The Basic Iodine Patch Test

The Basic Iodine Patch Test

How to Track the Iodine Patch Results

The iodine patch test needs a 24 hour window of time.

The iodine patch test measures how quickly your body absorbs iodine. The faster it absorbs it, the more likely you may need iodine. If the patch still exists 24 hours later as a pale shadow, the results are normal. If the patch disappears or mostly disappears in less than 24 hours, it may indicate some degree of deficiency. In fact, significant lightening or disappearance in under 8 hours could indicate moderate to severe iodine deficiency and suggest a need for supplemental iodine.

A few important notes about the iodine patch test… Make sure you use an iodine solution of the strength you are advised to take. It’s also important to remember that this is a home test and the results do not guarantee deficiency or adequacy of iodine levels.

Several recent studies have demonstrated increases in iodine levels through skin absorption suggesting the result of this test may reflect a deficiency or adequacy of iodine.

Iodine has many important functions in your body:

1.Stabilising of metabolism and body weight

2.Brain development in children


4.Optimization of your immune system (iodine is a potent anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-viral and anti- cancer agent).

5.Manufacture of thyroid hormones.

6.Endocrine feed back loop

7.Thyroid function= energy

8.Bowel function

9.Tendon flexibility and sensitivity

Perform test AFTER your morning shower. Do not apply skin lotions or shower gels to the test area.

Put one drop of lugols iodine on your inner arm, spread it into a patch about 3cm across. Monitor on an hourly basis. Record how long it took to be absorbed into your skin.

Note how long the test patch takes to fade away 1, 2, 3,4 hours etc.

A minimum shadow should be 8 hours, a very good reading should last 20 hours.

For some the test does not work. This may be because they have such a high burden of halides (fluoride, chloride, bromide) that all receptor sites are blocked. This can cause a false positive both on the patch test and urinary excretion tests. Try eating sea vegetables for two weeks then re do the test.


1.Miller KL, Coen PE, White WJ, Hurst WJ, Achey BE, Lang CM. Effectiveness of skin absorption of tincture of I in blocking radioiodine from the human thyroid gland. Health Phys. 1989 Jun;56(6):911-4.

2.Zimmermann MB, Crill CM. Iodine in enteral and parenteral nutrition. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Feb;24(1):143-58. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2009.09.003.

3.Tomoda C, Kitano H, Uruno T, Takamura Y, Ito Y, Miya A, Kobayashi K, Matsuzuka F, Amino N, Kuma K, Miyauchi A. Transcutaneous iodine absorption in adult patients with thyroid cancer disinfected with povidone-iodine at operation. Thyroid. 2005

12 Replies

As far as I am concerned this patch test is not reliable as iodine evaporates fast in certain conditions like warmth. There were quite many different factors. Even living in certain areas high enough above sea affected.

That doesn't take away the fact that some iodine is absorbed through skin. 10% or so.

This has been posted on this forum many times - and each time I see it I, in agreement with Justiina, say it is unreliable and potentially very misleading.

Look here:

I wish there were more recent research into this but, as far as I am concerned, useless as a test.

"A few important notes about the iodine patch test… Make sure you use an iodine solution of the strength you are advised to take. It’s also important to remember that this is a home test and the results do not guarantee deficiency or adequacy of iodine levels."

For the test, how can you use a solution of the strength you are advised to take? You can't be advised on what strength to take unless you know you are deficient and how much you need!

Also, it warns that as it's a home test there's no guarantee that it's going to be accurate.

Those two sentences say it all for me. It seems a totally useless test.

My thoughts exactly, Susie!

Like all tests patch test needs to be monitored. Not useless if you are trying to go in for basic self help.

More like self assassination if you don't get your iodine tested correctly. Who exactly was this post aimed at? Hypos on thyroid hormone replacement are already getting extra iodine, people with Hashi's shouldn't be taking it, anyway (speaking from personal experience, here) and undiagnosed people just should not be messing around with iodine unsupervised, because they could find themselves with hypo, hyper or Hashi's which they didn't have before. And, even when supervised by some doctors (personnel experience again) you might just as well not be, because finding a doctor who knows what he's doing is next to impossible.

How do you square "basic self help" and "needs to be monitored"?

Further, there are many documented cases of iodine causing skin irritation - even allergic contact dermatitis. Perhaps splashing iodine and iodine compounds onto skin is not the best thing to advise without any caution.

None of the links, so far as I could see, refers to the colour of iodine patches. And the third one says:

This may possibly interfere with scintigraphy or radioactive iodine treatment, or cause thyroid disinfection in susceptible patients.

Hardly a ringing endorsement of topical application of iodine.

Given the possibility of the absorption of iodine through the skin, doing a patch test in someone who was actually too high in iodine would not be sensible. (I agree that absorption can and does occur but not in a predictable way which could lead to colour/time being an acceptable way of interpretation the purported test.)

I think this should read "disfunction".

Keep seeing 'Sea Vegetables' mentioned. What are they please?

j-bee just for you!

Chlorella (an algae) – a true super food , chlorophyll rich, anti-cancer, heavy metal and synthetic toxin removal, RNA, DNA, protein, mineral rich

Dulse – a nutritional powerhouse, alkaline, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and most of the B vitamins, including B6, contains high levels of iodine, as well as calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium and zinc. A quarter-ounce of dulse provides about 30 percent of the recommended daily allowance of iron, and one cup of dulse can provide 4 to 6 grams of protein.

Kelp – highly mineralized including trace minerals, folate, B2, B5, vitamin K, vitamin E, iodine, copper, magnesium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, sodium

Nori (aka laver) – beta carotene, vitamin C, folate, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, vitamin E, iodine, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, zinc, sodium, omega 3

Spirulina (an algae) - a true super food, chlorophyll rich, easily digestible, immune booster, anti-fungal, antibacterial, brain food, protein, GLA, RNA, DNA, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folate, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin, copper, iron, sodium, manganese, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, calcium, omega3, omega 6

Wakame - beta carotene, vitamin E, folate, B1, B2, B3, B5, omega 3

Thanks Roderick-Naturopath. I think seeing what is normally classed as sea weeds called vegetables confused me. Good to have this advice though.

Does spirulina grow in seawater?

If not, somewhat odd to call it a sea vegetable.

Nope. It lives in fresh water.

You may also like...