What causes Gulf War Syndrome?


Approximately 40% of the US veterans who served in the Persian Gulf War have been diagnosed with a condition known as Gulf War Syndrome, with similarly substantial numbers of Gulf War veterans in other countries like the UK, Australia, Denmark, and Iraq also being diagnosed with the same condition. The list of symptoms and health problems attributed to Gulf War Syndrome is vast, and may include: 


  • Fatigue
  • Memory problems
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Diarrhea, indigestion, and other gastrointestinal issues
  • Neurological problems (such as neuropathy)
  • Skin conditions
  • Arthritis 
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Increased brain cancer risk
  • And more… 


Birth defects in Gulf War veterans who have had children are also somewhat higher than usual (though, of course, most sources say that this is a negligible difference from the number of birth defects that occur in the average population). 

The Link Between Organophosphate Exposure and Gulf War Syndrome

We previously wrote about the strong (and indisputable) link between Gulf War Syndrome and bromine toxicity/iodine deficiency (read more about this connection here). Many Gulf War veterans were given pyridostigmine bromide (in an effort to apparently prevent the toxic effects of nerve gasses being used). This medication contains bromine, a toxic mineral that competes with iodine in the iodine receptors and, when administered in this way, can cause many of the symptoms associated with Gulf War Syndrome (especially when the bromine toxicity is accompanied by an iodine deficiency, which is the case for the vast majority of Americans specifically). Read more here about the toxic effects of bromine and how to treat bromine toxicity using iodine therapy with Lugol’s iodine solution 2%.t


Correcting this bromine toxicity/iodine deficiency problem is essential for healing from Gulf War Syndrome. However, it’s also worth exploring the connection between this condition and organophosphate exposure, since the symptoms of organophosphate exposure and those of Gulf War Syndrome also share some notable overlap. And, actually, the problem of organophosphate exposure and bromine toxicity/iodine deficiency go hand-in-hand. As we’ve discussed previously, organophosphate exposure increases blood calcium levels and leads to calcium build-up inside the cells. This increase in calcium in the blood and cells ultimately decreases iodine absorption (read more about this process at this link). This connection illustrates clearly how the exposure to organophosphates in combination with the administration of a bromide-containing drug ultimately is the root cause of symptoms for patients with Gulf War syndrome. 


Click here to see a list of bromide-containing drugs (some of these may surprise you). 


Unsurprisingly, it’s not particularly easy to find exactly which organophosphates were used during the Gulf War just by doing a quick online search (through any search engine). However, I have been able to find that at least 35 different types of pesticides, including organophosphates (like chlorpyrifos, dichlorvos, diazinon, and malathion), were used in an effort to control the population of disease-carrying mosquitoes, flies, and rodents in areas around the Persian Gulf.


Soldiers in the Persian Gulf area were thus exposed to fairly high levels of various types of insecticides and organophosphates. Not only was malathion (and probably other organophosphates as well) routinely sprayed around air base zones to manage sandfly populations, but soldiers also regularly used DEET and sprayed their uniforms and bedding with permethrin. This ultimately meant that soldiers were constantly being exposed to different chemical pesticides in one way or another during their entire time in the Middle East. 


Veterans of other wars, such as the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, may also have similar symptoms resembling Gulf War Syndrome. These symptoms are likely to also be caused by exposure to organophosphates and other pesticides that soldiers were exposed to during these wars. 


Organophosphate exposure like this is associated with the development of neurological problems, autoimmune disease, changes to the DNA, and the development of cancer. Exposure to organophosphates can sometimes be tested by examining the urine to see if any dialkyl-phosphates are present (which would suggest exposure to these chemicals). Individuals with Gulf War Syndrome can start by reading our article on iodine deficiency/bromine toxicity in regard to this condition. After starting iodine supplementation and the supportive nutrients described in the article linked to above, there are other alternative healing options for organophosphate detoxification as well. 



Root Cause: Common Environmental Toxins and How to Protect Yourself From Them – BUY HERE!


Related Posts:

Gulf War Syndrome Cure: Lugol’s Iodine 2%

Lugol’s Iodine Therapy as a Cure for Parasite Infections, Lyme Disease, and Autoimmune Disease

Iodine Deficiency and the Gallbladder: The Gallbladder-Thyroid Connection and How Iodine Therapy Can Help

Do organophosphate pesticides cause autoimmune disease?

Antidotes to Organophosphate Poisoning and Pesticide Exposure

Herbal Remedies for Organophosphate Poisoning and Exposure

Organophosphate Detoxification as an Infertility Treatment for Men and Women

Government Sponsored Nutrient Deficiencies and Synthetic Nutrient Poisons: A Serious Look at Organophosphate and Bromide Insecticide Exposure and Poisoning

Toxins That Cause Myasthenia Gravis — Organophosphate Exposure and Bromide Exposure: What You Need to Know



N.A. (2018). Gulf War and Health: Volume 11: Generational Health Effects of Serving in the Gulf War: Pesticides. Retrieved October 27, 2022 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535919/ 


Wikipedia (2022). Gulf War syndrome. Retrieved October 27, 2022 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_War_syndrome#Organophosphates