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The Wolff-Chaikoff Effect: Is It Real or Fake?

Posted by Jennifer Shipp | Aug 30, 2023


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The Wolff-Chaikoff Effect: Is Lugol’s Iodine Safe?

Among those of us who study and work with the real cures for cancer, the Wolff-Chaikoff Effect stands out as one of the best-told stories by Big Pharma. It is a story that has been used to scare patients and doctors away from Lugol's iodine, a miracle-medicine in the modern world.
Writing about cures for cancer is always difficult because invariably, these cures are well covered up. If you’re new to the idea of a cure for cancer or a cure for diabetes or autoimmunity, you might think that such cures are hidden carefully in a vault under lock and key. But Big Pharma knows that the best way to hide a cure for cancer or another disease is to hide it in plain sight. As such, all cancer cures except a rare few, have an aura of fear around them. Most have been portrayed as a scary “poison” by Big Pharma-supported institutions to scare both patients and doctors away from the cure. And many have also been “studied” by scientists who are underlings of Big Pharma, to ensure that there is a “scientific basis” for these cancer cures. For this reason, many of these cures require a fairly extensive introduction to explain how this cure could exist, yet no one knows about it.

Is Lugol’s Iodine Safe?

Often, when people start researching the question, is Lugol’s Iodine safe, they come up with mixed results online. Doctors generally advise against the use of Lugol’s iodine. They claim that this essential nutrient can somehow cause the very diseases that it cures. To explain this illogical thought, doctors typically reference the Wolff-Chaikoff Effect. Indeed, the Wolff-Chaikoff Effect is one of the foundational consensus-science “tools” that Big Pharma created to ensure a steady supply of sick patients to fuel the healthcare industry.  

Any medicine that has the ability to cure cancer is enthusiastically demonized by Big Pharma. The Cancer Industry, after all, is one of the biggest and most profitable industries on earth. But Lugol’s iodine is special in that, it not only cures cancer, it also cures autoimmune disease, diabetes, asthma, and it provides protection against infectious disease. Yet another way to put this is to say that an iodine deficiency creates a massive market of extremely profitable chronic diseases that appear to have no cure so long as people do not discover the value of Lugol’s iodine

Many patients persist and seek out the reason why their doctor is so against iodine as a supplement. Iodine, after all, is a nutrient mineral but one that’s surrounded with quite a lot of controversy. It’s included in most multivitamins so why are doctors so opposed to supplementation with higher doses of iodine? 

At the foundation of all the fears about taking high-dose Lugol’s iodine (50 mg per day or more) is something known as The Wolff-Chaikoff Effect. This so-called “effect” has not been scientifically proven. Indeed, it has been disproven a number of times. The Wolff-Chaikoff Effect is a political maneuver that helps keep the value of Lugol’s iodine as a nutrient supplement hidden. In this article, we talk about research that was done by Dr. Guy Abraham to demonstrate that Lugol’s iodine is not the toxic nutrient mineral that doctors believe that it is. He explains that the Wolff-Chaikoff Effect is, in fact, an example of “politicized science”. We provide details here to explain and demonstrate the safety of Lugol’s iodine in high doses to help readers better understand the iodine-dynamic and why this healing nutrient medicine is not more widely prescribed and used in conventional medicine as well as in alternative medicine.

Is Lugol’s Iodine Safe?

The Wolff-Chaikoff effect is a mythological creation by Big Pharma that prevents doctors and patients from discovering iodine as a tool for healing. The Wolff-Chaikoff Effect is the “presumed” reduction in thyroid hormone levels that’s caused by ingestion of large doses of iodine. The so-called Wolff-Chaikoff Effect was carried out by Dr. Jan Wolff and Dr. Israel Lyon Chaikoff at the University of California in Berkeley. In the study, Dr. Wolff and Dr. Chaikoff injected a large dose of iodine into rats, which, they said, prevented thyroglobulin iodination of the thyroid gland. However, the doctors never checked the rats’ thyroid hormone levels prior to injection and the study was poorly constructed and purposely contrived to make sure that the general public never became aware of the potential benefits of Lugol’s iodine supplementation. Essentially, the suppression of thyroid hormone production was temporary and it lasted for only 26-40 hours in rats. 

Fabricating the Wolff-Chaikoff Effect to Confuse Doctors and Patients: What You Need to Know

The Wolff-Chaikoff Effect has been used to fabricate and maintain a wide range of diseases that result from iodine deficiency and bromine toxicity. This so-called “effect” is based on scientific studies that were extrapolated to humans from rats without any supporting data suggesting that this effect could be reproduced in humans with equivalent amounts of iodide. Indeed, though high doses of iodine initially causes an iodine-deficient thyroid gland to become inflamed as the gland expands to absorb more iodine, this effect is short-lived. It usually lasts only between 26-40 hours. After that, high doses of iodine have no negative effect on the thyroid gland or other body tissues. Indeed, Lugol’s iodine 2% at a dose of about 50 mg per day (20 drops) typically heals goiters, and it acts as a cure for hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. 

Even as far back as 1948, there was scientific evidence refuting the veracity of the Wolff-Chaikoff Effect. At that time, Lugol’s iodine was used extensively in medical practice to treat and cure asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. Doctors prescribed 1000-2000 mg per day to treat respiratory disease. Treatment usually lasted for several years at this high dose with no adverse effects. Contrary to what the Wolff-Chaikoff theory asserts, hypothyroidism and goiter did not occur in this patient population even at high doses of iodide daily for extended periods of time. 

Click here to read more about how to cure asthma permanently using Lugol’s iodine.

In written literature and in scientific circles, the Wolff-Chaikoff study from the 1948 publication is not referenced as often as a review that Wolff wrote in 1969. The title of this review was:

“Iodide goiter and pharmacologic effects of excess iodide.

The review was published in the American Journal of Medicine and it was written to address clinicians. Essentially, this review, written by Wolff, came from the National Institute of Health, a corrupt organization of consensus scientists. Nonetheless, the National Institute of Health is highly regarded by doctors and some scientists so the review had instant traction in this community. 

In Wolff’s 1969 publication, he states the following:

This review concerns itself with the effects of excess iodide, i.e., amounts greater than those needed for the production of normal amounts of thyroid hormones…a rough estimate of the daily iodide requirement for a man would be about 200 ug of iodine per day.”

This statement reveals key issues that need to be clarified and understood by anyone who has been told that iodide in high doses is bad for human health. Dr. Wolff claims that a daily intake of iodide above 200 ug is unnecessary because the human body only needs iodide for the production of thyroid hormones. But it is well-known today that iodide is also essential for reproductive organ health, pancreatic health, heart health, immune system health, and more.

It is also worth noting that the Wolff review was published before the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for iodine was established.

This review created a language that has propagated among clinicians including phrases like “iodide goiter” or “excess iodide”, though the existence of iodide goiters caused by excess iodide were never proven scientifically. Essentially, an “iodide goiter” is a myth. In clinical endocrinology, these phrases have been marketed ruthlessly to produce an anti-iodine mythology that doesn’t match the reality of iodide’s actual effects on the body. For example, endocrinologists promote the administration of only 3% of the average daily intake of iodide of a mainland Japanese citizen. Japanese people eat a lot of kelp and seaweed that contains natural forms of iodide and they also have a remarkably low incidence of cancer that is particularly striking when one looks at reproductive cancers in women (including breast cancer).

Click here to buy Lugol's iodine 2%.

In summary, it’s important to note that the study by Wolff and Chaikoff was somehow ignored and Wolff’s review instead, was given notoriety by Big Pharma to promote the idea that Lugol’s iodine is toxic, though in fact, the opposite is true. Iodine deficiency, after all, creates a huge market for illnesses like asthma, respiratory disease, cancer, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism as well as diabetes, neurological problems, and autoimmune disease. The focus on Wolff´s review rather than the research was orchestrated by Big Pharma to create confusion around Lugol’s iodine as a medicine that was once at the top of the list of prescribed cures for diseases back in the early 1900s.

The Wolff-Chaikoff Effect was essentially fabricated by Big Pharma to give the American Medical Association the green light on educating doctors to shun Lugol’s iodine as potentially “goitrogenic”. By educating doctors to be afraid of Lugol’s iodine as a medicine that might hurt the thyroid gland, doctors became the purveyors of new and serious iodine-deficiency diseases. Once doctors began telling patients to avoid Lugol’s iodine, problems like obesity, autoimmunity, and breast cancer (and other reproductive organ cancers) skyrocketed to create a massive profit potential for Big Pharma.

Is the Wolff-Chaikoff Effect Real?

For people who have done some research online about iodide and its value in human health, the question of whether the Wolff-Chaikoff Effect is real or not is a foundation for deciding whether high-dose iodide supplementation is safe or not. So let’s outline the science refuting the Wolff-Chaikoff Effect so that readers can decide for themselves:

Studies looking into the possibility that doses of iodide above 200 ug per day had already been performed prior to the Wolff-Chaikoff study. For example, in 1964, 5 years prior to Wolff’s published review, Koutras et al.  published a well-designed study that looked at this exact problem. In this study, Koutras administered iodide to normal participant subjects for 12 weeks at a daily dose of 100 ug, 200 ug, and 800 ug. As the iodide dose increased, the iodide uptake increased by the thyroid gland at the same time, but not beyond 6-7 mg of iodide per day.  Peripheral thyroid hormone levels didn’t change a great deal even at the higher dose. The scientists concluded that the thyroid gland absorbed about 6-7 mg of iodine before an equilibrium was reached. Specifically in regard to the Wolff-Chaikoff Effect, the scientists stated that, “There is no evidence that the same mechanism is also responsible for the decreased iodide utilization which accompanies small increases in Plasma Inorganic Iodide levels.”

Though this study had already been performed and was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology, Wolff made no reference to it. Dr. Wolff’s conclusions in his review, in fact, contradicted this well-designed study.

In regard to doses of Lugol’s iodine higher than 800 ug, Dr. Guy Abraham points out that in the early to mid-1900s, medical doctors regularly prescribed 6 mg of Lugol’s iodine per day with good results. Patients who took this amount typically experienced a normalization of either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. In other words, doctors prescribed Lugol’s iodine 2% at a dose of 6 mg (about 3 drops per day) to cure hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism and typically, this treatment provided a permanent cure for these diseases. This was before the introduction of e drugs which were a treatment and not a cure for hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. As a treatment for hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism drugs were far more profitable for Big Pharma than a nutrient like Lugol’s iodine because drugs could be patented. Lugol’s iodine, in contrast, is a natural, non-patentable substance.

Doses above 6 mg per day are the focal point of the Wolff-Chaikoff Effect. According to Wolff, an iodide intake of about 6 mg per day causes a so-called “iodide goiter”. But in Wolff’s review, the doctor contradicts himself and states, “The rarity of iodide goiter in the face of the extensive exposure of a great many patients to iodide has not been satisfactorily explained.” This contradicts the entire premise of the so-called Wolff-Chaikoff Effect which states that exposure to higher than 6 mg of Lugol’s per day will somehow cause a goiter. Yet, this presumption, that Lugol’s iodine can cause a goiter or other thyroid problems, has never been proven in humans and in fact the opposite has been proven true by a number of studies and anecdotal reports. A number of studies have shown that high doses of Lugol’s iodine can prevent thyroid issues and goiter. 

Dr. Wolff claimed that the most common type of “iodide goiter” was observed in Hokkaido, Japan, but Japanese researchers found that these goiters were caused by kelp and the goitrogens (substances that disrupt the production of thyroid hormones) contained in the kelp. Kelp is not synonymous with iodide, after all though kelp does contain some iodide. Nonetheless, Dr. Wolff used the goiters caused by the kelp goitrogens (substances that inhibit the release of thyroid hormones) to buttress his argument that high doses of iodide could cause goiters.

Scientists such as Stadel at the National Institute of Health in 1976 and Dr. B. Eskin proposed that clinical studies should be done on the miraculous effects of iodine on breast cancer that was observed in female rats. When these scientists suggested that human subjects should be tested to find out whether iodine could cure breast cancer and other reproductive organ cancers in both men and women, scientists said that it should not and could not be done because of the Wolff-Chaikoff Effect. This is a huge tragedy in conventional medicine as Lugol’s iodine can and does often cure reproductive organ cancers like breast cancer, prostate cancer, uterine cancer, cervical cancer, and ovarian cancer.

Click here to read more about how to use Lugol’s iodine and supportive nutrients to cure cancer naturally.

As such, the Wolff-Chaikoff Effect is a scientific farce that has been used politically to prevent doctors and patients from finding out that Lugol’s iodine is a cure for breast cancer and other reproductive organ cancers as well as for thyroid cancer. Lugol’s iodine also plays an important role in immune system health which means that it can help in curing other cancers in other parts of the body as well.  

Studies have shown that 50 mg per day of iodide is the ideal dose in human adults. At this dose, the thyroid gland takes up about 600 ug per day. At even higher doses of iodide, the thyroid gland still absorbs only 600 ug per day. When the body is saturated with iodide, thyroid hormones remain balanced and normal. 


The Wolff-Chaikoff Effect is based off of a study that was done in rats. In this study, rats were injected with a massive dose of potassium iodide. The thyroid gland of the rats blocked the binding of the iodide for 26 to 40 hours after the initial dose. After this time period, the rat thyroid gland resumed its normal absorption of iodine even though the serum iodide levels were elevated.

During the initial stages of iodine supplementation in rats and in humans, the thyroid gland will sometimes swell to permit absorption of as much iodine as possible. This may look like a goiter, but in fact, it is only temporary.

Though this rat study did not show that chronically high dosing of iodide caused abnormal thyroid function, Dr. Wolff was able to successfully make the claim (under the protection and credibility of the National Institute of Health) that high dosing of iodide in humans would cause abnormal thyroid function. This has never been shown and never been proven (or disproven) in humans or in animals. The Wolff-Chaikoff Effect was supported politically, not scientifically as Dr. Wolff invoked the credentials of the National Institute of Health to produce mass fear in doctors who are taught in medical schools to believe that Lugol’s iodine is potentially toxic to the thyroid gland when, in fact, the opposite is actually true. 

Scientists and doctors like Dr. Guy Abraham have tried to calculate the amount of Lugol’s iodine that would provide for whole-body (not just thyroid) sufficiency based on a review of the literature on iodine. Their calculation indicates that the recommended dose should be around 100 times the RDA.

The AlivenHealthy Iodine Bible - Everything you need to know to get started taking iodine and more!


Abraham, G. E. (2004-2023). The Wolff-Chaikoff Effect: Crying Wolf? Retrieved August 26, 2023 from

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