How do iodine pills protect from radiation?

I had to look this up, because I couldn't figure out how iodine could act as a magical anti-radiation pill. Here's what I found:

The thyroid likes to collect and store iodine, it's like a little iodine bank.

Radioactive iodine is produced by fission, and is what would be released into the air by the power plants that are failing in Japan.

The thyroid can only hold so much iodine, and after it has been saturated, any extra is removed through urine.

So, basically, iodine pills keep the thyroid full of non-radioactive iodine, so any radioactive iodine is removed from the body as quickly as possible, rather than being stored.


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  1. Joe Leonard said,

    yes. and iodine 131 rapidly destroys thyroid tissue because it has a fast half life (thus decays faster releasing more acute gamma radiation in a short time). also, kelp is a rich source of natural iodine. since i know how much you despise me posting links to products here, i shant. but just know that when the panicked public has depleted all the potassium iodine on the drug store shelves, kelp should be plentifully available because few people will think of it as a source. i ordered 2 bottles of kelp supplement to tide me over.

    March 16, 2011 @ 7:28 am

  2. sparx said,

    You can post product links.. I just might change the referral tag on them 😛

    I thought you posted somewhere (but I can't find the post) about this and mentioned that most multi-vitamins have the daily requirement of iodine, so I figured that my vitamin was better than nothing… turns out these "One a Day"s don't have ANY. I stole one of my brother's chewable vitamins this morning since they actually do have iodine.

    March 16, 2011 @ 8:24 am

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