
Lynne answered some of my questions about the book and her experience recovering from breast cancer with iodine in this two-part interview.
Interview with Lynne Farrow, Author of The Iodine Crisis
1. How did you get so interested in iodine?
You know how you hear about chance meetings where you bump into someone at an event and they change your life? That's what happened to me. I attended an integrative medicine conference just like many others and there was a break between presentations. Dr. Sherri Tenpenny saw from my conference ID badge that I represented a breast cancer organization so she asked me if I had ever heard of iodine for breasts.
I told her I'd only heard about for benign breast disease. But at this point I was kind of insulted that she would mention something so simple-minded for breast cancer. Did she really think I hadn't looked into every single nutritional strategy? I had been running Breast Cancer Choices and researching constantly with the best minds in integrative medicine. Surely, if there was anything to iodine I would have heard about it, right? Wrong! No, seriously. I couldn't have been more wrong.
Only because I knew Dr. Tenpenny as a respected vaccine activist did I research further when I returned home. I set aside a couple of weeks to research. That turned into several years and a partnership with many iodine activists. That turned into my book.
2. How were you diagnosed with breast cancer?
First, I need to say by the time I was diagnosed with breast cancer I had been plagued with fatigue, headaches and brain fog for many years. I medicated myself with caffeine and prescription painkillers along with migraine medicine. I had consulted dozens of specialists.
Benign breast disease had dogged me on and off for a long time. FBD (fibrocystic breast disease) is an umbrella term for various breast conditions that cause swelling, cysts or pain. Every time I had a mammogram they said not to worry because FBD was normal. I'd ask, “How can something with benign as its first name and disease as its last name be normal?” They'd shrug and say, “It's normal because it's so common.” What?
Then the mammographers started finding cysts which they would stick with a needle to withdraw and examine the fluid. I'm ashamed to say I never questioned this. I assumed they knew what they were doing — a flawed assumption I would make several times on my healing journey.
On one of these fluid aspirations, the needle withdrew tissue that lead to a cancer diagnosis.
3. What did you do after your diagnosis of breast cancer?
The first thing I did was locate a respected surgeon at a NY breast cancer center. She made recommendations of surgery and radiation. She then referred me to an oncologist who recommended chemotherapy because the pathology report showed the cancer was aggressive. But I wasn't about to rush into anything.
Secondly, since I was trained as an academic, I asked a lot of questions. I wanted to verify the sources of the doctors' information. I looked every recommendation up in the medical journals.
I was shocked to find the sources were filled with fuzzy math and little info on what benefits treatments provide in terms of survival. Then I discovered the doctors have official treatment guidelines they follow. They put each patient on that treatment treadmill. Legally, that's their job.
I chose to have surgery but I refused chemotherapy and radiation because there wasn't enough convincing evidence in the medical literature that either would prolong my life. I realize others would make different decisions.
4. Did you work with an integrative doctor?
Yes, in the midst of the decision making, I worked with an integrative doctor and began several non-standard approaches. Those strategies have evolved over the years. I was also determined to use the same evidence standard with him that I did with the conventional doctors. I looked everything up.
I met a lot of other breast cancer patients online and we exchanged notes about looking things up in the online medical libraries. The main part of my education came down to learning what questions to ask.
5. How did you learn what questions to ask?
Just by reading the medical literature, learning the vocabulary and standards for medical proof. It wasn't that hard. I bounced my criteria off a few doctors to make sure I was getting the questions right.
Then I and a couple of my online friends realized these essential questions and answers weren't available to patients anywhere. That's why we founded Breast Cancer Choices.
When I stumbled onto iodine thanks to my chance meeting with Dr. Tenpenny, I discovered a revolutionary perspective on iodine deficiency leading to benign disease progressing to breast cancer. Iodine wasn't just another nutrient that was “good for you.” If scientists could create breast tumors in animals by blocking iodine in their chow, maybe an underlying cause of breast disease progressing could be identified and remedied.
Iodine became my “first line” strategy to keep me in remission from cancer. So far, so good. The experience of most of my online iodine-taker friends with a history of breast cancer parallels mine.
Does iodine cure cancer? Even though iodine reports have been encouraging, nothing has been proved to 100% cure cancer. I'm told by reliable sources that formal clinical trials are in the planning stages at research facilities.
6. So how did you start taking iodine?
I took a few Lugol's Iodine drops once in a while over the years but I never understood it and never noticed any difference.
Only when I took the 24 hour Urinary Iodine Loading test to evaluate me for iodine deficiency did I really start taking iodine. The morning of the test, I took 50 mg of Iodoral Iodine tablets and began collecting my urine. Within two hours my mind cleared and I felt a burst of well-being and energy.
7. Did you take the companion nutrients? And why are they important?
No, at that point I didn't know anything about companion nutrients or the salt loading detox formula. This was early on in the iodine movement. The official Iodine Protocol was only released a year or so later at the two iodine conferences.
Because I didn't know about the companion nutrients, I took too much iodine too fast and experienced what we now understand to be bromide detoxification. Back then, my response was just to take less Iodoral and build up slowly. That worked. I knew when I took too much because I would get brain fog and fatigue.
8. What are the “companion nutrients” that we should take along with iodine and why are they so important?
The companion nutrients are selenium, Vitamin C, magnesium, Vitamin B2 and B3, and unprocessed salt.
In a nutshell, the companion nutrients help get iodine into the cells and get the toxins that iodine purges out of the cells.
9. Why have we become iodine deficient in the past few decades?
Three reasons. First, our iodine consumption has dropped since the 1970s because iodine has been removed as a fortifying nutrient from wheat flour and replaced with an anti-iodine chemical in the bromine family, bromate.
Secondly, since the 1970s, bromines, the anti-iodine which purges iodine, has been added to furniture, electronics, cars, baby pajamas and mattresses—to name just a few sources. Bromines are present in foods and drugs also, but the main source is when we breathe in the dust from fire retardants.
Bromines compete with iodine for the same receptors in the body. So, if you're not getting iodine, bromine will bully its way onto the receptor and you will become what we call, Bromide Dominant.
So even if you eat a clean, whole foods, organic diet, bromine exposure is unavoidable in the 21st century. We can eat like our grandparents but they didn't have to deal with exposure to environmental toxins so eating clean is not enough. The only defense is to take iodine so that the environmental bromines can't win.
This battle applies to fluoride also since all the elements in the halide family will jump into the competition for the same receptors.
Third, the unsubstantiatied medical advice to avoid salt keeps people from getting even the most minimal iodine.
10. Besides breast cancer, what other diseases or health problems are caused by iodine deficiency?
There is a long list of generally acknowledged iodine-deficiency health problems. I cover the list in my book, The Iodine Crisis.
But the fascinating thing is that we learn of more iodine deficiency conditions every day because people will take iodine for one thing, and then report a problem they thought was totally unrelated to iodine goes away. Several of these cases are reported in The Iodine Crisis.
Since the book was published, more people have contacted me with reports on conditions nobody thought had any relationship to iodine. In the last week, I've had reports on Autism symptoms improving as well as Myasthenia Gravis. Nobody is sure yet how iodine works on most of these conditions.
Order The Iodine Crisis
Click here to order a copy of The Iodine Crisis by Lynne Farrow.
Check back next week for Part 2 of this interview.