In response to the nuclear disaster in Japan, countless people in North America have rushed to their local healthfood store, resulting in most stores being completely sold out of potassium iodide supplements. This new study shows that vitamin E may be another consideration. Not exactly the same though...so don't misinterpret this post as suggesting vitamin E can protect against the risk of thyroid cancer from exposure to radioactive iodine.
First, let me be clear that this was a rat study and used very high doses of vitamin E.
Excess iodine is toxic (which we all know, and why self-prescribing potassium iodide is not advised -- especially when the North American risk of radioactive iodine exposure from Japan is small). First of all, many people are sensitive to "iodides" (salts of iodine), and in these individuals, it can manifest as hives/welts, hemorrhage in the skin and mucous membranes, fever, joint pain, enlarged lymph nodes, eosiniphilia, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (blood clots in blood vessels), and even fatal periarteritis (swelling of the arteries).
Second, large doses of iodine can cause many problems, including: sore teeth and gums, burning in the mouth and throat, inflammation of mucous membranes, eye irritation and eyelid swelling, pulmonary edema, skin lesions, depression. Over time, too much iodine can lead to enlargement of the thyroid gland (called goiter) and severe hypothyroidism (requiring a lifetime of thyroid hormone medication).
However, for those gung-ho on taking large doses of potassium iodide despite the warnings , taking large amounts of vitamin E may minimise the thyroid damage caused by large doses of iodine...maybe.
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Source: Vitamin E may ameliorate iodine-induced thyroid cytotoxicity