Saturday, July 9, 2011

Potassium Iodide Pills

Potassium iodide (also called KI) is a salt of stable (not radioactive) iodine. Stable iodine is an important chemical needed by the body to make thyroid hormones.

Potassium iodide is medicinally supplied in 130 mg tablets for emergency purposes in the events below:
Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster in April 1986
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant damaged in the massive Japanese earthquake in March 2011

In the wake of the nuclear plant meltdown in Japan, Americans are buying up potassium iodide pills (also called iodine pills) to fight off radiation poisoning. The effectiveness of KI as a blocker of thyroid radioiodine uptake is well established. However, it’s only for specific types of exposure. Potassium iodide works only to prevent the thyroid from uptaking radioactive iodine. Potassium iodide has no impact on the uptake by the body of other radioactive materials and provides no protection against external irradiation of any kind nor prevents radiation damage to other parts of the body.

When administered in the recommended dose, KI is effective in reducing the risk of thyroid cancer in individuals or populations at risk for inhalation or ingestion of radioiodines. Specifically, potassium iodide blocks only the thyroid from absorbing radioactive iodine. The thyroid gland cannot tell the difference between stable and radioactive iodine and will absorb both. KI works by saturating the thyroid glands with stable iodine, the thyroid gland becomes “full” and cannot absorb any more iodine. The thyroid gland cannot absorb radioactive iodine if it is saturated with non-radioactive iodine.

IOSAT KI tablets 130mg, ThyroSafe KI pills 65 mg and ThyroShield® KI Oral Solution

Up to date, three companies (Anbex, Inc., Fleming Co, and Recip of Sweden) have met the strict FDA requirements for manufacturing and testing of KI, and they offer products (IOSAT, ThyroShield, and ThyroSafe, respectively) which are available for purchase.

Though the FDA currently requires to state an actual expiration date (5 years from date of manufacture), if kept dry in its packaging, it can last for years. In a recent test, IOSAT™ KI produced 16 years ago were assayed and found to be as effective as the day they were manufactured.

KI tablets are not used as nutritional supplements, since the nutritional requirement for iodine is only 150 micrograms or 0.15 mg of iodide per day.

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