Molecular Iodine Has Extrathyroidal Effects as an Antioxidant, Differentiator, and Immunomodulator.
Most investigations of iodine metabolism in humans and animals have focused on its role in thyroid function. However, considerable evidence indicates that iodine could also be implicated in the physiopathology of other organs. We review the literature that shows that molecular iodine (I2) exerts multiple and complex actions on the organs that capture it, not including its effects as part of thyroid hormones. This chemical form of iodine is internalized by a facilitated diffusion system that is evolutionary conserved, and its effects appear to be mediated by a variety of mechanisms and pathways. As an oxidized component, it directly neutralizes free radicals, induces the expression of type II antioxidant enzymes, or inactivates proinflammatory pathways. In neoplastic cells, I2 generates iodolipids with nuclear actions that include the activation of apoptotic pathways and the inhibition of markers related to stem cell maintenance, chemoresistance, and survival. Recently, I2 has been postulated as an immune modulator that depending on the cellular context, can function as an inhibitor or activator of immune responses. We propose that the intake of molecular iodine is increased in adults to at least 1 mg/day in specific pathologies to obtain the potential extrathyroid benefits described in this review.
Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jan 27;22(3):1228. doi: 10.3390/ijms22031228. PMID: 33513754; PMCID: PMC7865438.